What we have meant to say is that all our intuition is nothing
but the representation of appearance; that the things which we intuit are
not in themselves what we intuit them as being, nor their relations so
constituted in themselves as they appear to us, and that if the subject,
or even only the subjective constitution of the senses in general, be removed,
the whole constitution and all the relations of objects in space
and time, nay space and time themselves, would vanish. As appearances,
they cannot exist in themselves, but only in us.
- Immanual Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
The world dreams itself and the sun rises to create a new day.
The sun and the water play upon the back of rainbow serpent, our
sister, in whose dream we dwell.
- me, about 10 years ago.
Yup, here I am. Jubal Early as he spins in the dark corner of
no and where.
Sheís always been very intuitive. Simonís favorite adjective
to explains his mei meiís leaps of how the holy heck did she know that.
Am I dreaming?
We all are. Mal and River/Serenity, in whose dream he
- Joss Whedon, Objects in Space
In every episode, I see the rainbow serpent dropping sticks and stones,
shifting genders and realities, creating this place, this world. This home
where outcasts dwell.
Perhaps, what got me to thinking about rainbow serpents was the opening
scene in OiS. We pan through the ship to focus on a honey comb grid, to
focus on the dreamer, River. She understands the images, but cannot comprehend
their symbolic meaning. Rainbow serpents, who are associated with water
and rain and flood, often devour honeycombs and bees in stories. Okay,
and the occasional village, which I suppose is the part where we hope that
River puts soup in her hair and does not destroy the ship.
Perhaps, itís because Iím thinking of elemental things at the moment.
Burning the earth. Boiling the sea. You canít take the sky from me. Fire.
Earth. Water. Air. The Black. The sound of the sea as Wash and Zoe loose
themselves in blind seeking. Inara stripped of her paint surrounded by
sweeping winding cloth. River, who can melt away.
I must briefly here gush. Joss is a god. The use of view. Abupt cuts.
Pan and curve through ship and tunnel. Peel away the layers of Serenityís
body. Show her beating spinning heart. The rooms where she shelters her
crew. The wide womb where she carries her cargo. Filled with gold leaves
in the outline of autumn trees. The sound of wind like a sigh. Sigh.
Riverís hair and face coming into view with her arched pointed feet.
(Think about bending at the waist versus the knees for a moment.) Feet
that seek Braille meaning from the surface that she walks. Itís why that
snapped twig is so startling. Feet that sensitive shouldnít be able to
break the surface of snow much less a twig. The wonderful juxtaposition
of Jubal Early, like a mosquito listening from the shipís skin, Riverís
balanced yearning up from below. Each with the same object. Hearing. Understanding.
Imbuing words with meaning by listening.
Although, Jubal clearly needs to work on his active listening skills.
A lion. Alliance. Crawling inside Serenity, invading the safety of her
spaces. Like getting car jacked when driving 80 miles an hour. Unexpected
to say the least. When safe and alone, instead vulnerable. His statement
threat to Kaylee, surely the Willow of the series, was chilling, ďHave
you ever been raped?Ē And the evening started so well.
You know as the crew was speculating about River (Psychic. Assassin.
Psychic assassin), I began to think that these dreams are not big enough.
Iím inclined to agree with Scrollís theory of River as goddess.
If River is a goddess, then she is one who is all kinds of chimeric.
Iím leaning more towards Delirium who was once Delight in a more innocent
age of the world, than the triumvir of goddesses. But thatís just me. River.
Fragile, like Serenityís heart. Serenity, that is her home more than any
Perhaps, River does not actually possess the ability to melt into the
ship, to become both a symbol of Serenity as a place of balance on thin
rails and a horrific battlefield. However, her initial dream walking drift
shows that she has reason to fear melting away. No one sees her walk. Only
in sudden shifts into their confusing hidden selves.
Jayne is easy enough to interpret, but what of Book. Iím also fairly
intrigued by Book and Jayneís bonding. What exactly is going on there?
Will I ever know? Will I ever get to give meaning to the text with my understanding?
How frustrating that just as the layers start to pile, my show begins to
slide from view.
Okay, Iím better now.
Simonís comment was a nice touch of texture. From our perspectives,
we can see that any regret that he has over a lost life in no way negates
his choice. Cause come on, Simon is the best brother ever. No. Really.
It is however nice to see some repetition of the price. Not just the running
and the hiding, but the loss of that innocent self. Naked. Drunk. The world
at his feet. Making obscene amounts of money. Making a difference.
ďIíd be there right now if she hadnítÖ.Ē If she hadnít what? Been tortured?
Gone away in the first place? Written him?
Actually, I have to wonder if his insistence that River is just a girl
isnít his way of trying to hold onto the memory, the image of their undamaged,
wholly triumphal selves. The world existing to be won. Itís a wound thatís
still scabbing over.
Mal, on the other hand, is well and truly scarred thick. ďNone of it
matters a damn.Ē At turns calm, ragging and weary. Itís hard to be the
king (here I really must pimp bonibaruís vid for OoG,
itís absolutely stunning). Hard when your subjects betray you, donít tell
you the everything of whatís going on. When choices must be made not based
on liking or pity, but for the good of the kingdom. Such a tiny kingdom
in space. Floating. Moving. Seeking its own calm meaning. No touching.
No guns. Instead of shooting Early, Mal flings Early from Serenityís skin.
Casts him out. Itís not quite the fate that he threatened Jayne with, but
itís not far off. Turns to accept River back to Serenity in a smooth fall.
For such a literal show, after all itís not metaphor drenched Buffy,
Firefly is incredibly rich on so many levels. Go West young man. To the
land of youth, the rising sun, the land of the dead. Mostly we gnaw on
it, but Science Fictionís appropriation of the symbolism of the Western
intrigues and teases me. Although Buffy and Angel take place somewhere
between the fountain of youth and the city of gold, Firefly seems to play
with the dream (nightmare and pleasant) of America. Makes me think of the
American Scream Arc in the comic series Shade the Changing Man (Mad, Mod,
Poet God). Thereís no way to really describe the series (our hero Shade
spent one issue as a road, because he was feeling depressed) in terms of
the real, other than to say our hero has been touched by insanity and everything
in the series is touched by that madness. By the madness that is the world.
At the end, we see River playing jacks. A childís game. Sheís just a
girl. Giggling with Kaylee about sex. Just a teenage girl. She says, ďI
can win this.Ē I donít believe that she is referring to the game. I think
sheís referring to the ball, the globe, the world, comprehension, meaning,
Or maybe sheís just dreaming it all.
Speaking of which, those of you who have not yet gone to http://fireflysupport.com/
and written to UPN to buy our show, shame on you. Although, this may just
be more preaching to the choir. Ah well, Iím no shepherd either.