Writer's Block: It’s Women’s Equality Day!
WCH
norwie2010
Do you think women are treated as equals? What changes would you like to see?

I'm back!
WCH
norwie2010
Since you all missed me so much (or not):

I'm back!

Nearly 3 Weeks of Italian sun and fashion (shoes!!!) make a wholly new Norwie. :)
Now i have a lot of catching up to do - but in the good way: reading what you all wrote while i was away!

Max - i still haven't forgotten our discussion about male privilege and BtVS.
Emmie - i still haven't forgotten your request "what Norwie likes in stories".

All the best to you all!
Tags:

Fic: Choker
WCH
norwie2010
Trying to get back to creative writing. Creative writing is not an entirely intellectual process - this is me, trying to work my weird love for Buffy through my emotions. In this piece, i try to get into Spike's head space (a scary place). To successfully do this, I have to find something within me, something that resonates with the theme and character.

Choker is not about sex.

Title Choker
Author norwie
Character Spike, Drusilla, Buffy
Rating Mature
Words 380

Hatred...Collapse )

Season 9 Buffy comics - Spike
WCH
norwie2010





BrianLynch wrote:
But be on the lookout for my new Dark Horse series SPIKE:I'M FRIGHTFULLY BACK, FRIGHTFULLY, next August.


Fresh from the IDW boards.

Tags: ,

Birthday wishes for the best
funny
norwie2010
Happy birthday,

COALITIONGIRL!

You're the best. :-)

My critique of BtVS season 8 so far
WCH
norwie2010
The following is a critique of the BtVS comic book "season 8". I'm not delving into interpretion of a sentence or a panel, i'm aiming for a more formalistic approach. Nonetheless is the following more or less a "rant", despite my best intentions to disguise it as something resembling coherent thought, aka Meta.

Over the last days my friends here on LJ (and Buffy related forums) exploded with ideas and insight into the inner workings of season 8. The following does not reflect all of my ideas, or possibly the more positive aspects of season 8 - it is a critique. It is sometimes harsh, but in no way, shape or form my last word on the comic books, in fact, it summarizes some of my issues with season 8 without outlining the things i like about season 8.

Many thanks go out to 2maggie2 , angearia , local_max , aycheb and beer_good_foamy  who massivley influenced me to write this. You want more Meta for season 8? Go read their LJs. It is seriously worth it.

The art:

Jeanty is both a good choice and a bad one.

I like it that Whedon went against the Leni Riefenstahl aesthetics normally found in the superhero genre, deliberatly going for a more playful style (which is also what this is: playing around in the Buffyverse). I like that especially as it is an art statement about what's wrong with the superhero genre, and that season 8 does not want to go into that direction. There is an academic field exploring the superhero genre and widely critizising it, and although the superhero genre has grown in maturity over the last two decades it's roots are firmly planted in racism, misogyny, romanticism leaning towards fascism and class superiority ("Watchmen" is a great commentary on this).

But then, a character driven story about emotions which works with stills only - it needs expressive stills, and rich text. Jeanty's panels are not these stills, in fact, the same facial expression can and will be interpreted by the fans in so many ways as there are fans interpreting it. Where one sees manic, the next sees happiness, another one amusement and some even dismissal.  Which works a bit against what i said in the "good" column, i presume: While this shall not be a typical superhero comic it is not convincing in bringing forth what it attempts to do (emotional resonance, character growth and an in depth exploration of the human psyche).

The text:

Is very hit-and-miss, often contradictory from one writer to the next. Evidenced by the fact that readers are confused if something is just off, or deliberatly off, or important, or to be dismissed in the speech patterns of the characters, even though most readers are intimately familiar with the characters by not only watching, but also analyzing 12 years of TV show time (7 years of BtVS and 5 years of AtS) of these characters. The rich subtext of the TV shows is hidden beneath the changing quality of the text and the inadequate art. Whereas the TV shows inspired an academic level of analysis the comic book requires large parts of the audience to either just go with the surface stories or a desperate need to "make sense of it all".

The pacing:

Postponing, thy name is season 8. The audience breathlessly awaits the next issue and the next and the next to get into the story, to decipher meaning. Combined with the long strech from the beginning of season 8 to it's end in terms of real world time and the continuing hints that the stories will carry over into season 9 - another 2 and a half year worth of streching - it not only becomes confusing, but also tiring. From the first issue to the current one, the audience dropped below half it's starting point (taken from the sales figures: around 110.000 sold copies of the very first issue compared to approximately 40.000 sold copies of the current one). A slow beginning, different plot lines got dropped (adding more confusion) during the run of the comic book due to pacing problems. Now, well into the last arc with only 10% remaining show time, the decryption of the overall story takes away from the all important exploration of the inner workings of the characters, their interaction with themselves and the world. A prime example is the unveiling of the antagonist of this story, "Twilight is Angel". To make this twist work, the last 4 issues - as well as numerous interviews by the artists - were needed to just get a starting point from which to participate in this specific story line. The authors of the story admitted that they needed to produce a "one off" issue to further explain as well as deliberatly leaving out story lines and character interaction which was build up to in the coming 10% of the issues.

The editoring:

I am not a professional editor and thus will refrain from harsh critics of a field i have no knowledge of. Suffice to say that fans counted a myriad of continuity errors, leaks and, what i call the "Pretty Woman syndrome" (this is to my knowledge the blockbuster film with the most formal errors - like clothing within the same scene, etc - to this day).

The plot arcs:

There are multiple interesting ideas found in season 8, well worth exploring but alas! with no time left to explore them. For me, here lies the richness of season 8, but also the shortcomings - so many resonating ideas, so few exploration, sadly. As an example, i'll name the "Harmony" story arc: The authors do a daring switch in whom the general populace of the Buffyverse admires as heroes, and whom it views as villains. This is a great story with rich metaphorical layers, grounded in the reality of our own world and lives. Vampires are, for most of the TV show, a metaphor for either inner demons the protagonists must overcome, or, on a more direct approach a metaphor for "inhuman humans", the individuals who treat their fellow humans as untermensch (murderers, rapists, imperialsts, sometimes mere selfish jerks - the vampire is the human without soul, compassion for his/her fellow human being). Now, society within the Buffyverse (or at least large and/or influencial parts of it) turn towards these vampires and set them up as the new social standard, the new image of the homo sapiens, an utterly destructive image of the human being: "homo homini lupus" has developed from a philosophical standpoint into a fully fledged ideology (everyone for himself; everyone against anyone). The real world parallels are convulsing. A story exploring a non-humanist ideology to which a lot of people subscribe in real world terms is certainly one i consider captivating (and ugly enough to create human tragedy - believe me, my grandparents made this tragedy happen!). Unfortunately, this extraordinary story line gets drowned instead of developed as the comic book drives forward, it succumbs to an irritating mish mash of destiny, prophesy, other dimensions, ascending into and creating new universes (as birth metaphors, no less!) and romantizism.

The Buffy story:

Due to certain problems i laid out in my previous reflection above, we don't know the exact nature of the story so far. A lot of my friends here on LJ made excellent observations which point to the themes of career/fame and trust/love and the illusions we have and create of these concepts. To explore these themes, the authors created - amongst others - "Twilight": the arc, the theme, the place and the character. "Twilight" plays off of S. Meyer's infamous "Twilight" saga (an utterly disgusting piece of contemporary pop culture drawing from some of the worst western ideology has had to offer in the last fivehundred years) which in turn plays off of Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". For a self proclaimed humanist and feminist like Whedon it is perhaps understandable to try to argue against such drivel. But then, BtVS always subverted the tropes of romanticism as played out in S. Meyer's books - the need to go back to that theme is therefore not driven by the narrative of BtVS, but rather by the present success of another wave of romantizistic pop culture. Which leads me to a reading of season 8 as a meta commentary on all of BtVS, it's tropes as well as the tropes it subverted while tying in to modern pop culture products in the form of novels, fantasy TV shows and superhero comic books. The narrative gets substituted by the commentary. Season 8 assembles all (former, potential) romantic partners of Buffy and comments on the current state of "Twilight" (the saga, the arc, the theme, the place and the character) through them. Unfortunately, all this is long explored already, especially in the fandom of BtVS in form of it's academic output. Whedon revisits a theme for contemporary reasons while he tells a story about stories - and the readership is lost without a narrative to follow.


In closing i want ot say that i don't want to diminish the joy others get from season 8 - in fact, the massively positive Emmie and Maggie keep my interest in season 8 alive.




When i fell in love with Buffy'n'Spike
WCH
norwie2010
 When i fell in love with Buffy'n'Spike

With all the mental strain season 8  put on me i thought it'd be more healthy to revisit the places i actually love about BtVS.

A recent discussion on penny_lane_42  's LJ, following her lovely Meta of Buffy and Spike turned my thoughts on the romance of Buffy'n'Spike and why and when i fell in love with the two together.
But in chronological orderCollapse )

But in chronological order:

When BtVS aired, i was immediately spellbound: The opening scene of "Welcome to the Hellmouth" captivated me, and i wanted to know how this story goes on! Episode after episode, i fell in love with the show and the heroine all over again and again. I've never been in any fandom before (or after), i'm just not that interested in TV pop culture in general. But this show, it got me. Then, as with every good high school drama, romance got a spotlight on BtVS: Angel entered the scene. A creepy guy, a mysterious guy, someone with a dark secret, flirting with the heroine. He wasn't much of a character, then, but as season 2 came along i was hooked. Not because Angel is such a great guy or such a nice piece of manflesh (the big, dark, hulking type doesn't do much for me) - but because Buffy loved him. And i love Buffy. I wished for a break for these two. A moment of happiness. Well, i got one! It was marvellous. The story went to all these dark and fascinating places, exploring all the right things and  Becoming  was everything. I mean, really. It is just that good. So, to make a long story short, when i saw Becoming i was a Buffy and Angel "shipper" (of course i didn't know what that means at that time and i'm still uncertain of it today. I don't consider myself a "shipper" of any kind, because i'm madly in love with good stories and good storytelling and i'm willing to roll with nearly anything as long as the story is fascinating and worthy of my intellect - ego much? ;-)).

Along came season 3 and the story of Buffy and Angel somehow dragged on. Of course i wanted a moment of happiness for "my" Buffy - but Angel was obviously the wrong choice to give that moment. The angst over that romance just didn't get to me - because season 2 already went to all the really interesting places before. Then, Angel was gone and there went my love for Buffy and Angel (I will remember You was just the coffin lid being closed forever with a loud bang).

In comes season 4. I'll forego that Parker guy since Beer Bad said everything about that. But then, Riley. I'll admit it, the arian nazi soldier type is one of my turn-offs. Really. Of course i know that this description is not doing justice to the character of Riley and there are moments of the show when i felt sympathy for him. Perhaps i would have liked him in the end if season 4 had explored the Dr. Mengele/fascism angle instead of the Adam/monster angle. But, i love Buffy. And Riley, well he was good for Buffy. She was happy. It was even hinted that the two of them had a happy sex life. So, go! them! I liked the relationship because it gave Buffy a break (on the romance front). Perhaps Riley could change enough to be really there for Buffy. (Of course not! Where would have been the drama in that?!)

So, season 5 rolled along and Spike entered the romance stage. Hints and hints of a possible Buffy and Spike romance. Well, in reality Spike entered the scene long ago and perhaps this is the right moment to say that i really wanted to see and hear a concert of that band Buffy and Spike fabricated to placate Joyce in season 2.... ;-)

A first glimpse of the possibilities of a possible Buffy and Spike romance aired with Intervention. (I mean all the interesting places such a romance could go - of course we got Lover's Walk before, and, as i said, Becoming , and even before that School Hard and so on and so forth.) But, it didn't hook me up. It showed just a mere possibility for a great love story. I was happy that Buffy and Spike got more and more screen time together as the dynamics between those two are just great. As enemies, allies, antagonists, unfriendly friends, whatever. Those two sharing screen time? Yeah, gimme more! But romance - that was a long shot. Then Buffy died (and i cried).

In retrospect that death gave me the greatest TV show time ever: Season 6. I adore Mutant Enemy for their courage to go to that place, to explore depression in such intimacy, so careful, sensible and loving, the frailty of the human psyche as well as the strength of it. It is my favourite TV show time of all times. No, it is not mere entertainment. Not just a continuation of an interesting story. It is a moment when pop culture got me back. If pop culture is able to go to such a place - it cannot be all that evil (insert Georg Seeßlen's essay on pop culture and fascism here). But back to Buffy and romance. Smashed was the first hook in my heart - and not because it's hot! But because it foretold the story we were getting at: That dark place again. The exploration of the deviant. The abyss of the human mind. The dark underbelly of the human soul (insert de Sade, Bataille, Foucault - the french certainly thought a lot about that!).No, the episode when i fell in love with Buffy'n'Spike was Dead Things. What a rich episode! Layer upon layer, metaphor upon metaphor. gabrielleabelle explored that episode in depth - go read it!

Dead Things has so many great Buffy'n'Spike moments, from Buffy being in love with death, to handcuffs, to shadow and darkness on the balcony of the Bronze to intimacy with doors (!) (Buffy's door to the underworld, Spike's door out of his grave, the door to each other's hearts, that which separates them, the possibilities of going in or out, ...). And. Then. That back alley scene! That back alley beating burned it's way into my heart forever. It is the culmination of all those moments that lead up to Buffy'n'Spike. It is metaphor. It is character interaction. It is Buffy, it is Spike, and it is Buffy'n'Spike. I felt so much for Buffy, i cried for her (as opposed to The Gift, where i cried for myself).

I know a lot of fans have serious problems with that scene in the back alley, some never forgiving Buffy for it, some thinking that this is a breaking point for Spike - but in this instance, i side with them both: Buffy, trying to beat death itself, trying to beat herself, at her rope's end. Caressing Spike's face with her fists. And, of course, she is not able to kill death, no matter how hard she tries. And, Spike. He's so strong: "Lay it all on me, baby". He never mentions that beating later - because it is not a breaking point for him. It is his (twisted) way of showing his romantic love for Buffy. He doesn't need to forgive her for that - it is not even a wrongdoing on his radar. It is also cheesy as hell, the "bravest knight in all of the land" taking a beating for his lady - even if the beating comes from the lady herself. It is so much William, victorian gentleman, knight in black leather - i fell hard. "You hurt the ones You love" is so, so true at that moment, both of them being in such (different) bad places and still together. Giving all they have to give at that moment in time.

So there you have it: That's the moment i fell in love with Buffy'n'Spike!

But in chronological orderCollapse )

Absence from discussion
WCH
norwie2010
Just to let my friends here know: I'm not dead - just working on the new job (where they want my soul, too). I'm sorry i'm not able to participate in discussion ATM and apologize for not commenting on all your wonderful entries.
Tags:

BtVS, comics and Time Phenomena (sorta meta-ish)
WCH
norwie2010
I am somewhat irritated by season 8 as a whole and for a while been trying to figure out - WHY?

For comparisons reason i alternated in rewatching old episodes (mostly S1 and S7 to get a feel for the start as well as the end of the TV series) and reading new comics.

At least i did discover something (probably trivial and you all figured it out long ago), another piece of my personal puzzle:

Time phenomena.

I will distinguish 3 different time lines or phenomena.

1. Audience Time, or Real Time, as in today is May, 10th, 2010.

2. Series Time, as in what date is it in BtVS at any given time.

3. Audience-Series Interaction Time, as in Tuesday, baby! 40 minutes of goodness!

In BtVS the TV series 1. and 2. were mostly the same, ie. when decembre 1999, then chrismas 1999 on Buffy. So, Audience Time = Series Time.

3. was served in weekly doses of 40 minutes, compressing roughly one to seven days of Series Time into 40 action packed minutes.

The comics are a different beast altogether.

Audience Time and Series Time are completey out of synch, we get 4 years of Audience Time vs. 1-2 years of Series Time, and the actual dates and seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) are different.

On top of that, the Audience-Series Interaction Time is severely diminished: We get roughly 10 minutes interaction time per month.

So, we get 4 times the Audience Time, 2 times the Series Time and only a fraction of Interaction Time (~1/16th).

No wonder i'm confused by the comics - my viewing habits conditioned me differently!

Add to that the plot of season 8 which is a pretty epic arc, wether you consider it a lame or crack!fic doesn't matter. With 40 issues we don't even get half a season of TV Buffy time, streched out over 4 long years with a completely off Series Time.

For me, that means the pacing of the comics seems to be pretty off/bad and i don't get enough Interaction Time to actually make sense of most of the stuff, ie. there is no time to actually deepen the characters and plot lines and connect to both.

Which is probably just as well in the comic world - but i'm used to another time phenomenon.

Also - made it through AC, am able to take another job where i have to sell my soul. Yay me....

LIBERATION DAY
liberation
norwie2010
Hello world.

This is my first entry in my LJ and it has nothing to do with any TV show or fandom at all. It is, rather personal. Since the news media in Germany is not covering this remarkable date - or even mentioning it, i feel it is my responsibility to say some very personal words.

In 1945, on May, 9th, 0016 hours the remnants of the european fascist army under the leadership of Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Red Army. The second world war in europe was at an end.

65 years ago, the country i'm born in any many, many others were liberated from the most hideous and terrorizing regime. The terrible loss of human life count into the sixty million. Extermination through labour, Annihilation in total war.

Fascist Germany brought unimaginable sufferings to those opposed to it.

Today i want to extend my eternal gratitude towards those who stood in the face of horror and STOPPED and DEFEATED the fascist regime with their labour, their health and their lives.

Millions of people all over the world fought and died and will hopefully never be forgotten. I will concentrate on the greatest contributor in the efforts to bring Germany and fascism down.  My thanks go out to all those who opposed fascism and their respective leaders. Too high are  their numbers to be listed here in person but my special thanks go to the great us-american president Franklin D. Roosevelt and his equally great wife Eleanor Roosevelt, who convinced the people of the USA to enter this war on another continent.

The greatest loss was suffered by the peoples of the Soviet Union, where approximately 17-25 million civilians perished together with 8 million soldiers in the Red Army. 7200 towns were erased by the fascist armies.

In acts beyond bravery, beyond courage, the peoples of the Soviet Union fought back and destroyed the fascist armies in the most heroic deed in the history of mankind.

Because these numbers are so huge that i cannot fully grasp, or understand,  i want to present some remarkable individuals as faces, to make an attempt in understanding. While millions of people all over the world suffered and fought i will concentrate on these bravest of brave.

Within the Red Army one million women served as nurses, doctors, instructors, partisans, sharpshooters, tank crews, machine gunners, scouts, bomber pilots, combat pilots. 89 of them were awarded with the highest order of the Soviet Union for their unconditional service to their people and their homes - the title Heroine of the Soviet Union. While wartime hero worship is definitely ambiguous these women stand out for me, exemplary to the millions who fought voluntarily and valiantly, out of the sense of duty to their people, their families, their values and themselves. Even today the role of women in war and armies is diminished and suppressed. I will not delve into politics here, because these women do not deserve to be dragged down by dirty discussions or accusations. Their dedication speaks for themselves.

While the time of fascist domination in europe fills me with dread and shows just how low mankind is able to sink in it's cruelty, these women fill me with the hope that mankind truly is more than just cruel bestiality.

It is a reminder that the fight for the liberation of mankind is not male, nor restricted by nation or nationalism, that women can and will take up arms to defend theirs and themselves.

Pavlichenko


Lyudmilla Pavlichenko studied history at the state university of Kiev when the fascists invaded her home. In 1941, at the age of 25 she
volunteered and entered the infantry as one of the 2000 female sharpshooters serving in the Red Army. As the most successful female sniper ever, she killed 309 fascist soldiers within 10 month. After receiving heavy artillery wounds she toured the United States of America to convince it's people to enter this war. She was the first citizen of the Soviet Union to be received into the White House, where she met Eleanor Roosevelt with whom she maintained a lifelong friendship. American folk singer and antifascist Woodie Guthrie made a song about her. After the war she finished her degree and worked as a historican.

www.youtube.com/watch "Miss Pavlichenko" by Woodie Guthrie

"The struggle for democracy and lasting peace, the struggle against reaction and fascism, is the main task we face today. To cut women off from this basic and important task, to attempt to confine them within 'purely female', feminist organisations, can only weaken the women's democratic movement. Only the victory of democracy can ensure women equality." Alexandra Kollontai

Polovanova

Maria Polivanova and Natalia Kovshova were both engineering students of the Moscow Aviation Institute when their motherland was invaded. They volunteered in 1941 as part of the home guard in the successful defence of Moscow. After completing the sniper training they  were transferred to the noth-western front in early 1942. The two friends worked together as a sniper team with 300 confirmed kills of nazi soldiers. In the battle of Staraya Russa on august, 14th in 1942, their sniping position became surrounded by the enemy and when they ran out of ammunition they used their handgrenades to kill as many fascists as possible as well as themselves.

Maria Polivanova and Natalia Kovshova were 19 and 21 years old when they died.

Kovshova and Polivanova were the first Soviet women snipers to be awarded the Gold Star and title of Heroine of the Soviet Union.

"Man's dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years,
never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the
finest cause in all the world - the fight for the Liberation of Mankind."
Nikolai Ostrowski



Marina Raskova was the soviet Amelia Earheart, a famous aviatrix before the war, she set the long distance record for an all female flight in 1938.  The flight took 26 hours and 29 minutes, over a straight line distance of 5,947 km (total distance of 6,450 km). She was the first woman to receive the title Heroine of the Soviet Union. During the war she convinced the military leadership to form all women combat flight units and was commander of the 125th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment until her death in 1943. She inspired thousands of women to conquer the sky.

An american liberty ship was named in her honour, the SS Marina Raskova.



Female aces from the russian 586th women's fighter regiment. L-R : Lilya Litvyak, 12 kills (KIA), Katya Budanova, 11 kills (KIA) and Mariya Kuznetsova.

"At night sometimes, I look up into the dark sky, close my eyes and picture myself as a girl at the controls of my bomber and I think, 'Nadia, how on earth did you do it?" Nadia Popova, bomber pilot.

"They were attacking my city. There was panic in the streets. What else could i do except join the army? It was my duty"
Dr Galina Brok-Beltsova, bomber navigator, volunteered at the age of 16.

"You are a woman and you should be proud of that." Regimental slogan of the 46th Guards Bomber Regiment.

"When we were not on missions, she would gather us all together at the airfield and recite fairy tales by Zhukovsky. When she was burning, in the air over Kerch, I was standing at the aerodrome watching it. I was losing my friend, she was burning away over my head, and I could do nothing to save her."  Deputy commander Irina Rakabolskaya about her friend Yevgeniya Rudneva (Gold Star, Heroine of the Soviet Union).

The heroism of these women bought my personal freedom today. Thank You.

www.youtube.com/watch "Svyaschennaya Voyna" (the sacred war) - the song which inspired me and accompanied me during this post. WARNING: the video to this song contains scenes of human atrocities, original footage from war and concentration camps.

Lyrics (russian, english and german) can be found here:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svyaschennaya_Voyna




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