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March 25, 2008

"A Rapist's View of the World: Joss Whedon and Firefly"

It occurs to me that I may be getting seriously punked on this.

But it seems so ludicrous and unhinged that it almost has to be real. No one would ever try to pawn off something this insane as parody; it wouldn't sell.

The pilot episode, Serenity, was written and directed by Joss Whedon....

The first scene opens in a war with Mal and Zoe. Zoe runs around calling Mal ‘sir’ and taking orders off him. I roll my eyes. Not a good start.

The next scene is set in the present. Mal, Jayne, and Zoe are floating about in space. They come into some danger. Mal gets all panicky.

Zoe says, “This ship's been derelict for months. Why would they –”

Mal replies, (in Chinese) “Shut up.”

So in the very second scene of the very first episode, an episode written and directed by the great feminist Joss, a white man tells a black woman to ‘shut up’ for no apparent reason. And she does shut up. And she continues to call him sir. And takes his orders, even when they are dumb orders, for the rest of the series.

"For no apparent reason," other than the fact he is her superior officer and they begin as soldiers and then later are on a ship, which is of course run by military rules, even if private.

The next scene we meet Kaylee, the ship’s mechanic. <- Lookee, lookee, feminist empowerment. In this scene Mal and Jayne are stowing away the cargo they just stole. Kaylee is chatting to them, happily. Jayne asks Mal to get Kaylee to stop being so cheerful. Mal replies, “Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.” Yes, that is an exact quote, “Sometimes you just wanna DUCT TAPE HER MOUTH and DUMP HER IN THE HOLD FOR A MONTH.” Kaylee responds by grinning and giving Mal a kiss on the cheek and saying, “I love my Captain.”

What the fuck is this feminist man trying to say about women here? A black woman calling a white man ‘sir’. A white male captain who abuses and silences his female crew, with no consequences. The women are HAPPY to be abused. They enjoy it. What does this say about women, Joss? What does this say about you? Do you tell your wife to shut up? Do you threaten to duct tape her mouth? Lock her in the bedroom? Is this funny to you, Joss? Because it sure as fuck ain’t funny to me.

Our first introduction to Inara the ‘Companion’, Joss Whedon’s euphemism for prostituted women, is when she is being raped/fucked/used by a prostitutor. [ed.-- prostitutor?]

...


So, Joss Whedon refers to rapist/fuckers who buy women as sex, as ‘eager, inexperienced but pleasingly shaped’ who ‘make love’ to women in prostitution. Obviously, ‘love’ to men like Joss Whedon, requires female powerlessness, force and coercion.

Gotta say it:

I'll be in my bunk.

You, Madame, are a Goof.

This has got to be the stupidest fucking essay ever written in the whole of the 'Verse. And when I say that, I'm including the Reavers' poetry, which consists of childishly simple rhyme schemes combined with live-performance hammering of nails through people's heads.

She makes only one cogent point: Yes, it is true, Zoe has no personality whatsoever. She seems patterned entirely after Marcy from Peanuts, following Peppermint Patty around and calling her "Sir." It's a cute joke... for a comic strip, and in light doses.

If anyone wants to say Zoe is capable fighter and criminal and so forth, sure, she is. But personality-wise she's a one-trick pony. I've heard people cite a lot of lines from Firefly, but I can't think off the top of my head of anyone ever quoting Zoe. She's the second- or third-best at everything, but not the best at anything. Except saying Sir. There's just no sphere in which she stands out, except, I guess, in being generally, though not memorably, competent.

No plots are ever built around her because she's just basically a cipher. If it were revealed in a sequel she was actually an android, or a genetically-modified raised-from-birth Alliance soldier intentionally denuded of any strong human emotion or inner drive (or any human failing), I'd say, "Ohhh... that explains it." At least that would make her interesting in a Lt. Data-ish way.

I'm also not very happy she cold-cocked my girl Saffron, who is brutally hot, and if she wants to kill everyone on board Serenity, well tough shit. Suck it up, shake it off.

I wish she did kill everyone on board so I could finally see my dream TV show, Saffron: Intergalactic Space-Whore.

Thanks to Ian at Inoperable Terran.


digg this
posted by Ace at 11:55 PM

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