For Kevin, among others, a link to a PDF of the September 29, 2001 report Biological Warfare and the Buffy Paradigm. This for-real 42-page document, issued in Washington just a few weeks after the WTC attacks, makes an analogy between the constant, unpredictable threats Buffy and Co. face in show after show, and the constant, unpredictable threats posed to U.S. national security by terrorists with heavy-duty biological weapons. A (badly-written) taste:

Finding a New Paradigm: The “Buffy Syndrome”

The US must plan its Homeland defense policies and programs for a future in which there is no way to predict the weapon that will be used or the method chosen to deliver a weapon which can range from a small suicide attack by an American citizen to the covert delivery of a nuclear weapon by a foreign state. There is no reason the US should assume that some convenient Gaussian curve or standard deviation, will make small or medium level attacks a higher priority over time than more lethal forms.

Any structured intellectual approach to describing this situation—and planning for it—is so uncertain that a valid structure can only be developed as an exercise in complexity or “chaos” theory. I, however, would like you to think about the biological threat in more mundane terms. I am going to suggest that you think about biological warfare in terms of a TV show called “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” that you think about the world of biological weapons in terms of the “Buffy Paradigm,” and that you think about many of the problems in the proposed solutions as part of the “Buffy Syndrome.”

I realize that those of you who are workaholics or who are simply mature and without children or younger relatives may never have seen this show. It is, however, about a teenage vampire slayer who lives in a world of unpredictable threats where each series of crises only becomes predictable when it is over and is followed by a new and unfamiliar one.

Yes, it’s the “Buffy Paradigm” at work. You may have heard it here first. (I first heard it in Michael Adams’ book Slayer Slang. Crazy book, people. Incredible scholarly detail focused on language as employed by the Buffy writers. At Powell’s in hardcover for only US$7.98.)

Mostly a reminder for me: Drezner wrote about Buffy when the show ended a year and a half ago, with many links.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?