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August 09 2005

Mal Reynolds, Libertarian. As fandom spreads, everyone seems to filter Serenity and Firefly through their own beliefs.

This one got instalanched; it's going to attract a lot of eyeballs.

Or it could be Burkean conservative?.

Personally, I think it eerily mirrors UK Social Democrat thinking in the early 80s. But then each to their own.

Good find btw.
Pet peeve:"Firefly, the tragically cancelled masterpiece ".

Tragedies are caused by the hero's fatal flaw. What was Joss's, I wonder?
Or maybe caused by SOMEONE'S tragic flaw. In which case, it could be Fox and their sadly inept handling of the show! Nice article, in any case!
I agree with Simon there, more or less. I think it's a pretty liberal message, anyway. To be honest, Firefly filters a lot from Joss' idealisms and/or nightmares it's plain to see.
It was the cancellation that was tragic, and I'm with sandyg - Fox is the one with glaring hamartia or something. Or, I guess, you could say Joss's flaw might have been an optimism about television being a place where such a production could grow and flourish. There's a certain "Don't try avoiding the inevitable" thing about tragedies, always, and I guess you could say Joss might've been hoping to avoid the inevitability of the network being silly about what is and is not quality TV (though not what does or does not make them money).

In any case, this article leapt at me as I am a libertarian and always bristle a little when people sing about the libertarianism of Firefly, not because it isn't there, but because they always seem to overlook what one of the commenters pointed out - it's not that the Alliance itself is evil, it's the symbiotic relationship between the Blue Sun Corp and the gov't that is really bad. As comments on the article itself mention, we know that Joss is a Democrat, and Tim Minear a libertarian (though I don't know if he's a registered Libertarian). It's this fact that always makes me get a puzzled look on my face when people go on and on about the show as if it were a piece of Libertarian propaganda.
Tragedies are caused by the hero's fatal flaw. What was Joss's, I wonder?


Trusting Fox, perhaps?
You know, I love this show, I love the movie. I love talking politics. But not with this. I know already some of you are about to bash me. But I just love the innocence of this show. It's fantasy. When I read the news every day and hear about a lot of bad stuff. Sometimes I just want to escape and enjoy the BDH's,and yeah they inspire me to fight for what's right. I don't know if i'm making any sense(it's early)but I guess what i'm saying is this they aren't democrats or republicans,or christians or libertarians---they're Big Damn Heroes.Period.

[ edited by nakedandarticulate on 2005-08-09 15:42 ]
It's not quite as simple as that, though, nakedandarticulate as they are characters written by people. Firefly can be seen as good escapism, but things like Serenity do have something to say about the state of affairs today.
The nice thing about sci fi and fantasy is that you can choose to make it pure escapism or not, and it's completely up to you. nakedandarticulate, I hope this discussion of politics doesn't sully your enjoyment of the show in any way. Nonetheless, the politics are THERE, they aren't imaginary. While you can't pin down the show as embracing one philosophy entirely, there are bits and pieces of several in it, both embraced and critiqued. But it is well within your realm of choice to enjoy the show without paying any attention to that element of it.
I know already some of you are about to bash me.

Why would you think that, nakedandarticulate? I really don't think much bashing happens on this board, especially for comments like yours, which were thoughtful, fair, and pretty innocuous.
I hear you on occasionally liking to just keep my escapism pure escapism, without overanalyizing it. However, I find the political discussion of Firefly pretty interesting, perhaps in part because politics – and how they can be filtered through today's political lens – seem like such a blatant part of it.
Personally, though, I don't think Firefly is just promoting a single message. I think libertarianism, as discussed in this article, has the loudest megaphone. But it's never that clearcut. As Simon's link pointed out, while Mal's crew is always armed, they're rarely victorious, and guns really aren't that great a solution for them. And I don't see Inara and the world of companions as a straight-forward advocacy of legalized prostitution - more a discussion of, "hmmm. what it would it be like if the world were different and prostitution was so regulated and respected, and women at an equal enough level, that women could choose it as a safe and reputable line of work?". But that's very different from advocating legalizing it in today's climate.

I feel like both Joss's and Tim's politics come through in it, and in some cases, ideas that neither of them espouse - after all, they're creating a piece of an imagined future that works at a dramatic level, not propaganda. I don't think there's much doubt that MAL would be a libertarian, if he cared enough about politics to define his feelings, but that's different from the show having a straight libertarian message.
It's like with a lot of movies. You can gleam from them what you will. I do get an awful lot from them about faith, belief and love. Fighting the good fight and the like. I suppose I could apply that to my grocery shopping, raising my kids or my moral stance.

But as Joss said when introducing the BDM in Oz...

Serenity is a very personal work with political
resonance and a heartfelt message about the human
condition and stuff blowing up. 'Cause let's
face it, nobody cares about that 'human
condition' stuff... in fact if you notice it, try
to keep it to yourself. Just tell people about
the stuff blowing up, so they'll see the movie
too. Thanks!


So...hey guys, there stuff blowing up, in the BDM ;)
nakedandarticulate, please enter a space after your full stops and commas, it will make your posts more legible and give people even less reason to bash. :)
Ofcourse,what do I know, my friggin' name is nakedandarticulate :)
Nice article(s), I take it to be one of the signs of the good writing that everyone almost independent of political leanings can find something of interest in a Whedon show, they do tend to leave room for audience interpretation in a way that few other shows does.

After the flops of The Island and Stealth, I believe Joss would have to modify that statement to something like 'come see our movie, we have stuff blowing up and an interesting plot', cause audiences seems to have shown that they dont go watch movies solely to watch stuff blowing up, films must have something more than that to attract an audience.
( Why so many people went to see Dukes Of H. is a mystery to me, must be an american thing)
Why so many people went to see Dukes Of H. is a mystery to me, must be an american thing


I'm an American, and it's a mystery to me. Still, it's good to see Jay Chandrasehkar have success with a studio movie. Think how many limited-release stoner comedies Broken Lizard can make now. And the prospect of Seann William Scott fans bumbling into Southland Tales gets even funnier.
Mystery to me, too, dreamlogic.

Regarding the article, it's a case (well reasoned, by my reckoning) for seeing Firefly as a literary treatise advocating the libertarian perspective...but as Simon pointed out, there's another (well reasoned) case to make that it promotes Burkean conservatism. And the unreconstructed South (minus the nasty slavery stuff, of course), as well.

I've recently (finally!) gotten an old friend to watch the DVD set...he's through "Ariel" by now, and he is absolutely over the moon about it...he is, by the way, politically very conservative, and a very devout Roman Catholic, as well. Upon much reflection about the episodes he's seen, he said the thing that strikes him the most about Firefly is its humanity. Real people in real (if futuristic) situations, facing real problems, dilemmas, choices...

I think that gets it right...which is why people on many different points of the political spectrum can see--and totally enjoy--the show as viewd through their own ideological prisms.
Upon much reflection about the episodes he's seen, he said the thing that strikes him the most about Firefly is its humanity.

Well said! I couldn't agree more...
I don't see how you could see the show and not think it has a Libertarian message. I am personally a Liberal (with the capital 'L'), and I certainly do not try to filter my own personal beliefs through the show. Doing that diminishes or negates the creator's message. In my opinion approaching any piece of fiction without first trying to come in with an open mind about the subject matter is the same as watching only news channels that promote your already held point-of-view.

In any case, Malcolm Reynolds' entire belief structure with regards to government and politics is basically 1:1 with modern-day Libertarianism, but that doesn't mean I'm going to hate the show becauase of it or ignore it's message.
After the flops of The Island and Stealth, I believe Joss would have to modify that statement to something like 'come see our movie, we have stuff blowing up and an interesting plot', cause audiences seems to have shown that they dont go watch movies solely to watch stuff blowing up, films must have something more than that to attract an audience.

That's what I was thinking. Audiences certainly seem ready for something a little different. Several 'off' movies had success this year while many big 'sure thing' blockbusters dissappointed or plain bombed.

I do wish they would actually, you know, start promoting Serenity by now. It's already second week of August and I have personally yet to see a single trailer on TV or in the theaters.

Why so many people went to see Dukes Of H. is a mystery to me, must be an american thing)

Eh it probably is. American comedies have been nothing but crude and moronic for about a decade now and it's one of the few things that still regularly scores here. Don't ask me. I'm just a Dutchman in LA.

Let me add though that DoH was the only new movie opening this week which always helps. Also, most of the audience was male, more than 75% was under 25, it did the best business in 'the South' and there was already a drop-off of 21% going from Friday on Saturday. So things are relative.

If 'Deuce Bigolow II' winds up making far more money than Serenity, I'm going to be very depressed though....
EdDantes, is it ok to dismiss DoH for doing well in 'the South'? I imagine many of my southern counterparts who went to see DoH had fun on the playground -- just like me -- when they were six, pretending to be Bo and Luke and Daisy or even Boss Hogg (because no one wanted to be Uncle Jesse), and now they have six year olds. I thought the movie sounded distasteful but then I saw screenshots in the media and it has, if nothing more, a glossy fresh new look. I don't plan on seeing it anytime soon and probably won't seek it out until it's on cable in a few years, but my inner six-year-old is curious about it. I don't think anyone will see it to challenge his or her intellect, but they might see it for giggles.
A really interesting read would be a comparison between Firefly/Serenity and Deadwood and their respective attitudes to the powers that screw them, Al and Mal would seem to have a lot in common.

EdDantes, well if Deuce Bigalow II makes more money than Serenity at least the studios can wash their hands and say 'We only give the audience what they want, obvously they want more crappy movies, luckily that just what we planned to produce'.
I can see how Mal might be interpretted as a libertarian, but he's probably a little too principled to be a big "L" Libertarian. Joss, on the other hand, is not a libertarian. Even though he campaigned for Kerry in this last election, I don't think it was because he is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, either. My sense is his leanings are further to the left of most Democrats, and his campaigning was more to try to help defeat Bush than support Kerry. (That's how several other actors on "Buffy" characterized their campaigning for Kerry.)

Why so many people went to see Dukes Of H. is a mystery to me, must be an american thing)

I'm saying this as an American. A large part of the U.S. population - if not the majority - is really dumb! To flock to a movie based on an assinine show from the post Vietnam war era (when everybody was being dumbed-down by right-wing TV shows) is tantamount to people admitting they are a bunch of sheep - but less intelligent. I find the show (and thus the movie) very offensive. The union jack on the car is, to a lot of people, a symbol of racism here, and the dumb blonde in too-tight, too-skimpy clothes is pure sexism.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-08-09 18:29 ]
I haven't seen the Dukes of Hazzard, and I really don't plan to. I'm a small government kinda guy raised in California, Oregon, and Vancouver Island. It seems to me when you talk about the Dukes of Hazard doing well in "the south" or "everybody was being dumbed-down by right-wing TV shows". Your talking down to a lot of people.
Dukes of Hazard was never supposed to be anything more then fun. The same way The Hardy Boys books were never supposed to be Dickens. D of H wasn't unleashed on an unsuspecting public by Reagan in order to dumb down America. Dukes of Hazard never pretended to be smart. It works on one level, at least for me as pure escapism. I can't draw parellels like I can in Firefly. But then again I'm not in this show demographic. I don't like car chases and bad stories, but I did when I was a fifteen year old boy.
Writing an individual, or geographic region, off as being of a lesser intellect because they choose to watch different shows or different movies is pretty harsh.
Unless they bash The Whedon, then commence with the verbal ass kicking!

[ edited by Nancy Boy hair Gel on 2005-08-09 18:53 ]
To me, something that is pure entertainment is usually dumbed-down entertainment. I did't find any of the characters appealing back in the late 70's/early 80's, because they represented the kinds of people I can't stand. I need entertainment that makes me think and possibly changes me as a person by the time it's over. Anything that doesn't do that for me makes me feel like I've wasted my time.

Maybe D of H was not unleashed by Reagan, but the ownership of the media does have control over what does and doesn't get aired. You can't discount the political agendas of the owners of mass media outlets in that decision-making process. There was a movement in the right-wing media (meaning most of the media) to diffuse the impact of the liberal/left political movements after the Vietnam war, which included the validation and glorification of the military, and shows that pandered to the red-neck elements (Hee Haw, Dukes of Hazzard) to encourage a brazen pride in the kind of "individualism" that allows people to disregard the rights of others. (I teach university courses about this subject, so I know there is ample evidence to support my contention. I just don't want to post a dissertation on here.)

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-08-09 19:01 ]
"The union jack on the car…"

I've heard the British flag referred to this way, but never the confederate flag…

I guess I was around 8 or 9 when the series was on. I was a fan then, but the reruns are just annoying now. Jury's still out on whether I'll ever see this; April's plan of waiting 'til it's free sounds about right. Not planning to spend bucks now, that's for sure.
It's called a union jack in reference to the symbol on the confederate flag in the U.S. A lot of people who worked with or supported the civil rights movement see it as the symbol of racism, because that is the flag the KKK and other racist groups carried in their offensive against the civil rights movement. It carries with it the same symbolism as the swastika.
Veering back to Firefly...

The thing I like about this show is that you can view it as pure entertainment, or you can start peeling back the layers and spend hours delving into deeper meanings.

And while Firefly certainly presents the Libertarian view, it also presents other viewpoints as well. As Joss pointed out in the commentary, the Alliance isn't all bad. There are just aspects of it that are opressive.
I don't think anyone intended this thread to be a discussion of the Confederate flag. It's getting a bit off topic.

So let's stick to something less contentious like politics.
One of the things I've loved about Joss Whedon's shows is that people of all political backgrounds can find something that they can identify with and feel good about. We can all watch it, see the same show, and come out feeling that Joss just exactly represented how I feel. I think people are more alike then we all want to admit, but we all want to see the little guy succeed because deep down we all feel like we are the little guy.
mnspar, I agree absolutely. The thing that bothers me about people on all parts of the political spectrum is that they assume that anyone who has a differing viewpoint is automatically stupid/amoral/ill-informed, when in fact there are very good people that simply have differing (and completely valid) ideas about how government should be run. Joss understands this, and has made a point of showing it in his various works.

I take issue with Nebula saying that Mal is too "principled" to be a Libertarian. I'm not a libertarian, but someone simply believing that government should be as small as possible and have little-to-no sway in private or social matters does not equal unprincipled.

In a lot of ways I think the politicization of social issues is the downfall of American politics. When politicians can distract us form important issues like the war, or budget concerns, or energy bills by bringing up gay marriage, we've lost something in the political discourse. Being a Republican used to mean something a lot different than it does now. Conservative used to mean fiscally conservative, which while not a stance I necessarily agree with, is certainly a viewpoint I can respect. Being conservative in a way that hurts other people who simply don't agree with your views on morality or live a different lifestyle than you is something I cannot respect.

Politically, we live in very divisive and dangerous times. It's nice to see anything in the media that understands that multiple viewpoints can be valid and it's the discussion and logical confrontation of the issues that makes us stronger.
Nubula1400-
Obviously we have differing political views. And absolutley yes, ownership controlls what the public gets to see. BUT (theres that word!) I think that where you and I disagree is over what motivates programming. I think its the almighty bottom line. From what I gather you think it's something much more incideous. I think that if there was a program that was more "intellectual" that had better ratings the D of H, then it would have been yanked off the air quicker then greased lightning. Maybe it was the times but there seems to be plenty of modern examples. Namely my beloved Firefly, Angel, and Wonderfalls.

Anyway my origional point was more along the lines that people shouldn't be judged by what they watch, but as individuals. Heck I know a few Phd's that love some unwatchable shows, but I still respect them.

I think that everyone knows someone that has never seen Buffy just 'cause of the name of the show. I don't think these people are idiots, I think there just not as interested in quality television.
Well, Mal is quite clearly against the Alliance, but then question is if the Alliance is offspring of governments or some kind of conglomerate of corporations. If it's latter, then Mal is some kind of anarcho-socialist. ;) I'm okay with that. And he really doesn't seem to respect private property that much. But I really think that this corporation/government distinction can't be made and projecting todays political stances into that world won't work.

ih, we(I) need Joss collaborating with Iain M. Banks and do the Culture.

[ edited by futile on 2005-08-09 19:59 ]
Simon, apologies in advance for one more (last, I hope!) flag comment: The Confederate battle flag is most certainly not referred to as the Union Jack...hell, the Rebels were fighting *Union* troops, after all! The flag in question is commonly referred to as the "Stars and Bars", and it not the official flag of the Confederate States of America--there were several versions, two of which incorporated the stars and bars motif, but the actual Stars and Bars is the battle flag, not the official banner of the Confederacy.

There is an obvious parallel (well, obvious to me, at least) between the post-Civil War era in the US and the FFverse...I use it as short-hand when proselytizing...with the caveat that, from our heroes perspective, the bad guys won, and the Rebel equivalents didn't have the baggage of defending the peculiar institution of slavery.

Where anybody would want to go from there is his or her own prerogative, I think. Within reason. Please, no Lucas-like pronouncements about current world politics...I'm begging you all, please!
To me, something that is pure entertainment is usually dumbed-down entertainment. I did't find any of the characters appealing back in the late 70's/early 80's, because they represented the kinds of people I can't stand. I need entertainment that makes me think and possibly changes me as a person by the time it's over. Anything that doesn't do that for me makes me feel like I've wasted my time.


This would wear me out. It impresses me that you consistently demand this from your entertainment - while I do want to be mentally stimulated, I can't do it all the time, I'll break.

I take issue with Nebula saying that Mal is too "principled" to be a Libertarian.


Me too. But that's because it's a sore spot for me, so I have trouble divorcing my immediate emotional reaction from any objective sensibilities about these things.

But I really think that this corporation/government distinction can't be made and projecting todays political stances into that world won't work.


Amen. In Firefly, we can't tell where the Alliance ends and Blue Sun begins. We know Mal never really TALKS about Blue Sun, but is that because the Alliance is synonymous with it? Is he too much "on the rim," as Badger put it, to realize that the two are so intimately related? (Seems unlikely.)

If there's one message to be taken away from Firefly, it has to do with the value of freedom (and I mean GENUINE freedom, to do what seems right to you, not homogenized freedom of any sort - I have this bizarre sense that when I say "freedom" people think I mean some very specific political view) and the importance of loyalty. We saw from Mal's treatment of Jayne in "Ariel" and his responses to Simon in "Safe" that you stand by the people who have done right by you, even if you don't like them, and that betrayal is not acceptable.

Right now I'm trying to come up with a bizarre hybrid individualist-socialism thing that involves shared labor and loyalty while allowing room for personal choice. Don't know what I'd call it. Serenitism or something silly like that. I guess a 100% voluntary democratically-run cooperative is the kind of thing I'm thinking of.

ETA:

There is an obvious parallel (well, obvious to me, at least) between the post-Civil War era in the US and the FFverse...I use it as short-hand when proselytizing...with the caveat that, from our heroes perspective, the bad guys won, and the Rebel equivalents didn't have the baggage of defending the peculiar institution of slavery.


I call it "Reconstruction... in... Space!"

[ edited by Kiba on 2005-08-09 20:43 ]
I do wish they would actually, you know, start promoting Serenity by now. It's already second week of August and I have personally yet to see a single trailer on TV or in the theaters.

Incidentally, on the publicizing Serenity front, it seems to me that there's actually quite a bit going on. A couple friends told me they went to see Wedding Crashers last Friday, and that Serenity preview (they said it was like a "making of" documentary) played. Of course, they also said that, had they never heard of Firefly before, that preview wouldn't have done anything to make them want to see it (though one of them said the preview gave him the impression that Serenity has such a built-in fanbase, it doesn't really matter if it attracts new people). Another person I just met that weekend (so I don't know if she's a Whedon fan or not) said she'd be surprised if new people *didn't* show up b/c there's been "so much buzz" about it. Which surprised the heck out of me. I didn't get the chance to ask where she'd been seeing the buzz, but if she's not a Firefly/Joss Whedon fan (unclear), maybe there *has* been enough buzz to catch the attention of the uninitiated. Another friend told me he saw the Serenity trailer (I forget if he saw it on TV or before a movie) and was a bit worried that it wouldn't appeal to non-fans. And I've had several friends express concern about the Star Trek syndrome, where the movies were pretty much just extra-big episodes of the show, and didn't really appeal to people who hadn't watched the shows.

Why are all my friends talking about Serenity? B/c I've started a weekly Firefly night, and have gotten at least 8 people completely hooked, with an additional 3-4 recent converts who sometimes come, and another 2-3 people watching the show on the side by borrowing the DVDs or watching the SciFi channel airings. And I'm recruiting them all to see Serenity opening weekend =). At any rate, it seems like many of them *have* seen some form of promotion for Serenity already, without looking for it. So I think the marketing department is at work...
I've always found Joss's reference to Mal as a "reactionary" sort of interesting. I like to imagine that he'd just gotten out of a knock-down drag-out political argument with Tim Minnear and was mentally replacing "Tim" with "Mal."
LOL, bobster! You may well be right! ;-)
"And I've had several friends express concern about the Star Trek syndrome, where the movies were pretty much just extra-big episodes of the show, and didn't really appeal to people who hadn't watched the shows."

I can understand the sentiment, but once people actually see it they will probably not feel this way. The action starts while the credits open -- zero time wasted. The action stops with the final credits. To me, it never slowed at all but it might for non-fans, a little. So much happens in the movie I don't see how anyone could compare it to a big tv eppy or even a big tv movie. It's not a film presented like Episode III, but there's no other place for it now except the big screen. If you don't care about the crew when the movie starts, you'll at the very least be glad you bothered to meet them as you leave.

I'm expecting some less than rave reviews from total strangers to the Whedonverse. I'll switch on my how-well-do-you-know-Joss meter when I analyze them critically.
I think the show has individualistic and anarchic themes, but these are constantly in conflict with the increasing responsibility Mal is made to feel for the intertwining lives of the people on his ship and River's importance in public affairs. Whenever he tries to be *purely* individualistic and to make the ship its own world, he is confronted with a choice either to preserve that world or to go the extra mile for someone outside it. So I think Firefly is ultimately about finding a balance between individualism and a responsibility to humanity.

Um, off the top of my head...

[ edited by Ilana on 2005-08-10 05:06 ]
One of my friends based his concern about the Star Trek syndrome from seeing the trailer. Actually, I take that back, both friends who mentioned that concern had seen the trailer and were basing it on the trailer. I still have yet to see the trailer, due to a vague desire to remain spoiler-free, so I'm not sure exactly what they're basing this concern on. Just thought I'd voice it since more than one person had mentioned it to me...
Putting aside the fact that a very sleepy me first read the title of this as Mal Reynolds, Librarian and that I was therefore very confused by the first few comments I read before looking at the article, (Boy, those librarians are getting militant. Now they are claiming Mal along with Giles, and they have an organized political agenda?) I find the discussion here…interesting.

Although I have noticed that people do interpret Joss’s work in such a way to make it agree with their own previously held beliefs, I find I enjoy Joss’s work because of the view points that are different from, as well as similar to my own and the shades of gray that are woven through the work. It makes me examine my own beliefs in more detail and think through what is being said on different levels. I like the fact that easy labels do not usually apply, though at first they may seem to. Joss likes to suggest a stereotype and then give it complexity that breaks that stereotype into pieces. He does not strictly follow any party line, that I have noticed, and more power to him for that. Instead he seems to present things the way they could pan out in real life. Strong women in non-traditional jobs can be unapologetically girly and like pretty things, though not always. Good people can make mistakes and treat people badly, though not necessarily for bad reasons. Bad people can come through and do good things, though not necessarily for good reasons. None of it is easy, and I like that. As I think in terms of people rather than politics, that is what I mainly see in Joss's work.

On the other hand, I had enough of the, entertainment for entertainment’s sake should be banned from the universe vs. people should have a right to their own form of escapism as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else argument sometime during the relationship with my first boyfriend. I’m a live and let live kind of person, so as long as nobody actually gets close to legislating a ban on mindless entertainment (yeah, right) I leave the argument to others.

The comments on the Dukes of Hazard were also interesting. As an American I can say that not all Americans like moronic comedy. I don't know enough about that movie, however, to know if it is just mindless, which can be enjoyable if it is funny and I don't have to pay for it or actually moronic, in which case I avoid it like the plague no matter if they are paying me to see it. (Yes, friends, I guess I am opening the door to discussing the subtle but important differences between mindless and moronic comedy...and hoping no one will walk through it.)

As far as understanding the lure of the movie, though, April made a good point. Fast cars, Daisy Duke, pretty boys and light-hearted, anti-establishment antics were the TV show’s draw, and those don’t really go out of style. I can see people going to the movie looking for that again, though not me particularly. It was a silly caricature of Southern stereotypes played for laughs. The fact that Southerners would go to see it rather than get upset and picket it, actually says something positive to me about Southerners’ ability to laugh at themselves. IMO none of it was meant to be taken seriously then or now, and it certainly was not political. I seriously doubt that the Confederate Flag makes an appearance painted on the roof of the Dukes' car in the movie in these more enlightened times.
I'm with newcj -- I first read it as, "Mal Reynolds, Librarian".

That certainly brought up some odd mental images.

"I don't take rightly to overdue books -- not from locals, and not from Alliance."
After the flops of The Island and Stealth, I believe Joss would have to modify that statement to something like 'come see our movie, we have stuff blowing up and an interesting plot', cause audiences seems to have shown that they dont go watch movies solely to watch stuff blowing up, films must have something more than that to attract an audience.

Sorry, I may have placed that statment out of context. It was a joke by Joss for all the BrownCoats said at the pre screening in Sydney last week. It wasn't a press release, just a simple joke, which got a cheer and applause from the audience.
I now always add to my reviews at the end...oh and there's stuff blowing up.

edit to add: I first read that as Librarian too! Hee hee.

[ edited by nixygirl on 2005-08-10 03:01 ]
I seriously doubt that the Confederate Flag makes an appearance painted on the roof of the Dukes' car in the movie in these more enlightened times.


Not that enlightened, unfortunately.

On the other hand, if we can have Conan the Librarian, why not....?
I also thought it said librarian when I first glanced at it!
Add me to the "librarian" list.

I also agree with much of what newcj said above, about Joss's breaking stereotypes apart, and adding complexity. I think Joss's work would be absolutely boring if he took one political position and kept any of his characters true to that. There would be no dramatic potential if his characters did not have their beliefs challenged in some way by events. And despite the fact that I see myself in a certain way politically, I can be terribly inconsistent with that vision on occasion, which I suspect is true of all of us. I think that Joss's characters reflect that reality, as well.

On the DoH -- this is not a film I will see, and it was not a TV show that I ever watched. But my memory of the time was that this show was broadcast in the aftermath of the popularity of the Smokey and the Bandit series of films. Is that correct?
Wow, too much to comment on and the twenty pages it would require are not to be right now. Couple of quick things:

Many folks do seem to filter things through the lens of their perception and that's to be expected. I like to celebrate the agreements and the disagreements and look at things from all angles.

Saying the there is some right-wing media plot sounds just as ludicrous as saying their is a huge left-wing media plot. Granted, there are occasions of groups of media reporting/not reporting to lean a certain way (its usually left rather than right, by the way, which perhaps is the way that it should be as that leads to more discussion - I say this because as someone who loves to take the opposite side as a challenge to my own thought processes, I note that I more often end up defending the right side rather than the left). How many of you know about Air America's financial shenanigans, for example (really classy taking money from a charity that now can't afford to take care of children and Alzheimer's patients)? Not as many as know about Enron or Rush Limbaugh's pill habit? Oops... granted Enron was about billions rather than just a few paltry millions, right? But are you more worried about people who could afford to invest huge amounts in energy markets or inner city kids and the elderly?

Its fair enough to say that there are a large number of people in this country who are content with mindless entertainment (though I would hesitate, in kinder moments, to actually refer to them as stupid). That's fine, and I enjoy some mindless fun myself from time to time, but I am perverse and enjoy being challenged and made to think... Given that, its more than a tad silly not to point out that this is not a condition of a specific country, rather it is a symptom of the human condition. Some people don't want to be challenged. These people are not one race, one creed, one country, they are EVERYWHERE.

As someone said above, what strikes closest about Firefly no matter what side of the sociopolitical spectrum you dance on, is that these are real people writ large, with large problems. Real people, real situations, real depth, real debate and struggle. I find a lot to celebrate in that, both the things I agree with and the things I disagree with, as both make me think. Thank the powers for intelligent, thought provoking works such as those of Joss and co. To debate is to be alive, I say :) Funny, though, I keep hearing dissent is being stifled, usually from people with huge signs burning folk in effigy while wearing silly masks.

I think more importantly than whether the events of the 'verse parallel now, is the question, or rather my assertion that they parallel many times and places. That is the mark of some truly great storytelling: timelessness. On a total tangent: Its a showing of how little true hardship and suffering people have in modern, Western society when debate falls so often to calling those who disagree with one nazis or Eichmanns or brownshirts (I'm looking at you, Ward Churchill, amongst many others...).

p.s. -- I am amused by Joss considering Mal reactionary. If you've ever talked politics with Tim, however, you'll know he is anything but reactionary. He is very thoughtful and reasoned in his thinking. I would love to sit down and mediate a debate between Joss and Tim.

p.p.s. -- that still ended up longer than I had intended to devote, though part of me is itching to triple the size of this post ;)

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-08-10 18:23 ]

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-08-10 18:31 ]
Zeitgeist -- Thanks for the long and thoughtful post, but I have to take issue with part of it.

I had to go and do a little research based on your reference to Air America since the story has been neglected by the putatively liberal MSM. (My opinion: neither liberal nor conservative, but corporate to the bone. Which means it's socially liberal, but totally beholden to the real-world equivalents of the Alliance/PTB/Senior Partners).

Actually, while you admit the amount of money was a great deal smaller, the money in question was not millions, but $800,000 in loans which Air America is commmitted to paying back. The alleged impropriety was that the money was loaned under false pretenses to a member of the charity's board with links to Air America for supposed medical expenses (the guy claimed, as per Al Franken, to have brain cancer). This was during the financial emergencies that surrounded Air America's early days. These days, Air America appears to be doing okay, though the hardline blogosphere right is committed to denying that.

In short, while the behavior in question is pretty pathetic if true, this is a far, far cry from Enron. For one thing, the money is going to be paid back. The people who's savings were looted won't be so lucky. As to the effect on the charity and its ability to do its good work, I haven't seen anything about that one way or the other. But, if that is true, the charity was wrong to have made the loan under any circumstance.

I almost hate to do this on a nonpolitical forum, but the mentioning of this in the same breath as Enron kind of forced me. Equating of two vastly unequal matters is a favorite tactic of today's ever-more-rightwing right and I can't let it go by. (Like how Rathergate somehow negated the lies of "Swift Boat Veterens for Truth".)

[ edited by bobster on 2005-08-10 20:07 ]
bob, thanks for your reply. Couple of points: Corporate to the bone, certainly, but not so politically agnostic as you would suggest. The $875,000 is one of several purported transactions, this according to an Al Franken interview that I heard yesterday. On the positive side for AA, they flushed this joker two months after this occurred. On the negative side, they waited a rather long time (until the New York Sun broke the story within the MSM) to say that they were going to pay it back, indeed to say they had intended to all of this time. By all of this time, I mean that Mr. Franken states that there was an internal investigation into this at the time that it occurred (within months after first air date).

You are correct in that the charity was wrong to make the loan in the first place, however, that assumes they knew they were doing it. As I understand it,` suspicion is that the man (whose name escapes me at the moment, sorry) embezzled the money as he was involved in both the charity and Air America at the time. As I said, AA flushing him when they learned this was the right thing to do, however two years (is that the right time frame?) of silence from them is troubling. Granted at the time paying this money back would've potentially washed them out.

Not equating them so much as pointing out the differing handling of them by the MSM. Equating things that are not equal is in fact a tactic of both or our bloated political animals. For the record, Rathergate: I was appalled. Swiftboat Vets: it was how Kerry's handlers failed to handle this that lost him ground on it.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply (aside from calling me a tool of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy -- Kidding! All in good fun). Didn't mean to drag this far afield of its original topic, apologies if I have.
Good points (well, except for maybe about the leanings of the media, but it's an endless argument, conservatives point out that most reporters are registered Democrats and liberals pointing out that they're bosses who get to make the final call are mainly GOP and liberals then pointing out that reporters are so afraid of being pegged as liberals they often bend over backwards not to, etc.) -- -- though the way the articles were written the amounts in question were vague, with $800,000 being the only clear figure I saw. My only question is, do you really think this story is such a big deal that the MSM should spend a great deal of time covering it? A relatively small amount that's going to be repaid, that happened two years ago. It's easy to why the newsies would find this story a bit wan.

Re: Rathergate. The scandal there was that Dan Rather is an idiot who didn't wait to check out a major supporting document -- but all of that has no bearing on the factual matter of whether or not GW Bush was a "deserter" from the National Guard. You're right about Kerry's pathetic response (and he was also tactically stupid trumpet his own horn so loudly on his service and therefore seem to open himself to attack on it, he should have let others do that rather than "reporting for duty" at the DNC...Ah, smell the lovely recriminations.)

Nice debatin' with you, Z!

[ edited by bobster on 2005-08-10 21:00 ]
Bobster-- thanks again, it was fun and thought-provoking, hope we didn't scare anyone else off :)) Final thoughts: I think more time should've been spent on it than was, not as much as Enron (which by the end everyone had their fingers in their ears yelling 'SHUT UP ALREADY!!!' :)). re: Rathergate: no, it has no bearing on what that silly git GW did or didn't do, but its disheartening in the extreme :( Thanks again, bobster, and cheers :)
I'm sorry, bobster and zeitgeist, maybe I missed it. Where do the Librarians stand on all this?
And thanks to both of you for modelling How to Talk Politics On-line in a Mature and Informative Way . . .
Indeed, SNT...I used to post regularly on a board consisting of people who were in college in Munich (at the University of Maryland's now defunct program) at any time in the past...was enjoyable, made many new friends...then the political stuff got so horrendous that I de-registered and left...was sad about it, because it had been good, for several years.

Thanks to all the Mods (even if I occasionally--and only occasionally--disagree with them) for keeping this a lively, civilized (sorry for the American spelling!), and thoroughly invigorating place to visit.

[ edited by Chris inVirginia on 2005-08-11 00:24 ]
I'm sorry, bobster and zeitgeist, maybe I missed it. Where do the Librarians stand on all this?


They stand just behind the counter, holding a book that says 'VAMPYRE' and shushing people :)

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