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Joss Whedon Interviews (With Links :)

February 21, 2010

Somebody’s putting these interviews (plus a few others) between covers and calling it a book. The title is “Joss Whedon: Conversations,” and the editors are David Lavery and Cynthia Burkhead. The publisher, University Press of Mississippi, puts out a lot of these “Conversations” books, selling clothbound volumes for $50 a pop. Yes, fifty–$50–dollars.

Enjoy reading these interviews free.

Kim Werker Interview, “On Crafts and Craftiness,”

Tasha Robinson interview, The Onion AV Club.

Joss Whedon Answers 100 Questions, SFX Magazine.

Roger Ash interview, Editor of Westfield Comics.

James Longworth interview, from Volume Two of TV Creators: Conversations with America’s Top Producers of Television Drama. (Google Books has a preview on line which features a lot, but not all, of the interview.)

Must-See Metaphysics by Emily Nussbaum, New York Times.

10 Questions for Joss Whedon, New York Times.

Laura Miller Interview, Salon.

Jim Kozak Interview, In Focus.

Thomas Leupp Interview,

Daniel Robert Epstein Interview, Suicide Girls.

Mike Russell Interview, CulturePulp.

Fresh Air Interview with Dave Davies, NPR.

Joy Press Interview, Salon.

Other Great Purple Conversational Fests You Can Read for Free

Joss Whedon: The Definitive EW Interview,

Tavi Gevinson interview, Rookie

Ken P. Interview, IGN.

Sheerly Avni Interview, Mother Jones.

Her Face Was Nothing But Red, Whedonesque. This list cannot *not* have Joss Whedon on the death of Dua Khalil.

Joint Interview with Neil Gaiman, Time.

And Another Tasha Robinson interview, The Onion AV Club.

SXSW ’12 | Joss Whedon: ‘I want to make things that are small, pure and odd.’

Guardian UK: To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? “My wife, for not knowing how to live as abundantly as she does.”

Wired interviews Joss about writing. And Dollhouse: “Well the fans, bless their hearts, were all going, ‘We’re sure that it’s good, it’s Joss, we trust him. Maybe we’re missing how it’s good.’ It was very sweet. And it does have fans. In fact, just the other night I saw a clip from it, and I was like, ‘Oh wait a minute, this show meant a lot to me and is meaningful and beautiful.'” But mostly writing. And other neat stuff, such as: “The show was on some level supposed to be a celebration of human perversion, because perversion, like obsession, is the thing that makes people passionate and interesting and worthy. And people who are nothing, like Echo and the other dolls, are learning to be someone. And part of learning to be someone is learning to be someone that nobody else wants to be.”


One of the book’s editors posted.

I submitted this comment as a reply:

Hi, I’m Pointy on Whedonesque.

Here are my concerns:

1. You’re making money (not “in advance,” but if the bo0k sells) off Joss Whedon’s words–off his witty, thoughtful, insightful comments about his work. Is Joss Whedon going to be making money off these words of his, too?

2. You’re charging for things that I and anyone can read free of charge. Not all of the interviews, but most of them, are available online. Links are available here: . . .  Do you think students or libraries should pay for interviews they can access online without charge? Did you pay to read these interviews?

ETA Well, a day has passed, and no answer. Some observations.

  1. Majnun permalink
    March 2, 2010 1:15 pm

    Holy hell thanks for this. Finally finished. Will definitely check out the rest of the site (great name)

  2. Pointy permalink*
    March 2, 2010 7:15 pm

    Thank you, Majnun! I can’t take credit for the name, which sprang from the fertile mind of our beloved monarch, King JayneLovesVera the One and Only. 🙂 Enjoy browsing!

  3. William B permalink
    March 2, 2010 9:25 pm

    Pointy, excellent job collecting these links!

    I am reluctant to note this, the Joy Press Salon interview actually links to the NPR radio interview right above it as well. Slight mistake! 🙂

  4. Pointy permalink*
    March 2, 2010 9:43 pm

    Thank you, William B — fix’d! 🙂

  5. November 4, 2010 10:13 am

    First, the reason why you put interviews that are online in a book is that the average web site lasts for 1.5 years before it closes. Remember when Geocities was forever? AOL?

    In addition, you should remember that there’s a value to aggregation: the convenience of having all the interviews in one place. A book like this one will have an index which will allow you to search for particular topics in his interviews. Your link list, while useful, doesn’t provide that functionality. There’s a whole genre of this style of book, from Cassavetes on Cassavetes to Lynch on Lynch. It’s part of a sign that a creator has “made it” to be worth having his insights on art and life collected.

    Third, do you really think academic publishing makes money? These kinds of projects are a labor of love and I guarantee you that the editor makes next to no money on the project and the publisher usually loses money. And the most common buyer? Libraries, who get a severe discount. If you don’t like the cost, go check it out. Maybe you’ll meet your local Giles there.

    Finally, you seem to be a Joss Whedon fan, as I clearly am based on my blog. If you want to have his work enter the canon and be TAUGHT to the next generations of film, television and screenwriting students, professors will need exactly this kind of book. The web sites that you can find these interviews on are not reliable, not permanent, and not likely to pass muster with a curriculum committee. And, in my experience, turning in a syllabus on any television show that uses disreputable sources is an excellent way to not get a chance to teach that class, whatever the merits of the show.

  6. Pointy permalink*
    November 4, 2010 11:36 am

    If you clicked on the last link in my post, you could have found my answers to the bulk of the points you made in the Whedonesque thread from which it sprang.
    Your last point, however, is the most disturbing. Your argument is that if academics don’t have a collection of Joss Whedon interviews in book form, other academics (“a curriculum committee”) won’t let them teach a course on Joss Whedon’s works. If that’s the problem that the book is solving, it’s a problem that is purely a creation of academic politics. Who, other than academics, will decide that the above interviews are “disreputable sources” (I’m sure that the New York Times will be very hurt by your choice of words ;)) unless they are cut and pasted into a book with an academic’s name on its cover? All that is required to solve the problem is that academics grasp an obvious fact that is clear to non-academics: The intellectual value of a collection of interviews lies in the interviews.
    Of course, it is unlikely that academics will, as a group, grasp the obvious, since the idea that a collection of interviews gains value when an academic adds his name to it and an academic press publishes it is one that profits academics economically.
    You ask, “Third, do you really think academic publishing makes money?” Yes, for academics like the one whose name will appear on the cover of this volume.

  7. November 4, 2010 12:15 pm

    We’re on the same side here. Your links are quite useful; I’ve shared them with my students. But once this book comes out, I’m going to use the book, not your links, because I have no idea if your site or all of those sites will be in existence, in the same place or free. I’ve told you why, but I’ll reiterate.

    If you clicked the link for my blog, you know that I teach one of the very few courses devoted to Joss Whedon’s work in America. I’ve been published many times writing about Joss Whedon and I’m in the book, Buffy in the Classroom. I’m trying to tell you why these books get published and what their use value is. If you don’t actually want to hear from a person uniquely positioned to give you the inside scoop, well, that’s a shame.

    As for the possibilities of getting internet interviews with Westfield comics or the rather nice craft interview past a curriculum committee? Negligible. Nor should it, really. Academic publishing houses function as gatekeepers, ensuring that there’s sufficient academic rigor and demand for the work. Yes, the New York Times is a reputable newspaper; Time magazine is occasionally worth a read. No, these sources are not assigned regularly in seminars or lecture classes. How many times, outside of journalism or current events classes, did you have a newspaper article assigned in your syllabus? You read books in college. A newspaper article is just too short to provide much more than a snapshot. The New York Times prides itself on being the first draft of history, not the final word.

    Look, proposing to teach television as an art form takes an enormous amount of courage in the face of the disdain of television, of popular culture, of sci-fi/fantasy and of fan-supported works. You have to be four times as reputable to get a course taught on these kinds of shows, with the single exception being Star Trek.

    For crying out loud, it took 6 decades for film studies to get going as a serious concern. Most television scholarship from its first two decades has been focused on whether television was a) destroying our culture. b) had harmful effects on viewers. It’s only been in the past 2 decades that television studies has started to take television seriously as an art form, with just a few exceptions. Lavery’s anthologies on series like Deadwood, Seinfeld, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (amongst many others) have been a part of that process.

    Your saying “it is not and will not” make it easier to teach Whedon does not, in fact, make this any less true. I teach Whedon and have for 6 years. I have experience. Do you?

    I understand that people get upset about the prices of books, but my students rarely purchase at face value anyway, given the vast number of stores that sell used or remainders books. My working class students simply go to the library. Again, that’s the dominant purchaser of books like these.

    Books that sell dozens of copies do not make money and that’s the sales figures for the vast majority of academic books. If this was penned by Doris Kearns Goodwin, I’d concede your point, but you’re just wrong on the facts here. I’ve seen the purchase figures on the definitive book on John Cassavetes and it doesn’t get more than 50 books sold in a year. The publisher might make back their costs, maybe, if the Whedon fandom went out to support it, but I seriously doubt it. If Lavery makes $5 an hour on this project, he’ll have an amazing return on his time.

    David Lavery co-edited the first book on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is a founding member of the premiere academic journal on Whedon studies that fosters the scholarship that’s part of what helps Whedon have the cultural cache he has. It’s not like he’s some carpetbagger to Whedon studies.

  8. Pointy permalink*
    November 4, 2010 1:37 pm

    Academics are morally obliged to adhere to basic standards of reason and evidence. They don’t always, but that doesn’t lessen the obligation.
    1. You write: “If you don’t actually want to hear from a person uniquely positioned to give you the inside scoop, well, that’s a shame.” Please state your reasons, if any, for claiming that I “don’t actually want to hear from a person uniquely positioned to give you the inside scoop.” I replied to you, from which the wily interlocutor would conclude that I had indeed heard from you and was willing to hear from you again. If you are merely attempting to set up and knock down a straw man by suggesting that I am closed-minded, then the shame is yours. Defeating straw men is an empty rhetorical exercise.
    2. You purport to quote me in this sentence: “Your saying ‘it is not and will not’ make it easier to teach Whedon does not, in fact, make this any less true.” Where does that quote come from? It’s a partial quote. What’s the rest of the sentence? I ask because the rest of the sentence doesn’t sound like me. (Also, I think that you wrote the opposite of what you mean. The point you’re trying to make is that saying something does not make it so, not that saying something “does not, in fact, make [it] any less true.”)
    I am willing to hear from you if you adhere to basic standards of reason and evidence. Anything less wastes my time.

  9. November 4, 2010 1:39 pm

    From the link you said I never clicked in your post: “A couple of people suggested this book was a handy academic resource or that it would elevate the academic study of Joss’s work. It is not and it will not.”

  10. Pointy permalink*
    November 4, 2010 1:55 pm

    So you got the quote wrong. You also distorted my meaning. I was rebutting the argument that this volume will elevate the academic study of Joss Whedon’s work. It won’t–it just rehashes previous work. That’s a different question from whether it will smooth the academic politics of getting a syllabus approved by an academic gatekeeping committee.

    Remember: (1) Adhere to basic standards of reason and evidence. (2) Don’t waste my time.

    You misquoted me in your latest post. I wrote: “If you clicked on the last link in my post, you could have found my answers to the bulk of the points you made . . .” By writing “if you clicked,” I held open the possibility that you had clicked on the link. That’s why it’s wrong for you to begin your post by saying, “From the link you said I never clicked . . .” — that is, because I didn’t say you never clicked it.

    Will you please reply to point 1 in my previous post? I want to hear from you.

  11. David Kociemba permalink
    November 4, 2010 2:44 pm

    You wrote: “If you clicked on the last link in my post, you could have found ” No, the tone of that writing is clearly dismissive and indicates a belief that I hadn’t. I had in fact read your post, which was filled with assertions rather than evidence.

    And I pointed out, in the first post, that aggregation, indexing, the shift to print from the internet and cultural value of a book for the promotion of Whedon studies. You’ve essentially said, “it will not” without the evidence or experience to back up such an assertion.

    “Will you please reply to point 1 in my previous post? I want to hear from you.”

    No, you don’t. Your tone in the past two posts indicates that you have an anti-elitist axe to grind on this issue. You perfectly well know what my stance is. You choose to ignore it to focus on slight vagueness in my writing … in a multi-post comment on your blog. I initially commented here to provide inside information that I have that you might not in the spirit of sharing info between fans of Whedon’s work. Now I can see that not only did you fail to observe social norms with me, you were on the edge of being booted by the moderator on Whedonesque on this issue. You can play grammar nazi with someone else.

  12. Pointy permalink*
    November 4, 2010 3:32 pm

    What seems clear to you isn’t really.

    Another reason that I wrote “If you clicked the link you could have found” is that it was possible that you clicked the link without finding the answers to your points. Your posts indicate that you see things that are not there, and don’t see things that are.

    For example, you write that I was “on the edge of being booted by the moderator on Whedonesque on this issue.” Quite the opposite; someone who failed to observe the board rules in his comments to me was on the edge of being booted. Your confusion is basic–you mixed up the rule-breaker with the person who he tried to make the victim of his rule-breaking.

    Pointing out the evidence against you, and using reason with you, is not a violation of social norms. In fact, it is upholding the social norms against making false and baseless accusations and/or insinuations.

    Calling me a grammar nazi, now *that* is a violation of social norms. I’ve done nothing to provoke that. I have not even corrected your grammar. (Readers of this blog will, I hope, forgive me for not proofreading your comments.) We could (but won’t) discuss whether it is rude to correct someone’s grammar. I’m sure you think it is. But I am upholding a social norm (the Don’t Make Stuff Up rule) when I point out that I have not corrected your grammar.

    What I have done is correct some (only some) of your numerous inaccuracies. You may not like it, but that doesn’t give you the right to call me a grammar nazi. Again, you show basic confusion and, again, I’m (again) upholding the Don’t Make Stuff Up rule, a crucial social norm–particularly in academic life.

    I did point out in the Whedonesque thread that an internet search engine is even more useful and easier to use than a book’s index. A search engine will also aggregate Joss Whedon interviews for anyone quite nicely and will not charge you a dime.

    You may not have noticed, but you have not made the case that the book will have cultural value. The interviews certainly do have cultural value, but if you think you have established that putting them in a book will add cultural value beyond its contents, I urge to reread your own comments (and do so more carefully than you have read mine and others’).

    There is nothing pro- or anti-elitist about upholding standards of evidence and reason. So your charge that I “have an anti-elitist axe to grind on this issue” is not just wrong, it makes no sense.

    Finally, would you mind telling us all what elite you belong to?

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