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The Ghost of Christmas Not to Be

Posted on 2006.12.02 at 11:44

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Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-02-02 04:54 (UTC) (Link)
Re the Radical Faeries: Those dear hippies. You'll note that the New York Sisters are associated with the Radical Faeries. The founding members of the order, in San Francisco, were of that ilk, and still are. Less of a presence here in Los Angeles, sadly.

Re The Episode: Oh, so it's not crystal-wearing cat-owning Willow+Tara-loving Wiccans, it's Satanist Old World Wiccans that are the problem? That's nice. Why bother being all PC about it? They're killing people, who cares what the labels are. Considering the heapings of sex-negativity that follows (emasculated Dean, skanky Ruby, whore witches, etc) one wonders why they bothered?

This leads to a serious gap in the logic when it comes to the utterly absurd argument in the hotel (preceded by the equally absurd confrontation on the road) because Sam has never made any noise about 'the sanctity of life,' only that situations like the Benders weren't there gig. (And Dean said that.) They have never had any qualms going after mortals that use magic to do evil, the show has just conveniently avoided having them do the killing when it's clear cut. (Mrs Roy, Max, the screenwriter). How that argument applies to Madison is illogical, particularly if it doesn't apply to Sam. And the issue was not supposed to be about what they do or don't do, it's about whether they feel bad about it. They've been firmly on the side of '
the end justifies the means' their entire lives, so it's a straw man argument. If the show wants me to believe the dire circumstances have

Ruby admitted, with Sam standing right there, that she isn't going to save Dean. So why did Sam stop Dean from shooting her? (Begging the question of why Dean didn't shoot her before the Impala came to a full stop.) Per the conversation in the motel room, Sam has already given up? That's nonsense. (Meanwhile, another conversation in the road with a demon and the Colt and stupid insults that don't stick because they don't make sense and yelling SHUT UP (no, you shut up) and it was good the first time, cute the second time when it was Sandy and by the way Sam murdered an innocent right there, so where's the beef? Ruby doesn't know about that? Really?

See, now you've pushed my buttons. I am a serious analyst when it comes to throughlines and logic, and this season has been dreadful on that front. Dean's behavior has been very badly conceived, Sam's invisible, the Demon King story is stupid, Bela is beneath contempt, and Cassidy CAN'T ACT.

Ahem. Scuse me. I'll stop, you get the picture. I'm happy that people are happy, but I do think part of Kroki's genius is making a little bit of squee plaster over a lot of huge gaping problems.
(Anonymous) at 2008-02-02 23:03 (UTC) (Link)
I can tell that I pushed some buttons! *grins* But I enjoy your analysis. I had noticed that Show seemed to be happily forgetting all about the "rule" about exorcising demon-possessed humans rather than just killing them with their nifty new gun. I remember Bobby's horror at the fact that Dean didn't even *know* the difference between a demon and a demon-possessed human in "Devil's Trap" (which implies that there IS a difference, which rather upsets Ruby's neat theory, too...and that doesn't even get into the fact that if Casey was right about Lucifer as a hegemonic figure, then there MUST be demons that were never human to begin with, insofar as all the sources on Lucifer tell us that he's a fallen angel, and angels were never human to begin with, either, and that's per "Houses of the Holy," not to mention millennia of sources). They are rather muddying their own cosmology at this point, aren't they? Anyway, I'd also noticed that Dean didn't batt an eyelash when he discovered that Sam had killed the Crossroads Demon, or at least, he wasn't upset that Sam had killed the HOST of said demon; rather, his concerns were more pragmatic, re: the deal. I also noted that while Dean was a little put off by Sam's neat dispatch of Casey, it wasn't really because Casey was a demon-possessed human so much as it was that he'd learned to sort of like her in the time they were trapped in the cellar.

So having said all of that, yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the way that they're screwing with their own mythos, and I can certainly understand how frustrating that would be to you, as you are interested in plotting that is logical and not self-contradictory.

On the other hand, I can't work up much indignation about the misogyny, which might sound sort of strange coming from a woman. As a woman, I long ago embraced Dean's fundamental disrespect for women except as sex objects, and I've been enjoying those moments when Dean finds himself on the receiving end of such objectification, which is one of the reasons that I actually like Bela. Oh, her character is contrived, and the whole "lost little girl being tough to get by" thing has been done to death, absolutely. But that she is constantly at Dean, constantly picking at his intelligence, skills, etc.? That I like. It's one of the reasons I like Missouri and Ellen so much, too. It's just that with the latter two, there's no sexual tension, whereas with Bela, there's a little Mr. and Mrs. Smith going on.

Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-02-03 01:23 (UTC) (Link)
I am a hyooooge consistency and plotting nut. And this show, (and Edlund) are just horrible with that sort of thing.

So Sam runs around town while Dean chokes, checking each of the witches houses till he finds the right one, then doesn't use 'Christo,' but indulges in a lengthy staring match, and loses, and Dean shows up having taken a taxi to each of the three witches houses till he finds the right one... Argh!

The cosmology is a mess, but had an idea which I posted on the Bad Fans board: In Kripke's mind, he's not breaking the rules because he hasn't told us what the all rules are yet. The slow unfolding of the story is the revealing of the rules, and that's supposed to be interesting.

So he's not being dumb, at worst he's being careless. So if he's got it in his head that both God and Lucifer are myths, in the heads of humans and post-human demons (ghosts) being waystopped on the way up or down, and there is no up, then he's still in safe territory. Sam's soul wasn't yanked out of Heaven by The Deal, which would have been way too powerful for Hell to be able to do, it was just put back in his body from where ever. Reapers don't take you anywhere, they just give you a push towards where ever you decide you belong. It actually works, though if that's the big surprise of Kripke's story, welcome to 'Lost'

The morality play, meanwhile, is unsalvagable. They've been blowing away possessed people for some time now, with varying degrees of regret, or even afterthought. The sticking point actually highlights the moral dodging (if not outright cowardice) in prior episodes where bad humans managed to kill themselves and spare the boys (Sam in particular) the trouble and ethical dilemma. So it's too late now to try to make emotionally tense hay out of that concept.

Re mysogny: My objection is not that it is presented, it's that it is a serious alteration to the established character. Dean has always been a horndog, but a respectful one. The library assistant in 'Home'? ("Oh, God, yes...") He looked her right in the eyes, not in the (taut) sweater, and she was rightly charmed.
SAM: So, what are we today, Dean? Are we rawk stores? Are we army rangers?
DEAN: Reality TV producers.
(I love Padalecki's accent slips) Wingman Sam doesn't take Dean seriously, and wouldn't participate if he thought the girls took any of it seriously.

But come Season Three, we have 'Gumby,' The Doublemint Twins and other really crass and demeaning language. (There are some people who still cling to the fantasy that there were two girls in that room with Dean. No, Virginia, he was talking about her tits.) That's not fear of the Deal talking, that's just plain vulgarizing a character. He didn't objectify women, I didn't think, he deified them. (And had lots of sex with them. He was remarkably sex-positive, I thought.) He was raised in a female-free environment, with nothing but Holy Mary as an icon. This was a sticking point for me with 'Heart.' He never cared if Sam got laid. He cared that Sam was disconnected from people. He cared that Sam's distance from humanity (and sexuality) was a symptom. Sex wasn't going cure it, at best it was a sign of healing. Nothing to fist pump about (particularly in front of Madison's face. Good thing he had concluded she was a slut and wouldn't be offended.)

One of the most beautiful scenes in Season One was that exchange in the motel when Sam needs to call Sarah for the sake of the hunt, and Dean respectfully and somewhat awkwardly tells Sam how he feels. It was straightforward, and respectful and had nothing to do with Sam boning her. It had to do with Sam's healing, something that it was clear Dean was praying to see happen. Not that some PiP would fuck him out of gratitude. Bleh.

Now listening to Kripke, it is clear that he always thought of Dean as a louche reprobate. It was only the guiding hand of his writing team (and La Ackles) that maneuvered Dean's character into a better place. So my issue is really with the reversal of direction, not of the inclusion per se.

Oh, there's a part two. Off to check that.
sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-02-02 23:03 (UTC) (Link)
I can tell that I pushed some buttons! *grins* But I enjoy your analysis. I had noticed that Show seemed to be happily forgetting all about the "rule" about exorcising demon-possessed humans rather than just killing them with their nifty new gun. I remember Bobby's horror at the fact that Dean didn't even *know* the difference between a demon and a demon-possessed human in "Devil's Trap" (which implies that there IS a difference, which rather upsets Ruby's neat theory, too...and that doesn't even get into the fact that if Casey was right about Lucifer as a hegemonic figure, then there MUST be demons that were never human to begin with, insofar as all the sources on Lucifer tell us that he's a fallen angel, and angels were never human to begin with, either, and that's per "Houses of the Holy," not to mention millennia of sources). They are rather muddying their own cosmology at this point, aren't they? Anyway, I'd also noticed that Dean didn't batt an eyelash when he discovered that Sam had killed the Crossroads Demon, or at least, he wasn't upset that Sam had killed the HOST of said demon; rather, his concerns were more pragmatic, re: the deal. I also noted that while Dean was a little put off by Sam's neat dispatch of Casey, it wasn't really because Casey was a demon-possessed human so much as it was that he'd learned to sort of like her in the time they were trapped in the cellar.

So having said all of that, yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the way that they're screwing with their own mythos, and I can certainly understand how frustrating that would be to you, as you are interested in plotting that is logical and not self-contradictory.

On the other hand, I can't work up much indignation about the misogyny, which might sound sort of strange coming from a woman. As a woman, I long ago embraced Dean's fundamental disrespect for women except as sex objects, and I've been enjoying those moments when Dean finds himself on the receiving end of such objectification, which is one of the reasons that I actually like Bela. Oh, her character is contrived, and the whole "lost little girl being tough to get by" thing has been done to death, absolutely. But that she is constantly at Dean, constantly picking at his intelligence, skills, etc.? That I like. It's one of the reasons I like Missouri and Ellen so much, too. It's just that with the latter two, there's no sexual tension, whereas with Bela, there's a little Mr. and Mrs. Smith going on.

sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-02-02 23:04 (UTC) (Link)
(Damn that buffer, anyway)

Plus, as I'm sure is obvious by now, I'm a HUGE Dean fan. Sam's okay, but Dean's the reason I watch the show. (Well, Dean and his actor, Jensen Ackles, who is, in my opinion, far better than Jared Padalecki, but that's not an opinion I voice very often in this fandom.) My attitude toward Dean's perspective on women is informed by my personist tendencies, which more or less assert that people should be responsible for themselves, and if some young thing climbs into bed with a "reality show producer" and wakes up alone and anonymous the next morning, it's her own fault for not having more sense. Of course, Show could do more to equalize the depiction of men and women, but it's not going to, and I'm okay with that. Perhaps that makes me a bad woman. Again, I identify strongly with Dean, and it has almost nothing to do with the fact that he's exactly the sort of guy I used to get myself into trouble with. Mostly it has to do with stuff that you're not interested in hearing this early in our acquaintance.

Obviously, my viewing of the show is visceral first, as in gut-level, and perhaps analytical after the fact. Rather infamously, a lit. crit. prof. of mine in grad. school noted that I was an "arch-conservative" when it came to literary theory (trust me, the ONLY time that designation has ever been used to describe me), meaning that my appreciation of said theory began and ended with Aristotle. As a lit. historian, I was able to find a comfortable niche without having to theorize everything. I'm very pragmatic in that regard. That's not to say that I don't appreciate your approach, however. I guess I'm just trying to explain why I've never really delved as deeply into the meta as you have. Maybe that makes me shallow?

Feel free to tell me to shove off, by the way. I'm really enjoying our discussions, but I don't want to be a nuisance. You strike me as the kind of person who'd tell me to go away, though, if you tired of me.

Anyway, the witch thing I'll perhaps get into another time. I've outworn my stay again.

We do agree that Kroki is very entertaining!
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