Emmie (angearia) wrote,
Emmie
angearia

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I'm back!

Hello!

Thanks to the lovely ladyofthelog, I was able to reformat my computer.  Spent most of last night downloading drivers and trying to get my wireless internet to work, but finally success!  So that's a plus.  Still bogged down in jobhunting, though, and when I tried to go out yesterday my brakes were out (I need to get more brake fluid, I think, I hope...). And yes, I did start to think that maybe I'm cursed (or horribly negligent) that so many things managed to go wrong all at once. But still, I'm hopeful and happy because things are looking up and it's begun to feel like not having a computer has helped me refocus and clear my head, so it's almost like the evil computer trolls (the invisible ones who spread viruses and eat up html code) were helping instead of hurting.

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Unable to scour the internet for mindless diversion in the search of thought-provoking diversion, I actually got a lot of think done on my own.  I plotted out the finale in detail of TYSK (I haven't given up on this, I've just been stuck in a fandom S8-inspired funk) and then went on to plot out the sequel to TYSK and even gave it a title "The Return of the Magi".  Bad news being that the progress I'd made on the next chapter of TYSK has been lost, but sometimes starting fresh is a good thing (though dammit, I can't remember the funny joke I had in the dialogue and that's still paining me).  But thankfully all the progress I'd made on my seasonal_spuffy pregnant!Buffy story in Season 5 isn't lost--I'd been annoying my betas with updates like whoa (thank you, email, for saving my story!).  Losing that would have broke my heart.  It's pretty much my attempt at a feminist spin on a chivalric epic.



So taking a break feels very rejuvenating.  And not only have I gained perspective and new energy about writing and life in general, but I... *gasp* have new thoughts about Season 8 that aren't rage-inducing.  I've finally been able to emotionally disconnect from the story and while I still am angered by what's being done, I think maybe there might be some purpose.  Rather, I've always thought there would be some deliberate purpose and Buffy rejoining the ranks of empowerment and now I can finally see how.  However, I do not believe all the unintended misogyny and objectification will be counteracted in the final arc (e.g. one of my concerns expressed in "Unqualified Applicant Need Not Apply" about all the Slayers being hot chicks sends out a damaging body image message to women).

Thinking on the title for the final arc led to some realizations.  Joss Whedon's finale arc of Season 8 is titled "Last Gleaming" which brings up thoughts of "Twilight's Last Gleaming" (a nuclear scare movie), "Kobol's Last Gleaming" (the search for Kobol in Battlestar Galactica) and finally the Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I remember analyzing the imagery of the first arc and how the shot of the sun from space obscures POV. The words implie a brave new dawn, but the title sequence reveals something else.
The Long Way Home
No Future For You
Wolves At the Gate
Time of Your Life
Predators and Prey
Retreat
Twilight
Last Gleaming
The season opened with the sun at the horizon and words implying it's a brave new world, a new dawn is rising. But the title sequence reads as sunset. You try to go the Long Way Home again, but you can't. And alas, there's No Future For You because the Wolves are At the Gate. You fight for your world, this Time of Your Life, but the roles have shifted between Predators and Prey. You are forced to Retreat, then tempted into defeat by the promise of rest, of happiness, amidst the confusion of Twilight (the time of magic, of the in-between, of the mixing of light and dark, where things are all and nothing), and finally the sun that set in the beginning, that brought darkness and trials, that left all characters without a light to guide them, is hailed by the Last Gleaming of Twilight and the sun rises again in... Sunnydale. Light is restored.

As the song goes, Twilight's last gleaming is the herald of the dawn, that the soldiers have survived the horrific battle in the darkness, that on the Twilight's last gleaming they see themselves victorious in battle, their flag proudly waving still. The oppressor they'd defeated and slung off the yoke years ago had come back to defeat them (the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States), but they fought once again for freedom. The oppressor in BtVS, besides being literal demons, was often the patriarchy. Even defeating Sunnydale has relevant symbolism--Buffy was chained to her home, unable to leave, trapped in her home the way women were chained to the home (all women belong pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen).

However in Season 8, I've seen too much giving way to patriarchy. Angel has been playing this role all season and the last we've seen, Buffy gave in to his words, ceded to his authority. It seems like Joss is playing the concept of turning Angel not into an enemy but a feminist ally--except the crap characterization of Angel in the Twilight arc undercuts this. The way it was written gives the appearance Angel only gives up on Twilight to get in Buffy's pants (cue irony--but is it deliberately written as irony since Spike has just arrived?). And while making peace, not war, is good, I still need Buffy calling Angel on his crap again. She called him on it before, but then she gave in. She needs to do it after realizing what he's done--just as she gave in to sleeping with Spike, but upon waking realized it was wrong and told him it was wrong. I suppose in a way you could read Twilight as Buffy giving into the patriarchy, the overwhelming message of society, before realizing she must defy it to live her life as she truly envisions it. If Angel is the patriarchy in terms of symbolism, that it fits perfectly that Buffy returning to Earth coincides with the arrival of the gender-role-bending Spike (who plays the feminine to Buffy's masculine role, where Angel more often pushes her into the traditional feminine role). 

So if Season 8 is about battering feminism (and women like Dawn) and illuminating the struggle women face in "a man's world", will the finale show the feminist flag still gallantly streaming?

In the end, dawn is the culmination of the arc. And is it too on the nose that Dawn factors into this in a major way? I'm resisting it because it seems so obvious and the metaphor is a bit... paint by numbers. I think Joss can do better than having Dawn die to restore the dawn. And frankly, that's a crap metaphor that Dawn has to die to give others light. I'd rather Dawn were empowered enough to somehow restore the dawn through her strength of will, her ingenuity, her faith, instead of her sacrifice. If conquering the enemy means overthrowing the oppressor, I'd rather it be done through strength rather than submission to power. If sacrifice is the name of the game, I hope it's a sacrifice of fearless defiance.

As for speculation about a reboot, I dislike the idea that Buffy would somehow use the Twilight dimension to wish Sunnydale back, to turn back time. It smacks too much of Joss's plan to give Buffy a wish and have her wish Tara back to life for Willow. Pure cheese. I think the less to do with the Twilight dimension, the better. Journeys are better when they're hard-won. Though a return to Twilight might be a last resort--that by frakking their way to Twilight, Buffy and Twangel released an apocalypse they cannot stop, they cannot turn back. If the only way to save the world is to recreate it, then I could see Joss doing it. It would raise interesting qeustions about identity and who is real, is anyone real, but I find the idea hard to swallow. And getting everyone out of danger through a reboot feels too easy, not too mention repetitive. Another reason I don't want to see Dawn dying to reboot the dawn--Angel just did that in After the Fall. He died to save everyone. How many times will Joss drink from that well?
 


Now that I have a working computer again, I wanted to say thank you to my friends for the amazing birthday wishes!  If I didn't comment to you, it's probably because I missed the post due to internet and computer issues, so I'd love to know if I did miss anything (I don't honestly know how to catch up properly otherwise).  Here's some lovelies sent my way:

+ This lovely card came from moscow_watcher  ♥

Click to View 
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+ And ladyofthelog made an amazginly perfect fic banner for my story "Unqualified Applicant Need Not Apply". ♥ (And I think I figured out how to make clicking the banner take you to the fic! ... maybe?  Nope, still don't know how :p)

Click to View
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+ I can't copy and save this, but kudagirl made an incredibly neat digital birthday card. ♥

+ Finally, huge thanks to jamalov29, gabrielleabelle and bobthemole for the LJ virtual gifts!  I love my journal so much and it was a perfect present. ♥


I missed everyone like I miss air conditioning when the unit blows out during the dead heat of summer (only with less sweat misting).


I'm amused by how much happy Buffy I'm putting into this post--icon, gif and moodtheme surely must be the holy trifecta!  Victory!
Tags: birthday, comics, meta, personal post, season 8
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