09 February 2018

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Religion, & Marx

Means testing, employment requirements, workfare, and other such drek meant to grind down poor people and make us feel helpless are a violation of our human rights not only for all those reasons I gave before, but because they turn the signal principle of justice on its head: that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.  What these measures base their abusiveness on is the opposite idea: that anyone who walks in the door to ask for help is automatically guilty until they prove themselves innocent.  Like being a defendant in a Cardassian court.  Yes, I am currently rewatching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; if you’ve seen it, you will get that reference.

That incarnation of the Star Trek franchise was by far the best, the richest, the deepest, and the most thought-provoking of all its iterations.  It is only fitting to make that allusion to it since it is also the sole incarnation which dealt with religion, which is the next subject.  Not so much religion, though, or the meaning of life, with which I dealt here in a miniseries earlier, but the relation of atheists and freethinkers to religion and its adherents.  In fact, that very thing plays a large role in the overall series of DS9 and several of its plot-lines and sub-plots.

For over a decade-and-a-half, I was what I called a stone cold atheist, and at times quite militant about it, to the point of being anti-theist and anti-religion.  I flirted with the New Atheism of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Maher, until I realized that, with the exception of Hitchens for the most part, the so-called New Atheists were mean, petty, bullying, misogynist, and Islamophobic.  About the same time I reached that decision, my son, also an atheist, posted to my Facebook timeline a meme of a quote from Carl Sagan, stating, “This is how I feel”.

In that quote, Sagan said, “In the way that scepticism is sometimes applied to issues of public concern, there is a tendency to belittle, to condescend, to ignore the fact that, deluded or not, supporters of superstition and pseudoscience are human beings with real feelings, who, like the sceptics, are trying to figure out how the world works and what our role in it might be. Their motives are in many cases consonant with science. If their culture has not given them all the tools they need to pursue this great quest, let us temper our criticism with kindness. None of us comes fully equipped.”

I suppose my son’s views may have come from growing up watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it having been one of our favorite shows.  Like nearly all the members of Starfleet in the Star Trek Universe, those on the show were at best sceptics.  The Deep Space Nine in the title refers to the designation of the starbase of the United Federation of Planets originally orbiting Bajor, a planet newly-freed from a brutal, exploitative 41-year occupation by the Cardassian Union.  One of the chief defenses of the people of Bajor to help them survive their suffering was their religion, one which worshipped what to them were gods whom they called the Prophets.

Of course, unlike the gods of most religions, we actually get to meet these gods in the show’s pilot.  Rather than being gods as most religions define such beings, these Prophets are actual noncorporeal beings living outside of linear time in a realm inside a stable wormhole.  Most of the Starfleet personnel on the show refer to the so-called Prophets as “wormhole aliens”.

The concept of how the Prophets, or wormhole aliens, live outside of linear time and how that played out over the run of the series, contributed significantly to my formula for a definition of cosmic time.  “The future has already happened and the past is yet to be, and the moment where we are now is the beginning, and the end, and every moment in between.”

In spite of their scepticism toward the Bajoran view of the wormhole aliens as gods, or Prophets, however, the Starfleet personnel on the show treat the Bajorans’ beliefs with respect.  A slightly different take on the matter comes in the fourth season when Commander Worf tells Kira Nerys, the station’s Bajoran First Officer, “I prefer Klingon beliefs.  Our gods are dead.  Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennium ago.  They were more trouble than they were worth”.

In the third season, another group of actual beings who are gods to their followers appears called Changelings, shapeshifters whose natural state is viscuous but who can shape-shift into any form they please.  They refer to themselves collectively as the Great Link, while their subjects refer to them as gods and as the Founders, being the rulers of The Dominion.  In many ways, they are the anti-Prophets or anti-wormhole aliens.

Relating to the Bajoran’s clinging to their religion for comfort during the Cardassian occupation, Marx had this to say, or at least would have if he watched the show:  “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”  Thus he admits that for the oppressed, religion does serve a purpose, though like heroine or oxy or opium, once the drug serves its purpose, it should be put aside and left unused.

To be fair, I’ll give the whole passage from which the quote comes.
                            
“The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantasized realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”

Turning to Marx in the same piece as commentary on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine might seem a little strange, especially to the doctrinaire, but recently I stumbled across a lengthy essay called “The Anti-Imperialism of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” on a blog named The Blanquist: A blog for unapolegetic Marxist and communist views on history, politics, and current events.  It is well worth the read, though be warned that if you haven’t seen the show, there are spoilers.  Since my current viewing is my fourth or fifth, I don’t have to worry about that.

Be the darkness that illuminates.  Be the silence that resonates.  Be the stillness that agitates.


28 January 2018

Working and Poor People Are Worth Dying For

The prospect that the European Union—and the UK (or any other country for that matter) staying in it, two separate issues, mind you—is a good thing is just as valid as the hypothesis that Hillary Clinton was a good choice for POTUS because she wasn’t Trump.  A case in point is the very recent reversal of Italy’s 5-Star Movement on the EU’s deficit limit of 3% of a member state’s GDP from opposition to acceptance. 

When I posted an article about that to Facebook, I remarked, “In other words, ‘we accept the limitations and strictures and deficits of neoliberal socioeconomic anti-humanism, thereby surrendering our principles and claim to status as anti-establishment’, as well as revealing the party’s anti-establishment stance to be nothing more than a pose adopted to become the establishment.  Like the slaves who dream of becoming the masters rather than of freedom for themselves, much less for the people they supposedly serve.

During the Great Depression, the governments of most of the world used increased budget spending to deliver their people out of the ruins created by the 1% of that time, and little resembling such an effort has taken place to cure the Great Recession.  Instead, we the people of the world have only been inflicted with more and more austerity, so that the rich get richer while we all get poorer.  I’m so glad the world’s stock markets are doing so well, but as Stieg Larsson noted, the stock market has fuck all to do with the economy.  Therefore, this 3% limit accepted by the 5-Star Movement in Italy is yet another instance proving that the EU as an organization is nothing more than a shithole operating for the benefit of the wealthy few.

The leaders of our countries treat social welfare benefits not as if they were created to serve the needs of the people who receive them but as if they were created to enable their corporate sponsors to pay their employees less.  Workfare, means testing, work requirements, and other such demeaning, humiliating ways of mistreating people in need are not about lifting people up but grinding them down, making them feel helpless. weakening their will to fight back, make them feel as if their poverty is their own fault rather than the fact that the few at the top horde to themselves resources far beyond what they need.  Mind you, many of these abuses did not originate with the Tories in the UK or the Republicans in America, many were first instituted in the USA by New Democrat Bill Clinton and in the UK by New Labourite Tony Blair. 

Those last two groups, Clinton’s New Democrats and Blair’s New Labour, are as fucking useless as the reformists in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the CHP in what is becoming the Islamic Republic of Turkey.  As opposition, Turkey’s CHP is to Erdogan and the AKP and Iran’s reformists are to Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard are slaves who want only to become masters, just like the New Dems and New Labs are to their counterparts to whom they want to do nothing more than replace.

The Obama presidency was such a fucking waste of potential and a betrayal of hope, as great a betrayal, in fact, as that perpetrated by his successor upon his own supporters.  When he came into office as POTUS, Obama had a supermajority in Congress.  He could have passed single-payer healthcare that included price controls on drugs, he could have passed welfare changes that were actual reforms rather than deforms, he could have enacted changes beneficial to Afro-Americans, but he did none of those things.  He did not do those things, because he did not really want to do any of them, which anyone paying attention would have noticed long before the 2008 primary.  Like too most of his fellow Dems, the greed of the few was and still is more important to the one who promised hope and change than the needs of the many.

Obama revealed his true colors soon after his inauguration in March 2009, behind closed doors away from public view, mind you, when he met with the lords of Wall Street on the then recent crash and Great Recession which began then and is still continuing, at least for most people.  “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,” he told them.  “You guys have an acute public-relations problem that’s turning into a political problem.  And I want to help.  I’m not out there to go after you.  I’m protecting you.”  And you have to admit that he that on that, at least, he was good at his word, else he would not be getting $400,000 for a one hour speech to the 1%.

Recently, Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing states to to institute work requirements for people receiving Medicaid.  As originally structured, Medicaid covered only those whose income was below a certain level and were pregnant women, children and young adults up to age 21, parents or caregivers of those children, women in need of breast or cervical cancer treament, Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries, and those who have received an SSI check and Social Security check in the same month at least once since April 1977. 

One of the undeniably good things Obamacare did was to expand those eligible for Medicaid beyond that narrow scope to all persons with income below 133% of the poverty line.  Unfortunately, states with mean, stingy legislatures like that of my own successfully sued in the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to opt out of that, which the Republican-controlled General Assembly of the State of Tennessee promptly did, with the Republican governor’s signature.
Despite the fact that the General Assembly rejected Medicaid expansion, leaving those eligible to that limited list above, Republican Speaker of the Tennessee House Beth Harwell, who is a candidate for governor in the next election, almost immediately introduced a bill to put that indignity which Trump inflicted on the poor into effect.

Unlike the thankfully failed repeal of Obamacare at the national level, this change does effect me directly, or at least would if our state’s Republican-controlled legislature had not shitcanned the Medicaid expansion authorized by Obamacare.  Because of that, at 54 years old, I have not been to a doctor in nearly ten years.  However, it does or at least could effect those like me.  So I will fight back, even if it means I have to go on hunger strike if Speaker Harwell’s latest cruelty is passed.  Poor and working people, people like me, are worth dying for, and so is our dignity.

Afro-Americans voting for a Clinton are like working-class whites voting for Trump.  You get the betrayal you voted for.  The white liberal dog-whistle racism that first became acceptable under the Clintons is what has allowed Trump-style racism to flourish.


27 January 2018

Lost (poem)

Blind
And alone
I stumble around
In the dark
Calling out
To the deaf
Who cannot hear

17 January 2018

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: A Chronology

This is my version of a chronology for the two TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel, and for their official continuation in comics.  Some of the “noncanon” comics I’ve included because they fill an empty space and do not conflict with the official storyline, at least not significantly, some canon comics have been left out either because they do conflict significantly or because they fall so far outside of the main storyline they are not part of it.

I’ve included very few of the Buffy Classic comics series because some of its overall features, such as the subplot of Buffy working as a model, conflict too much.  But I have, however, included single-issue and miniseries that focus on characters other than the two protagonists.

In parentheses after several of the comic stories, I’ve told in what they were originally published, or whether they are a one-shot, a graphic novel, or a miniseries.

In some of the TV episodes, I’ve grouped together ones in which the story from one continued mid-scene from the previous, though I had to change that up a bit with Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 and Angel season 4.

I based the original version of this on the chronology in the Buffy and Angel Wiki, but changed much of the order it was in because of continuity problems in that version.

I should add that this list is primarily for those who have already viewed or read most or all of the entries, because otherwise this order will give spoilers to the story for first-timers.

Prequel

In the first item here, some enterprising huge fan of the Fanged Four edited all the scenes of the Fanged Four—Darla, Angel, Drusilla, Spike—in the two TV series into a separate series all it own in six parts.  The Origin is Whedon’s official version of the story that got corrupted into the movie which came out in 1992.

Fanged Four History and Origins, parts 1-6 (available on Vimeo)
“Dust to Dust” (Angel Yearbook)
BtVS: The Origin (#1-3)

BtVS Season 1

Buffy the High School Years is, unlike the Buffy Classic series, considered canon.  I included “MacGuffins” because it was the very first Buffy comic ever.

BtVS s01e01 Welcome to the Hellmouth
BtVS s01e02 The Harvest
BtVS s01e03 Witch
BtVS s01e04 Teacher’s Pet
Buffy, the High School Years: Freaks & Geeks (graphic novel)
Buffy, the High School Years: Glutton for Punishment (graphic novel)
BtVS s01e05 Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
BtVS s01e06 The Pack
Buffy, the High School Years: Parental Parasite (graphic novel)
BtVS s01e07 Angel
BtVS s01e08 I, Robot…You, Jane
BtVS s01e09 The Puppet Show
BtVS s01e10 Nightmares
BtVS s01e11 Out of Mind, Out of Sight
BtVS s01e12 Prophecy Girl
“MacGuffins” (Dark Horse Presents Annual, 1998)

BtVS Season 2

BtVS s02e01 When She Was Bad
BtVS s02e02 Some Assembly Required
“The Problem with Vampires” (Tales of the Vampires #1)
Spike and Dru #2: The Queen of Hearts
BtVS s02e03 School Hard
BtVS s02e04 Inca Mummy Girl
BtVS s02e05 Reptile Boy
BtVS s02e06 Halloween
BtVS s02e07 Lie to Me
BtVS s02e08 The Dark Age
BtVS s02e09e10 What’s My Line
BtVS s02e11 Ted
BtVS s02e12 Bad Eggs
BtVS s02e13 Surprise
BtVS s02e14 Innocence
BtVS s02e15 Phases
BtVS s02e16 Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
BtVS s02e17 Passions
BtVS: Ring of Fire (graphic novel)
BtVS s02e18 Killed by Death
BtVS s02e19 I Only Have Eyes for You
BtVS s02e20 Go Fish
BtVS s02e21e22 Becoming
Spike and Dru #1: Paint the Town Red

BtVS Season 3

BtVS s03e01 Anne
BtVS s03e02 Dead Man’s Party
BtVS s03e03 Faith, Hope, & Trick
BtVS s03e04 Beauty and the Beasts
BtVS s03e05 Homecoming
BtVS s03e06 Band Candy
BtVS s03e07 Revelations
BtVS s03e08 Lovers Walk
BtVS s03e09 The Wish
BtVS s03e10 Amends
“Numb” (Tales of the Vampires #5)
BtVS: The Latest Craze (BtVS Annual 1999)
BtVS s03e11 Gingerbread
BtVS: Bad Dog (BtVS Annual 1999)
BtVS s03e12 Helpless
BtVS s03e13 The Zeppo
“Spike and Dru: Who Made Who?” (Lover’s Walk one-shot)
BtVS s03e14 Bad Girls
BtVS s03e15 Consequences
BtVS s03e16 Doppelgangland
BtVS s03e17 Enemies
BtVS s03e18 Earshot
BtVS s03e19 Choices
BtVS s03e20 The Prom
BtVS s03e21e22 Graduation Day
BtVS Classic #20: Double Cross
BtVS: Haunted (#1-4)

BtVS Season 4/Angel Season 1

Here I’ve included several issues of the Angel Classic series because this way we get to see more of Doyle.

Doyle: Spotlight (one-shot)
Angel s01e01 City of
BtVS s04e01 The Freshman
BtVS s04e02 Living Conditions
Angel s01e02 Lonely Hearts
BtVS s04e03 The Harsh Light of Day
Angel s01e03 In the Dark
BtVS s04e04 Fear, Itself
Angel Classic #1-3: Surrogates
Angel s01e04 I Fall to Pieces
Angel Classic #4: The Changeling Wife
BtVS s04e05 Beer Bad
Angel s01e05 Rm w/a Vu
BtVS s04e06 Wild at Heart
Angel s01e06 Sense & Sensitivity
Oz (#1-3)
BtVS s04e07 The Initiative
“Angel: Point of Order” (TV Guide: Ultimate Cable)
Angel s01e07 Bachelor Party
“Angel: The Nepalese Switcharoo” (Dark Horse Extra #25, #26, #27, #28)
BtVS s04e08 Pangs
Angel s01e08 I Will Remember You
BtVS s04e09 Something Blue
Angel s01e09 Hero
“Angel: Lovely, Dark, and Deep” (Dark Horse Presents #153-155)
Angel s01e10 Parting Gifts
BtVS s04e10 Hush
BtVS s04e11 Doomed
“Foreshadowing” (Angel: Masks)
Angel s01e11 Somnambulist
BtVS s04e12 A New Man
Angel s01e12 Expecting
Angel s01e13 She
BtVS s04e13 The I in Team
BtVS s04e14 Goodbye Iowa
Angel s01e14 I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Angel s01e15 The Prodigal
BtVS s04e15 This Year’s Girl
BtVS s04e16 Who Are You?
Giles: Beyond the Pale (one-shot)
Angel s01e16 The Ring
BtVS s04e17 Superstar
Jonathan: Codename: Comrades (one-shot)
Angel s01e17 Eternity
“BtVS: One Small Promise” (Lover’s Walk one-shot)
BtVS s04e18 Where the Wild Things Are
BtVS s04e19 New Moon Rising
“Willow & Tara: Punish Me With Kisses” (Lover’s Walk one-shot)
Angel s01e18 Five by Five
Angel s01e19 Sanctuary
Willow & Tara: WannaBlessedBe (one-shot)
BtVS s04e20 The Yoko Factor
BtVS s04e21 Primeval
BtVS s04e22 Restless
Past Lives (TPB of Angel #15, BtVS #29, Angel #16, BtVS #30)
Angel s01e20 War Zone
Angel s01e21 Blind Date
Angel s01e22 To Shanshu in L.A.

BtVS Season 5/Angel Season 2

Angel Classic #17: Cordelia: Phantom Dennis
BtVS s05e01 Buffy vs. Dracula
Spike vs. Dracula #1
Angel s02e01 Judgement
BtVS s05e02 Real Me
Angel s02e02 Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
Angel s02e03 First Impressions
Angel: Long Night’s Journey #1-4
BtVS s05e03 The Replacement
BtVS s05e04 Out of My Mind
Angel s02e04 Untouched
BtVS s05e05 There’s No Place Like Home
BtVS s05e06 Family
Angel s02e05 Dear Boy
Angel s02e06 Guise Will Be Guise
BtVS s05e07 Fool for Love
BtVS s05e08 Shadow
Angel s02e07 Darla
Angel s02e08 The Shroud of Rahmon
BtVS s05e09 Listening to Fear
BtVS s05e10 Into the Woods
Angel s02e09 The Trial
Angel s02e10 Reunion
Angel s02e11 Redefinition
BtVS s02e11 Triangle
Angel s02e12 Blood Money
BtVS s02e12 Checkpoint
Angel s02e13 Happy Anniversary
BtVS s05e13 Blood Ties
Angel s05e14 The Thin Dead Line
BtVS s05e14 Crush
Angel s02e15 Reprise
Angel s02e16 Epiphany
BtVS s05e15 I Was Made to Love You
BtVS s05e16 The Body
BtVS s05e17 Forever
Angel s02e17 Disharmony
BtVS s05e18 Intervention
Angel s02e18 Dead End
BtVS s05e19 Tough Love
BtVS s05e20 Spiral
BtVS s05321 The Weight of the World
BtVS s05e22 The Gift
Angel s02e19 Belonging
Angel s02e20 Over the Rainbow
Angel s02e21 Through the Looking Glass
Angel s02e22 There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb
BtVS: Lost & Found: The Death of Buffy (one-shot)

BtVS Season 6/Angel Season 3

Switching the places in Angel season 3’s “That Old Gang of Mine” and “That Vision Thing” is intentional.  The reasons that order is better are subtle, but noticeable if you pay attention.

Angel s03e01 Heartthrob
Angel s03e03 That Old Gang of Mine
Angel s03e02 That Vision Thing
BtVS s06e01e02 Bargaining
BtVS s06e03 After Life
Angel s03e04 Carpe Noctum
BtVS s06e04 Flooded
Angel s03e05 Fredless
BtVS s06e05 Life Serial
BtVS: Reunion (one-shot)
Willow & Tara: Wilderness (#1-2)
Angel s03e06 Billy
BtVS s06e06 All the Way
Angel s03e07 Offspring
BtVS s06e07 Once More, with Feeling
BtVS s06e08 Tabula Rasa
Angel s03e08 Quickening
Angel s03e09 Lullaby
Angel s03e10 Dad
BtVS s06e09 Smashed
BtVS s06e10 Wrecked
Angel s03e11 Birthday
BtVS s06e11 Gone
Angel s03e12 Provider
BtVS s06e12 Doublemeat Palace
BtVS s06e13 Dead Things
Angel s03e13 Waiting in the Wings
Angel s03e14 Couplet
BtVS s06e14 Older and Far Away
BtVS s05e15 As You Were
Angel s03e15 Loyalty
BtVS s06e16 Hell’s Bells
Angel s03e16 Sleep Tight
Angel s03e17 Forgiving
BtVS s06e17 Normal Again
Angel s03e18 Double or Nothing
Spike vs. Dracula #2
Spike: Old Times (graphic novel)
Angel s03e19 The Price
Angel s03e20 A New World
Angel s03e21 Benediction
Angel s03e22 Tomorrow
BtVS s06e18 Entropy
BtVS s06e19 Seeing Red
BtVS s06e20 Villains
BtVS s06e21 Two to Go
BtVS s06e22 Grave

BtVS Season 7/Angel Season 4

Spike: Into the Light (graphic novel)
BtVS s07e01 Lessons
BtVS s07e02 Beneath You
Angel s04e01 Deep Down
BtVS s07e03 Same Time, Same Place
Angel s04e02 Ground State
BtVS s04e04 Help
Angel s04e03 The House Always Wins
Angel s04e04 Slouching Toward Bethlehem
BtVS s07e05 Selfless
BtVS s07e06 Him
Angel s04e05 Supersymmetry
Angel s04e06 Spin the Bottle
BtVS s07e07 Conversations with Dead People
BtVS s07e08 Sleeper
Angel s04e07 Apocalypse Nowish
Angel s04e08 Habeus Corpses
BtVS s07e09 Never Leave Me
BtVS s07310 Bring on the Night
Angel s04e09 Long Day’s Journey
Angel s04e10 Awakening
BtVS s07e11 Showtime
Angel s04e11 Soulless
BtVS s07e12 Potential
Angel s04e12 Cavalry
BtVS s07e13 The Killer in Me
BtVS s07e14 First Date
Angel s04e13 Salvage
BtVS s07e15 Get It Done
BtVS s07e16 Storyteller
Angel s04e14 Release
BtVS s07e17 Lies My Parents Told Me
Angel s04e15 Orpheus
BtVS s07e18 Dirty Girls
Angel s04e16 Players
Angel s04e17 Inside Out
Angel s04e18 Shiny Happy People
Angel s04e19 The Magic Bullet
Angel s04e20 Sacrifice
Angel s04e21 Peace Out
Angel s04e22 Home
BtVS s07e19 Empty Places
BtVS s07e20 Touched
BtVS s07e21 End of Days
BtVS s07e22 Chosen

Angel Season 5

“Pencils and Paperclips” (Angel: Masks)
Angel s05e01 Conviction
Angel s05e02 Just Rewards
Angel s05e03 Unleashed
Angel s05e04 Hell Bound
Wesley: Spotlight (one-shot)
Angel s05e05 Life of the Party
Angel s05e06 The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco
Angel s05e07 Lineage
Spike vs. Dracula #5
Angel s05e08 Destiny
Angel s05e09 Harm’s Way
Spike: Old Wounds (graphic novel)
Angel s05e10 Soul Purpose
Angel s05e11 Damage
Spike: Lost and Found (graphic novel)
Angel s05e12 You’re Welcome
Spike vs. Dracula #3
Angel s05e13 Why We Fight
Angel s05e14 Smile Time
“Mystery Date” (Angel: Masks)
“All the Time in the World” (Angel Yearbook)
Angel s05e15 A Hole in the World
Angel s05e16 Shells
Spike: Asylum (#1-5)
Willow: Goddesses and Monsters (one-shot)
Angel s05e17 Underneath
“Unacceptable Losses” (Angel: Masks)
Angel s05e18 Origin
Conner: Spotlight (Inheritance) (one-shot)
Angel s05e19 Time Bomb
Gunn: Spotlight
Fallen Angel: Reborn (#1-4; features Illyria)
Angel s05e20 The Girl in Question
Spike vs. Dracula #4
Illyria: Spotlight (one-shot)
Spike: Shadow Puppets (#1-4)
 “Antique” (Tales of the Vampires #3)
Angel: s05e21 Power Play
Angel: s05e22 Not Fade Away

Angel Season 6/BtVS Season 8

The entries in brackets at the beginning signify those stories of events which happened after the fall of Los Angeles into Hell and before the restoration, all of which were erased upon the latter.  These are given in the order of the storyline, not the order in which they were published.

The two entries with asterices (plural of asterix) take place in the 24th century, as does the intervening story “Time of Your Life” in BtVS Season 8, but while they are outside of the main storyline, they do provide background to the main 24th century character in the latter.  In fact, Fray was a comic miniseries written by Joss Whedon in 2001, during the run of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while Season 8’s “Time of Your Life” as not written until 2009.

[Angel Season 6 #6-8: First Night]
[Angel Season 6 #24-25: Drusilla]
[Spike: After the Fall (#1-4)]
[Angel Season 6 #1-5, 9-15: After the Fall, Parts 1-12]
Angel Season 6 #16: After the Fall, Part 13
Angel Season 6 #17: After the Fall, Part 14 (conclusion)
 “OMG, Unicorns!” (Angel Yearbook)
Angel Season 6 #23: Become What You Are
Angel Season 6 #18-22: Aftermath
Only Human (#1-5)
 “My Only Friend” (Angel Yearbook)
Angel Season 6 #26-27: Boys and Their Toys
Last Angel in Hell (graphic novel)
Lorne: Music of the Spheres (one-shot)
 “This One Time” (Angel Yearbook)
Eddie Hope: Eddie and the Crew, Parts 1-11 (Angel Season 6 #28-32)
Angel Season 6 #29-32: Immortality, Inc.
Spike: The Devil You Know (#1-4)
Angel Season 6 #33: Letters Home: A Jamesian Interlude
Eddie Hope: Eddie and the Crew, Parts 6-11 (Angel Season 6: #33-39)
Angel Season 6 #34-38: Connorland
“Fight for the Remote!” (Angel Yearbook)
Illyria: Haunted (#1-4)
BtVS Season 8 #1-4: The Long Way Home
Spike (#1-8)
Angel Season 6 #39-44: The Wolf, the Ram, & the Heart
BtVS Season 8 #5: The Chain
BtVS Season 8 #6-9: No Future for You
BtVS Season 8 #10: Anywhere but Here
BtVS Season 8 #11: A Beautiful Sunset
Riley: Commitment Through Distance, Virtue Through Sin (one-shot)
BtVS Season 8 #12-15: Wolves at the Gate
*Fray, #1-8
BtVS Season 8 #16-19: Time of Your Life
* “Tales”, Tales of the Slayers (one-shot)
BtVS Season 8 #20: After These Messages…We’ll Be Right Back
BtVS Season 8 #21: Harmonic Divergence
Harmony Bites (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #22: Swell
BtVS Season 8 #23: Predators and Prey
Always Darkest (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #24: Safe
BtVS Season 8 #25: Living Doll
Harmony Comes to the Nation (e-comic)
Tales of the Vampires: Carpe Noctem (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #26-30: Retreat
BtVS Season 8 #31: Turbulence
BtVS Season 8 #32-35: Twilight
Magical Mystery Tour, featuring The Beetles (e-comic)
BtVS Season 8 #36-40: Last Gleaming

Season 9

Angel & Faith Season 9 #1-4: Living Through This
BtVS Season 9 #1-4: Freefall
Angel & Faith Season 9 #5: In Perfect Harmony
BtVS Season 9 #5: Slayer, Interrupted
BtVS Season 9 #6-7: On Your Own
Angel & Faith Season 9 #6-9: Daddy Issues
In Space No One Can Hear You Slay! (e-comic)
BtVS Season 9 #8-10: Apart (of Me)
Angel & Faith Season 9 #10: Women of a Certain Age
Angel & Faith Season 9 #11-14: Family Reunion
BtVS Season 9 #11-13: Guarded
BtVS Season 9 #14-15: Billy the Vampire Slayer
Angel & Faith Season 9 #15: The Hero of His Own Story
Spike: A Dark Place (#1-5)
Angel & Faith Season 9 #16-19: Death and Consequences
Angel & Faith Season 9 #20: Spike and Faith
BtVS Season 9 16-19: Welcome to the Team
Willow: Wonderland (#1-5)
Angel & Faith Season 9 #21-25: What You Want, Not What You Need
BtVS Season 9 #20: The Watcher
BtVS Season 9 #21-25: The Core
“Love vs. Life” (Dark Horse Presents #25-#27)

Season 10

BtVS Season 10 #1-5: New Rules
Angel & Faith Season 10 #1-4: Where the River Meets the Sea
Angel & Faith Season 10 #5: Old Habits
BtVS Season 10 #6-7: I Wish
Angel & Faith Season 10 #6-10: Lost and Found
BtVS Season 10 #8-9: Return to Sunnydale
BtVS Season 10 #10: Day Off (or Harmony in My Head)
BtVS Season 10 #11-13: Love Dares You
Angel & Faith Season 10 #11-14: United
BtVS Season 10 #14-15: Relationship Status: Complicated
Angel & Faith Season 10 #15: Fight or Flight
BtVS Season 10 #16-18: Old Demons
Angel & Faith Season 10 #16-18: Those Who Can’t Teach, Teach Gym
BtVS Season 10 #19: Freaky Giles Day
Angel & Faith Season 10 #19-20: A Little More Than Kin
BtVS Season 10 #20: Triggers
BtVS Season 10 #21-25: In Pieces on the Ground
Angel & Faith Season 10 #21-25: A Tale of Two Families
BtVS Season 10 #26-30: Own It
“Harmony: Where Are They Now?” (Dark Horse Day Sampler 2016)

Season 11

At the time this chronology is being posted, the story featuring Rupert Giles has not yet been published, but it does take place between issue #6 and #12 of BtVS Season 11.

Angel Season 11 #1-4: Out of the Past
BtVS Season 11 #1-6: The Spread of Their Evil
Angel Season 11 #5-8: Time and Tide
Giles: Girl Blue #1-4
BtVS Season 11 #7-12: One Girl in All the World
Angel Season 11 #9-12: Dark Reflections


03 January 2018

Resisters

I’m currently rewatching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and in the third season, which contains a two-part time travel episode called “Past Tense”, in which three of the crew members transport down to Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco from the USS Defiant, the starship attached to the station, only to be diverted from the 24th century to 21st century San Francisco, in the year 2024, a date not far off. 

At that time in the Star Trek Universe, cities in the United States interned unemployed and homeless people, and their families and children if they had any, in concentration zones called Sanctuary Districts.  When the residents take over the district’s administration building and hold hostages to get the outside to listen to their testimony about the horrid conditions, one of the Starfleet characters, Julian Bashir, discusses with one of the social workers how things got so bad.  After she expresses remorse, Bashir tells her, “It’s not your fault things are the way they are.”  She replies, “Everyone tells themselves that, and nothing ever changes.”  That, in essence, sums up the point of the whole episode.

The episode “Past Tense” was first broadcast in 1995, when Bill Clinton’s destruction of the New Deal was beginning to reach cruising speed, two years after NAFTA and one year after passage of the malicious and vindictive omnibus anti-crime bill written by Clinton ally and former Veep the then Sen. Joe Biden.  It was also during the drafting of the omnibus welfare destruction bill that would be passed the next year.  So, it was not for nothing that Alan Greenspan remarked that Bill Clinton was the “best Republican we’ve ever had”.  And his wife, Hillary the Goldwater Girl, was with him every step of the way.

With the religion of neoliberalism dominating most of the world’s governments and all of the global economy, such a thing as the Sanctuary Districts in a dystopian world dominated by psychopathically avaricious corporations as depicted in that episode may soon become a reality in many countries around the world.

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded from Facebook a meme whose bulk is a paraphrase of a passage from an article written by Northampton, Massachusetts, author Noami Shulman, just after the November 2016 election, with the thoughts of the meme’s creator added at the end. 

“Nice people make the best Nazis.  My mother spent her childhood in Nazi Germany surrounded by nice people who refused to make waves.  When things got ugly, the people my mother lived alongside looked the other way and focused on happier things than ‘politics’.  They were lovely, kind people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away.  You know who weren’t nice people?  Resisters.”

Today, the people of Iran are not being “nice”.  They are resisting.  The current protests broke out over a 50% rise in the price of eggs.  Ironically, the two men who organized the first demonstration in the holy city of Mashhad were right-wing religious oppositionists to the Rouhani government, hoping to embarrass Iran’s president.  But like the protests that began in the summer of 2009 and stretched into the spring of 2011, the catalizing event that kicked things off was just that and only that; a catalyst.  In 2009, it was a stolen election; at the end of 2017, it was more expensive eggs, now $6.30 for a 30-count crate.  Just as in 2009, the people’s true feelings and very real, very justified grievances quickly surfaced.

Just as many of the slogans from those earlier protests have been revived—“Esteghlal, Azadi, Jomhuri-e Irani” or “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic” (as opposed to Islamic Republic)” and “Marg bar Diktador” or “Death to the Dictator”—most of the real underlying grievances are the same: widespread corruption, a weak mismanaged economy, rampant inflation, a static, moribund political system, a cruel, authoritarian regime in which there is little chance to air grievances and nothing but mocking laughter or complete indifference when there is.  Unlike 2009, however, the added burdens of fighting a war to prop up another authoritarian regime, one much more vicious and bloodthirsty, have taken their toll.

In Iran right now, the people cry out for the needs of the many to come before the greed and ambition of the few.  As Maz Jobrani put it in 2009, the people of Iran are “going Iranian”.

From another scifi/fantasy TV show, this time the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel, comes this line, spoken to the protagonist well after he and his companions had become the senior executives of their former archenemy, the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart, with the thought they could change the system from the inside.  “Every day you sit behind your desk and you learn a little more how to accept the world for the way it is.  Well, here’s the rub: heroes don’t do that.  Heroes don’t accept the world the way it is.  They fight it.”

The world needs heroes.  The world needs objectors and resisters.  Not as saviors, but to carry the torch of anger against injustice in one hand and the torch of hope for a better world in the other.  Not to lead or take control, like the slaves who dream not of freedom but of becoming masters, but rather to pass them on when the people stand up and “go Iranian” on their oppressors, demanding those things which they need for their safety and happiness, for their survival, for their dignity, for their welfare, for their freedom, for their independence.


Rooz-e ma khahad amad, omidvaram.  Our day will come, inshallah.  Keep the faith.  Peace out.