Apr. 19th, 2010

maggie2: (Default)
I followed a link to a fascinating piece of meta by [livejournal.com profile] londonkds  about protagonist privilege.  What I love about the piece is simply that it calls attention to protagonist privilege, the tendency to not hold the hero accountable the way other characters are held accountable and above all to sacrifice other characters or even the intrinsic logic of the 'verse to the psychological needs of the protagonist.  (That doesn't do justice to the essay which you ought to read for yourself; but it's the point I want to jump off from).  There are lots of reasons to be worried about the phenomenon.  The one that most concerns me is that insofar as we're supposed to identify with the protagonist, protagonist privilege just encourages us in our tendency to narcissism and to narratively construct our lives in a way that blinds us from the truth about ourselves and the world we live in.

Whedon is called out as succumbing to this problem, most notably in the character of Buffy.   What is ironic is that my particular fascination with Joss's work is that I read him as challenging protagonist privilege.  Not directly (with an exception to be discussed below), but rather by exagerating it to the point where we should be made uncomfortable by it. Granted, I've not been sure that's what Joss is up to.  My uncertainty on this point is no doubt why I've been so fascinated by this story.  But deep down in my heart of hearts I hope that subverting protagonist privilege is the point, or at least one of Joss's points.

Lengthy reflections on this point below the cut )

ETA:  [livejournal.com profile] green_maia has some interesting reactions to the same essay here.


maggie2: (Default)

September 2010

    1 234
5 678 91011
12 131415 161718
19 2021 22 232425
26 272829 30  

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags