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I Finally Saw Serenity and something bugs me

Khyron

Pope Orion Orangutan Omnibenevolence Kosmos, Yes
Validated User
I only watched Firefly after Sol Invictus 2011, so I guess I have a good excuse for not having seen the sequel movie until last month. Something about the ending bothered me:

Mal said:
A year from now, ten, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people…better. And I do not hold to that.
The anti-transhumanist sentiment in that line gets to me somehow. People in the Star Trek threads have mentioned that the Federation is against anything with transhuman implications and applications. This is the same thing, but Joss Whedon rarely seems to get called on it, at least by the Serenity and Firefly fandom on these boards. In fact, having watched The Doll House before Firefly, I suspect anti-transhumanism is a running theme in Whedon's oeuvre.
 

Rachel Cartacos

Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
I think the reason that line doesn't get called out on is because in the context of the movie what Mal means by 'make people... better' is "make them more docile controllable slaves"

Doll House squicked me out too much to watch, so whether it has a anti-transhuman theme I do not know.
 

David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
RPGnet Member
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In fact, having watched The Doll House before Firefly, I suspect anti-transhumanism is a running theme in Whedon's oeuvre.
It's a running theme in mainstream sci-fi in general. The notion that there's something sacrosanct about "human nature", and that trying to mess with it for any reason will inevitably result in monsters eating people's faces, is a sci-fi trope older than television. I mean, yeah, trying to turn people into docile drones is obviously bad, but also see the "now monsters" bit showing up even in the context of modifications that are both voluntary and benign.
 

austenandrews

Member
RPGnet Member
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It bothers you that a folksy character like Mal Reynolds wasn't keen on artificially changing people?
 

Rachel Cartacos

Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
It's a running theme in mainstream sci-fi in general. The notion that there's something about "human nature" that's sacrosanct, and that trying to mess with it for any reason will inevitably result in monsters eating people's faces, is a sci-fi trope older than television.
Me go too far!
 

Dantay

Knight of Dantay
Validated User
Yeah, I guess you can read it that way, but "better" was explicitly showed to be a non-consensual process forced on an unwitting population with the intent of taking away their agency and choice as people to make them more docile.
 

Khyron

Pope Orion Orangutan Omnibenevolence Kosmos, Yes
Validated User
It bothers you that a folksy character like Mal Reynolds wasn't keen on artificially changing people?
In a way, he's one of the goodest good guys and the viewpoint character for the show, so I think we're supposed to agree with him by default.


I think the reason that line doesn't get called out on is because in the context of the movie what Mal means by 'make people... better' is "make them more docile controllable slaves"
OK, I can accept that's a valid reading of that line. I saw it differently is all.


It's a running theme in mainstream sci-fi in general. The notion that there's something sacrosanct about "human nature", and that trying to mess with it for any reason will inevitably result in monsters eating people's faces, is a sci-fi trope older than television. I mean, yeah, trying to turn people into docile drones is obviously bad, but also see the "now monsters" bit showing up even in the context of modifications that are both voluntary and benign.
This is true. I also dislike Jurassic Park, as a for instance for implying that cloning is a bad thing that will lead to disaster.
 
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The Watcher

Cosmic Observer
Validated User
The anti-transhumanist sentiment in that line gets to me somehow.
The line's not anti-transhumanist because Mal's statement isn't against making people faster or stronger or longer lived or even smarter. It's about being against making people, in the words of the Operative, "without Sin." Moral improvement, as opposed to physical or mental.
 
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