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Author Topic: Firefly Again  (Read 7445 times)

Akima

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Firefly Again
« on: 07 Feb 2013, 14:17 »

Eh. I wouldn't even recognise her as being Jayne, to be honest; I think this person did a better job:
With the added satirical bonus of an East Asian girl playing a member of Firefly's main cast...
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LeeC

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #1 on: 07 Feb 2013, 14:21 »

Eh. I wouldn't even recognise her as being Jayne, to be honest; I think this person did a better job:
With the added satirical bonus of an East Asian girl playing a member of Firefly's main cast...

wow you cannot let that go  :-D  whenever firefly is mentioned, I always see you jump in to point that out.  Don't get me wrong, you have a valid argument and I support it.
 ^-^
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Zingoleb

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #2 on: 07 Feb 2013, 14:28 »

I was half-tempted to point it out myself.

(whenever I post something here and find I've no picture to add, I go to my reaction folder and grab one at random)

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Akima

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #3 on: 07 Feb 2013, 14:32 »

As long as people are claiming Firefly was cool, I'll be there pointing out why it wasn't.  :-D
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Zingoleb

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #4 on: 07 Feb 2013, 14:43 »

well yes, but it's possible to enjoy something while still acknowledging that there's problematic elements to it. if you can't do that, then you may as well stay locked up in your room forever, 'cause damn near everything has something fucked up in it.

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Akima

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #5 on: 07 Feb 2013, 15:01 »

There is problematic, and then there is directly insulting to your people, language, and culture. I have written about this at length elsewhere, so I should probably shut up now.
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LeeC

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #6 on: 07 Feb 2013, 15:12 »

princess bride is about a former lover stalking his ex-girlfriend to see if she still loves him.

the original star wars trilogy supports terrorism and their humans are mostly white.


most children in disney movies have dead parents. :psyduck:

it might be a fun game to take a movie or a franchise and go all jaded on it.  Perhaps another thread?  :mrgreen:

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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #7 on: 07 Feb 2013, 15:45 »

Or continue not liking it for whatever reason suits your fancy.

Really, Joss Whedon doesn't need anyone to defend his multi million dollar creation. Especially not in the rather childish manner of fandom.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #8 on: 07 Feb 2013, 15:54 »

(I've split this out from the Pointless Thread, as a possibly troublesome diversion.  Note that last time the subject was discussed - linked by Akima above - the thread ended up getting locked.)
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Zingoleb

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #9 on: 07 Feb 2013, 15:58 »

As long as people are claiming Firefly was cool, I'll be there pointing out why it wasn't.  :-D
Firefly is awesome. Deal with it.

...says the white person, I might point out.
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #10 on: 07 Feb 2013, 16:15 »

On the subject of jaded views of media that I still happen to like...

1. Firefly is about how the evil Union crushed the noble Confederacy; aka the romanticisation of the Confederate South.

2. The Battlestar Galactica reboot is basically about how Fascism is a pretty useful form of government.

3. The Wire is about how everything is terrible forever and always. This isn't really a jaded look at the show so much as the actual message though.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #11 on: 07 Feb 2013, 16:31 »

well yes, but it's possible to enjoy something while still acknowledging that there's problematic elements to it. if you can't do that, then you may as well stay locked up in your room forever, 'cause damn near everything has something fucked up in it.

Thanks for the inspiration! I had an intuition to stay locked in my room forever, but hadn't quite figured out a good reason for it.

Akima, as I acknowledge that Firefly violated its core premise by not having Chinese-descended cast members, are you willing to give it credit for snappy dialog and interesting ideas ("Jaynestown", for example, on the social value of untrue symbolism)?
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LeeC

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #12 on: 07 Feb 2013, 16:51 »

Honestly I like firefly because it pulls of the "space western" in a less cheesy way.  I also rather like most of the characters.
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BeoPuppy

Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #13 on: 07 Feb 2013, 17:11 »

I always have the feeling that I am missing something about this show. I really don't like it but everyone else seems over the moon with it. What am I missing?

Obviously some controversy ... But beside that?
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #14 on: 07 Feb 2013, 17:34 »

It's Joss Whedon. If you like him, great! because everything he ever does is very, very, very obvious that it's Joss Whedon. This has its ups and downs, because if you love his writing (like I do), he writes everything in the same style. If you don't (as you don't), welp, you're just plum out of luck.

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Akima

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #15 on: 07 Feb 2013, 17:39 »

Akima, as I acknowledge that Firefly violated its core premise by not having Chinese-descended cast members, are you willing to give it credit for snappy dialog and interesting ideas ("Jaynestown", for example, on the social value of untrue symbolism)?
Certainly I can, and in fact have. Does the often-high quality of the writing and acting in Firefly make up for the deep structural flaws in its world-building (which includes the questionable casting decisions), or the production team's general attitudes to Chinese people, language, and culture as represented in the end product? For me the answer, obviously, is no. D.W.Griffith's "Birth Of A Nation" is universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking piece of cinema, and its creator is regarded as a brilliant pioneer of film-making. Does that make up for the film's frightful racism? For me, once again, the answer is no.

Part of the reason I'm hostile to Firefly, is precisely because Joss Whedon is not a hack like Sax Rohmer. I find it very hard to understand how a work like Firefly could come from a man who could say this:

"Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now."
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #16 on: 07 Feb 2013, 17:46 »

I think Joss Whedon is kind of a victim of his own fanbase at times. The man has made some problematic stuff (as practically every content creator has), Firefly's racial issues and Dollhouse in general, and his fanbase defends his virtue with religious zeal. It compounds a lot of the irritation with the issues that do arise.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #17 on: 07 Feb 2013, 17:53 »

2. The Battlestar Galactica reboot is basically about how Fascism is a pretty useful form of government.

Well yeah, there's a reason most democracies include unique precepts for how they work when at total war. It just isn't very nice to continue to have it when not at war (outside the military). If you're one medium-sized town away from the extinction of your species it might be time to get pragmatic.  :wink:

There is problematic, and then there is directly insulting to your people, language, and culture. I have written about this at length elsewhere, so I should probably shut up now.
Quote
Yes, I am prejudiced by Firefly's neo-colonialist (to put it generously) that "stuff" from China, Japan etc. is cool (though not so much that they get it right of course)

Now I haven't even seen Firefly yet (heck, I just got done with BSG last year and Gaius Baltar is mai husbando), but here's to hoping you're consistent in such objections for all cultures, since lots of people aren't. Such as when they cast a black guy as Heimdall, the Whitest of the Gods. If it wasn't for the fact that it's a comic-book movie, and thus expected to screw up everything anyway, that would've been mighty silly. On the other hand the people complaining about non-Nordic people seen in Valhalla are morons, since entry to it is not predicated on race or prostrating yourself to 'the Gods', but rather being useful to Odin in Ragnarök.

Or, say, casting a biopic of Carl Mannerheim, the Marshal of Finland and father of the nation, with Kenyans in an attempt to stir up controversy. It's the media. Depictions of people/cultures/history can be.. sub-par, to say the least.

I'm going to have to Inigo Montoya your use of "Neo-Colonialism", though, since the definition I'm reading doesn't seem to apply? I doubt Joss Whedon is exerting a lot of external control over the sovereignty of undeveloped nations. Not just "depicts aspects of my culture in ways I don't like". Join the club.  :lol:
« Last Edit: 07 Feb 2013, 17:59 by Valdís »
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #18 on: 07 Feb 2013, 18:37 »

It's colonialism to steal a country's natural resources or its artwork, and arguably at least analogous to colonialism to uproot pieces of culture that die without context.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #19 on: 07 Feb 2013, 20:32 »

I think Joss Whedon is kind of a victim of his own fanbase at times. The man has made some problematic stuff (as practically every content creator has), Firefly's racial issues and Dollhouse in general, and his fanbase defends his virtue with religious zeal. It compounds a lot of the irritation with the issues that do arise.

dollhouse is the only Whedon series that I seriously love. I love it because of how problematic it is. That is the point of that particular show. I don't understand the people who say that Dollhouse condones objectification or slavery or rape. I feel as though the show clearly depicts that these are not positive things. Its subtle, but the condemnation is there.

(ackbloom, i'm not saying that you, specifically, say these things about dollhouse. But whenever someone talks about how problematic dollhouse is those are the issues that they usually bring up.)

The whedon show that makes me facepalm the most is Buffy. Xanders misogynistic character, the way that EVERY black character dies (oh, wait, no, one lives), the treatment of people of color in general on that show, and the way that Willow essentially raping Tara is completely overlooked. I like certain episodes, even certain season arcs, but there are so many times when I just want to reach through the screen and slap the writers.
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #20 on: 07 Feb 2013, 21:00 »

Buffy I can't speak for because I just never saw more than a few episodes. I saw enough to know it wasn't my cup of tea, but I haven't seen enough to judge it's portrayals of characters and the like. I've read some analytical pieces over the show that don't paint a terribly pretty picture of certain aspects of it, Willow, Xander and Spike being three of the more commonly mentioned things, but I don't know how much of it can be taken at face value. It still sounds like it did a lot of things right, but Whedon definitely has several blind spots.

From what I saw of Dollhouse, which was the first season, I can't help but feel like Whedon fell into the rather common trap of becoming what it was criticizing. It's a fine line to walk and I'm not convinced it walked it very well at all. There's a lot to be said about some rather nasty things in Firefly too if you take a critical eye to it, even ignoring the most obvious issue that's been brought up.

I mean, I'm not going to say anyone can't enjoy them clearly. This is coming from a guy who has watched and enjoyed a film called "The Gestapo's Last Orgy", a 70's Nazisploitation flick where a group of Nazis eat a Jewish baby and it's mother at a dinner table, among a lot of other horrible things. Over the years I have just become incredibly tired of having to explain to faux "Free Speech" and "art defenders" slinging vitrol at anyone who dares find anything they enjoy offensive, that they don't get a say in what someone else finds offensive. It's especially frustrating when criticism get's labeled as "censorship", which has gotten a hell of a lot more common in the last few years.

Edit: Basically I'm saying fandom can be fucking terrible.
« Last Edit: 07 Feb 2013, 22:31 by ackblom12 »
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Jace

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #21 on: 07 Feb 2013, 22:58 »

citation: Homestuck fandom, various anime fandom, comic book fandom, literally any and every fandom.
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Zingoleb

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #22 on: 07 Feb 2013, 23:03 »

I'm getting into Homestuck. Trying to, anyways, 'cause holy fucking shit there's so much of it.
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #23 on: 07 Feb 2013, 23:10 »

I love Homestuck so much, and hate it's fan so much more.
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Zingoleb

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #24 on: 07 Feb 2013, 23:11 »

I follow a couple homestuck blogs, but they don't seem to be that bad?

I mean, at least it's not the Sherlock fandom.
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #25 on: 07 Feb 2013, 23:16 »

So many terrible fandoms.



This is actually pretty great mind you.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #26 on: 07 Feb 2013, 23:33 »

"TW: Headcanon"
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Akima

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #27 on: 08 Feb 2013, 00:06 »

I'm going to have to Inigo Montoya your use of "Neo-Colonialism", though, since the definition I'm reading doesn't seem to apply? I doubt Joss Whedon is exerting a lot of external control over the sovereignty of undeveloped nations. Not just "depicts aspects of my culture in ways I don't like". Join the club.  :lol:
Colonialists certainly exerted a lot of external control over the sovereignty of "undeveloped nations". Just as often though, they refused to recognise that "undeveloped nations" had any sovereignty at all, and simply took ownership of their land, largely destroying the native culture in the process. All colonialists essentially regarded everything about the peoples and territories they conquered as theirs for the taking. They felt entitled to ascribe or deny value, on the basis of their values and judgements, to every part of native cultures, and to separate, physically and socially, cultural artefacts from the people who produced them. They would happily collect Tang bronzes, for example, as superb works of art, while refusing to admit Chinese people to their homes except perhaps as servants.

The balance of power in the world has changed, and colonialists can't march about in pith helmets looting Chinese palaces any more. However the underlying attitude of, for example, modern Western museum curators to their often ill-gotten collections is essentially the same as their ancestors': "We stole this stuff fair and square, and we're keeping it." They also share the same attitude that it is acceptable to separate the products of a culture from the culture that produced them, not just physically, but conceptually as well as. To declare, in effect, that a culture's "stuff" is cool because they say so, but the people who produced it are not and don't have a say in the matter. All that has changed is their ability to exert "hard power" over their erstwhile victims, not the exploitive underlying attitudes, so domination is exerted by "soft power" instead. This is neo-colonialism in my opinion.

I call Firefly's attitude to Chinese language and culture neo-colonialist, because it is essentially the same as that of the hypothetical 19th century European collector of Tang bronzes I mentioned above. That Chinese "stuff" is cool, but Chinese people are not. That Chinese people make good set dressing (provided of course that they are sufficiently stereotyped as prostitutes, pseudo-ninjas, anonymous coolies in big hats etc.), but we don't want to hear their voices. That was the point I was making in the sentence you quoted selectively, highlighting words that were incidental rather than central to what I actually said:

"Yes, I am prejudiced by Firefly's neo-colonialist (to put it generously) attitude that "stuff" from China, Japan etc. is cool (though not so much that they get it right of course), but the people are not."

It is not so much that Firefly got so many things wrong; I can easily forgive the cast of Firefly for their dreadful Mandarin pronunciation, for example. However, the basic structure of the series, and the questionable casting, cast a very unflattering light on the attitudes of the creative team. It never seems to have occurred to them that there was a problem. As far as I am aware, Joss Whedon still doesn't see a problem, but thinks it's all rather amusing (Apparently, it's OK not to cast Asians as long as you do it ironically).
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BeoPuppy

Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #28 on: 08 Feb 2013, 00:17 »

It's Joss Whedon. If you like him, great! because everything he ever does is very, very, very obvious that it's Joss Whedon. This has its ups and downs, because if you love his writing (like I do), he writes everything in the same style. If you don't (as you don't), welp, you're just plum out of luck.
Yes, but that's not what's happening. I love Buffy, the movie and the series and Angel. And Firefly did nothing for me.
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #29 on: 08 Feb 2013, 01:29 »

I've heard Whedon kind of has a history of not taking any criticism of his portrayals seriously. This might be in part because his fandom claim him as the bestest feminist film maker of all time. He does some good work in that area overall, especially now that he seems to have left behind the "damaged teenage girl" thing, but ehhhhh.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #30 on: 08 Feb 2013, 02:02 »

I have written about this at length elsewhere, so I should probably shut up now.

Whoa everyone is so hostile in that thread! Especially funny to see Carl-E lashing out at people.  :-D Did you get nicer since then?

(Is it because of the squats. I bet it's the squats.)
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #31 on: 08 Feb 2013, 02:09 »

Yeah, that was not a pleasant thread for anyone involved. Even just reading it was a bit uncomfortable. Though that's kind of the norm when people dare criticize Whedon. Some diehard fan always manages to come in to defend him to their dying breath, like there is a psychic link shared amongst fandom.
« Last Edit: 08 Feb 2013, 02:38 by ackblom12 »
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #32 on: 08 Feb 2013, 04:04 »

Confession: I thought Joss Whedon was a woman. I hadn't got a clue that he directed Buffy.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #33 on: 08 Feb 2013, 05:20 »

Raising the interesting question of what makes someone "white". I'm sure I've told you guys before about how when Camp Eed went actual camping with Edith and one of her friends, who is black, we noticed that Edith's skin was darker than Kristen's despite Edith being "white" and Kristen being "black".
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ackblom12

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #34 on: 08 Feb 2013, 05:45 »

Summary of Whiteness Theory

If you are interested in the academic side of things.
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #35 on: 08 Feb 2013, 05:56 »

Raising the interesting question of what makes someone "white". I'm sure I've told you guys before about how when Camp Eed went actual camping with Edith and one of her friends, who is black, we noticed that Edith's skin was darker than Kristen's despite Edith being "white" and Kristen being "black".

It gets particularly silly with Americans and their "one drop rule" thinking, where someone can have 80% European heritage, but still be considered "black", or counting Latino people in a separate category when it depends completely on the region whether they are or not (since some regions of f.e. Mexico are still almost entirely Nahuatl/Mayan/etc and some are almost entirely European).

Those two examples actually points out the doublethink involved, too, since the European Latinos will have "white features" even if slightly less white skin where-as the "black" population singled out as such generally has "black features" even if whiter skinned. Such as only two of these people being "white".

Like if we would draw some arbitrary line about how much "Lapplanderness" you'd have before we stopped considering you Swedish. It's so 1750s.  :?
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #36 on: 08 Feb 2013, 09:17 »

Summary of Whiteness Theory

If you are interested in the academic side of things.

that's a pretty good summary. Basically, "white" has very little to do with skin color and almost everything to do with the character of being unremarkable, and therefor part of the dominant group. Note that, in the US, Irish and Italian were not originally considered white, but came to be considered so over time.

An example: I was once working as tech support and sitting in on a chat room for an online class. Both the student and the professor were from rural Kentucky and the subject of the class was how culture impacts special education.

The student: "I don't think we have any cultures in the school where I work."
The professor: "Good."

Only people who were considered "white" [in the US context] could ever make such a bizarre statement, or affirm it as accurate. White culture is invisible, especially in the rural parts of this state, because everyone is "white."
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #37 on: 09 Feb 2013, 19:41 »

No, it's just that Kentucky's uncultured.   :lol:


Whoa everyone is so hostile in that thread! Especially funny to see Carl-E lashing out at people.  :-D Did you get nicer since then?

(Is it because of the squats. I bet it's the squats.)

I've been thinking about this for two days, after re-reading that thread.  It was a very different time... it was soon after my daughter got sick, I was still living away from home and had a lot of time on my hands and no social life.  If I have it right, it was after her cancer was found and removed, but still before her neurological diagnosis.  It was also the early days of moderation, and there were people around who weren't moderatable.  In particular, I had taken it upon myself to interact directly with Odin, who had joined with the attitude of a 4chan denizen, dropping troll grenades and laughing maniacally.  By the time of the thread in question he was at least articulating his point of view - it was a big improvement. 

Didn't stop him from getting banned soon after anyway. 

I also acted terribly towards Snubnose when he first joined up.  I don't know why, something about him just rubbed me the wrong way.  Akima was a major factor in straightening me out on that point. 


I like to think I've matured a bit since then. 




Or maybe it really is the squats...
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #38 on: 09 Feb 2013, 22:48 »

How bad would Firefly have seemed if it had not been preceded by the media's previous century of Chinese villains and caricatures?
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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #39 on: 10 Feb 2013, 11:59 »

I don't have a lot to add, but if I had posted in the old thread, I would have posted a version of something like this:

I am a fan of Firefly. I really like the actors in the main cast, the story/space-cowboy vibe is interesting (because I'm a sucker for sci-fi), and I still enjoy it after multiple viewings because I love the sense of humor. However, I don't think the show is perfect nor do I think everyone should gush over it all of the time because there are quite a few things wrong with the show. (Which has been covered at length.) I like it in spite of its problems, but I don't ignore them. I know those problems are there and I process them along with the parts I like.

Also I think it's important for me to point out, I don't really care one way or the other about Joss Whedon. I like Firefly and I liked the Avengers movie and the rest of his stuff is whatever. I can remember one episode of Buffy that I liked (Hush) and that's it.
« Last Edit: 10 Feb 2013, 12:07 by Linds »
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idontunderstand

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Re: Firefly Again
« Reply #40 on: 10 Feb 2013, 13:26 »

Carl-E: Notice I don't think you were out of line or anything... just a bit more gusto to your responses than what I've seen from you during my time here. You're like... the message board's nice uncle. pwhodges being the scary grand daddy.  :lol:
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