Just Got Back From Seeing Serenity...
...And the Whole Blogosphere seems to be talking about Tom DeLay.
Since I don't have anything to say about that one way or another, I'll say instead go out and see Serenity. What a great film!
It manages to epitomize the American foundation myth, using its power and its appeal to drive forward the thrust of the story. Superpower though we may now be in the world, we still thrill to the story of the little guy rejecting the morally confining strictures of a decadent society, setting out alone at the edge of the dangerous frontier, fighting to hold on to his own ground. (Which is one reason why the Supreme Court decision on Kelo v. New London is so disastrous as law - besides being terrible law, symbolically it manages to overturn the thrust of the American myth - America's self image. It's the kind of unjust law we and our forefather's rejected in Europe by coming to live here instead.)
Glenn Reynolds had a couple of posts last year talking about the Scots-Irish dynamic in American political life. A reader pointed him to James Webb’s Born Fighting : How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, and he mentioned this article. And he talked about the notions of rugged individualism, mistrust of authority, warrior culture, hard scrabble existence, etc.
Whether by conscious intent, or because Whedon has managed to incorporate all the right notes of the myth through the mysterious process of artistic intuition, a great deal of that ethos is caught up in this film through the characterization of the film's lead, Malcolm Reynolds. These notions define his sense of the world, a world he is willing to fight to maintain.
And for those of you who are Buffy and Angel fans, there's an image of River at the end that is purely iconic. It manages with great deliberation to tie the three verses together seamlessly with that one powerful picture, that one moment.
UPDATE: Here's Julian Sanchez's thoughtful review, mapping out Serenity's Libertarian turf - interesting review that covers the philosophy of the film. But it contains spoilers - so if you are squeamish about that sort of thing, don't read it.
Other Serenity Posts:
More Serenity Reviews
Serenity and Joss Whedon