Buffy vs. Edward

I know this is old news for lots of folks by now, but I find myself referring to this Buffy/Edward video mashup so often that I think it’s worth sharing with people who haven’t seen it yet.

Actually, it’s kind of funny that I keep talking about this, since I’ve never seen/read Twilight and I’ve been more of a sideline supporter of Buffy than an actual fan (i.e. I’m a fan of the creative, boundary-pushing work that Buffy fans are so good at doing, but I’ve only seen 3-5 episodes).

But I’ve been thinking a lot about the rhetoric/poetics split lately–how the educators and scholars who are the biggest intellectual supporters of remixing must sometimes find themselves both A) using artistic, “poetic” texts to support their ideas (remixes in music, video, visual arts), and B) teaching students in primarily non-artistic, “rhetorical” genres (academic essays and such). (Note: I realize the problem here: essays can/should be plenty “artistic,” and Aristotle would certainly call rhetoric an “art.” But I think we often still make the kind of distinctions between more and less creative disciplines and genres, right?)

That’s why this video is so exciting: it’s an in-your-face example of art with a rhetorical purpose, of brazenly creative remixing designed to tell an important story. (The creator, Jonathan McIntosh, even wrote an awesome description of why he created it.) My hope is that this kind of work will lead others to see other forms of remix and say, “Wait a minute, I think there’s a really important point here, too.” We could all use some training in reading (and making!) purposeful, world-changing aesthetics.

(Original post on McIntosh’s blog here.)

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Buffy vs. Edward

  1. CR Junkins

    First, a comment about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Locate the episode from season 3, “Doppleganger.” It’s a Willow (Allyson Hannigan) focused episode, and it’s the perfect combination of very clever humor, action and social metaphor.

  2. CR Junkins

    I hear your struggle about the dichotomy between creative, artistic expression and a more rationalistic, “logos”-focused rhetoric, especially when it comes to teaching beginning writers. What is the critical teaching objective for basic composition instruction? Should it be encouraging and developing personal expression, or should it be introducing students to academic discourse so that they can produce successful academic essays that benefit their education? As much as we would like our colleagues to value and respect creative expression, we all know (and I realize this is a generalization, but hey, this is a comment to a web blog, so chill)–we all know there are some of our colleagues who would respond negatively to a student using the creative expression model when writing a research paper on the French Revolution.

    I, too, am becoming increasingly fascinated by the clear rhetorical strategies I’m seeing in creative higher media expressions, on YouTube, on LiveJournal, on DeviantArt and on PostSecret. There is clear and obvious understandings of audience, message and argument. Is this an indication of the increased power of rhetoric in contemporary culture? Let’s face it–in the past, telling someone he or she was a skilled rhetoritician was an insult. Now, we can get a Ph.D. in rhetoric. Or, is this a result of the focus of rhetoric in basic composition courses, one of the basic requirements of any college degree. At the moment, one can get out of college with little to no understanding of art or literature but not rhetoric.

    • kstedman

      Worthwhile questions, CR. Thanks for the comment!

      1) I’m glad you reminded me of PostSecret, where this kind of thing is definitely happening well.

      2) I heard Nancy Pelosi using “rhetoric” as an inherently negative thing on the news this morning. I think (and I’m sure you do too) that it’s definitely still used that way–but I’m intrigued by the idea that it might not be as much.

      3) The idea of comp classes instilling wider cultural rhetorical skills is interesting. I think I would have said that it’s more a result of wider cultural ARTISTIC skills, which are growing to increasingly include rhetorical expression. But how do we even go about proving something like that?

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