Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sex and the modern Whedon

If you've ever been in the same room as me and an episode of Buffy (or Firefly, or Angel...), then you probably know that I've got a problem with Joss Whedon.

No, that's not quite true. I have many problems with Joss Whedon. Unfortunately, some of them I still haven't quite figured out.

There are elements of many of Whedon's works (movies, TV, comics) that have always bugged me, but for reasons which I have difficulty verbalizing precisely and/or backing up properly. For instance, I feel that even though he's often lauded as a feminist writer, Whedon's "strong female characters" too often end up being "strong FEMALE characters" rather than "strong characters (female)." But this is only a vague, undefined feeling of mine, and to dissect that feeling would require much more time and effort than I'm willing to expend. (Moreover, I'd have to actually define what I consider to be a "strong character," and that alone would be a doctoral dissertation.)

Just recently, though, I unraveled a small part of the Whedon Paradox, decoded a portion of the whole document that defines in exact terms why his works leave me cold. What have I discovered, you ask? Just this, gentle reader: Joss Whedon has an adolescent's view of romantic relationships.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thoughts on technobabble

No matter how media-savvy or un-media-savvy (hi, mom!) you may be, you're bound to be familiar with the phenomenon. The ship is trying to fire its proton lasers, but some engineer explains to the captain that quantum interference is preventing them from locking on to the enemy ship. Or the robot has a safety inhibitor that means he can't attack humans. Or the quark reactor is overloading and someone needs to go and eject it before it goes critical. This is what we call technobabble, and I think it's an overly maligned tool in the writer's toolbox.