Friday, April 30, 2004

The pictures of Iraqi prisoners being maltreated by US troops had strange contradictory effects on me. On one hand I was reassured that the mainstream American media was carrying the pictures, even if they did delay release for two weeks. On the other they confirmed my fears about the way quasi-Riley and his squad will treat me when they arrive. Though I can't imagine Riley forcing demons to simulate having sex with each other. Oh - suck jobs from vampire trulls - hold on, I can now.

Monday, April 26, 2004

I'm afraid again. I'm afraid that - Onion-style - the British people are going to Shrug, Line Up For Fingerprinting. My theory is that, some time between May and August 1997, David Blunkett casually said to one of his new civil servants, 'Mmm, what an interesting texture this pendant of yours has, Ms Halfrek. You know, I wish British people didn't have a fondness for liberty.'

And so we found ourselves in Bizarro land, where suddenly, you could assault people with impunity if you didn't think they were mourning Diana Princess of Wales sincerely enough. You could blockade oil terminals until society was a week away from collapsing, and the police would just sit there and watch you. You could attempt to murder a burglar and get a standing ovation from the Tory party conference. Worst of all, the government could seize on terrorist attacks in order to implement their repressive social agenda.

(I don't know how this theory explains the 1.5 million people who marched against the attack on Iraq in February 2003. Maybe they thought they'd suddenly woken up in Bizarro land too)

Having accepted that I am in Bizarro land, how should I cope? I can take the Cordelia approach - fail to realise that anything has changed, and get myself killed in short order - or the White Hat approach, to try and make even a tiny difference. You have to respect Bizarro Giles, possibly one of the bravest people in the Buffyverse, battling on with no Slayer and his dwindling band of alternate Scoobies.

Friday, April 23, 2004

So there I was, completely crushed.

As it turned out, though, this huge disappointment sort of inoculated me for the disappointment induced by the actual episodes in the second half of series 7. That came partly from a misunderstood glimpse of a summary for Storyteller. I got the idea that the series would conclude with the apotheosis of Buffy. I don't think any television could have lived up to how that looked in my imagination.

Even if I hadn't been expecting that, I'd've felt let down by the 'Junior Slayers Platoon' arc. To me Buffy was never about Buffy being in command of anyone. When she did try to give explicit orders to the Scoobies, they often resisted. Like in The Harvest for a start, when Buffs ordered Xander and Willow not to help her... If I wanted army stuff, I would have bought the boxed set of that spinoff featuring Riley in the jungle, the one with Xander - stuck in 'military guy' persona - as his second-in-command.

Come to think of it, I dreamt about Riley last night. I think he's the last credits-quality character to turn up in my dreams. He dealt with this bloke who was hassling me at my friend's wedding. I feel such an ingrate now, because I've always hated Riley, but in the dream we were best friends.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

After my mismanufactured cassette disappointment with series 7 part 1, there were several weeks of waiting for a replacement. Then there was more waiting for the boxed set for the second part of the series to become available. I hadn't been at such a pitch of anticipation since I was a child.

(Actually that isn't true. The last time I was at such a pitch of anticipation was when I was waiting for the BBC to start showing series 6.)

It was a momentous day when the set arrived. A day that ended in tragedy. 45 seconds into the first episode, a line of interference ran down the picture accompanied by a loud buzz on the sound track. 45 seconds later, it happened again. It was the same everywhere on the tape.

I cried real tears at this point.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I was halfway through the BBC run of Buffy series 6 when I saw the Afghanistan episode of South Park. I suddenly had a terrible fear that there was a similarly dreadful Buffy experience waiting for me. I confided in a friend who'd seen series 7, and she assured me I had no reason to fear.

She was right in that there never was any explicit flag-waving. But when I finally did see series 7, Bring On The Night made me a bit uneasy. Perhaps I was unconscously sensitised by the echo in the title of Dubya's 'Bring it on', but when I saw Buffy's closing oration I thought I detected a Karl Rove subtext under it. 'We just became an army'. 'Anyone else who wants to run, do it now' - not so far from the 'get out of the stadium' rhetoric in South Park.

Immediately afterwards, I discovered that my series 7 boxed set concluded with episode 12 Potential instead of episode 11 Showtime. Come to think of it, I was a lot crosser about that than I was about the possible subtext.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I am afraid. I'm afraid that American soldiers are coming to take me away. They'll be grim faced and professional, while anyone is watching. Their leader will look a bit like Riley in his Initiative days, and the resemblance, far from being any comfort, will jar horribly. But at least that will give me something to think about as I'm being manhandled into a vehicle. I'll be sorry I was ever pleased that Ethan Rayne gets bundled off into constitutional limbo at the end of A New Man. I'll think about the remarkable prescience of whoever wrote that episode. I'll need to, to distract me from the nasty looks that pseudo-Riley's second-in-command is giving me. It can't be Forrest, because Riley killed him, but he'll be just as hostile. I'll surely be only seconds away from being clouted round the head with a rifle butt.