Talk:The Powers That Be

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I'm pretty sure the term predates Angel. We used it in Nikita fandom before Angel premiered. --Nestra 19:18, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Whoops. *deletes that bit* --Betty 19:31, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I think I got there a second ahead of you! And yeah, seconding Nestra, fwiw. :)--Arduinna 19:41, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I remember it from long long ago, maybe original Star Trek fandom days Msilverstar 19:54, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

It was popular way before Angel. When I came into fandom in 1997 everyone used it already. I did a newsgroups in google search to see, and by 1997 TPTB appears across many fandoms like Highlander, Lois and Clark and so on. Before October 1992 it seems to be mostly appear in though I found a few from rec.arts.startrek.misc, before Oct 1991 it's mostly rec.arts.startrek and computer groups, and before Oct 1990 the only hits are from computer newsgroups, but then usenet access wasn't exactly widespread then.--RatCreature

Krypkied? you mean Kripked?? --lian 21:34, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Yup! Fixed.--Sherrold 22:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

I added the Angel reference back in, but stated that TPTB did NOT come from the show; I always assumed this as well, and I suspect other people reading the page might think Angel was simply left out and try to edit accordingly. Does anyone know if the show writers for Angel knowingly borrowed the fannish term, a la "retcon" on Torchwood? --Aethel 18:54, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

The thing is, it's not strictly a fandom term. So Joss didn't get it from the fans (and the fans didn't get it from him), he/we got it from the language; the actual origin is Biblical, and it's been an English idiom since the 1500s or so, and has gradually shifted away from it's strictly religious meaning. Pre-Angel, it's shown up in SF (e.g., Anne McCaffrey's "Crystal Singer" trilogy back in the mid-80s used it as the base name of the company-owned planet), fantasy (Diane Duane's "Young Wizard" books, which started up in 1983, have Powers That Be as powerful forces of the universe), and sholarly books (The Powers That Be, about the power of the media in shaping modern society -- published during Angel's first year, but I doubt this guy got the phrase from Joss). The Pretender had an episode called "PTB" six months before Angel premiered; there was a mid-90s sitcom called "The Powers That Be" (parodying the Washington political elite, rather than media elite). And so forth -- it's been a part of the general lit/sf/f/media background for decades.
But yes, media fans in particular latched onto it early to describe TPTB behind the scenes of the shows they watched, so given that Joss is a fanboy, and also loves to work in all sorts of (pop/media/whatever) cultural references, I'd be surprised if he didn't know that fans were using the term. (He paid attention to the fan boards and whatnot, didn't he? So he probably would have seen people in Buffy fandom referring to TPTB about Buffy.) ... All of which boils down to an entirely non-helpful: maybe he heard it first from the fans and incorporated it, or maybe he already knew it and got a kick out of the fans' use and incorporated it, or maybe he already knew it and never knew the fans used it and incorporated it. Or even maybe he never knew it, and thought he made it up (unlikely, but possible). For what any of that's worth. *g* --Arduinna 20:23, 8 February 2009 (UTC)