Fri, 16 September 2005
"Civil Serpent" By golly, put aside that Playstation and bowie knife because we've got three words: Mayor. Richard. Wilkins.
i agree about mayor he is one of my favorites because of his personality but what i love most about him is the fact that he stays behind the scenes, hes a planner he has a plan and he goes with it this is the main reason Wolfram and hart on Angel is my favorite villian of both shows because we never see them they are everywhere as holland manners tells Angel.
I am writing this before I read the other comments. This is in response to the podcast which I only recently discovered on ITunes. An aspect that you miss about the mayor is that he is a funnier, cleaner, more engaging Richard Nixon. I think this was consciously a part of the conception that Whedon and his team had of Mayor Wilkins from the beginning. I received many insights from this particular episode, but the fact that you only dealt with Mayor Wilkins as an \"authority figure\" and not as a politician was a bit disappointing. Let me be specific on how dealing with Wilkins as a Richard Nixon stand-in (or as a special kind of corrupt politicican) might have helped you in your interpretation of Wilkins. You mention the many incidents in which Wilkins \"fights evil\". And this is true. But you don\'t mention his ultimate motivation for Wilkins fight against various kinds of evil. He wants to impose \"law and order\" on Sumnydale. It is only his conception of \"law and order\" but it is none-the-less law and order. Let me remind you that of course Nixon was the first post-war \"Law and Order\" president. It should be noted that all presidents -- and most politicians - who have run on a \"law and order\" plank have turned out to be deeply corrupt and in practice opposed to the the rule of law. Or more precisely they identify the \"rule of law\" with their own personal rule. This was the case with Richard Nixon and it was also the case with Richard Wilkins. According to Wilkins\'s own statement in \"This Year\'s Girl\" his project was to bring order to Sunnydale. Wilkins\'s obsession with \"order\" also helps us to conceive of his \"origin\" story without actually having to see it, though I agree with you it would have been nice to have had a stand alone episode (or at least a comic book?) that would have given us the Mayor\'s origin myth. I think that conceiving of Mayor Wilkins as a \"Law and Order\" politician, solves many problems of interpretation, a part from the Mayor\'s ultimate motivation. For instance look at his \"need\" to be \"loved and adored\" by masses of people. This is an aspect of personality of many authoritarian personalities and corrupt and/or populist politicians,through-out history and has often been represented in literature -- Mark Antony (and apparently the actual Marcus Antonius if we are to believe Plutarch), Willie Stark/Huey Long, Mussolini, and of course Richard Nixon. It also clarifies Wilkins\'s use of \"power\" as not just a means to an end but as an end in-itself. He is a typical politician in that he does not dirty his own hands but rather lets others do his dirty work. His need to be loved and adored, is a vital part of his hypocrisy in his use of power. He needs to be seen as bringing law and order to Sunnydale while at the same time fostering a transformation of reality that will negate all human laws, imposing a demonic \"order\", on the city. In public he greets boy-scouts and poses as the caring Mayor, but in private he sells his very soul for absolute power. Now for a personal note. I am not sure of your age. But both Joss and I are at the tale end of the baby boom. For us the forming political experience was not so much the Vietnam War but Watergate and its aftermath. For those of us who came to political awareness at the time of Watergate and who are at all \"anti-authoritarian\" Richard M. Nixon is the model hypocritical politician. It was hard for me to see the portrait of the Mayor in the third season of BtVS and not think of Nixon. Since I discovered your podcast on ITunes I have been listening to all of your shows. For some reason I have been working my way backwards. They are the perfect shows to listen to while performing \"clerical\" work on my files and projects. Great shows and great insights. I really hope you motivate yourself (or find the time) to produce them more often. I am especially looking forward to future Spike episodes. Also more shows on specific episodes. Another idea for an episode, if I may suggest it, is the idea of \"what if...\" within the Buffyverse. I am not specifically referring to alternate realities, etc. but rather to \"narrative variations\" and the representation of \"human choice.\" BtVS seems to me unique among television shows in that it presents the dilemma of human choice and its consequences on both the characters and of the narrative world. We feel that \"choices\" change the world and we can see the changes in the fact that if this choice was not made then these consequences would not have ensued. But further, there is a direct relation between \"choice\" and \"fate\" and this is where \"narrative variations\" and alternatives come into play. The choices that the characters make actually form the fate of the Buffyverse. The best example is the \"discontinuity\" in the Slayer line caused by the double resurrection of Buffy herself. Perhaps the Scooby Gang should take responsibility for the second resurrection and perhaps this second resurrection leads eventually to the first, but the first resurrection caused the problems in the slayer-line, and it shaped the seven season arch in many aspects. There was no \"responsibility\" here but there was certainly \"choice\" and where \"fate\" took advantage of the chanciness of human choice. I will write more at some other times, perhaps trying to reply to Miles, and to other shows. By the way, your use of Ockam\'s Razor for you show on \"Normal Again\" was an inspired idea brilliantly carried out. Jerry
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