Tag Archives: Joss Whedon

Entertainment Weekly Article: Behind Every Superhero, There’s a Woman Without Much to Do

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It’s not a long,  in-depth expose’ but it’s an article that strikes a chord because it’s true. Entertainment Weekly writers Adam Carlson, Samantha Highfill, and Grady Smith hit the nail square on the head. “… most actresses in comic-book movies are still stuck with flimsy parts while the dudes save the world.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that thought myself.EW2

The article goes on to examine eight leading ladies. They report what their roles are, how much time they clock in for each film, whether they fall in love with the hero, whether they need  saving by the hero, and asks the question “do they scream and cry a lot”? (I loved that one! Course I think Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale in “Batman”, 1989 holds the record for most number of minutes screamed by a damsel in distress….) The average screen time for these eight actresses is paltry 25 minutes, all eight of them fall for the hero, five out of the eight screamed and cried a lot, and they ALL were saved by the hero.

We need a HEROINE!

Where’s Buffy? Apparently that project’s  on permanent hold and rightly so without Joss Whedon there to lead it!

What about Batwoman? Now that might be interesting! Is the world ready for an openly gay superhero on the Big Screen? Hm.

Here’s an idea… How about Catwoman? Anne Hathaway‘s version of the slinky feline was pretty darn cool! I didn’t hear any screaming and crying, and she even had time for some thrilling heroics! According to this Huffington Post article Ms Hathaway would be more than willing to return in the role. Maybe if we said “pretty please” Christopher Nolan would change his mind.

It seems that if we want strong female characters we have to turn to the small screen. Since they’ve done away with Laurie, The Walking Dead  ROCKS with great writing for female characters! Michonne played by  Danai Gurira kicks some serious zombie butt, Maggie played by Lauren Cohan is one of the strongest women on T.V right now, and Andrea, played by Laurie Holden just might end up saving the whole Grimey Gang from the evil Governor! (I DO hope that the writers choose to have her save HERSELF from her current situation. After everything Andrea has been through I’d be VERY upset if they chose to have her “rescued” by a male character, especially …. Milton?!)

Pixar‘s “Brave”, a story of  firey haired Celtic Heroine, Merica, earned worldwide total of $535,383,207, and was thirteenth highest grossing film in 2012! It was pretty evenly matched between both male and female movie goers too.

Even though she’s been called a “Smurfette” (ie token female), Scarlett Johansson was pretty awesome as Black Widow in “The Avengers” . For a female character WITHOUT superpowers she was pretty damn dangerous with that … tiny…little… … ….gun…. (really, I know I blogged about this before, but taking out those HUGE aliens with that miniscule gun was just a  bit ridiculous, Joss! ) Anyway, Black Widow was SMOKIN and The Avengers is THE THIRD HIGHEST GROSSING MOVIE OF ALL TIME! Not ALL  of that  $1,511,757,910 came from a guy’s “Green Lantern” wallet you know! I can’t find any actual statistics, but I’m willing to bet that pretty darn close to half that revenue came from Tardis shaped purses!   Geeky women like myself  love action movies and love even more to see leading women represented in the movie as being just as awesome as leading men! Not only that, but anyone who watches “Big Bang Theory” knows that geeky men like watching strong female characters too. A whole lot.

So, HEEEELLLLOOOOOOOO HOLLYWOOD! WAKEY, WAKEY! Women heros are COOL! AND we want more of them!

Second Annual Northwoods UU “Firefly” Shindig!

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And so in preparation for our second annual Northwoods UU “Firefly” Shindig / fundraiser I’m  posting the video of the service that Rev Ellen Cooper Davis prepared last year.

Just a quick explanation. Every year Northwoods UU holds a Service Auction raising money for the church. As part of the auction, Rev Ellen puts a “service of your topic of choice” up for bid. In 2012 Northwoods Browncoats unified to purchase this service. Also at the service auction a Firefly Shindig is offered with each Browncoats offering benefiting our wonderful community. This year we are asking that new books be also brought to the Shindig in support of Captn Mal’s own charity “Kids Need to Read” program benefitting kids all over the US.

The service is over an hour long. Shepard Ellen gives the best sermon in the ‘verse so grab yourself a mug of Mudder‘s milk and enjoy.

(unfortunately it appears Word Press doesn’t support imbeded videos from Google drive… but here’s the link.)

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzAlR5OrM00AVXdwRHVWZnVmV2s/edit

 

The Avengers Didn’t Pass the Bechdel Test. Oh well!

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Yes, I know, I know. It didn’t pass the Bechdel test…. BUT IT STILL ROCKS!

The Avengers Poster

For a movie or television program to pass the Bechdel test there are three basic criteria which must be met.

  1. It includes at least two women
  2. Who have at least one conversation
  3. About something other than a man or men

The Avengers has two women all right, but they don’t converse together once during the whole movie so therefore they don’t even have the opportunity to discuss a man… let alone what lip products or doctors they may share in common to get that full pouty look. Photo from The Avengers

Not passing the Bechdel test however, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a good piece of entertainment. Neither is the Bechdel test an accurate assessment of a high level of feminist content. What the test DOES measures is a lack of female oriented story lines over all. The overwhelming LACK of movies that pass the test demonstrates that the entertainment industry revolves primarily around men and men’s lives and men’s stories.

( What if the Male Avengers posed like the Female one?)

Many, many GREAT movies do not pass the Bechdel test. This includes Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter just as examples. Both of these are GREAT movies, but again examples of the appalling lack of “herstory”. This problem doesn’t go unrecognized however. Take a look at this interview with Joss Whedon and various cast members regarding published in a prominent magazine and posted by Feminist Frequency: The Avengers and the Smurfette

That being said, The Avengers was still a fantastic piece of work. Walking into it, I wondered to myself how Joss Whedon was going to carry this off. In my opinion, Iron Man was the best of the series of other wise fairly bland movies. Tony Stark played by Robert Downey is by far the strongest and most developed character of the group. I really expected this movie to be dominated by the big metal hero. Not so! I was very pleasantly surprised at how well balanced the show was between all of the characters. Each one had their time in the limelight and it was done very smoothly. No indication of the placating father who might give the same treat to all of the kids just so they wouldn’t argue over who was the favorite.

The humor was of course what made the show uniquely Whedonesque. It’s what he does best! What I also LOVED about this movie is that every geek’s fantasy fight between characters was dealt with. Who would win if Hulk battled Thor? Who would win if Thor went up against Iron Man? We got to see it all and again it was done with such finesse that no one’s favorite came up with the short end of the stick. Very diplomatically dealt with Mr. Whedon!  I also loved how it was really the Hulk who, like T Rex, came in and saved the day. I love how it’s this character, which represents that dark side of what we are, is also our secret weapon.

My one complaint is the lack of Black Widow’s fire power, those two tiny little pistols against those massive sky swimming, mechanoid, turtle ships? Seriously?  Couldn’t they have given her something a little bigger? (Sigh , just another case of women having to do twice the work for the same recognition.)

Browncoats Rule, Prevent Bullying in School

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When my daughter was three she could sing the entire “Red Dwarf” theme song. She quotes “Monty Python” skits on a regular basis, she dressed as “Firefly’s” Kaylee at our “Firefly Fundraiser” party and she thinks Abed on “Community” is the coolest guy on TV. When she was six, she didn’t want to dress as a princess for Halloween, she went as Count Olaf as played by Jim Carry in “A Series of Unfortunate Events“… eye tattoo on the ankle, side burns and everything! At ten, she has serious conversations about God and the sanctity of all life. Her social studies project this year is “How Hunger Games Could Become a Reality”. Other kids are doing their projects on dolphins and lions. Pretty cool huh? We think so. Apparently however, the kids at school do not.

My little K is ostracized, excluded and bullied because she’s “weird”. Kids are mean, we all know that. My now 14-year-old son went through very similar difficulties at the same age. He really was the proverbial square peg in the round hole. Eventually he became so severely depressed I quit my job and homeschooled him for two years. This was NOT easy let me tell you! He was angry, depressed, with extremely low self-esteem and he was just plain sick of schooling in any form. It took some real perseverance and creativity to help free him from that negative place.

When I started homeschooling it was so stressful that I needed a doctor visit to help me figure out how to cope with the situation. I explained my situation to the nurse. She sat me down and listened, then told her own story. Her son was much like mine, commit suicide when he was 13. She wished that she had the resources to quit her job and take care of him the way I was able to do so with my son. A week after my visit I discovered a letter from this nurse in my mailbox. It was a copy of a poem she’d written after her son’s death

Just Believe

Believe in yourself, you have so much to offer.

God sure knew what he was doing, when he

first opened your eyes.

He makes no mistakes. he’s got your heart in His hands, that started beating with your very first cry.

You’re an original, there’s no one in the world even like you

no matter how hard you try to be part of the crowd.

So just believe in yourself, and the rest

will surely follow. Believe in God,

He can see through those clouds.

Sometimes life can be so hard to understand.

People aren’t’ always what they seem to be.

Be proud of who you are, God will take you by the hand.

Be for real, don’t give in, just believe.

MV

That poem, printed on blue sky, cloudy paper and now faded, is still hanging from my desk beside my computer where I look at it every day.

Today my son is going on 15, he’s tall, has long blond hair in community of short haired kids and he’s comfortable enough in his own skin that he calls himself a “Brony” .”Bronies” are a fringe community of young men who are fans of the television show “My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic”. It’s true! Google it! C has the confidence to wear a girls large “My Little Pony 20% cooler” T-shirt to school and I am so proud! I firmly believe that the time I was able to spend with him homeschooling and building his esteem away from the school environment was the turning point in his life. Before this he had the fast pass to Juvie. Lets just say that the police department knew who he was and where he lived.

We are blessed. Most parents don’t have the option of quitting their jobs to pull their kids out of a toxic situation. Most parents have to send their kids on the bus every day and worry how they are getting along all day until they come home off the bus withdrawn or in tears. Most parents have to watch as their kid dissolves into a puddle of loneliness, depression, anger, and self-loathing and they don’t have the resources to pull them back out again. Bullying, ostracizing, and exclusivity kills the spirit and leads to violence that kids make either against themselves in such forms as “cutting”, and suicide, or against others with guns, knives and murder.

Last week I had the privilege to meet with Denise Gary from the organization “Kids Need to Read” program. Other Browncoats out there may recognize this as the reading charity sponsored and supported by our Big Damn Hero, Nathan Fillion. “Kids Need to Read” supplies books and reading programs to disadvantaged schools all over the U.S. One of those reading programs is called “Peace Packages” . The aim of the Peace Packages is to help our children develop problem solving skills, teach them peaceful conflict resolution, and help teach them that there are alternatives to aggression. Bullying isn’t natural behavior in children, it’s learned. If kids can be taught to be intolerant, exclusive and aggressive, then they can also be taught to be tolerant, inclusive and peaceful problem solvers.

I am an online, Amazon merchant. I started this small business as a homeschooling project with my son, but now that he’s back in the public school system I’ve decided to stick with it and build it into a “real” business. I’ve decided to donate a portion of my sales income to Kids Need to Read and I’ve specifically asked that my donations are put towards providing schools with Peace Packages. My goal is to be able to provide one peace package a month.

Also, our community has several Browncoats that like to meet at our house regularly for “Firefly” showings. I plan to discuss with them putting out a “Gorram cuss pot”. Maybe every time one of the characters swears in Chinese we can drop a quarter into the pot and donate it towards a Kids Need to Read, Peace Package. They don’t know about this idea yet, but I’m sure they will say “Shiny!”

Women’s Rights, and “Loving Frank”. Why are we still talkin’ ’bout this?

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Cover of "Loving Frank: A Novel"

Cover of Loving Frank: A Novel

Why are we still talkin’ ‘bout this? Mal – Firefly

“Q: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
A: Because you’re still asking me that question.” – Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy

Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So? Why ARE we still talking about this?

I love synchronicity. The other day I was at my local favorite new and used bookstore and I started just a simple conversation about favorite novels with one of the customers. Suddenly she said “Here, you have to read this.” It was “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan.

Loving Frank is based on the true story of Mamah Borthwick Cheney,the woman who fell in love with and had an illicit and very scandalous love affair with famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  This isn’t only about her affair, but about her struggle for women ’s rights and her participation in the suffragette movement in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

That’s right. 1890’s , MORE THAN 100 YEARS AGO!

Mamah Borthwick was a translator for Swedish feminist Ellen Key who believed that the “Woman Movement” (as it was called then) was about more than just “getting the vote” and that American women were being too short sighted in their focus. I have to say, with two hundred years hindsight that I think she was right and we are seeing the consequences of that short sightedness today.

Over the years, “feminism” has gotten a bad rap. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I can theorize that perhaps it has become synonymous with “man hating”. Yes, there are radicals in every movement, religiously or otherwise. Feminism is a misnomer.

Loving Frank - 10/365

Loving Frank - 10/365 (Photo credit: Andreanna Moya Photography)

It is a misnomer because it’s not just about women’s rights but HUMAN rights. I shake my head when I hear or see women saying “I’m not a feminist, I’m for equality.”  True feminism IS ABOUT EQUALITY, and somewhere we’ve lost sight of that. True feminism isn’t about a POWER OVER paradigm, it’s about POWER WITH.

On April 28 we march…. Again….  Why are we still talkin’ ‘bout this? http://unitewomen.org/unite/

Deutsch: Symbol der Frauenpower (Geballte Faus...

A Top Ten List of Stuff I Never Get Tired of

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Firefly (TV series)

Firefly (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all have those favorites that we just HAVE to pull out of the entertainment cupboard every once in a while. Like junkies, we just need that “fix”. Here is a list of my top favorites that never fail to entertain. (In no particular order)

1. Firefly / Serenity (best watched , over and over again, with large groups of geeky friends)

 

      Northwoods UU Firefly Fundraiser

 

2. Harry Potter both books and movies (It’s a long way off yet, but I look forward to reading these books to my grandchildren!)

Harry Potter

Harry Potter (Photo credit: Pixelsior)

 

Borders Deathly Hollows Midnight Release Party

 

3. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (smoking a cigar while viewing is a MUST)

 

 

4. Sherlock (This  fantastic BBC series is new to my list ’cause smart is definitely the new sexy!)

 

 

5. Monty Python’s Holy Grail ( John Cleese running across a field for five minutes, need I say more?)

 

 

6.  A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) (the old black and white with Allistair Sim, NOT the colorized it detracts from the creepiness)

 

 

7. Highlander (and as far as I am concerned, there IS only one!)

 

 

8. Indiana Jones (except Temple of Doom and the last stinky one….see I can’t even remember the name…)

 

 

9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the kickass TV version not the Whedonless movie slop)

Trade paperback cover of Buffy: Season Eight V...

Trade paperback cover of Buffy: Season Eight Volume One, written by Joss Whedon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Two Halloween Baddass Buffys 

10. The Ten Commandments (Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise just don’t have anything  on Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner in my book! I once sat next to Yul Brenners loin cloth at Planet Hollywood in Disney World, that was cool! Yes, yes, I know all about Heston’s politics!)

 

 

 

This is by no means a comprehensive list. I just needed to stop for time’s sake. I’ll probably come back every once in a while and add more to the list in the comments section.

So, what’s on your list of brain crack?

“Whores”, “Sluts”, and “Studs” part Two A Look at Prostitution as Portrayed in Pop Culture

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With the topic of Rush Limbaugh’s misogynistic comments still hot in the media, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how women and particularly women in the sex trade are portrayed in pop culture. There is no doubt in my mind that movies and television reflect the beliefs and values of the culture that produces and consumes them.

The first Movie I would like to address is the 1990 romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, “Pretty Woman”.  Yes, it’s kind of an old movie now, but believe it or not, it’s still considered the number one romantic comedy of all time.  This Cinderella story is seems to still be widely discussed for both its pros and cons with regards to feminism.  The following links give you an idea of the arguments regarding this movie as either being indicative of what is known as “third wave feminism” or simply downright sexist.

http://ugafeminism.blogspot.com/2008/04/third-wave-feminism-and-pretty-woman.html

http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/pretty.html

Even though I did really enjoy the movie, interpretation is that ultimately, it romanticizes prostitution.  Julia Roberts  plays the common “whore with the heart of gold” archetype.  (see:  http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/display.asp?id=5985   for an explanation of the four archetypes of prostitution in pop culture). Her character kicks ass in a lot of scenes, and we like to cheer her own while doing so, but ultimately it’s a modern Pygmalion, a story about a man who “rescues” a woman and she needs him to “fix” her.

A really strong character that’s more current, (in a way) is that is of the dominatrix Irene Adler in the BBC production of “Sherlock”.  In the original Sherlock Holmes we see Irene Adler appear in the story “A Scandal in Bohemia”.  She is courtesan to the King of Bohemia in possession of scandalous photographs that may threaten his potential marriage to the daughter of the king of Scandinavia.  Irene outwits the famous detective, remaining in possession of the photographs as protection so that she may lead a contented life in her own marriage. In the newer version, by BBC, “A Scandal in Belgravia”, Irene is a courtesan to the wealthy and powerful in the form of a dominatrix.  Here we have an intelligent woman, equal to that of Holmes. She obviously has many options available to her but she chooses prostitution as her profession.  Ms. Adler, like courtesans and geishas of old, is privy to all kinds of politically volatile information.  This information is a double edged sword, she is in danger because of it, but it also serves as her protection as long as it remains in her possession.

While I absolutely LOVE this program, from the point of view of this article, I’d have to say that like “Pretty Woman” it romanticizes prostitution. Ms. Adler lives a wealthy and exciting life, regardless of the danger and that makes what she does look a lot better than reality.

UK born scientist and writer Brooke Magnanti also known as the “Belle de Jour” wrote a blog for several years about her life as a high society call girl while putting herself through her PhD. She has been accused of glamorizing prostitution but she herself says, “”My experiences of the business – let’s not mince words here – were very lucky. And I managed to get out of it before it became the bulk of my lifestyle.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/nov/26/belle-de-jour-tv-interview

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_de_Jour_(writer)

The most interesting interpretation of a prostitute from a political view is the character of Inara in Joss Whedon’s “Firefly”. In this science fiction program, we have a culture in which prostitution has been legalized.  Women who are registered formally with the “Guild” as “Companions” are supposedly considered highly respected citizens. So much so, that Inara uses that air of respectability as a point in negotiating rent aboard Captain Reynolds ship.

Inara can be compared to a 17t or 18th century courtesan. Courtesans were often of fairly high social standing acting as prostitutes to members of the royal court. They were well educated, intellectual, and often so socially accepted that they acted as confidences not only of their benefactors, but to their benefactor’s wives.  Inara is the scifi version of a Geisha. In the episode “Jayne’s Town” Inara’s work is portrayed as having an element of sacredness to it. This is reminiscent of a time when sex was sacred and the temple prostitutes were representatives of the Goddess, as I mentioned in part 1.

According to Whedon, prostitution in the future is a good thing right? Well, maybe not so much. For one, Mal, our Captain and fearless leader, persistently refers to Inara as a “whore”.  At one point he explains during “The Shindig” that it was not herself that he objects to, but her profession.  Also in the “Shindig” her client outright calls her a whore and tells her that she’ll never work again. In “Heart of Gold” (HA! There’s the archetype again, right up front in the title, gotta love Joss Whedon, so tongue in cheek!) Inara calls her rogue friend a “whore”, because she is not properly licensed.  So a piece of paper from the patriarchal hegemony makes the difference of respectability even though the services provided are the same. This begs the question; will legalizing prostitution make it legitimate and respectable, and perhaps negate the crime surrounding the profession? That’s a whole different essay.

There are other, more subtle hints that perhaps that a Companion’s social respectability is only on the surface. In the pilot episode, when we first meet Inara, her client accuses her of speeding up her clock to “cheat them out of their fun”. The look on her face at this point says it all.

Apparently the religion of the time doesn’t approve of “Companionship” either. We see this when Mal introduces Inara to Shepard Book at first as the “Ambassador”. When the Shepard greets her with deference befitting a person of status, Mal snickers then explains that Inara is actually a “whore”. The whole deference thing becomes a joke inferring that indeed, the status granted a Companion really is hypocritical. Inara later asks the Shepard if he is going to lecture her on the “wickedness of her ways”.  Since prostitution is legalized in this world obviously against the opinions of the church, we can assume that religion and politics are a little more separate than they are in our own society.

Now that my son is old enough we are going back to watching some television programs that we enjoyed in the past that he was too young for at the time and think he may also like. One of the shows we are rediscovering is “Heros”. You may remember the hype when “Heros” ran that first season in 2006… “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World!”  One of the characters, Nicki, is a single mom trying to eke out a living and support herself and her child while her husband is incarcerated.  Sensationalism aside, Nicki is a very good example of what I mentioned in my earlier “Whores”, “Sluts” and “Studs” posting of a disenfranchised woman, doing what she can to survive by entering the sex trade.  In order to make ends meet, Nicki runs a website out of her garage. She tries to hide it from her son, but as we know, kids these days are pretty saavy. At one point, Nicki is incarcerated and her estranged husband is the one struggling to take care of the boy.  Boy says to father, “It was hard for Mom too, you know. At least she always found a way to make money.”

 

Nicki suffers from multiple personality disorder with an alter ego named Jessica.  When Nicki is reacquainted with her estranged father there are hints that perhaps he sexually abused her as a child. There is a strong correlation between dissociative disorders such as MPD and child abuse, especially child sexual abuse. There is also a very strong correlation between child sexual abuse, promiscuity and prostitution.

http://thehousegroup.org/archive/best_practices_sexual_abuse_development_prostitution.pdf

http://voices.yahoo.com/promiscuity-sexually-abused-children-103848.html?cat=52

My first job when I graduated from University with a degree in Psychology was to work as an assistant to a therapist.  One of our clients was diagnosed MPD. I can see a lot of that client in Nicki’s character.  I have to give credit to the writers of Nicki’s character and the portrayal by the actress, Ali Larter, for doing a pretty fair job in keeping this character “real”. The only thing, besides super strength, that just doesn’t wash is the fact that even though neither parent has any money; they still live in a pretty nice place in the middle of New York. I could be wrong, but I doubt that Nicki’s website makes enough money for them to have a place in New York suburbia with a pool in the back yard.

Out of the four I’ve examined here, I’d have to say that Nicki’s situation is probably the most realistic, and it’s certainly not the life I’d want for my own daughter.

Saving Terra Nova and its Implications for Power of the People

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I’ve been pondering again. Contemplating that discord I experience within myself between my geek like tendencies and my guilt that perhaps my interests and fascinations only add to the frivolity of our North American culture.

I Twitter follow Jason O’ Mara of the science fiction television series “Terra Nova”. “Terra Nova” has finished its first and possibly last season. It’s a great apocalyptic story of a group of settlers and military going back 85 million years in time to save the human race from its self-destruction.  While there is some violence (I don’t think you can get away from violence when there are dinosaurs involved) it’s a series which many families can enjoy together.  I know my family certainly does and considering the fact I’ve a teenage son, and preteen daughter, there are not many programs that interest all of us enough to sit down and watch them together.

Over the last several weeks, it was brought to the attention of the Twitter world by Mr. O’Mara that the Fox network is seriously considering cancelling this program. I was one of the first fans to write, and tweet Fox with regard to my opinion on this impending decision. “Don’t pull a “Firefly” with this show” I wrote, “It has the potential to become the new “Lost”.”  “Save Terra Nova” now has a petition with thousands of signatures, there is a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/SaveTerraNova  and posts in several different languages and fans all over are sending plastic dinosaurs to Fox hopefully to demonstrate to the Dark Lords of Fox the worth of this program.

A few months ago Nathan Fillion, star of the current y running hit series “Castle” and beloved by scifi fans for his portrayal of Malcolm Reynolds in Joss Whedon’s  “Firefly”, twittered an article regarding freedom of speech issue. Apparently, Professor James Miller of the University of Wisconsin-Stout was being forced to remove a poster from his door which referenced a “Firefly” quote and a picture of Nathan Fillion as Mal, who delivered the line. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111227/15534717208/how-firefly-fans-made-one-universitys-campus-safe-free-speech.shtml Author Neil Gaiman also alerted his Twitter followers to this violation of the First Amendment.  “Firefly”fans everywhere cried out so loudly in outrage that eventually the University had to back down. As Neil Gaiman notes (paraphrasing here), you should never upset science fiction fans who feel their favorite show has been cancelled in an untimely way.

Why? Why do we get so passionate about these programs?  Why are we so focused on these seemingly frivolous pursuits? Here in lies the crux of my internal struggle.

I can’t help but look at these incidences as examples of the power people have when they band together in a common cause.  Just think  what the world would be like if we could channel this Geek Power and apply it to environment issues,  women’s rights,  government corruption, poverty… the list goes on and on.  As my friend and UU Minister, Ellen – Cooper Davis wrote to me in an online discussion we had on this topic “What if Firefly fans worked to dismantle oppression/empire instead of for the fictional version?  What if Hunger Games fans worked to challenge injustice and exploitation instead of just obsessing over the fictional version?” What if Terra Nova fans worked just as hard to prevent environmental disaster as we do to prevent cancelation?  Could we make a difference? If we could only get as passionate about the ozone layer as we do about the cancelation of our favorite shows, yes, I think we could.  Geeks change the world, look at Jules Verne, Einstein, Gene Roddenberry… television’s first interracial kiss was on Star Trek.

Human beings are story tellers. We’ve been telling stories since our pal eolithic ancestors first began painting on cave walls. Druid story tellers were considered so powerful that it was thought they could magically curse you if they sang a story against you. Storytelling is perhaps the most important aspect of humanity to separate us from animals. Stories give us a form by which we pass our life experiences onto others, learning not only by instinct or by experience but by the knowledge of others through generations of experiences. These television programs and movies are our modern cultures’ way of sharing stories. George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Joss Whedon, James Cameron, and  JK Rowling  are our modern Bards, their heros are our modern  Heracles , Finn McCool, King Arthur, Achillies, Cu Culchulain, and St George.

We need to allow the power of story to work in us, and then we need to actually go out and become that change in the world. Look at what we can do when we voice with one voice! No power in the ‘verse could stop us.