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Posts Tagged ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

“The best are those who are raised in the severest school.” To the best of my knowledge, my grandmother never read Thucydides (whence that quote comes; Archidamus at 1.84), or Herodotus, or Plutarch’s life of Lycurgus, or any of the other ancient accounts of Sparta and its values, but she didn’t have to; she could draw on a substantial popular tradition of images of Spartan life and attitudes, including her favourite admonitory story of the Spartan boy and the fox. As a child I was never sure what the lesson was supposed to be – don’t get caught? if you get caught, never confess? – but in retrospect I think it was more a kind of mood music: big boys don’t cry, that’s just a scratch, a family of starving Bangladeshis could live on that for a week (on failing to eat one’s crusts), and in my day we’d have been sent to bed without any supper for less than that. The Spartans tell you why you shouldn’t ever have more than one slice of cake. (more…)

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We must be old. We cannot choose but be old. We have heard the chimes at midnight at the the end of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme music – twenty years ago? It was a simpler time, when one girl (albeit with supernatural strength) and her friends could avert the apocalypse, time and again, because the apocalypse was a bunch of demons trying to open a gateway to hell, or the mayor of a small town trying to turn himself into a demon, not an entire global system of doom. Even as the threats became more powerful and apparently unstoppable – deranged hellgods, a rogue military experiment, sexually frustrated adolescent boys – they remained identifiable, nameable, and ultimately susceptible to the judicious application of violence. If only… (more…)

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I actually have several ideas for posts lined up – my thoughts on the Thucydides adaptation, some musings on the reception of Thucydides outside the Western tradition – and absolutely no time to spare to write them at the moment, as I have to finish marking several different piles of student essays in time to get some sort of a paper scribbled for the conference on Monday. Normal service will be resumed at some point; meanwhile, I’ve been meaning for ages to post a copy of my old paper on ideas of the past in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; one of my favourites of everything I’ve ever written, as it happens. Never managed to get it published, for various reasons; it did reside on my personal webpage at the university for a while, but that has long since stopped working properly…

History as Nightmare

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