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Magic should not equal Drugs

Is Magic An Acceptable Allegory For Drugs?

  • Yes, it works as a metaphor

    Votes: 17 45.9%
  • No, it does not work as a metaphor

    Votes: 20 54.1%

  • Total voters
    37

DeadlyDuo

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That seemed very realistic to me. Tara could do it without it ruining her life, Amy could not. Willow followed Amy down her path. I could easily see magic being addictive but I never really thought it was a metaphor as much as straight up 'magic can be addictive'
But then surely as a "responsible" witch, Tara should know that some people find magic addictive and shouldn't go peddling it to other magic users who only lightly dabble. Willow's magic usage went up a lot more once she met Tara.

If Willow had gotten involved in using darker magics (which the resurrection spell was) then fair play to Tara for wanting to curb that behaviour, however aside from the resurrection spell (which all the scoobies agreed to except Giles, Spike and Dawn who were kept out of the loop), Willow wasn't really involved in dark magics so Tara was having a go at Willow for doing something that she got Willow involved in in a more heavier way.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
so Tara was having a go at Willow for doing something that she got Willow involved in in a more heavier way.
But that happens a lot.

And how would Tara know it could be addictive? The only person she knew that did any magic (until Amy) was Willow (maybe you could argue Mr. Giles, but she didn't meet him until later). Tara didn't have a problem so why would she think Willow would have one.

You said that Willow's magic usage went up alot because of Tara, but Tara's did as well, because of Willow. They were both enabling one another to do more. That's why people that do not have an addictive personality have trouble understanding those that do.
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
Don't know why, but was thinking about this recently. As most of you know, I never liked the whole 'magic as an addiction' story line. I don't think it was ever written very well. Then in S7 it was basically changed to being about how you use magic, or something. As we all know, Buffy is well known for using things as metaphors for other things. Like Buffy sleeping with Angel turned him onto an actual monster, or Buffy coming out of the closet as a slayer. However, I always felt that the magic addiction story line pushed over from metaphorical to literal. I mean the way they wrote it wasn't magic (or the use of magic) as a metaphor for drug addiction. Rather the over use/IE:addiction of magic as a metaphor for drug addiction, but it just doesn't work. I mean put it like this. No one ever says that heroin addiction is a metaphor for meth addiction. Nor would/should they. Cause that's basically what happened in S6. You can't just change up the thing you're addicted to and then call it a metaphor for something. Sorry, but still not buying it. :confused:
I must say, I don't get this argument at all. If I am understanding you right, you are saying that magic does not work as a metaphor, because it is too much like real drug usage. I guess you could argue that it was unnecessary for Willow's drug usage to be metaphorical, because the magic metaphor added no extra value. You could have Willow take performance enhancing drugs for school, smoke weed for her anxiety, and drop acid before sleeping with Tara, but since this is a fantasy show, and since Willow has been using magic to solve every problem and improve every aspect of her life since S3, I think it makes sense to go with the metaphor.

I also think the magic metaphor adds plenty of value, especially during the conversation between Buffy and Willow where Willow says she wants to be super-Willow. Willow has literal superpowers in the show, thanks to her magic, but real life drugs also have the power to make you into an improved version of yourself with the catch that they are extremely addictive and damaging if used too much over longer periods of time.
 

HowiMetdaSlayer

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I must say, I don't get this argument at all. If I am understanding you right, you are saying that magic does not work as a metaphor, because it is too much like real drug usage.
I thought I had stated it pretty clearly. The (bad) writing of S6 made it seem that the (not really) 'metaphor' was that: Willow's over user use (IE:addiction) of magic equals drug addiction. To put it another way that Willows over use of magic (addiction) was a metaphor for drug addiction. I think that that scenario edges over from the metaphorical to the literal. I mean cause you can't just say that: Willow's over use of heroin (addiction) is a metaphor for meth addiction. In other words, you can't just switch out the thing/item that's one's addicted to and call it a metaphor. It just simply doesn't work, and it certainly didn't work in S6. Hope that that clears everything up. :cool:
 

Spanky

I'm came here to chew bubblegum and go off topic.
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Black Thorn
scenario edges over from the metaphorical to the literal.
It was literal. If the storyline were done better more would have understood it literal and not meant to be a metaphor. I think people tend to look for metaphor a bit much.
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
I thought I had stated it pretty clearly.
It does not seem clear from where I am standing. Maybe I'm just slow.
I think that that scenario edges over from the metaphorical to the literal.
I struggle to understand what this means, and I cannot fathom why it would be a problem. All art is figurative/representational (except when it is completely abstract), i.e. metaphorical. By edging towards the literal, I assume you mean moving closer to the real and concrete, which I would assume would be a good thing.
In other words, you can't just switch out the thing/item that's one's addicted to and call it a metaphor.
But that is what a metaphor is. You take replace sumthin with sumthin else that shares some important quality with the first sumthin.
 

HowiMetdaSlayer

Occasionally, I am callous and strange 🐶
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But that is what a metaphor is. You take replace sumthin with sumthin else that shares some important quality with the first sumthin.
Metaphor (according to dictionary): a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
Therein lies the problem with the aforementioned story line. A metaphor is not for switching out things that are basically the same (in this case addictive things). :cool:
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
Metaphor (according to dictionary): a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
Therein lies the problem with the aforementioned story line. A metaphor is not for switching out things that are basically the same (in this case addictive things). :cool:
Well, that definition isn't really applicable, because we are talking about a TV show, not figure of speech, and we are talking about a concept or practice (sorcery) replacing a different concept or practice (drug use), not a word being used to signify an object or action that it usually does not signify. The definition also fails to limit the kinds of words that can be used to metaphorically name an object. Also, the phrase literally applicable is kinda problematic, as it suggest a very naive understanding of how language works.

Not that that is relevant for the discussion. Magic certainly isn't a word that is literally applicable to the practice of drug use.
 

HowiMetdaSlayer

Occasionally, I am callous and strange 🐶
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That's kind of contradictory. If the definition for a metaphor isn't acclicable, cause it's on a show, then how is it ok for the same show to use said metaphor? o_O Secondly, the writers are not simply switching out witchcraft for addiction (see Tara/Giles/most other witches on the series) just Willow (maybe Amy & Rack too). The so called metaphor was Willow's over use (or addiction to) magic and that is contrary to the definition of a metaphor, whether used on a TV show, or not. Period. :cool:
 

Cheese Slices

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To me the magic = drugs metaphor is like many arcs on the show : great idea, poor execution. The underlying philosophy and concepts behind it are pretty good actually ("it's about power") but it was very hammy for a good five-six episodes, which brought the whole concept down. More subtlety would have made it work immensely, imo.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Sineya
For the magic = drugs metaphor to work, you have to understand there are a whole lot of varying reactions to drugs. Someone who smokes pot can give it up and be free of it for a time (say, a foreign work assignment or vacation where it is banned) but someone who is an alcoholic has to cut clean. You can take an alcoholic and make an abstainer out of him but you cannot turn him back into a social drinker. Willow's reaction of ecstasy (the metal state, not the drug) in Rack's invisible drug den resembles the reaction to some of the harder drugs that are addictive. The magic = drugs metaphor is not well planned or written, but it does work as a metaphor in that it is obvious. In Season 7 when Willow is asked to perform some magic after going into rehab in the coven in England, she has her misgivings because she does not know if she can keep it under control.

It is an obvious metaphor, it is just written clumsily. It is not like heroin where addiction builds up gradually although it only takes one dose in some people but becomes addictive and has to be repeated within certain time limits or withdrawal pains will occur. We don't see any evidence that there is withdrawal in Willow - just a willingness to keep using it. It is not like cocaine which is addictive but does not require another dose at regular intervals - sporadic use will do. It is not like alcoholism, from which there is no return to being able to drink in moderation. Willow has an addiction that acts more like chocolate or caffeine, which you can have some addiction to but give it up and restart it without it becoming addictive again.

But they expect the viewers to react with "Oh, that's just like drug addiction" without any specifics about which type of addiction.
 

Spanky

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The First, the Initiative, the Potentials, to name a few.
Don't forget The Key, The vampire with a soul, the whole Ben/Glory thing. Most of the arcs are poorly realized. The whole show is built on threads and when you start to pull on them it all unravels.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I thought I had stated it pretty clearly. The (bad) writing of S6 made it seem that the (not really) 'metaphor' was that: Willow's over user use (IE:addiction) of magic equals drug addiction. To put it another way that Willows over use of magic (addiction) was a metaphor for drug addiction. I think that that scenario edges over from the metaphorical to the literal.
I think I get what you mean. When Willow was using magic for every little thing (such as getting dressed) just because it was easier and Tara was concerned by how much she was using magic, that was a metaphor for drug addiction because Willow was displaying the same behaviour a functioning addict would display, however when she started visiting the magic crack house, that's when it stopped being a metaphor and became magic=drugs.

But they expect the viewers to react with "Oh, that's just like drug addiction" without any specifics about which type of addiction.
I agree, and for me that's where the metaphor falls apart. I think Season 6 was too heavy handed with the magic=drugs=bad rather than keeping it as a neutral force that people misuse. If magic=drugs, then Tara was a terrible influence on Willow and it really throws shade on their relationship as it essentially becomes built off of drug use. Tara becomes nothing but a peddler.
 

GraceK

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Where it went off the rails for me was when it stopped being about the abuse of power and became literally about magic=crack addiction.

Willow had been building since season 3 a very natural and organic storyline IMO about how she had issues with control. Throughout the seasons we saw she had a tendency to resort to magic as a way to solve her problems, and the more powerful she grew she more entitled she felt to fix things her way. Every character has their own flaws and IMO Willows was pride and hubris. She feels she knows best for those she cares about. I thought it was really interesting in season 6 how powerful she had gotten that she was secure enough in herself and her abilities to actually threaten Giles. That was pretty dark on its own and showed just how far down the rabbit hole she already was. She took on a hell god and resurrected a vampire slayer. She was already one of the most powerful forces in Sunnydale. That’s what she was addicted too, was power. Instead of exploring what made her think she had the right to erase her girlfriends memories, TWICE, they threw out the richer story and instead had her crawling around a crackden like she was giving handies to a drug dealer. It was like watching a really lame PSA for a few episodes. It also made no sense because nothing we had seen from that point made it seem like magic literally Made you high. ( I stand corrected. Giles did do rituals as a Ripper that resulted in magic highs. That did seem much different thoogh than what we witnessed in Willows case) then next season it’s like a reset button and Willow is totally cool to do magic again as long as she accepts nature. Please.

Why explore Willows insecurity, control issues, power addiction when you can have a fun romp of Willow and Amy shenanigans with really lame meth parallels? Clearly That’s the better more “adult” story.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

Guest
I'm just gonna list all my feelings on this issue.

1. The magic-as-drugs story line is a metaphor, no matter what the dictionary may claim. More specifically, it is an allegory. I believe it is an effective allegory, others may claim that it is a poor allegory, but claiming that it is not an allegory is simply absurd.
2. The idea of magic as drugs fits well with what we learn about magic in earlier seasons. Giles, Ethan, Willow and Tara all use it to enhance sexual experiences. If magic was real, and it could alter your emotional state and even cause sexual euphoria, it would be addictive. That is how the human brain works. That is why people become addicted to sex, masturbation, porn, etc.
3. Giles is an awful human being. He is the first one to loose his temper in Flooded and he refuses Willow's olive branch. Let he-who-did-not-almost-cause-Buffy's-death-because-he-would-not-admit-to-having-set-loose-a-sex-demon cast the first stone.
4. Willow's main character flaw is not pridefulness. It is not hubris that makes her resurrect Buffy or alter Tara's memories. Willow may appear prideful, because she is constantly seeking validation, which is a symptom of her low self esteem.
 

thetopher

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The idea of magic as drugs fits well with what we learn about magic in earlier seasons. Giles, Ethan, Willow and Tara all use it to enhance sexual experiences.
Not really with Giles or Ethan though. Giles refers to experiences in his youth butt hat was- specifically- demonic possession as metaphor for 'getting high', not spells as many mistakenly believe.
And when does Ethan use magic in such a way?

The fact is that Giles, Ethan or Tara never get anything close to being addicted to the extent Willow is shown to be.

Giles is an awful human being. He is the first one to loose his temper in Flooded and he refuses Willow's olive branch
Giles is a pretty fantastic human being here and is amazingly restrained towards Willow given her attitude and that she makes the same mistakes over and over when it comes to 'magic as quick emotional fix' (she's been doing it for years by this point).
Also it has to be pointed out that she's never the one who suffers any real consequences for said actions; Vamp-Willow kills people, Giles gets blinded, Buffy and Spike get hitched, Xander gets hunted by demons. It's others who mostly get terrorized by the rampaging troll not Willow,...
And so it goes, others suffer and she goes 'oops' and does it again in about a years time.

Actually I think Giles surprise should've been aimed more towards Tara; Willow's 'ain't I cool for being a necromancer' is entirely in character for her. I don't get why Giles is so shocked/disappointed.

Let he-who-did-not-almost-cause-Buffy's-death-because-he-would-not-admit-to-having-set-loose-a-sex-demon cast the first stone.
Yes, because people who make youthful mistakes one time don't ever have the right to tell those that make similar mistakes over and over again that this is a bad idea.

I mean, sorry but that's nonsense; what is wisdom except learning from your mistakes and then going on to share your wisdom with others. Of course Giles is being emotional and angry, but he's entirely in the right here.

Willow's main character flaw is not pridefulness. It is not hubris that makes her resurrect Buffy or alter Tara's memories. Willow may appear prideful, because she is constantly seeking validation, which is a symptom of her low self esteem.
I think there certainly is an aspect of arrogance to Willow's behavior, as well as a complete lack of respect for the powers she wields and the consequences. She has- and expresses- an entirely utilitarian view towards magic without much in the way of thinking about the ethics of it when it suits her.
That's why she wipes Tara's memory because 'why not?' Everyone will be happier (but mostly Willow), same with wiping Buffy's memory because everyone will be better (but mostly Willow will feel less crappy).
People are complex and to say Willow's use of power always come from a place of low-self-esteem seems a little simplistic.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

Guest
Giles refers to experiences in his youth butt hat was- specifically- demonic possession as metaphor for 'getting high', not spells as many mistakenly believe.
I am not sure why this would be a meaningful distinction. A more relevant distinction could be that while most characters use magical artefacts to cast spells, Willow often uses her body as a conduit for her power.
And when does Ethan use magic in such a way?
He was in Giles's sex orgy club.
The fact is that Giles, Ethan or Tara never get anything close to being addicted to the extent Willow is shown to be.
I know many people who are drug users, but only one who became a serious addict.
Yes, because people who make youthful mistakes one time don't ever have the right to tell those that make similar mistakes over and over again that this is a bad idea.
I am not talking about his past, though we should not that Giles Ripper-days refers to a whole period of his life, where he had demon sex many times and presumably did many other questionable tings, like beating up police men. What bothers me more is how he put Buffy and Jenny and the rest in danger by hiding this past.
I mean, sorry but that's nonsense; what is wisdom except learning from your mistakes and then going on to share your wisdom with others. Of course Giles is being emotional and angry, but he's entirely in the right here.
Sure, he can share his wisdom, but it is hypocritical to be so judgemental about it. A man who summoned a sex demon should be able to have some sympathy for a young woman who tried to save her best friend and hero to the world.

Also, he should know Willow well enough to know that this type of authoritarian lecturing with no regard to her feelings will have no effect on her.
She has- and expresses- an entirely utilitarian view towards magic without much in the way of thinking about the ethics of it when it suits her.
Utilitarianism is a form of ethics. It is important to note that Willow's utilitarianism and lack of respect for received wisdom is often very useful to the group.
People are complex and to say Willow's use of power always come from a place of low-self-esteem seems a little simplistic.
I did not say she did bad things, because of her low self esteem, though that is certainly part of it. I said her low self esteem makes her seek validation, which can make her seem prideful.
 
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