This was a fairly easy read - the philosophies evoked are also explained.
The most eye-opening of all the essays was Brownskirts - comparing the show to a veiled fascist propaganda. That alone is worth buying this book for. There are other interesting readings of the material too, such as three essays reading Faith's story through Platonic eudaimonism (which I thought fit best), failure of Nietzchean application, and as a form of masculine autonomy contrasted with "feminist" team ethics. (This is interesting because it's three distinct re-readings of the same storyline.) I really don't agree with them all, though, of course.
Some of it makes me want to scribble notes on the sides with a pencil, but I never have a pencil around when I'm reading, so I'm scribbling some of them here instead.
On Thomas Hibbs' "Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Feminist Noir":
He writes: "Conversely, Thelma and Louise reduces sex to a form of male sadism, the only rational response to which is for women to fight physically for their rights not to be raped by male predators."
That just nicely edits out the Brad Pitt character. Sexual liberation and female comradeship replaces romantic neglect and sexual abuse in that film. Which clearly means it's evil unrealistic feminist tripe because men are never bad like that and she must have wanted it, really.
Hibbs goes on to say: "The series, as Whedon insists, is all about "girl power", but it is not in the grip of illusory feminist theories of autonomous freedom or unbridled self-creation."
Because it would be a damn shame if those little ladies thought they could ever be really fulfilled without a good man to take care of them.
Damn! I'd like to see this guy clash with Neal King in the annual Hey I Wrote For BaP:FaTiS convention. If there was one. Which there should be.
On Gregory J. Sakal's "No Big Win: Themes of Sacrifice, Salvation and Redemption"
He writes: "Even after proposing marriage to Anya... (Xander) abandons her at the alter... apparently lacking the moral compass to follow through on his commitment."
BREEP! He thought there was a good chance they'd have a lousy marriage. He recognises his own weaknesses and the potential for irredeemable clash between them, which would be more tragic after kids were involved. I think it was a mature decision, rather than (as the writer argues) a case of immature lack of commitment.
He goes on to say: "Spike, on the other hand, although a soulless, ruthless killer, consistently demonstrates a kind of selfless love for his mate Drusilla, manifested in his steadfast willingness to put Drusilla's needs ahead of his own."
"I'll find her, wherever she is, tie her up, and torture her until she likes me again." La, how selfless! I like Spike, I think he's funny, but to act lovesick is not the same as to act selflessly. (He has a point, though, when much much later he mocks Angel as having had a soul forced on him, whereas he himself actually went out and got it for himself, suggesting he's a better person. But we knew that from Liam and William's stories, anyway, and all that stuff about vampiric Spike and Dru "stinking of humanity". I just had to point out bad character interpretation.)