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2004-06-08 - 11:10 a.m.

Slayage conference, part 1.

First, some of the papers I could not see because I had to work Friday & so missed that entire day:

�The Greatest Love of All� : Cordelia�s Journey of Self-Discovery

The Comic Stylings of Wesley Wyndham-Pryce

Monsters and Mean Streets: Angel and the Legacy of Noir

On Spinning Gyres and Escherian Symmetries: Interpreting the Spatial Architecture of Angel the Series

Fonty Goodness: Authenticity Through Graphic Design on BtVS

�The Princess Screamed Once�: Power, Silence, and Fear in �Hush�

�The Lies that Bind�: Sadomasochism and Parental Betrayal in BtVS

�Don�t Speak Latin in Front of the Books�: Knowledge, Power, and History in BtVS

�Now Could I Drink Hot Blood�: Buffy Summers as a Modern-Day Hamlet

�Oh Stay! You Are So Beautiful�: Angel the Vampire Faust

My Art Belongs to Daddy: Rupert Giles as Magical Mentor, Indulgent Father, �Book Man�

There are a bunch more that are equally compelling. I was so excited to be around people who want to talk about Buffy as much as I do, and who have all this stuff to say to me about it that will be completely new, & I was so not disappointed.

Tish and I arrived late Friday, too late for the �Once More with Feeling� Karaoke Sing-Along. We went out on the town and had some beers. We came right back home, hoping to get up for the 8am opening stuff. We made it to the 10am first sessions after getting some breakfast. I went to a session on Doubles, Tish to one on Narratology and Authorship. We had to pass up a bunch of great sessions that included one on identity in the Buffyverse that seemed like it was going to deal with race a lot, and one entirely on the musical. God. Hard choices. Each session had 2-3 papers. Tish�s included a paper on Marti Noxon ("Buffy's Other Genius") that has inspired her to go back & watch all of Marti�s eps, taking careful note of the many instances of cages and bondage. I loved mine on doubles, the first one was by this anthropologist who studies twins, & she made us choose one set of doubles to hear about, from Will/Evil Will, Angel/Angelus, Buffy/Kendra, Buffy/Anne. Willow won, & she did this great close reading of Dopplegangland that was really interesting (Percy: "There were two President Roosevelts, so I did both"), & a main thing of her paper is that each character has been doubled so many times and unlike most other texts, power is always shifting when there�s a doubling in the Buffyverse, and usually this means our Scoobies have gained some power by being doubled (like Willow taking on some of Evil Willow�s self-confidence and aggressiveness.) Also, she talked some about the Slayer/Watcher connection, and how the Watcher is there to watch the Slayer slay, but also to watch her be slain, and record it, and then the job of Watcher is done. Buffy is such a singular, amazing, special, heroic Slayer, that she actually defies this traditional sacrifice of the Slayer when she comes back at the end of Season One after drowning. The Watcher that is the double of such a Slayer must also be singular & special. If you watch after that episode, we see Giles sitting around & journaling hardly ever. He has thrown in with the slaying, & doesn�t sit back & watch anymore.

I feel weird telling so much of someone�s ideas and not saying their name. But then they�ll find this & read it & be like you got it all fucking wrong. How about you can go to slayage.tv and look up names? Also I can�t go all into detail like this because I saw like 16 or something papers. Much faster:

There was one on robots in the Buffyverse. Cool.

I went to a Sex and Pain session. One of my faves. I saw a paper on Cutting, Self-Sacrifice, and Sisterhood in Season 5. Also one on Drusilla as having all these characteristics the Victorians ascribed to overly sexual women, and how the show is taking that history & using it to make this powerful character who isn�t punished for her sexuality. This paper was fantastic. Darla was in there too, & she talked about the significance of Darla being a syphilitic prostitute as a mortal � a victim of sexual hypocrisy. Also a paper on kinkfic � any fan fiction featuring elements of BDSM. Discussed how the show itself is kinky, how it�s given life to this online porn that is different than most porn, having good plots and characters, humor (she gave an instance of a story where Spike ties up Giles and forces him to watch Bill & Ted�s Excellent Adventure), and is often feminist & queer. LOVED IT.

The next session was on Willow. Maybe the best paper in this session. The woman was not an academic, and I think they said she worked for a Latina health network of some kind. She gave a paper on Rape as Resurrection, and every single thing she said she had clips to back up. It was an astounding presentation, showing the actual resurrection of Buffy while giving us all this info about how rape is often experienced. Then listing elements of post-traumatic shock disorder and showing multiple clips from throughout the season of Buffy experiencing each one. Then showing how much rape was discussed or alluded to otherwise throughout the season (Katrina telling the troika "It�s called rape," that teen vamp telling Dawn�s friend Janice she was asking for it & Giles saying "I�m fairly certain she wasn�t," Tara standing between Anya & Willow saying "You�re not going to make her do anything she�s uncomfortable doing," the bikers threatening to rape the Buffybot.) Then of course the non-metaphorical rape attempt that bookended the season, Spike�s of Buffy. She then showed a bit of the only other character in the �verse we�ve seen resurrected as mortal, Darla, and how similar her experience was. Then she went into the type of rapist Willow was (Power Reassurance), & showed her displaying the characteristics (sense of entitlement, promoting forgetting, etc.) Lastly she talked about how most shows feature rape as a very special episode, and how extraordinary it is to take an entire season to show a survivor�s struggle to regain connection to her world. Oh, and the Buffy/Spike stuff � she talked about big lifestyle changes in survivors, sometimes people will have a bunch of sex to try & rework the incident so they come out with power or self-esteem. She showed clips that of course completely backed that up. It was amazing, and troubling, and truly will change the way I see the entire season.

The end of this first day was 2 hours of fan videos. LOVED IT. Oh my god. There�s this gay Angel one that I will totally find and post on dirtynerdy. Others: a Doyle tribute to Lyle Lovett�s �Flyin� Shoes.� Ethan Rayne to �Behind Blue Eyes.� Lindsay video to some Kid Rock/Willie Nelson song about a young gunslinger. That Eminem song about guess who�s back...and also about hey you miss me I�m controversial and everything else is boring...that song, a video about Lilah. The one that made me weep the hardest, Kate Bush�s �This Woman�s Work�, all about Giles and Buffy. A Willow and Tara love one, a Willow and Tara grief one. Retarded Firefly one with Tool, amazingly lovely Firefly one with Springsteen. Wes and Lilah, and a couple other Wes ones. One all about the Scoobies fighting to do right. Some family-type ones with the Angel gang. Several Spike ones, including �Why I Drink,� & �Rebel Yell.� So many.

That is the end of the first day. Oh. Some more papers I missed out on because of choosing the Sex and Pain session and the Willow session:

Spanking the Inner Moppet: The Expression of Women�s Anger in the Good-vs.-Evil Universe of BtVs (Tish went to this, so I did hear a lot about it)

�Why don�t you just go back where you came from?� Aspects of Post-Colonial Theory in BtVS

�It�s Complicated�.Because of Tara�: History, Identity Politics, and the Straight White Male Author of BtVS

�Friends are the Family We Choose for Ourselves�: Young People and Families in BtVS

�What�s More Real? A Sick Girl in an Institution�Or Some Kind of Supergirl�?�: The Question of Madness in �Normal Again,� a Feminist Reading

Fate and the Knowledge of Future Contingents: What Did Cassie Know?

Appreciating the Zeppo: The Gender Flexibility of Xander Harris

�Why Died and Made You John Wayne?� or Why Riley Could Never Be a Scoobie

�Selfless�: Locating Feminist Identity in Anya/Anyanka Through Prostitution

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