Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cast Your Ballot: The Politics of Buffy

Often times people talk about politics on our site (in relation to Buffy, naturally), so we here at Buffyfest got to thinking about one of the biggest questions left unanswered in the Buffy/Angel 'verse - which side are they on politically? Obviously, there is a decade of character development to consider, but here's our impromptu take on the matter.

Buffy: While a Liberal in her early years, with the whole dating a vampire with a soul thing and rebelling against the Watcher's Council, too much death and destruction could make any girl agree with a bloated military budget and a preemptive war strategy. Conservative.

Giles: With the experimental times of his Ripper youth and his own rebellion against the Watcher's Council, Giles has a Progressive heart with a side of Anarchy for good measure.

Willow: Gay rights and she dated a guy in a band. Liberal.

Xander: He's got the whole "seeing things in black and white" thing going on and both of his ex-girlfriends were very much into money. Conservative.

Angel: A Catholic upbringing, a guilty soul and the 'too much death and destruction' thing like Buffy makes him a good candidate for the 'Right', but he does like to help the helpless/hopeless, so maybe Conservative with a Socially Liberal slant.

Spike: A rebel and an unconventional vampire makes Spike a Lefty.

Tara: When we first meet her, she's in a Wiccan group and openly gay, so she probably went the way of the Progressive at an early age.

Cordelia: Conservative all the way in the beginning with the money and the privilege. The visions changed it all and gave Cordy the perspective she needed to see what 98% of the rest of the world was going through - it was like the mystical equivalent to the Peace Corp. Liberal Conservative.

Oz: He drives a van, played in a band and lives in the hills of Tibet. Hippy Liberal is our guess.

Wesley: Here's a tough nut to crack. In his early years, he followed the Watcher's Council blindly when it came to demon issues; however, he did eventually grow a beard and sleep with the enemy. Yet, he's definitely a 2nd Amendment man for sure even if he is from across the pond. We go with Conservative.

Fred: She was really into science, so I doubt she'd side with any Creationists. Lefty.

Gunn: He's been fighting bloodsuckers since he was a teen and he also helps out under-privileged kids in his spare time. Progressive.


Ruthie said...

Interesting concept, I'm not sure that I agree with all of your categorizations, but I can dig it.

Sarah said...

i don't agree with them all either. But i really like pondering this and think it's a clever idea. i think buffy, as the leader of an independent army, and a fairly open minded person ("If was any more open-minded about the choices you two make, my whole brain would fall out.") may fly right by conservative and circle around to libertarian with a heart of gold. don't mess with her, she won't mess with you, no trust of the state (the initiative anyone?) AND she has a compound.

Bitsy said...

The general idea was to paint with very broad brush strokes so that there was plenty left open for discussion. I'll be curious to see what specific examples people can come up with to support their theories of where on the political/philosophical spectrum our cast of characters lies.

Tara said...

I think an argument could be made for Spike being more conservative. Think about his take on the "namby pamby indians" in Pangs... doesn't sound very liberal.

Dalton said...

I am in total agreement with Sarah on Buffy. I think Buffy is a libertarian, or at least a libertarian-minded independent (and I think this political proclivity carried over to real life with Sarah Michelle, as well). In addition to Sarah's examples, in support of my opinion I offer two examples. When Buffy's mom died, she didn't seek state assistance, but instead worked hard and gave up a lot to support herself and Dawn. Also, when Willow came out to Buffy, our hero didn't criticize Will in a paroxysm of indignant sanctimony, pious or otherwise. She just loved her and accepted her as she was (which was one of the greatest Buffy moments and speaks of the power of their friendship, imo).

Giles is bookish and protective of Buffy. He's not adverse to givin' the ladies what they want (Joyce, Jenny, and the hot babe from back home can testify to that). He doesn't mind hittin' the bottle from time-to-time, either. I'd say he's a center-to-left liberal.

Willow is Wiccan and all over the sexuality spectrum. Gotta love it. She dresses funky and started talking like her liberal elitist prof. mom. I'd say she's a solid liberal.

Xander works hard for an honest day's wages and loves the capitalist babes. Salt-of-the-earth type. Despite his irritating goofiness, I love this guy. He has a total heart of gold, but honestly, I don't think the XanMan knows what he is politically. I see Xander as a looks-based voter who really doesn't know where his political assumptions lie, just like so many Americans.

Anya is a hardcore Republican and capitalist, just like in real life. And she's totally smokin' hot, which, in my book, excuses her for being such a cut throat.

Angel is tough. He has a solid work ethic and likes to brood a lot. He's not adverse to getting some nookie when the opportunity presents itself, just as long as ultimate happiness isn't involved. He has a lot of weapons. I'm pegging this blood sucker as a centrist.

Oz and Tara are hardcore progressives. Duh.

I'm with Buffyfest concerning Cordy. Well said.

I see Wes as a freedom lover. The guns, the booze, the babes. He developed nicely in distinction from the total dork he started out as. I hated his guts at first, but as time went on, I grew to totally love him. Center-to-right conservative.

And Spike. I'd peg Spike as an anarchist. He doesn't give a rat's ass about the law, and he'll do what he wants when he wants. He toned it down a bit as time progressed, but regardless, under that hood beats the heart of a rebel.

That's where I stand, Buffyfesters....

skyroom80 said...

Buffy is not a conservative. Look at Season 4! She turns Riley in to an anarchist with her anti-military and anti-authority slant. I think she is an anarchist if anything or an individual anarchist. Possible slightly libertarian.

"You're a dead man, Finn!" - Colonel McNamara
"No, sir, I'm an anarchist!" - Riley Finn

Michelle said...

Bitsy's completely right. This was meant to be debatable as all these characters are so well-rounded and have grown/changed so much (that's why we still talk about them all these years later). I love hearing all your different opinions! I'll have t think on the Buffy as Libertarian idea.

Tara said...

I'm not sure about Riley being an anarchist but Spike surely is.

Michael(mbatz) said...

What Dalton said:) I agree with all of your takes Dalton.

Dalton said...

Thanks a bunch, Michael(mbatz). You know, us men have to stick together on these issues.

nmcil said...

Have to think little more about Buffy's Politics but one thing for sure is that Riley is totally a conservative at his core. He may have been temporarily swayed away from his military life and conservative/traditional perspectives but once away from Buffy's influence he immediately returns to his original conservative and socially traditional beliefs -

Riley - Conservative

Xander - Conservative

Anya - Conservative Capitalist

Willow - Liberal- Progressive

Tara - Liberal-Progressive

Oz - I think fits more into a Liberal but is also Independent when he feels he has to go his own way.

Spike - Liberal and Independent, But Hard as Steel when he needs to be. He like Oz will be what his heart and mind tell him is needed. With regards to the discussions in "Pangs" about Native Americans and conquest - his position is very Liberal - his is The Reality of Conquest.

Giles - is difficult because he can be very dogmatic at times but he seems like he would lean toward progressive and more liberal political views.

Gunn - Think Gunn got lost with his move over to W&H - but found his Liberal center again - Not sure where he stands now that he has lived through his LA Hell vamp experince. He is honest about liking all the violence and power which, from the liberals I know, is not what most liberals consider a postive thing in life or politics.

Buffy - poor Buffy was so traumatized by her life as The Slayer that it is hard to judge where she is politically. She, like her mentor, can be extreme dogmatic but also accepts people as they are. She had total acceptance of Willow and Tara in their lesbian life style (totally liberal/progressive) yet equally accepts Uber Capitalistic Anya and conservative/military Riley. She also joins the Initiative, very much Not Liberal/Progressive. Granted, she does ultimately turn away from the Initiative, but joining in the first place, big Non-Liberal move.

I guess like with Oz and Spike, I have to put her in the Independent, more liberal camp - she too will decide on the "as needed" bases - hard and tough if needed but also liberal of spirit and heart when allowed to be.

Fred - Liberal/Progressive, heart that reached out to people.

One True and Beautiful Soul Liberal/Progressive was Lorne.

Cordelia - would seem to be a good match for conservative capitalist but she was also totally accepting of non traditional life styles, which is not usually a conservative trait. I think that with Cordelia we need a new category - High End Consumer Independent Party

Angel - Big Social Conscience but his personal life is not really conservative or liberal - his motivation for life is not predicated on political perspectives.