Postrel on Buffy
Okay, it sure seems like I'm being a flack for Postrel today. I'm not on her payroll, I just like her stuff sometimes (usually). Here is her long awaited Reason article on the deeper meaning of the famed television show. Disclaimer: I've never seen the show but I know at least one person who is a die-hard fan.
Freedom and affluence had made us soft. We were self-indulgent moral nihilists -- materialistic, selfish, and impulsive. We might have been having fun, but we’d created a culture no one would fight for.
At least that’s what the wise men said.
On September 11, 2001, they shut up. Ordinary Americans, it turned out, were not only brave but resilient and creative, even lethal, when it mattered.
Buffy was right all along.
For those who somehow missed its cult success, Buffy tells the story of an unlikely hero -- a pert, blonde teenager whom fate has destined to be the Slayer, the "one girl in all the world" endowed with the supernatural strength to protect humanity against the demon hordes. Buffy would rather be a cheerleader and prom queen, but a normal life is not to be. "No chess club and football games for me," she says. "I spend my free time in graveyards and dark alleys."
I have never been much for making much distinction between "high art" and "pop culture." I think such distinctions are rather snooty and appeal to snob appeal. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me that if something is labelled pop culture then it means it doesn't have anything meaningful to say. "A" just doesn't lead to "B" like that. I suppose Postrel who really is into the free marketplace of ideas would feel the same way. In the end, I think most creative endeavours are infused with values which could be good or bad. And if a bit of pop culture has good values in it and it gets a following, more power to them. Hooray for Buffy.