New York Times Interviews Joss Whedon

UPDATED: Monday, September 23, 2002 11:03
VIEWED: 3519
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Monday, September 23, 2002 7:32 AM


Joss Whedon was recently interviewed by the New York Times.

Here's an excerpt:


''Mal's politics are very reactionary and 'Big government is bad' and 'Don't interfere with my life,''' Whedon explains. ''And sometimes he's wrong -- because sometimes the Alliance is America, this beautiful shining light of democracy. But sometimes the Alliance is America in Vietnam: we have a lot of petty politics, we are way out of our league and we have no right to control these people. And yet! Sometimes the Alliance is America in Nazi Germany. And Mal can't see that, because he was a Vietnamese.''

The show's other central concern diverges intriguingly from Buffy's universe, where fate and destiny loom large. ''I'm a very hard-line, angry atheist,'' Whedon says. ''Yet I am fascinated by the concept of devotion. And I want to explore that.'' (His existential revelation arrived during an adolescent viewing of ''Close Encounters of the Third Kind'' -- an experience soon followed by a reading of Sartre's ''Nausea.'') Mal tells the preacher who is a passenger on his ship, ''You're welcome on my boat; God ain't.'' If Buffy is the chosen one, forced to struggle with a responsibility that comes from outside, Mal is defiant in his belief that his fate is meaningless. ''This is a man who has learned that when he believed in something it destroyed him,'' Whedon explains. ''So what he believes in is the next job, the next paycheck and keeping his crew safe.'' It is a typical Whedonian inversion: much the way Buffy is a demon-killer obsessed with the morality of killing, Mal is a man of action frozen by his conviction that nothing really matters, a man forced to choose his morality at each juncture. ''Whatever I may think of him politically, he's a guy who looks into the void and sees nothing but the void -- and says there is no moral structure, there is no help, no one's coming, no one gets it, I have to do it.''

To view the entire interview, you can go here:


Monday, September 23, 2002 7:41 AM


I came here just now to post that very quote and link. The interview has an excess of overeducated pseudo-insight, but manages to be a good read all the same. I particularly like that quote because it demonstrates how complicated Whedon's characters can be.

I actually tend to like Whedon's bad guys more than his good guys. And the truth is that Mal verges on being a bad guy. Sort of a post-modern Rick Blaine, from Casablanca.

If you don't already have an NY Times ID, you'll need to register to read the full interview. Tedious, but you only have to do it once.



Monday, September 23, 2002 11:03 AM


This article could not have come at a better time. Just when I was wondering why I liked the man so much, the New York Times comes out with this. And I must say, Joss Whedon is an absolutely fascinating man.

The thing that sticks out the most to me is how devoted he is to telling a story that he wants to tell. It's almost as though he wants to give people hope in an otherwise hopeless world.

It encourages me to know that Whedon is an atheist. This makes each of his stories all the more fascinating... the fact that he believes so much in hope and love (as evidenced in Buffy) and knows that we are alone and there is nothing but the void to look forward to (as evidenced in Firefly) is poetic to say the least.

He's a smart man, that Joss.

--Dylan Palmer, aka NoVaGrAsS--

"Oh my god! I am a hack!" - Joss Whedon






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