Firefly as American Mythos (part final)...sorry...long rant
Wednesday, January 3, 2007

In the ‘Verse, despite an interplanetary parliament and a vote on Unification (Inara, Out of Gas), democracy doesn’t save anyone. Neither does fighting. “Sorry, Luke, the Rebellion failed. It was just too hot to send in that gorram air support.” Although Mal won’t hesitate to shoot an unarmed Operative, he doesn’t go blasting Badger out of his den in some over-inflated machismo rampage when he doesn’t get paid. Money and privilege ain’t the answer neither. Inara is not as free as she seems. Simon loses everything. Jayne gets pinched trying to sell the Tam’s out. Power? Even the Alliance ain’t as all-powerful as it seems. They can’t control the Rim’s crime, let alone the Reavers. Even Ranse in Heart of Gold , with all his fanaticism and gun-waving, gets it in the forehead. Freedom itself is an illusion. It’s awfully crowded in Malcolm’s sky. The Bible doesn’t seem to say anything about freezing to death in space to Book in Out of Gas . (Note: I don’t share Joss’s atheism…just the opposite. That’s another rant for another time.)

In the ‘Verse, there is no answer. Bad wins a lot. People starve. Things go wrong. Even the Browncoats aren’t all innocent – in Bushwacked , Harken implies that he witnessed mutilation on the part of the Independents, further implying Mal was to blame for staging a Reaver attack. Even the myth of our benevolent Browncoat is a lie. Mal is a bad man, no matter how much medicine he gives back to the local sheriff or how cutely Kaylee says otherwise. Though I am somewhat critical of Those Left Behind , we do see that Mal will knowingly steal money from folk. He will shoot a man in the head rather than let him on the mule to escape Reavers. That powerful need to eat can be quite the justification for liberating anyone from their precious coin.

Mal, on the other hand, still cracks me up when he shoots the unarmed Operative or yanks Simon's cord in the Serenity pilot ("Kaylee's dead" gag). It's not that I think Mal is simply a cool badass, and therefore could kick either Han Solo’s or Picard's butt without shedding a tear (moral tear, that is. I’m sure he’d still yelp when Simon tries to stitch him up again). It's just that Firefly is more real .

Mythos, in the end, isn’t about answering the questions. It isn’t about forty-minute solutions or triumphant endings to thrilling trilogies, as fun as that is. Husbands and mentors die. We mess up and steal medicine for a sadistic crime boss. The gorram air support don’t come no matter how many times I kiss my shiny gold cross. Jayne ain’t no saint that’ll deliver us from boss Higgins. In the end, all we real people know is to keep flyin’. Sometimes we lose, and the Powers-that-Be cancel shows a world more real than American Idol. Sometimes we win, and movies get made. Sometimes grand actions like a civil war end up meaning nothing. Sometimes, the small acts of love and faith and hope can stand up against the most hellish Reaver, Operative, Fox Network Executive, or Alliance.

It’s been years, now, since a small Firefly full of nobodies first flew the Black. We ain’t pretty, honorable, or all that good. We ain’t rich or powerful. But we are real – Browncoats, Purplebellies, and regular folk alike. It is we who are aboard Serenity. Them that don’t care to look much will call it fiction, but we know otherwise. And if you’re reading this, you know we’re still flyin’.


Saturday, January 6, 2007 9:58 AM


Wow...this would have so rocked if it had been in "Finding Serenity"...maybe we can work on getting a sequel conjured up and put out for sale?



Thursday, January 4, 2007 3:11 PM


Thank you, all, for the gracious comments! A truly am flattered. I think I've been holding this in for a long time.

I hear your point, MartianWay, and I don't find it self-rightous at all. :) I guess it comes down to philosophy (yet another rant...though maybe I should find a more suitable place to put these! LOL).

If you go all-out Jungian on this, then Jung might say that we, as a 'collective unconscious' don't have a choice when it comes to archetypes. If mythos is done right, people will naturally accept it because the writer taps into that archetype our subconscious can't resist. So, if a majority of the people accept a mythos, then the writer got it right.

But that's just my speculation of what Jung might say. ('Course, I'm an engineer, not a philosopher or psychologist...) The question comes up: Is Firefly mythos despite the relatively small number of dedicated fans? After all, if most people did accept it, then FOX (sorry...three-letter F-word) wouldn't have cancelled it.

This is my two cents and worth just as much. :) I think mythos needs some time and re-telling to become engrained in our psyche. I think a lot of it depends on a person's 'culture' whether that be ethnicity or, simply, "The way I was brought up." For me, Firefly is mythos... no bout a doubt it. :D Perhaps Firefly itself might not become THE mythos, but it runs a similar vein, IMHO. I think the Matrix touches some of those archetypes: that all ain't what it seems (which isn't really a new thought, per se). And maybe it won't stand the test of centuries like Shakespeare or Homer.'s hopin'. (Any excuse for a drink! LOL!!!)

Thanks for the feedback y'all. I don't mind disagreement. I find Firefly flans come from a good stock, generally...I seen it right from the start. That's why I'm proud to wear a somewhat tannish-like piece of apparel! :P


Thursday, January 4, 2007 1:31 PM


I like this. It's thought-provoking, awesome and very well-written. Problem with mythos, though, is the majority of people need to accept them; I'm not sure most of us are ready to compare ourselves to the 'Verse, however needful we may be of it.

Crap. That comment sounds really self-rightous. Well, it says what I was trying to say, only more self-rightously.

Thursday, January 4, 2007 7:40 AM


Wow that is an amazingly well written, thought provoking essay. Nice Job:)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 8:01 PM


Brilliant work. Absolutely magnificent. And I am in complete agreement with you. This is amazing.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 7:56 PM


Ditto Kelai's sentiments.

You're one smart cookie.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 4:11 PM


That's very good! It should have been in the Finding Serenity essay book...


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