FIREFLY UNIVERSE

PTSD and Mal. Really?

POSTED BY: BYTEMITE
UPDATED: Monday, January 27, 2020 10:08
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 14168
PAGE 2 of 3

Friday, March 20, 2009 10:30 AM

ANOTHERSKY


Another point, about 'rejuvination'.

Mal thrives on stress--the same thing that breaks him. But it's not that kind of stress.
Killing Wash and Book, especially where Mal gets to watch both of them die from situations he "caused" affects him deeply, but again, we're just adding to this volcano of pain, shame and guilt inside him.

HOWEVER, I think he WAS rejuvinated in ACTION that resulted in some good, RESOLVED a few things--ie sending the signal everywhere(thumbing their noses at the Alliance in the biggest way ever, not to mention undermining at least something), braving the reavers (the bogeyman is not as scary when you see dead ones), confronting the Operative in hand to hand combat and living...there's quite a list at the end of Serenity.

"I think we lost our fuzzy dice back there."
"Going for a ride."

Another Sky

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, March 20, 2009 3:43 PM

BYTEMITE


I can see the numbing part in Zoe, maybe, but anxiety?

I guess whenever she and Mal are out on a job, she does seem to be the one who worries, and he's the one who's reckless. But she's always so unflappable about it, it's really hard to call that anxiety. And she's certainly not a startler.

On the surface, I think they definitely would be tempted more by criminal jobs than folks who hadn't fought for the Independents, after discovering the scarcity of legal work out on the Rim. There's an element of continuing the rebellion there.

But I also think they couldn't HANDLE more peaceful work, even though they recognize the danger and that it could get them killed. They've been going on sheer adrenaline so long, real peace and quiet probably makes them antsy. And now that they're criminal, they also probably can't see a way out of it, and that's compounded by the sort of stasis they've entered since Serenity Valley.

In the Serenity movie, they pulled off a lot, but it was a pyrrhic victory. And I can see the government being able to suppress the message easily in the Core, so I wonder how much change the crew would see. Mr. Universe's equipment was only able to reach about 30 moons, supposedly (in Our Mrs. Reynolds) there's around seventy worlds in the verse. They were only able to reach half, and most of them would be on the Rim and familiar with Reavers anyway. If you're looking at a second War of Independence, you might get one out of the Miranda broadwave, but it would be unsuccessful again, because one of the major supporting planets from the original war (Shadow) was destroyed. To have any chance of success, the Independents would need some Core and Border worlds to join in.

If they suffered through so much, managed to get the message out, but saw nothing for their efforts, I think there'd be more despair than rejuvenation. Success, like Inara staying, would be a consolation prize.



NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, March 20, 2009 10:22 PM

AGENTROUKA


Just wanna say: This is really one of the most enjoyable threads in a long time! Everyone is offering great insight! Thanks for sharing, all of you!

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 2:27 AM

RALLEM


Earlier I wrote that I wanted to discuss Mal's PTSD symptoms when he will be forced to deal with Inara's secret, but was hesitant to discuss a topic which was a spoiler, and then BYTEMITE said we might be able to discuss this by skirting around the actual secret, so I will give it a try. This question will require speculation, but here goes; how will Mal react when forced to deal with the knowledge of Inara’s secret? Will Mal’s reactions be muted due to his PTSD, or will they be explosive due to his PTSD?



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:14 AM

BYTEMITE


To further elaborate, because I also want to see what people's takes on this aspect might be, Inara's secret is highly speculated to be a tragic one.

How will he deal with further tragedy? Especially in regards to Inara, who, since he might actually love her, or at least might believe he does, is kind of a whole different level of personal tragedy than loosing Serenity Valley or even Wash and Book.

I've heard it said here that that the spirit he might have regained from Miranda might prepare him. Could be.

Mal's got just a bit of a martyr complex on top of the survivor's guilt. He's started to kind of accept tragedy as his lot in life, and I think he even kind of believes that he might deserve it. I predict more stoic suffering.

But it'd sure be interesting if he finally snapped. Imagine a scene where he's BERATING poor Inara over it, he doesn't want to, but he can't help it. That would be heartwrenching, for both of them.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:26 AM

RALLEM


I am going to ask the doctor who told me about the Firefly/PTSD connection to come here and meybe give his views regading this discussion.



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 10:17 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Just wanna say: This is really one of the most enjoyable threads in a long time! Everyone is offering great insight! Thanks for sharing, all of you!



I agree. Just wish I had more time for replying! I've been pondering the deal with Zoe - she definitely does have a selfish stance regarding the baby argument, I can see that. I still don't know if I'd say that's due to war damage or an unhealthy attachment to Mal. Like, if the Independents had won, or at least lost in a less ugly way, would she be into settling at a wholesome homestead somewhere? Would she not be close to Mal? Or is it just her nature to want to be near the action? (I mean the action of the jobs on Serenity, not the action of Mal LOL!)

I guess I like the challenge of her unusual relationship with Mal, and I balk at writing it off as unhealthy. If the character of Zoe was the same loyal second-in-command but male, would this be such an issue? (This is not meant to be a rhetorical question - I'd need to think a lot before I decided one way or another myself.)

Also, I know she has options besides going to the Core (back East in the Wild West analogy) but I don't think any of those options are safe. Maybe safer than straight up doing crime, but on the Rim there's always slavers and hill people and crooked lawmen and gangsters like Niska around. Serenity could be one of the safest places for her. You know, if the crew stuck to the bobbly-headed doll capers.

So much more to respond to on this thread, so little time!

ETA: For anyone who's read my fic The Fish Job, one of my beta readers sent me this oddly relevent article this morning:
http://health.yahoo.com/news/reuters/us_ecstasy_help_ptsd_victims_get_
better.html



-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:05 PM

RALLEM


I followed the link to an article for PTSD sufferers to take Ectessy, and I am opposed to recreational drugs being taken for any type treatment. Are they now going to precribe Ectasy for victims of rape? Wouldn't that be a form of PTSD?



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:32 PM

BYTEMITE


>_>

Rallem: The way I see it, if people are going to rule out recreational drugs, they'll have to rule out medicinal drugs and alcohol. Lots of pharmaceuticals have much worse side effects and are more addictive than recreational drugs. I don't really take any kind of drug, but if something can help someone, I don't really understand drawing arbitrary lines on what is and what is not recreational/legal. But maybe I should read that article first. :)

Mal4Prez: The funny thing about Zoe is, I think this life seems perfectly normal to her. She doesn't see anything wrong with it (aside from understanding the inherent dangers), because even before she went to the war, this seems to have been how she was raised (on a ship, in the military). I suspect her parents might have been members of militias that later became part of the Independent forces.

That makes it harder for her, if there is any trauma and PTSD (and I'm starting to think that there probably must be to some degree), for her to recognize it and want to do anything about it.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:36 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
I followed the link to an article for PTSD sufferers to take Ectessy, and I am opposed to recreational drugs being taken for any type treatment. Are they now going to precribe Ectasy for victims of rape? Wouldn't that be a form of PTSD?

Rape is indeed a cause of PTSD. Ecstasy is not, as far as I know. (Your wording is a little unclear, so I'm not sure what you mean.) I wouldn't worry about it being prescribed. This research is fringe at best.

Still, MDMA (ecstasy) has been used on-and-off by psychiatrists through its history. Without going too far TMI, my own use of MDMA (well researched in advance and carefully done) was the starting point of dealing with my own PTSD. If I knew a local psychiatrist who made use of it, I'd be there in a second.

Not that I'm recommending it to anyone - mind altering drugs certainly can be dangerous. Thing is, all kinds of anti-depressants and such are used in massive amounts, and that's acceptable, right? So the fact that some dumb teenaged ravers misuse and overuse MDMA is tragic to me, because it could do great good. It's so random, like how alcohol is A-OK because it's legal, even though it destroys countless lives of those who abuse it.

Anyway, my point in posting the article here is that it relates to certain scenes in my fic. If you haven't read it, this will make no sense to you. No big.

Bytemite: makes perfect sense about Zoe. I'm having the problem that I can't separate what I see as her upbringing and basic personality from the effect the war may have had on her.

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, March 21, 2009 1:08 PM

BYTEMITE


A bit of the same, actually, and I'm REALLY glad the conversation here brought in Zoe a bit. I'm getting a much better idea of her character, and it's helping me with some of my own writting...

I'm even starting to see where the dividing line might be, I think... Being that she was raised on a ship, her thinking that she and Wash could raise a child on Serenity isn't really so unbelievable. But I suspect that the ship that served as her childhood home wasn't in nearly so much danger, almost all the time. Serenity seems to be a magnet for trouble. It's that willingness to go along into danger, despite her worries and everything she has to live for that could be the unnatural part of the equation that the war put into her.

And speaking of Serenity as a trouble magnet, I wonder about the coping mechanisms of the other characters on board. Kaylee could be traumatized fairly easily, and she seems to have some sort of wall up, she recognizes they do crime, but there's a disconnect there too. Like she's not letting herself follow through the crime part to the consequences of the crime, that they're hurting and sometimes killing people. Wash too, for some reason, is aware how dangerous it is for Zoe, but in War Stories, I don't think he really expected to get into danger himself.

Inara... She seems to alternate between being horrified by what they do but having to accept it, and trying to tell herself that Mal is a better person than he is/thinks he is.

I think Mal shields Kaylee ( and to some extent, Inara) as best as he can, and Zoe shielded Wash. What gets through, they have to cope with.

Now, with Wash gone, I wonder if Zoe will become more aware of the dangerous aspect of their lifestyle, and decide she wants to do something about it.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 3:35 AM

KATESFRIEND


Maybe this will shed some light on the difference in Mal and Zoe's reaction to chronic stress and coping mechanisms:


UCLA STUDY ON FRIENDSHIP AMONG WOMEN
By Gale Berkowitz

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special.
They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research---most of it on men---upside down. "Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just "fight or flight." "In fact," says Dr. Klein,"it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men", says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone---which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen", she adds, "seems to enhance it."

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded", says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something."

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live." In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increase d their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of "Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). "Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson. "We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience."

Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., & Updegraff, J. A. Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 5:25 AM

LESSISMORE


Now there is an aha moment for me! Our success at small team combat is similar to the feminine coping mechanism! Bonding, Team reliance, tending to, and for, each other, learning to communicate on multiple levels, planning, preparing (tending to the little personal routines that help with state of mind). It's an onion, keep peeling!

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 1:01 PM

RALLEM


I am adding this to the PTSD thread even though it may be misplaced and maybe it deserves its own thread, but in the beginning of "Safe," River as a child says to Simon as a child that they've been cut off by the independent squad using dinosaurs, and that they would have to resort to cannibalism. This is obviously a personal foreshadow of both Simon and River, but what is not obvious is its meaning. Is River confusing the battle of Serenity when Mal’s unit was cut off, to the ship Serenity which had plastic dinosaur toys in its bridge? What did she mean, when River said they would have to resort to cannibalism? Did Mal and Zoe have to resort to cannibalism while fighting in the Battle of Serenity, or was she referring to the Reavers?



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 1:01 PM

RALLEM


I am adding this to the PTSD thread even though it may be misplaced and maybe it deserves its own thread, but in the beginning of "Safe," River as a child says to Simon as a child that they've been cut off by the independent squad using dinosaurs, and that they would have to resort to cannibalism. This is obviously a personal foreshadow of both Simon and River, but what is not obvious is its meaning. Is River confusing the battle of Serenity when Mal’s unit was cut off, to the ship Serenity which had plastic dinosaur toys in its bridge? What did she mean, when River said they would have to resort to cannibalism? Did Mal and Zoe have to resort to cannibalism while fighting in the Battle of Serenity, or was she referring to the Reavers?



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 4:07 PM

RALLEM


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
I followed the link to an article for PTSD sufferers to take Ectessy, and I am opposed to recreational drugs being taken for any type treatment. Are they now going to precribe Ectasy for victims of rape? Wouldn't that be a form of PTSD?

Rape is indeed a cause of PTSD. Ecstasy is not, as far as I know. (Your wording is a little unclear, so I'm not sure what you mean.) I wouldn't worry about it being prescribed. This research is fringe at best.

Still, MDMA (ecstasy) has been used on-and-off by psychiatrists through its history. Without going too far TMI, my own use of MDMA (well researched in advance and carefully done) was the starting point of dealing with my own PTSD. If I knew a local psychiatrist who made use of it, I'd be there in a second.

Not that I'm recommending it to anyone - mind altering drugs certainly can be dangerous. Thing is, all kinds of anti-depressants and such are used in massive amounts, and that's acceptable, right? So the fact that some dumb teenaged ravers misuse and overuse MDMA is tragic to me, because it could do great good. It's so random, like how alcohol is A-OK because it's legal, even though it destroys countless lives of those who abuse it.

Anyway, my point in posting the article here is that it relates to certain scenes in my fic. If you haven't read it, this will make no sense to you. No big.

Bytemite: makes perfect sense about Zoe. I'm having the problem that I can't separate what I see as her upbringing and basic personality from the effect the war may have had on her.

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left



From what I wrote, did you think I was saying Ecstasy was a cause of PTSD? I don't understand how you got that from what I wrote, but let me assure I do not think that at all. It was mentioned that in someone's opinion there was no difference from the recreational drugs and the prescribed drugs, but there are differences. I am sure some of the prescribed drugs meant to treat mental illnesses can be as potent as their recreational counter parts, or have side effects as debilitating, but the difference between the prescribed drugs of choice and taking recreational drugs hoping for the best is that the prescribed drugs have very specific purposes. When a doctor prescribes a certain medicine to a patient, he or she does not just give just any medicine to their patient and then pray for the best. The doctor would list the symptoms suffered by the patient and try to quantify which are most important to cure and then weigh the list of medicines capable of helping the patient to the possible side effects known to those medicines. Personally I think the doctors who are helping our young soldiers and other victims of PTSD deal with their trauma want the victims to not take any form of mind altering medicine so the patients would be lucid while trying to sort out their issues.



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 4:42 PM

ANOTHERSKY


rallem: I always took that scene as just an in-joke flashback--what with the dinosaurs etc. As well as foreshadowing that the Mal-Zoe and River-Simon storylines were destined to cross. A reminder for the audience of the connectedness of the 'verse.

I don't think series-River is confusing anything--I actually saw the whole thing as *Simon's* flashback that happened to feature River because that's the two things he's thinking about--there was the beginning of his doctor career, and how they used to play together, and now how everything is utterly, irrevocably different.

Flashback-River COULD be getting garbled Alliance reports and using them in her scenario--any Alliance brutality on Hera could easily be twisted to be the fault of the Independents.

I don't know...maybe there's some deep meaning, and maybe there isn't. Could be the difference between understanding and comprehending, or just the difference between cows and beagles.

I don't think she was getting mental messages from the future, if that's what you mean there.

EDIT: YES PLEASE CAN WE GET THAT PTSD DOCTOR ON HERE IF THEY HAVE THE TIME AND INCLINATION? THANKS!

"I think we lost our fuzzy dice back there."
"Going for a ride."

another sky

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 6:19 PM

BYTEMITE


Rallem: Well, that's if the FDA does their job, which, at this juncture, I'm leaning towards not. With every new pharmaceutical drug that comes out on the market, and the minimum amount of testing they do, you're really making an assumption that drugs'll do what they're advertised short term and long term. Doctors aren't much help either, because lots of them are pressured into pushing specific drugs.

As for young River's scene, I've heard people connect it to Mal and Zoe, but the thing that confuses me, if that's what was intended, why River is taking the Alliance's side. She and Simon were cut off by the Independents, not purplebellies.

AnotherSky: Ooh, I like your idea about the Alliance propaganda, though, could be she's seeing right through it and making fun of it with implausible scenarios involving dinosaurs and cannibalism accusations.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 11:09 PM

RALLEM


I don't want to stray too far from Mal and Zoë or from PTSD as it is the topic of this thread, but I was thinking the scene with River and Simon as children showed River's potential as a reader before she was "trained" by the Alliance. Could River's story be an analogue of someone with PTSD who is treated with pharmaceuticals?

I suppose you’re right with the doctors being pressured to prescribe some drugs over another, but I don’t know for certain because I visit a V.A. hospital where the brands of drugs are constantly changing so there can’t be any pressure to one type of drug or another. The constantly changing of drug brands in the VA does save the government money in the long term, but when the veterans receive yellow pills with a different name from the white pills they usually receive then they tend to get confused. Was it just a change in drugs, or did the VA mess up again, and should I take these?




http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 22, 2009 11:29 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:

As for young River's scene, I've heard people connect it to Mal and Zoe, but the thing that confuses me, if that's what was intended, why River is taking the Alliance's side. She and Simon were cut off by the Independents, not purplebellies.

AnotherSky: Ooh, I like your idea about the Alliance propaganda, though, could be she's seeing right through it and making fun of it with implausible scenarios involving dinosaurs and cannibalism accusations.




Or she's jus a little five-year-old playing a simple game based on the world she knows and her own morbid imagination. :)

I vote she heard stuff on the news (War! Alliance vs. Independents! Battles!), added the undiminishing allure of dinosaurs and the creepylegends of cannibalism and - viola - game! She's a genius and highly intuitive but I doubt she was making political statements. To me, the scene is supposed to show us what they were both like as children - actual children, to better contrast the scene of broken semi-adults that follows.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 12:04 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
I still don't know if I'd say that's due to war damage or an unhealthy attachment to Mal. Like, if the Independents had won, or at least lost in a less ugly way, would she be into settling at a wholesome homestead somewhere? Would she not be close to Mal? Or is it just her nature to want to be near the action? (I mean the action of the jobs on Serenity, not the action of Mal LOL!)



Oh, but you assume that the trauma of defeat at the end would be to blame for their PTSD in the first place. I think it's the war in its entirety, because it was such a brutal and ugly war all the way through. (Where IS Zoe's family, anyway? Dead, likely.) I think you are right in assuming that the seeds for Zoe's behavior pobably lie in her childhood, but I believe that the unhealthy degree to which she takes it are due to war damage, and that even in the case of a victory, she would have had greater issues connecting to people and letting go of Mal than she would have without the war.

Quote:


I guess I like the challenge of her unusual relationship with Mal, and I balk at writing it off as unhealthy. If the character of Zoe was the same loyal second-in-command but male, would this be such an issue? (This is not meant to be a rhetorical question - I'd need to think a lot before I decided one way or another myself.)



Oh, it'd definitely be an issue for me! The same way Mal and Inara's conflict about her job is a big issue for me. If Zoe was a guy and in a gay marriage with Wash, or with a female Wash, and their dynamics were the same, I'd be grumbling about the guy who expects his woman to live her life in second place after his overt attachment to his war past, asking her to have children on a boat she thinks is too dangerous for that life.

Quote:


Also, I know she has options besides going to the Core (back East in the Wild West analogy) but I don't think any of those options are safe. Maybe safer than straight up doing crime, but on the Rim there's always slavers and hill people and crooked lawmen and gangsters like Niska around. Serenity could be one of the safest places for her.



That's only the places we've seen because the crew has criminal business there. They wouldn't exactly represent the average solid settlement. I don't claim the Rim is a happy suburb, nor would Zoe be happy in one, but there have to be places that are comparatively safer for a toddler than a rusty ship with regular violence and crime, danger of law enforcement, crazy mobsters and just plain disrepair. To claim Serenity would be safer is a bit of an optimistic stretch.

Quote:

You know, if the crew stuck to the bobbly-headed doll capers.



But with Simon and River on board, how likely is that? Zoe makes zero mention of changing this lifestyle to reassure Wash, which would have been the most effective way to try and get him further onto her side. Why not, if this is what she's considering? We also don't know how well the doll-capers pay, comparatively. Considering how she crew is doing without Ambassador Inara to sink to the point where they are in the beginning of the movie, it stands to question how easy the legitimate jobs really are to come by.


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 2:59 AM

RALLEM


Quote:


But with Simon and River on board, how likely is that? Zoe makes zero mention of changing this lifestyle to reassure Wash, which would have been the most effective way to try and get him further onto her side. Why not, if this is what she's considering? We also don't know how well the doll-capers pay, comparatively. Considering how she crew is doing without Ambassador Inara to sink to the point where they are in the beginning of the movie, it stands to question how easy the legitimate jobs really are to come by.



Why would Zoë reassure Wash about changing their lifestyle? I believe Wash is a pilot and must love doing what he does. I think his excuse at not having children was not a comment on their lifestyle, but rather on the idea of having children. With this said I think the Zoë is not a sufferer of PTSD because she does have the desire to move on and have a family and is working towards that goal. Mal on the other hand is still lost in the woods, and perhaps it’s Zoë’s sense of loyalty which keeps her on board the ship so she can get him out of the woods. In BDM she mentions that in time of war they would never leave a man behind, and Mal responded that may have been why they lost. Maybe that comment stung Zoë’s sensibility about her purpose on Serenity.



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 3:36 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
[B]
Why would Zoë reassure Wash about changing their lifestyle? I believe Wash is a pilot and must love doing what he does. I think his excuse at not having children was not a comment on their lifestyle, but rather on the idea of having children.



Well, let's look at the dialogue and judge again.

Quote taken from here: http://www.twiztv.com/scripts/firefly/season1/firefly-113.htm

WASH
All I'm saying is we're living pretty deep in the rough and tumble, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

ZOE
Nor do I.

WASH
Well, I'm not sure now is the best time to bring a tiny little helpless person into our lives.

ZOE
That excuse is getting a little worn, honey.

WASH
It's not an excuse, dear. It's objective assessment. I can't help it
if it stays relevant.

ZOE
I don't give a good gorram about relevant, Wash. Or objective. And I'm not so afraid of losing something that I won't try havin' it. You and I would make one beautiful baby. I want to meet that child one day. Period.


Wash is arguing about nothing BUT their lifestyle and Zoe's disregard of his opinion is actually worse than I remember. It's a nice soundbite ("I'm not so afraid of losing something I don't try having it") but if you approach parenthood with the attitude of "I don't care about anything that might imply changing anything about my life", then you're. not. ready.

Quote:


With this said I think the Zoë is not a sufferer of PTSD because she does have the desire to move on and have a family and is working towards that goal.



Working how? She married a great guy - decent first step. But that's where her "working" stops. Which shows a pretty substantial disconnect from her plans and wishes and her ability/willingness to actually work toward them. Which is one of the things prompting suspicion of PTSD.



NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 4:27 AM

BYTEMITE


Looking at Zoe after losing Wash and her chance for children with him may have some insight into this issue.

I can't imagine a scenario where Zoe could recover and heal from Wash's death while on Serenity. Too many memories. And I suspect she might hold onto that hurt as long as she could out of some kind of loyalty to Wash.

But I also doubt Zoe would leave Serenity to heal unless Mal asked her too. And she'd try to fight it.

I think, maybe, she might be clinging on to whatever threads she can to keep going on. After the war, Mal, Wash, and her hopes for a baby, those were her threads.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 5:33 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
From what I wrote, did you think I was saying Ecstasy was a cause of PTSD?


"Are they now going to precribe Ectasy for victims of rape? Wouldn't that be a form of PTSD?"
I wasn't sure if that could have referred to the prescribing of E to rape victims, since the rest of your posts have been very anti-drug use. (Yes, I am that literal sometimes. ) I also didn't think you were asking about rape as a cause of PTSD because the article I linked to plainly discussed rape as a cause of PTSD, and I figured you'd read the article. You know, since you were commenting about it. (Yes, I'm also a smart ass sometimes. )


"It was mentioned that in someone's opinion there was no difference from the recreational drugs and the prescribed drugs, but there are differences."

Whose opinion? I haven't seen that said on this thread. Did I miss it?

"Personally I think the doctors who are helping our young soldiers and other victims of PTSD deal with their trauma want the victims to not take any form of mind altering medicine so the patients would be lucid while trying to sort out their issues."

But doctors do give mind-altering medicines to PTSD patients. I think a point you’re overlooking is that prescribed drugs ARE mind altering. Alcohol is too, as are cigarettes, as are many kinds of food. Mind altering is a regular part of our lives, and sometimes a very healthy one. It's only a small minority that take it to the extent that you seem to be assuming, that of teenagers at raves or hippies the woods, tripping their brains out on anything they can find. I'm not talking about that. I never was.

The main difference between legal and illegal drugs, to me, is that legally prescribed drugs have a carefully controlled content. The patient knows exactly what’s in them, and the doctor can provide safety guidelines as to reactions with other drugs, side effects, etc. Legal drugs become illegal when the same substance is concentrated or mixed with other things, so that the control, the safety factor, is lost. But it's the same chemical. It alters the mind either way.

Anyhow, the article I posted mentioned some interesting bits about brain chemistry and the “cuddle chemical” oxytocin, which also came up in the article Katesfriend posted. Clearly, PTSD is a problem with the chemistry of the brain, and some studies are finding that chemical treatment helps. This may include chemicals currently tested and approved as well as those that aren't.

So, Rallem: keep an open mind my friend. If everyone refused to consider new kinds of treatments, we'd still be in the dark ages torturing sick people and wondering why they don't get better.


-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 7:08 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Oh, but you assume that the trauma of defeat at the end would be to blame for their PTSD in the first place.

Not really. In fact, I've written some pretty damned traumatic events for her during the war. But I still see the effect on her as very different from Mal because of their upbringings. That’s not to say that Zoë has no damage, but I don’t see hers as being the driving force of her life, and I don’t see her taking her anti-socialness to as unhealthy a degree as Mal does. That may just because I view the baby situation so differently than you do. (More on that below.)

Quote:

If the character of Zoe was the same loyal second-in-command but male, would this be such an issue?
Quote:

Oh, it'd definitely be an issue for me! The same way Mal and Inara's conflict about her job is a big issue for me.


But what about Zoë’s attachment to Mal? Consider a man who loves being a Marine and wants nothing to do with civilian life. He wants his wife to move to a base in Japan (or wherever) because the Corps is his life and he wants to stay with his Regiment. Yes, he may be selfish, but would you say he’s *damaged*?

Setting aside the danger-to-baby issue for a moment, I see Zoë’s attachment to Mal in that light. She likes a military structure. She has to have things that way, similar to how a painter *needs* to paint or an explorer *needs* to climb Everest. Are these people selfish? Sure. Can they live without doing their thing? Absolutely. But, to them, living any other way would not be living. It would be hugely unselfish for you to move to India and serve the poor for the rest of your life, but would it be satisfying for you with your upbringing and your needs? Does it make you damaged that you choose to live your way instead?

Quote:

That's only the places we've seen because the crew has criminal business there.
I’ve interpreted the criminal element as being pretty much everywhere, because the crew so regularly encounters normal people trying to live normal lives but always having to carry guns and deal with outlaws. The local law has very little power and the Alliance isn’t interested, (Train Job) so it makes sense to me that crime and danger would be everywhere. Gels with Mal’s picture of life on the Rim, how settlers get dropped off with just a few supplies, and some of them make it. (Some of them.)

Quote:

But with Simon and River on board, how likely is that? Zoe makes zero mention of changing this lifestyle to reassure Wash, which would have been the most effective way to try and get him further onto her side.
No doubt, Zoë is selfish, but I think not in an uncommon way, nor in a way that has to be attributed to psychological war damage.

In the conversation you posted between Zoë and Wash, the way she dismissed his argument is, I think, not because she’s not considering his feelings, but because they’ve gone through it before. (“That excuse is getting a little worn, honey.”) And I think she has a point. How many people keep putting off a scary step because their situation isn’t perfect? Granted – “not perfect” for Wash and Zoe is pretty damned not perfect. But, again, their world is not our world.

The fact that Serenity has such a hard time finding jobs that are both legal and profitable is a pretty good argument for why it’s a better place for Zoe. How likely are she and Wash to find a legal and profitable job elsewhere? Not very, and then they’d be poor and stuck in one place, where I believe they’d be more easily victimized by the dregs of the Rim or sickened by things like Boden’s.

Yeah, I see that as their choice: stay on Serenity, or go look for a job in a mine that might end up killing them and their kids. Every option has risk. At least on Serenity she knows her risks, and has some control over them.

Wow, long post. Good thread! I haven't been this chatty about Firefly in a long time!

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 7:27 AM

BYTEMITE


Ooh, I like that, if there's trauma to be found, keep it to whatever violence that bothers her, and whatever lifestyle choices she makes, leave 'em as lifestyle choices/upbringing.

>_> Can I steal that theory to use in my writtings? Pretty please?

EDIT: Something else occurs to me. the baby thing, as of HoG, is still in the argument/planning stages. I think Zoe is fully aware that there are issues she's going to have to confront on the path to having a baby. I mean, I don't she'd go ahead and have a baby without letting Mal know about it. Then there'd be fighting there, and she'd eventually have to reach a compromise with Mal AND Wash about issues of safety. I think that all she's trying to do, as of HoG, is to get Wash to consent to maybe having kids in the first place, and that they'll work out the hurdles together as they come up.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 8:22 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
That’s not to say that Zoë has no damage, but I don’t see hers as being the driving force of her life, and I don’t see her taking her anti-socialness to as unhealthy a degree as Mal does. That may just because I view the baby situation so differently than you do. (More on that below.)



It's not just the baby situation that has me taking this view of Zoe, although it is the culmination. But, I guess, if you don't see it, I'm not going to try and convince you.

Quote:


Quote:

If the character of Zoe was the same loyal second-in-command but male, would this be such an issue?
Quote:

Oh, it'd definitely be an issue for me! The same way Mal and Inara's conflict about her job is a big issue for me.


But what about Zoë’s attachment to Mal? Consider a man who loves being a Marine and wants nothing to do with civilian life. He wants his wife to move to a base in Japan (or wherever) because the Corps is his life and he wants to stay with his Regiment. Yes, he may be selfish, but would you say he’s *damaged*?



It's not an attachment to a job, or profession, though, it's an attachment to a specific situation, a daily reenactment of a deeply stressful time with the person with whom she shared that time.

And if that marine would place his wife and children in danger to pursue this reenactment life, ask her to move to a volatile wilderness to have children there, then absolutely would I consider him damaged, because I'd be wondering where this disconnect between reality and wishful "want it all" came from.

Quote:


Setting aside the danger-to-baby issue for a moment, I see Zoë’s attachment to Mal in that light. She likes a military structure. She has to have things that way, similar to how a painter *needs* to paint or an explorer *needs* to climb Everest. Are these people selfish? Sure. Can they live without doing their thing? Absolutely. But, to them, living any other way would not be living. It would be hugely unselfish for you to move to India and serve the poor for the rest of your life, but would it be satisfying for you with your upbringing and your needs? Does it make you damaged that you choose to live your way instead?



I don't really think that these things are comparable, though, because your examples lack the quality of hanging on to a highly stressful and traumatic time.

If a person lost their entire family in a climbing accident and then continued to climb dangerous rocks every day, I'd say some damage, but whatever. If they packed their baby and dragged their only semi-skilled spouse along to climb dangerous rocks, I'd say serious damage.

Quote:


Quote:

That's only the places we've seen because the crew has criminal business there.
I’ve interpreted the criminal element as being pretty much everywhere, because the crew so regularly encounters normal people trying to live normal lives but always having to carry guns and deal with outlaws.



Regularly, normal people, really? I think there is probably a far wider spectrum of environments on even the Rim, than we have seen in those 14 episodes. I'm certain we've mainly seen the extreme end of lawlessness and poverty because those environments support the crime the crew do. Mal's example of Rim settlement could apply to recently terraformed places while ignoring an array of more established places because no one needs to drop people there.

Quote:


Quote:

But with Simon and River on board, how likely is that? Zoe makes zero mention of changing this lifestyle to reassure Wash, which would have been the most effective way to try and get him further onto her side.
No doubt, Zoë is selfish, but I think not in an uncommon way, nor in a way that has to be attributed to psychological war damage.



You could assume she has always been selfish and short-sighted, that she has always been wired to cling to another person's life choices to replicate a military structure instead of entertaining the thought of change, that she has always been a sucky communicator and was emotionally closed-off... but I find it more likely and more interesting that the times we see her display these (un-)qualities, it gives us a glimpse of equal opportunity damage, in a way. That it wasn't just Mal who took a number of hits to his psyche but even the seemingly stable, military-trained "warrior woman".

Damaged Zoe is a person I find infinitely more interesting than static Zoe.

Plus, Zoe doesn't use that very effective argument with Wash. "We're as safe here as we would be anywhere else, maybe more so", would much more convincing than "I don't care". The latter implies that she is aware of the danger discrepance, doesn't deny it but ignores it.

Quote:


In the conversation you posted between Zoë and Wash, the way she dismissed his argument is, I think, not because she’s not considering his feelings, but because they’ve gone through it before. (“That excuse is getting a little worn, honey.”)



But she calls it an excuse! How is that not belittling his opinion?

Quote:


And I think she has a point. How many people keep putting off a scary step because their situation isn’t perfect? Granted – “not perfect” for Wash and Zoe is pretty damned not perfect. But, again, their world is not our world.



But how many people use exactly that reasoning to put off responsible changes, because they want something and they want it now? There is a vast difference between "We should be making more money, I should be done with my thesis, we should practice on a dog first" and "I should not be suicidal, we should not be dealing with drugs, maybe I should leave my abusive boyfriend". Yet people choose to have children under those circumstances because "it's never perfect, anyways".

Let alone, "We should not get shot at regularly or be on the run from the law or have powerful crimelord enemies".

Quote:


The fact that Serenity has such a hard time finding jobs that are both legal and profitable is a pretty good argument for why it’s a better place for Zoe. How likely are she and Wash to find a legal and profitable job elsewhere? Not very, and then they’d be poor and stuck in one place, where I believe they’d be more easily victimized by the dregs of the Rim or sickened by things like Boden’s.



That's again assuming that the entire breadth of the Rim is just like Saffron's village or Paradiso, which I don't think is true. Wash is a pretty good pilot who could find work and, depending on where they look and how much training people require, Zoe might as well.

Plus, Mal's legal work is pretty specific: transporting small to medium cargo. Maybe he's being pushed out of business by cheaper offers from large freighter companies or the Alliance's preferred contractors, but I doubt that the shortage of legal work is universal. Outer Rim people are settlers, so it makes sense that they are living a hard life of basic farming, building communities. But there have to be more established places.

Quote:


Yeah, I see that as their choice: stay on Serenity, or go look for a job in a mine that might end up killing them and their kids. Every option has risk. At least on Serenity she knows her risks, and has some control over them.



I think you are ignoring middle options in favor of extremes. Just doesn't seem very realistic...

..or as far as that can apply to a tv universe.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 8:33 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:

I think Zoe is fully aware that there are issues she's going to have to confront on the path to having a baby. I mean, I don't she'd go ahead and have a baby without letting Mal know about it. Then there'd be fighting there, and she'd eventually have to reach a compromise with Mal AND Wash about issues of safety. I think that all she's trying to do, as of HoG, is to get Wash to consent to maybe having kids in the first place, and that they'll work out the hurdles together as they come up.



But she outright refutes the idea of change.

"I don't see things changing" "Not do I."

Plus the "I don't care about objective" thing.

None of this sounds like someone out to convince Wash of having a baby in general, or any thought to the realities of change involved.

If that was the point of the conversation, it would be completely different, methinks. Something like, "I know we would need to make changes, but.." instead of "you're making excuses, and I'll ignore them."

What about that conversation gives you the impression that Zoe is looking to compromise and work with Wash? I'm honestly a little confused.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 8:36 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Ooh, I like that, if there's trauma to be found, keep it to whatever violence that bothers her, and whatever lifestyle choices she makes, leave 'em as lifestyle choices/upbringing.

>_> Can I steal that theory to use in my writtings? Pretty please?

Sure, especially since I'm not entirely sure what you mean LOL!

I agree re Zoe and Mal, btw. I don't see Zoe's stance to be: let's do it right now dammit! I think she's aware of the danger of the Tams situation and the need to talk to her boss about her maternity time and all that.



-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:09 AM

BYTEMITE


It's not so much that I think she's trying to compromise at this point, but that she's trying to simplify her argument, asking Wash to consent just for now to the idea of children, then LATER work out the details with him.

I really don't have a whole lot there to support that interpretation, but it's always how I've percieved it.

Also, I'm kind of in between you guys. I think her possibly selfish clinging to a military life and her stoic manner of expression is her upbringing. I also see plenty of times that she confronts Mal if she thinks he's wrong, so I don't think their relationship is defined by their military roles. But I DO think her reaction to danger IS possibly an indication of emotional damage from the war.

I've met plenty of soldier kids, and they all act just like Zoe, WITHOUT having ever been in a war. In fact, a lot of them are annoyed by how strict their parents are, and it baffles me how much they want to follow in their parents footsteps, go off, shoot guns, join the army... But it's all upbringing. I wasn't raised that way, so I'm like Wash. I can only observe it, not really understand it.

But the way she reacts to danger... Looking at what I've read here about PTSD, in a subtle way, it fits. It fits a lot.

Look at the dynamic between Mal and Zoe in the Train Job, when it's the two of them and there's a regiment of fine Alliance soldiers on board with them.

What's Mal's response? Reckless. Impulsive. "Let's do it anyway."

What's Zoe's response? "I think your brain's missing," but what does she DO? She goes along with it, despite her very reasonable worries. She recognizes the danger, but goes right into it, instead of asking, "well, wait a minute. How else could we do this?"

THAT I could go ahead and call PTSD "damage."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:10 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
It's not just the baby situation that has me taking this view of Zoe, although it is the culmination. But, I guess, if you don't see it, I'm not going to try and convince you.

Yeah, we're probably at an agree-to-disagree point... but what fun is that? LOL!
(And you did go on to try and to convince me, btw. )

Quote:

It's not an attachment to a job, or profession, though, it's an attachment to a specific situation, a daily reenactment of a deeply stressful time with the person with whom she shared that time.
...is your view. I don't see her life on Serenity as a constant reenactment of the war. That's the point I'm trying to make: I think she likes being there for reasons that aren't based in trauma.

Quote:

Regularly, normal people, really? I think there is probably a far wider spectrum of environments on even the Rim, than we have seen in those 14 episodes.
And yet, we never saw them.

Peaceful, settled places would need stuff. You know, food and supplies and services. This would be a source of those profitable and legal jobs that Serenity can't find, which suggests to me that these places aren't out there. At least, not in great numbers.

Quote:

You could assume she has always been selfish and short-sighted, that she has always been wired to cling to another person's life choices to replicate a military structure instead of entertaining the thought of change, that she has always been a sucky communicator and was emotionally closed-off...
But I don't see Zoe as purely all this. She has these traits - who isn't flawed? - but since I see her verse differently than you, and therefore her situation with Wash and Mal differently, I see these traits as much being less severe.

Quote:

Damaged Zoe is a person I find infinitely more interesting than static Zoe.
I'm not arguing that she is static.

Quote:

Plus, Zoe doesn't use that very effective argument with Wash. "We're as safe here as we would be anywhere else, maybe more so", would much more convincing than "I don't care"
But she never said the latter. What we saw was one short little bit of an ongoing argument, and we don't know what came before.

Quote:

But she calls it an excuse! How is that not belittling his opinion?
Perhaps because, in their prior arguments, he brought up several excuses before this one? Maybe she thinks he has other reasons for not wanting to have a child? Or maybe she feels he wants to get her away from Mal for reasons other than child-bearing safety, so there's a whole nother level to this argument that hasn't surfaced yet?

We don't know. The information is limited, and there are many ways to interpret it.


Quote:

But how many people use exactly that reasoning to put off responsible changes, because they want something and they want it now?
Certainly both situations happen. But I don't think this situation is either extreme, and I don't think only Zoe or only Wash is at fault. I think they both have valid arguments, and it's wrong to completely vilify one of them based on such incomplete information. (ETA: I know, vilify isn't the right word. But you know what I mean, right?)

Quote:

I think you are ignoring middle options in favor of extremes. Just doesn't seem very realistic...

..or as far as that can apply to a tv universe.

I think I'm looking at what's been presented in the series and movie and keeping my interpretation within that `verse. Of course, in a realistic multi-planetary society there would be some version of comfy suburb all over the Rim as well as the Core. But we've never seen it. All we've seen is a lot of Rim people living very very hard lives and Core people living overly structured and controlled lives. That's just the fictional Firefly verse as we've seen it thus far.


-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:18 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
It's not just the baby situation that has me taking this view of Zoe, although it is the culmination. But, I guess, if you don't see it, I'm not going to try and convince you.

Yeah, we're probably at an agree-to-disagree point... but what fun is that? LOL!
(And you did go on to try and to convince me, btw. )




Gah, you're right, I did! Break the cycle, Rouka!

It truly is time to agree to disagree. But thank you so much for the discussion!

Plus, since lack of argument now leaves me some space in this post: HOW'S THE WRITING GOING? <-- that is my greedy face

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:23 AM

BYTEMITE


The arbitrators of this debate suggest we take a 30 minute break for drinks and cookies. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:28 AM

AGENTROUKA


I like the arbitrators of this debate. They have good ideas.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:32 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
It's not so much that I think she's trying to compromise at this point, but that she's trying to simplify her argument, asking Wash to consent just for now to the idea of children, then LATER work out the details with him.

I really don't have a whole lot there to support that interpretation, but it's always how I've percieved it.

I agree. Probably because I assume Zoe's a reasonable person who's aware of the issues involved in raising kids. It is totally an assumption - I could be wrong!

Funny how one's understanding of a character can completely change the interpretation of a scene, huh?


Quote:

But I DO think her reaction to danger IS possibly an indication of emotional damage from the war.
I can sort of see that. But I don't see the Train job exchange as Zoe having serious doubts as to whether they should go ahead with it. I do think it's her role in the partnership to bring up practical challenges that Mal overlooks, but I think if she'd had serious reservations she'd have been more forceful. Besides, she looked quite relaxed, even flippant, as they went ahead with it. I didn't see any PTSD kind of freeze-up or anxiety.

ETA: Damn! And here's me still in max debate mode! Do I really have to take a time out?

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:48 AM

BYTEMITE


Ha, I've never seen anyone able to give up a debate right when it gets good, not if they care about the topic.

No, you're right, it's not so much that Zoe has a freeze-up, or crippling anxiety. It's more that she's almost able to ignore or dismiss anxiety over concerns that she might otherwise give more consideration, and go into dangerous situations anyway.

From my civilian perspective, that doesn't seem like a normal response someone would have to their own concerns. Maybe that's part of her personality, but that could ALSO be a conditioned response to danger and war time situations, I think.

Oh, AR, I just thought of something on your side of the argument. Wash says in Those Left Behind that he could take a job on any ship he wanted, and the only reason he's staying on Serenity is Zoe.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:55 AM

RALLEM


Quote:


Whose opinion? I haven't seen that said on this thread. Did I miss it?


The opinion was posted by Bytemite

Quote:


Rallem: The way I see it, if people are going to rule out recreational drugs, they'll have to rule out medicinal drugs and alcohol. Lots of pharmaceuticals have much worse side effects and are more addictive than recreational drugs. I don't really take any kind of drug, but if something can help someone, I don't really understand drawing arbitrary lines on what is and what is not recreational/legal. But maybe I should read that article first. :)



I wanted to say more but cannot find the post I am responding to anymore. I will try again on my other computer in a bit.



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:55 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
It's more that she's almost able to ignore or dismiss anxiety over concerns that she might otherwise give more consideration, and go into dangerous situations anyway.

OK - this I see. But (I just can't stop saying that LOL!) isn't that just part of a good soldier? Oh, you brought that up too. Good!

Hmm, yeah she could use a little less soldier-ness. Her future in the series surely would have gone that way, toward finding her own voice separate from Mal. Would have been interesting!

Quote:

Oh, AR, I just thought of something on your side of the argument. Wash says in Those Left Behind that he could take a job on any ship he wanted, and the only reason he's staying on Serenity is Zoe.
Good point.... I often forget the comics, since I have only read through them once or twice.

AR - working on the writing. Slowly! Just blogged a bit about it, in fact...

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 10:00 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Ha, I've never seen anyone able to give up a debate right when it gets good, not if they care about the topic.



I know myself. It's better to quit now before I start frothing at the mouth.

Quote:


Oh, AR, I just thought of something on your side of the argument. Wash says in Those Left Behind that he could take a job on any ship he wanted, and the only reason he's staying on Serenity is Zoe.



Why thank you. So yeah, there's that for employment options. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 10:03 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

AR - working on the writing. Slowly! Just blogged a bit about it, in fact...




Exciting! Thanks. :) And yay for spring break?

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 23, 2009 10:10 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
OK - this I see. But (I just can't stop saying that LOL!) isn't that just part of a good soldier? Oh, you brought that up too. Good!

Hmm, yeah she could use a little less soldier-ness. Her future in the series surely would have gone that way, toward finding her own voice separate from Mal. Would have been interesting!



It technically is part of being a good soldier... But Mal and Zoe's relationship is not JUST that of the sergeant and their underling corporal. He wasn't giving her an order, so a "hop to it" reaction isn't what we're seeing there.

If she had given him an alternative, he would have thought it over, but she didn't even try to think of one. She just went along, ultimately unphased by the danger. It's like the prospect of danger occurred to her on a logical level, but actually noticing and feeling her own concerns beyond pointing them out to Mal didn't seem to happen.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 26, 2009 12:01 PM

BYTEMITE


I know this fell off the front page, but today on NPR I heard an interesting interview on the topic of PTSD.

According to Dr. Michael A. Grodin, from the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, one aspect of PTSD observed in Tibetan monks who were imprisoned and are now exiled is homesickness, a longing for familiar and stable surroundings.

I think that has some particular insight into Mal's case, considering that he lost Shadow, and tried to establish a life on Serenity.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 26, 2009 5:47 PM

ANOTHERSKY


Something I noticed a while back...people are really intertwining their arguments about the characterization of the character and their love of the character and what that means for the characterization.
And thus...we have frothing at the mouth which is sensibly defrayed by a cookie break.

Now, an example. Since this was originally about Mal, I'll use him: I love Mal to pieces. Doesn't mean that I'm gonna have to sugarcoat the times where he's just plain cold blooded (instance: SERENITY, shooting the surrendering Alliance pilot)--in order to interpret him, even though I really, really want to ignore those clear examples. I love my captain, but everybody has facets--and other people might interpret those facets differently. Doesn't mean they hate your beloved character.

Good that we're bein' all sensible here, a browncoat characteristic! Back to PTSD in it's possible manifestations--and when I get back I can put that list down that I promised about Mal and examples.

"I think we lost our fuzzy dice back there."
"Going for a ride."

Another Sky

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 26, 2009 6:39 PM

BYTEMITE


I agree, Mal is bad... He just has hurty bits that are fun to talk about, especially in how they might affect/influence some of his worse behaviour.

Still looking forward to that list. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 26, 2009 8:10 PM

PLATONIST


Speaking of Mal,

I've always found this to be an interesting essay on Mal and what the other characters symbolize in the story and how they relate to him:


http://www.soulfulspike.com/aspects_of_mal.htm

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 26, 2009 10:10 PM

NOSADSEVEN


I think to some extent the debate here is less about the characters and more about what constitutes "damage". What is PTSD, and how is that different than just a person being changed from their experiences? Surely a person will be affected and changed by their wartime experience, if they weren't, I would be seriously concerned about what kind of damage they're already suffering. (Tangent: I tend to see Mal's "strength" throughout War Stories as evidence of such damage.) But my impression of PTSD is that it implies a disruptive, uncontrollable interference, more than an evolution. It's termed as a malfunction of brain chemistry. But either way it's a moot point because the purpose of such a diagnosis is to facilitate treatment. It's naming something so that it can be isolated and dealt with as a pathology. So in fiction, it's kind of an oddly narrow topic to debate, when you're exploring the complexities of characters more than trends of populations.

In the series, we aren't shown Mal or Zoe having nightmares or panic attacks or what not, but we are also seeing them a good six years out from the trauma. We do see these symptoms in River, whose trauma was much more recent, and much more profound, what with a stripped amygdala and all. But Mal and Zoe, being anatomically intact, seem to have found solutions for coping with the trauma. Namely traipsing around together in freedom, even if not in security. Are these ideal solutions? Not really. "This is what I do, darlin', this is what I do." Mal does not want to be a petty thief, that's just the only tolerable option for him. "There's no place I can be / Since I found Serenity".

Now I don't think Zoe is as tied to the freedom thing as Mal, but she is tied to Mal. So in her argument with Wash over the baby issues, it is not that his arguments are not well founded, it is that they are just not relevant. She doesn't have rational reasons for being on the ship with Mal - she has a need to be on the ship with Mal. That is how she is coping; that is how she is surviving. Mal has a need to be free, so he's stuck doing the petty criminal stuff, because he can't take the "Alliance mince work." And she is with him. So yes, I suppose that is damage, but it is also a triumph in carrying on. Their life on Serenity is what allows them to function. So Zoe's choice is not whether or not to give up the thrills and glory of criminal enterprise to have a baby. Her choice is simply whether or not to have a baby, because her circumstances aren't changing.

So is Zoe's attachment to Mal unhealthy? Yes and no. Out of the context of their experience in the war, it'd be pretty darn unhealthy. But in response to the deficits the war caused? It's adaptive; it's what makes her healthy. It's not poor, damaged Zoe. It's Zoe found a way, Zoe found a life, Zoe found some happiness, and is willing to pursue more. You go girl! Using a crutch is only unhealthy when you don't need it. So the interesting question is, when (or if) she will stop needing it. Would she recognize that? Or would habit or loyalty prevent her from moving on? Of course her fate in Serenity renders the question a bit moot, but I'd argue that we've already seen evidence of her progress - marrying Wash against orders, and all. I also think it is illuminating to look at what she was like earlier. Tracy's impression of her during the war leads me to believe not only is it in her nature to be terse, serious, and controlled, but that she has actually expanded beyond that to be a healthier person. Smiling, even.


~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ain't. We. Just.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, March 27, 2009 1:54 AM

AGENTROUKA


But isn't it a little simplistic to consider it a triumph if she is only able to function under this one particular, dangerous set of circumstances and is unable to adapt to any other situation even if the plans or people she holds so dear might require it?

I think that's damage.



That Zoe found a way to cope with her damage - in a limited way - doesn't mean that it's a triumph over her damage, it just means she hasn't been completely destroyed. But then not everyone who suffers from PTSD or other such war damage is completely destroyed, they cope. In healthy or unhealthy ways. Still means that they are damaged.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, March 27, 2009 7:21 AM

MAL4PREZ


Platonist: really good essay! I especially like the breakdown of the scene in Serenity Part 1 just after Kaylee gets shot - every character reacts as some sub-id of Mal would. Interesting, for sure. I won't restate the discussion here, but if anyone hasn't read that essay yet, you should!

This sentence also stood out to me: "Zoe is the soldier that has never been betrayed – because her first loyalty is to Mal." I think this is particularly relevant to our discussion, and oddly fits both sides of the debate. On one hand, Zoe was less damaged by the war because she had her loyalty to Mal, and that never faltered. On the other hand, having that level of faith in a regular human person is inviting trouble. Hero worship can set unfair expectations, and lead bad places for both parties. I’ve been on both sides of that myself, to my regret.

Even so, I think the heathly/unhealthy-ness of Mal and Zoë’s relationship depends on how aware Zoe is that Mal is flawed. I would argue she is very much aware. I think if he really screwed up she'd be able to step back without being dragged down with him, or hating him for betraying her. I think she could even become the strength of the relationship if it became necessary. I guess that's why I just can't see this thing they have as bad.


Quote:

Originally posted by nosadseven:
Now I don't think Zoe is as tied to the freedom thing as Mal, but she is tied to Mal. So in her argument with Wash over the baby issues, it is not that his arguments are not well founded, it is that they are just not relevant.

I agree - well stated! I agree that Mal and Serenity are crutches for Zoë, but crutches can be pretty useful, right? I guess AR and I differ on whether it’s still a useful crutch. In the end, no one but Zoë could decide that. And she’s not a real person damnit, so we’ll never know LOL!

NSS – the rest of your post made me think of this analogy: it’s like Mal and Zoë have lost use of their emotion legs and both are in emotion wheelchairs. Mal is sitting in a corner and stubbornly refusing to go to physical therapy where, with a lot of work, he may walk again. Zoe, on the other hand, is getting to her appointments and giving it a try. Maybe she doesn't always try her hardest, and maybe it's slow going, but she's making an effort.

I think Wash, being a whole, undamaged kind of person, can’t see the wheelchair she’s in. He wants to go disco dancing, and can’t understand why she can’t simply will herself to walk and just get the hell on with things. I mean, the war was seven years ago, right? But emotional damage heals at its own pace, and it can’t be seen so it’s hard to judge.

I also agree that she’s made a lot of progress since the war. Maybe just the fact of wanting a baby is a huge step for her, who knows? And probably it would be a sign of her ongoing recover if she could leave Mal and Serenity to pursue her own goals. But I think she’s not ready for that yet. She chooses to be where she is for a reason – maybe that reason is, it’s good for her. Maybe.


-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, March 27, 2009 7:29 AM

MAL4PREZ


Oh - I've also meaning to mention this: I think the best thing a parent can do to be a good parent is to be happy. Zoe could force herself to leave Serenity, but if she feels she has unfinished business there, whether outside observers like us choose to label it "healthy" or "unhealthy", she will have problems down the road. Dissatisfaction and regrets would lead to resentment of Wash, and little ones see that stuff.

Of course, the same can be said of Wash being forced to stay on Serenity when he'd rather leave. He would have had the same stuff to deal with, if he wasn't so busy dealing with being DEAD. (Still too soon to be flippant about that? )

And this is why I love Joss - nothing is simple. These two were in a pickle, no mistake. And that's just how life is.

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

YOUR OPTIONS

NEW POSTS TODAY

USERPOST DATE

OTHER TOPICS

DISCUSSIONS
New Cortex system rpg site
Tue, January 28, 2020 15:47 - 5 posts
PTSD and Mal. Really?
Mon, January 27, 2020 10:08 - 119 posts
*An image of a Man pops up on Your Screen*
Tue, February 6, 2018 21:45 - 4 posts
Bathgate Abbey
Sun, January 28, 2018 23:37 - 19 posts
What was the saddest part of firefly/serenity...
Sun, January 28, 2018 20:20 - 35 posts
Rotten at the Core: The Sins of the Parliament
Tue, October 10, 2017 13:16 - 3 posts
any volunteers for rp?
Sat, April 9, 2016 10:18 - 4 posts
Google Group Up for Margaret Weis's tabletop Firefly RPG
Sat, April 9, 2016 10:13 - 2 posts
Firefly Online...is it going to rise again?
Mon, February 15, 2016 11:44 - 3 posts
I want to do an RP
Mon, August 24, 2015 23:31 - 3 posts
firefly on nwn
Wed, July 8, 2015 17:24 - 5 posts
Ship Designs for you Game
Sun, September 14, 2014 19:25 - 2 posts

FFF.NET SOCIAL