Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Wisdom from Firefly: losing and being right

I was sure I had blogged about this in the dim and distant past of this blog, but I couldn't find it anywhere when I was compiling posts for my page of cultural posts. So here we go...

Firefly was a short-lived TV show that has garnered almost legendary status among fans of TV science fiction series. It was cancelled midway through its first season, however the fan community has kept it going and there have been comics and board games and similar related media over the last 15 years or so. (Including action figures...)

Yes, I own this...

The set-up of Firefly is very much 'Wild West in space'. Humans fleeing a dying planet Earth have colonised several planets in a cluster of solar systems that makes interplanetary travel possible. Several of the planets are arranged in an Alliance, which favours the interests of the more populous and prosperous planets. However, some of the less well-off planets reject the control-grabs of the Alliance and ultimately this leads to a "War of Unification" between the Alliance and the Independent Planets, which the Alliance wins, setting up an authoritarian government and trying to impose laws on the newly "unified" planets.

Some of the main characters in Firefly fought for the Independent Planets. The soldiers wore long brown overcoats and were known as 'Browncoats' as a result. Malcolm Reynolds, known as Mal, is the captain of Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship. He was a Browncoat and still wears his military coat on a day-to-day basis in his post-war career of transporting goods between planets (sometimes illegally).

At one point Mal is questioned about some shady dealings by a hostile Alliance Officer who asks him how it feels to have been on the wrong side in the war. Mal looks him squarely and says:

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

I've thought about that phrase a lot over the last few years. It particularly resonates when I think about the EU referendum and the subsequent chaos that has followed. I am still convinced that leaving the EU was an utterly terrible idea, for so many reasons, and I am convinced that a great many people were manipulated into voting to leave the EU by individuals who stood to gain from Brexit and were determined to do anything to get that result. 

I find the idea of accepting loss while still holding onto principles and beliefs is very encouraging. It's a good way of responding to setbacks. Losing doesn't mean we were wrong. 

We are already witnessing how Brexit is turning into precisely the damaging outcome that was routinely dismissed as fear-mongering during the campaign, and we are less than six months out of the EU. There is a lot more to come. I have a feeling I will be thinking of Mal Reynolds' reply quite a bit over the next few years.  

No comments:

Post a Comment