Regeneration Through Violence
October 9, 2005: I just saw Serenity and it's damn good and I just wanted to point out that to really understand what Joss Whedon is up to there, you probably ought to read Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America by Richard Slotkin. I took a couple classes with Prof. Slotkin at Wesleyan and Whedon undoubtedly did as well. It's a trim 850 pages of mythopoetic cultural analysis that'll help you go beyond "oh, the Reivers are like Indians" to the significance of the fact that they are settlers become indians. Slotkin is all about the cultural mechanism of genre narrative, and his approach feels more grounded to me, if perhaps less neat, than the psychological academic read (you know: the Reivers are the Id and the Alliance is the Superego, or whatever). Anyhow, thanks Joss for putting the western back in sci-fi and the funk back in the western.