“Firefly” and free speechSeptember 27, 2011
Nathan Fillon owes me. Two posts about TV shows of his in two days! In this case, a theater professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout placed the following poster of Malcom Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class spaceship “Serenity” from Joss Whedon’s extremely short-lived TV series from a decade ago:
Well, after all, this is the University of Wisconsin, no matter which branch, and that meant that the chief of (thought) police, Lisa Walter, didn’t like it and took it down. She felt it implied a threat of killing. The professor, James Miller, argued his First Amendment rights were violated. So, he put this up instead:
Yep, she took that one down, too. But she did return his first poster, and apparently apologized. But…
Now Miller has to meet with the campus “threat assessment team” and with the Interim Dean of his college. I can hear it: “Now, Jim, you know you shouldn’t have done that, I know, it’s free speech and all, but you don’t want to get them all riled up, right?” You know, that kind of crap. Intelligently, Miller got the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education involved. And both Nathan Fillon (now the star of “Castle”), who played Mal Reynolds, and Adam Baldwin (now a co-star on “Chuck”), who played Jayne on the show and is very conservative and very cool, have lit up Twitter about this incident. It even has a name: Brownshirts vs. Browncoats. (You have to know “Firefly,” sorry.)
Poor college police chief lady. She didn’t know the Browncoats were such a tight group of folks, all across the intertubes, even a decade after the show was over. Fillon can make an oblique reference to the show on “Castle” knowing people will get it, or at least the right people will. And these folks will stir the pot. For once the lib college folks have met their match.
If she had only seen the movie Serenity, she would have known you can’t stop the signal, Mal.