Saturday, February 28, 2015

The bad guys

Jay Kristoff points out something that escaped the notice of Firefly fans: Mal Reynolds and his crew were the bad guys.

Now, when Firefly first went on the air, Joss Whedon was pretty explicit about the fact that Mal was a science fiction analogue to an ex-Confederate soldier going west because he couldn't abide the damnyankees imposing Reconstruction on a defeated South. Despite this, and despite the various crimes Mal and his crew committed, Whedon had the show's fans cheering the crew of Serenity on every step of the way.

And that is the dark joke at the heart of Firefly: Whedon had us all rooting for Cliven Bundy, and we never even noticed.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sic transit gloria mundi

What language do they speak in Latin America? If you answered "Latin," congratulations, you qualify as a wingnut commenter!

Via the Vermont Political Observer comes a story of Why We Can't Have Nice Things. Last year, an eighth grader at The Riverside School in Lyndonville, Vermont had an idea. The USA has a Latin motto, e pluribus unum. Several states have Latin mottoes, including such liberal vanguards as Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, and both Carolinas. Why shouldn't Vermont have a Latin motto? Of course, the state already has a motto in English, "Freedom and unity," but the student wrote to Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning to suggest that it would really class the place up if Vermont had a Latin motto too. The VPO notes:

As the idea developed, those involved came up with a motto: Stella quarta decima fulgeat. The translation: “May the Fourteenth Star Shine Bright,” is a nod to Vermont’s status as the fourteenth state to join the union. Nice. Poetic in both languages. Benning brought the student to Montpelier and introduced her to the Government Operations Committee, which would consider her proposal.

It was too late in the legislative season to introduce the bill last year, but this month Benning introduced Senate Bill 2 to give Vermont a Latin state motto to go along with the English state motto. All was calm, all was bright. Then local TV station WCAX did a story about the bill.

You're ahead of me, right? The station's Facebook page was soon inundated with angry comments from American Freedom Warriors denouncing the idea of Vermont having a Latino motto. picked the story up from the VPO, and got some screen caps of the comments to preserve them for posterity:

Richard Mason: We are AMERICANS, not latins, why not come up with a Vermont motto that is actually from us

Dorothy Lynn Lepisto: I thought Vermont was American not Latin? Does any Latin places have American mottos?

Brenda Smolnik: I DON'T THINK SO!!!  I hate having to press 1 for English now.

Bill Ogden: Go back to your Latin country

Dan Zucker: The motto is on the language of the foreigners trying to take over the country they shood be chinese, since they are more than the mexicans go back to Kenya! i don't speak ATHEIST.

Linda Murphy: This is America! Not Mexico!

It sounds to me like the next great issue is staring the GOP presidential contenders in the face. Did you know that the USA has a LATIN motto? EPLURIBUSUNUMGHAZI!