Firefly Reconsidered: Why Firefly Isn't "Hall of Fame" Great


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Thomas Shey

Legend
IMO saying the "lost cause" business is an apologetic, 'cept I'm not from 'round these parts. Seriously though, imagine moving from the USSR to Texas, it was weird.

Well, the great truth is almost any story based on the losing side in a revolution or civil war that valorizes the losers is likely based at least in part on cherry picking what they decide to keep. The Confederacy is particularly fraught because of how bluntly awful it was, but its true to one degree or another with virtually all of them (the Jacobin insurrection comes to mind, as anything using it or something based on it is probably going to be--selective--to say the least). At best, most revolts are based on a mixture of legitimate grievances and really obnoxious prejudices, and you rarely see anyone want to deal with the latter part of that.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Well, the great truth is almost any story based on the losing side in a revolution or civil war that valorizes the losers is likely based at least in part on cherry picking what they decide to keep. The Confederacy is particularly fraught because of how bluntly awful it was, but its true to one degree or another with virtually all of them (the Jacobin insurrection comes to mind, as anything using it or something based on it is probably going to be--selective--to say the least). At best, most revolts are based on a mixture of legitimate grievances and really obnoxious prejudices, and you rarely see anyone want to deal with the latter part of that.

NO.

That is not it ... at all. That, right there, is the type of false equivalency that gives rise to Lost Cause narratives (call it Romanticism or Apology).

The reason that shows that traffic in Lost Cause Romanticism are so particularly fraught in the United States is because there was a concerted effort, for decades, to whitewash* history regarding the Confederacy and to romanticize everything about it. This not only ensured that people would not fully understand just how brutal and authoritarian the Confederacy was, but also caused so much suffering for decades afterwards. Lynchings, Jim Crow- this is all tied back to the failure of reconstruction and the Lost Cause narrative.

Imagine if the Germany, ever since WW2, had spent their time saying, "Do you know who the real villains were? The Allies! I mean, c'mon. They invaded us, and think about how terrible the suffering was when they came into Germany. Really, the plucky and resourceful German soldiers were the ones that we should be thinking about."

Oh wait, there are people that do that! The same people who traffic in Lost Cause BS. There's a reason that you find German WW2 (there's a term for it ... start's with an N) and Confederate memorabilia together.

So, yeah, there is a long tradition in the US of appreciating a rebellion- that's how the country was founded. But the very specific circumstances of the Lost Cause make it incredibly bad.

I can understand not liking Joss Whedon for other reasons; as much as I love Buffy and Angel, I have always had a lot of trouble with how Charisma Carpenter's exit was handled, and once I found out what happened (oh, that makes a sad amount of sense ...) I don't think I can watch it. I really enjoyed Dollhouse, but I don't know that I want to re-visit it right now.

But Firefly always had those issues. It was good- Whedon wrote great dialogue, and it had one of the best casts (if not the best) of any of his series. If you can't stand the Lost Cause stuff, though, it is painful to watch.

The only thing worse are the fans who rush in to deny it. I mean, what's next. "Lovecraft wasn't a racist ... he was inverting the tropes of racism!" Just brilliant.


*Yes, that term is deliberate.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
NO.

That is not it ... at all. That, right there, is the type of false equivalency that gives rise to Lost Cause narratives (call it Romanticism or Apology).

And this is a remarkable reading fail that you can see what I wrote and consider me not to have made the same distinction you're making. Or did the phrase "because the Confederacy is so bluntly awful" not appear on your screen?

And again, if you think people using other failed revolts don't do their damned best to whitewash them, you don't have enough experience with how they're handled in other parts of the world. Yes, the Confederate apologists are a standout case. No, they're not unique.

I mean, hell, all you have to do to see that is note the way teaching about the U.S. Revolutionary War tends to elide over the part of it that was about not liking how the British weren't allowing the colonists to treat the native people's however the hell they wanted. Its not as central to the whole thing as the American Civil War was about the South's desire to remain and expand its slave state status, but if you don't think people using it as a fictional basis for another revolution where the revolutionaries are supposed to be the heroes is going to ignore and and paper over it, I think you're being naive.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
And again, if you think people using other failed revolts don't do their damned best to whitewash them, you don't have enough experience with how they're handled in other parts of the world. Yes, the Confederate apologists are a standout case. No, they're not unique.

I apologize. I understand it must seem ... weird ... that I would hold an American show filmed in America and written by an American and broadcast on an American network to an American audience to some standard when it came to invoking American Lost Cause imagery that had been used to subjugate so many Americans for so many scores of years after a war; and that this type of Lost Cause romanticism continues to resonate today and continue to cause schisms in America.

I apologize that I pointed out that it bothered me when I watched it, which caused you to come and defend your precious little TV show and make this a thing, after I repeatedly said I didn't want to get into it. Because apparently there is nothing more important than defending the honor of a TV show from people who are uncomfortable with the blithe way it trafficked in those tropes. And because you, who assured me repeatedly that it was okay because you just didn't see it, feel the need to keep arguing the point.

But sure. Firefly fans ... it is what it is. Did you do a sufficient job defending the great honor of Firefly? Are you going to be untroubled the next time you cheer the Browncoats against the Purple Bellies, and appreciate Mal's chivalry as he fights off the overwhelming industrial and technological might of the Alliance because he was all about ... Planet's Rights? I hope so. I wouldn't want you to be troubled by any associations.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Texas dirt floor BBQ shack, brisket, beans and an orange crush, best in the world. ;)

You are probably right, but the one thing I've learned is the quickest way to a fight is to assert the supremacy of BBQ.

(The best BBQ I ever had was years ago at a rib place in Memphis, but the overall best is Texas. Although ... I know sauce is heresy, but Carolina sauce is good ...)
 

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