GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Culture Shock - FutureVerse Musings...

POSTED BY: SPACEANJL
UPDATED: Friday, February 8, 2008 03:32
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Friday, November 9, 2007 4:19 AM

SPACEANJL


So many worlds. The melting pot of cultures, the possible histories. So far, I've added characters with Japanese and Egyptian heritage. But if the entirety of Earth That Was has been crammed into ships and flown away, what would the end result really be? There are a few threads on the matter, but I think you have to work on the basis that every culture is in some sense artificial. They have one place of origin, but the heritage will no longer be rooted in a place. So...no holy places to visit. No ancestral homeland that can be walked. Monuments might be transplanted - (If they can move the Aswan Dam, then why not the Pyramids?) but a moved and reconstructed feature will always be just that, and somehow lacking the original context.

Would cultures mingle, or would they be kept separate, a deliberate policy to maintain cultural diversity? Of course, if you keep a culture static, is it then an artificial construct itself? I could see that families would keep languages, artifacts as a cultural inheritance, but what kind of baggage would the colonists have been permitted? If the reliance is on verbal transmission, well, things get corrupted over time, unless the culture is one reliant on that form of transmission.

One point in 'Heart of Gold' interested me greatly. Nandi's implication that the moon was being kept deliberately cod-Western to satisfy Burgess. And then in 'Safe', the mudders were creating their own mythology. The scope is there for rich folk to create their own version of a world and history. (And what I'm going to do with that little gem is whole other weirdfest.)

Frankly, on some level, there will be an authorised version of history, the 'correct' pronunciation of a given language. The Alliance would seem to be trying to McCulture the 'Verse. (A cross between the Roman Empire and McDonalds?) There are after all some quaint cultural folkways in our own world that could well go on their way, in a future of equality and enlightenment. Hopefully, the new 'verse should be big enough for folk to spread out and do their own thing, but I wouldn't count on it. People are stupid.



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Friday, November 9, 2007 4:52 AM

WYTCHCROFT


nice thread - will ponder on it some...

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Friday, November 9, 2007 6:06 AM

SPACEANJL


And, of course, there is the food of the future...

If everything came out of a vat (DNA scrip) you would have your stock animals, but was there an Ark of species? Ecosystems would suggest that everything must have been transported and kept for the sake of biodiversity, but in a mainly Buddhist society, do the Core worlds eat meat? Perhaps a compromise, vat-grown protein for the unregenerate carnivore. (I could barf on my shoes, just thinking about that.) Could be a cultural issue, the right to eat whatever the hell you can keep on your plate, best two out of three.

It would make sense of the cow-smuggling, too.

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Friday, November 9, 2007 8:13 AM

WYTCHCROFT


LOL!

more seriously - i keep thinking of the Mikado and the film about it Topsy Turvy...

creative Victorian goes to japanese exhibition and is inspired to create a light musical opera with absolutely no authentic contextual content whatever - it's an act of cultural colonisation - created even as the people of the film discuss general gordon (the gofer) and the end (twilight anyhow) of the british empire.

two poles of the same see-saw.

and yet and yet - the mikado is popular still, is in fact a thing of DELIGHT.

or the african art that hit paris big in the early 20th cetnury and was gobbled up and spat back out as 'wonderful primitivism' by picasso and such - whose works were worth much more to the market tra la.

but it's rock n roll neh?
smash n grab.

the firefly universe feels the same.

possibly.

i love your idea of private worlds - in fact (again with the victorian) 'Folly worlds'. appeals greatly.

but certainly away from the core the cultures could be new and diverse - what drives conglomerate culture is speed of technology and access to information (especially image)... rim worlds would have less.

As for which cultures may have survived the earth-that-was... hmmm that would be money and class dependant. Money buys the artefacts of culture but lower classes generally CREATE it.

it would be more realistic linguistically to have spanish being spoken (with the chinese atleast) - looking at contemporary statistics but i guess thats just too Stainless Steel Rat.

of course cults, guilds, secretive oral cultures, odd bubbles and cul-de-sacs would come through whatever...

you are right that it's a wide verse to be explored.

have fun:)

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Friday, November 9, 2007 11:09 AM

NBZ


A very interesting topic.

The main thing needed for a bio-diversity would be insects (I read somewhere that if on Earth that is the insect population died out it is suspected all life would end within a short few years. maybe two or three.). They would need to be catalogued, analysed, bagged and tagged.

Not believing in altruism I would say the richer populations got to travel, the poorer not having a choice unless they signed up as labour and indentured themselves and their offspring for centuries.

Another thing is that it is the alliance that the earth could no longer support our numbers. Is that true? could it support a reduced population? if yes, would everyone want to leave? Especially those cultures that are more at peace with their surrounding and give them a greater importance? and which populations existed at the time of the exodus? had their been famin, or war before hand? could whole civilisations have been wiped out?

Even with a diverse population, the people on the ark ships would be mish mashed together. They would lose some identity, gain other. WHo will be doing the work? class will probably be based on coin. Will the elite be much more affluent than the rest? probably.

One other thing is that Firefly does not have a pop culture. It does not conveniently reference the 1990's to explain what is going on. The closest was a reference to Shan yu, a fictional character, or the creation of china centuries ago. This is a very interesting. Telling stories about cultures that are nto currently well known.

In short, there is not much to be certain about apart from the fact that some Portuguese do make it across.

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Friday, November 9, 2007 11:29 AM

JONGSSTRAW


I'd be curious to know what the Alliance's position would be on the following :

Gay Marriage
Pornography
Plural Marraige
Child Labor
Water Quality
Air Quality
Capitalism
Socialism
Criminal Defense
Criminal Incarceration
Sexual Predators
Taxation
Monetary Systems
Stock Market
News Dissemination
Divorce
Sports
etc
etc
etc

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Friday, November 9, 2007 11:37 AM

WALTZING


Quote:

Originally posted by nbz:


Another thing is that it is the alliance that the earth could no longer support our numbers. Is that true? could it support a reduced population? if yes, would everyone want to leave? Especially those cultures that are more at peace with their surrounding and give them a greater importance? and which populations existed at the time of the exodus? had their been famin, or war before hand? could whole civilisations have been wiped out?




I've wondered this too. They say that Earth 'could not sustain our numbers' but that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone left. As has been mentioned, it was probably quite expensive to leave, so many would not have the means. Also, I would think that some people like their homes, and not want to leave. So it seems that those who stayed would be a mixture of the very poor, who can't afford to leave, and the very rich, who like their palatial houses and their currenet station in life. Those who left are like the pioneers from back in the day, colonists heading to new worlds. I think that Earth is probably still around and populated, unless there was some war or other disastrous event that we haven't heard of, and that Earth is just far from the Core, and therefore not paid much attention to.

As for the whole insect thing, that's an interesting point. I'd guess that the addition of insects to the atmosphere would be part of the terraforming.

On the culture idea, that's really interesting. I'm sure there was some effort to maintain certain cultures and nationalist groups (although who knows, they may have been quite different from now by the time everyone left for the stars). However, as people began settling planets and such, things began shifting and mixing together, until each planet/moon created its own new and unique culture (much like European colonists in America eventually created new cultures and groups that were different from those of European colonists in Australia, or Africa, etc., each corresponding to the differences in environment.

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Friday, November 9, 2007 10:20 PM

WYTCHCROFT


forgot to point out Mr Universe and the footage of his jewish style wedding to the LoveBot (eck!) not exactly the real thing but the smashing of the glass shows that SOME element of the tradition has survived.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 5:18 AM

SPACEANJL


And Amon the postal worker was wearing a yarmulke.

That's what I meant about cultures that are used to tradition, ritual and verbal transmission surviving.

The Rim worlds have a very odd cultural vibe, actually. The division between the slightly sterile and cultivated Core worlds and what we saw elsewhere is particularly marked. Of course, some worlds would have been completely economically isolated by the war...

Here's a thought. Worlds that were once resource rich and now aren't. Maybe some of them wanted to stay in the Alliance, but were too poor and far out to be bothered with. After all, Higgins is keeping a whole populace is a semi-feudal slave state, and I bet the Alliance buys ceramic parts from him without a blink. It would only wade in against 'human rights abuses', if it was worthwhile holding the area afterwards.

The Roman Empire motif keeps coming back to me. The Alliance over-stretched itself, and maybe some of the military outposts found themselves more closely tied to the planets they were stationed by than the Central Command.

I'd agree with Wytchcroft that Spanish of some sort should be a majority tongue, too. (It's Esperanto in the S.S.R books.) But it depends on who was in charge, shipwise.

Take C J Cherryh's 'Atevi' books. There is a brilliant play-off in those books between the factions on board the ship 'Phoenix'. The crew, the colonist passengers and the Pilot's Guild. Perhaps there would be a similar thing in the future. The colonists/workers/ballast/whatever would be part of the cargo. (A thought process that still seems to hold if you read the screen captures from 'Bushwhacked'.) The decisions would be from the command level of crew. So the 'aristocracy' of the future might descend from officers on the Star Arks. And those officers and command crew would come from the governments that built the things. If you consider who the major economic powers are at present, and those that are still in the space race, Joss makes a lot of sense.

The future culture, though, clings to an idealised time in both major cultures' past. Cowboys and Mandarins. The time when the future was out there to grasp, for those brave enough to dare the frontier. And when the largest nation on earth was at its cultural height (T'ang and Sung dynasties).

The 'pop culture' could be a lot of fun to play with. Hell, five hundred years into the future, your classical composers would be Mozart, Bach, Lennon, McCartney... Slightly worrying what might survive as good examples of contemporary culture, isn't it? Or what might be interpretated as historical documentation. (Insert unpleasant grin and authorly snickering here.)


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Saturday, November 10, 2007 6:00 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by Waltzing:
Quote:

Originally posted by nbz:


Another thing is that it is the alliance that the earth could no longer support our numbers. Is that true? could it support a reduced population? if yes, would everyone want to leave? Especially those cultures that are more at peace with their surrounding and give them a greater importance? and which populations existed at the time of the exodus? had their been famin, or war before hand? could whole civilisations have been wiped out?




I've wondered this too. They say that Earth 'could not sustain our numbers' but that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone left. As has been mentioned, it was probably quite expensive to leave, so many would not have the means. Also, I would think that some people like their homes, and not want to leave. So it seems that those who stayed would be a mixture of the very poor, who can't afford to leave, and the very rich, who like their palatial houses and their currenet station in life. Those who left are like the pioneers from back in the day, colonists heading to new worlds. I think that Earth is probably still around and populated, unless there was some war or other disastrous event that we haven't heard of, and that Earth is just far from the Core, and therefore not paid much attention to.

As for the whole insect thing, that's an interesting point. I'd guess that the addition of insects to the atmosphere would be part of the terraforming.

On the culture idea, that's really interesting. I'm sure there was some effort to maintain certain cultures and nationalist groups (although who knows, they may have been quite different from now by the time everyone left for the stars). However, as people began settling planets and such, things began shifting and mixing together, until each planet/moon created its own new and unique culture (much like European colonists in America eventually created new cultures and groups that were different from those of European colonists in Australia, or Africa, etc., each corresponding to the differences in environment.



I like the idea of someone still remaining on Earth that Was. Just look at the response to Hurricane Katrina. Many people, even those with a way out, stayed in their houses and neighborhoods until literally put into survival mode by the flooding.

I also saw it here in eastern NC in Hurricane Floyd in 1999. People would not leave their house, possessions and pets until it became an extreme matter of personal safety. And that was after all their options ran out. Allowing pets in evacuation centers was one thing California got right in the fire evacuations recently.

On the insect thing too. The one insect I wish they wouldn't save is the mosquito. It's annoying and spreads many diseases but then it's part of the ecosytem and other animals such as bats and some birds eat them to survive.

I also think each planet or moon would be unique. Just look at the US in the early stages of opening up the west. Even today there are large regional differences but they are in the process of being wiped out due to population shifts and the influence of the media and advanced communication systems like the internet. Communication difficulties and physical isolation are essential ingredients for unique cultues.



http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/









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Saturday, November 10, 2007 8:20 AM

MERRYK


It seems likely to me that people stayed on Earth-that-was, and maybe are still there, surviving as humans always seem to do.

When thinking about the evacuation, I automatically get a picture of all these avid scientists and historians working frantically to get what is needed on the ships so it will survive. Librarians, leaving behind an extra outfit so that they can fit their favorite book. Museum owners taking pictures of all their historical artifacts. Scientists arguing over whether botany or astronomy is going to be more important. Musicians filing mp3 players (or the equivalent thereof) with every classical piece they can remember. Artists moaning over having to take prints instead of originals of famous pieces.

And then, on that long voyage, things get all squished together. Some of those scientists and musicians and historians die, and those who follow in their footsteps might not be so diligent in keeping the records. Cultures and recipes all mix together out of necessity...Muslims and Christians are forced to get along. Religion probably would lose some of its intensity without all the people, places, and things.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 8:37 AM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:


Here's a thought. Worlds that were once resource rich and now aren't. Maybe some of them wanted to stay in the Alliance, but were too poor and far out to be bothered with.
The Roman Empire motif keeps coming back to me. The Alliance over-stretched itself, and maybe some of the military outposts found themselves more closely tied to the planets they were stationed by than the Central Command.






even more so post-BDM and the miranda thing maybe - the alliance would let the fringes go - concentrate on keeping morale up in the core...

here is an interesting thread on the alliance and it's limits: http://fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=4&t=28936

MerryK - i like your vision of the Earth-that-was and maybe kinda still is... Anthony Stewart Head as keeper of the archives anyone???

but - a thought occurs - what if was a hoax of soomekind - to shift undesirables into the black - 'go colonise paradise people' - what if Earth that was is now a luxury play planet for the secret uber rich???

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 8:57 AM

WALTZING


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:


MerryK - i like your vision of the Earth-that-was and maybe kinda still is... Anthony Stewart Head as keeper of the archives anyone???

but - a thought occurs - what if was a hoax of soomekind - to shift undesirables into the black - 'go colonise paradise people' - what if Earth that was is now a luxury play planet for the secret uber rich???




LOL the Giles character would be perfect for archive-keeper, although good luck getting him anywhere near a computer...

Your 'hoax' thought is an intriguing one. Almost smacks of Alliance type trickery, though this would of course be pre-Alliance. Perhaps would be an interesting plot point for the sequel...

Also, I really wonder about those shipboard generations- the ones in between leaving Earth and reaching the new planets. I can imagine that would be when the shifting and blending of the cultures would really take place, as the 'spaceship children' would not have as much sentimental attachment to such rituals/ideals/etc as their parents, as they don't have the memories of 'how things were' back on Earth. They were probably much more focused on the future, and getting to their destinations, than remembering the past.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 3:36 PM

WYTCHCROFT


yes if interstella travel was multi generational all sortsa cultural shifts could take place

do we know about the time factor in firefly travel??? no FTL drive would mean decades to the nearest star etc

but this is the future right? future engines? future maths? -snorts!-

maybe it only takes 4 and a half hours to get everywhere - like in the show! (seemingly)

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 9:54 PM

MERRYK


Well, in the show it took days to get places usually, which makes sense if the Verse is one solar system, as they say. Joss did say somewhere that the trip to the Verse was multi-generational, so with those two things I doubt there's faster than light travel.

It's kind of not a Firefly thing, but wouldn't it be interesting if someone went back to try and find Earth-that-was? Ala Battlestar Galactica, I suppose.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:13 AM

SPACEANJL


If there is a Firefly Galactica, count me out.

Richard Morgan has written some cracking future stuff about possible colony mixes - Harlan's World has a culture which is a synthesis of Japanese and Magyar, hence the 'hero' is Takeshi Kovacs. These colonies are still in contact with Earth, though, where longevity for the rich has produced a strata of 'Methuselah' - people who remain eternally young (clone bodies) and have become somewhat removed from ideas of right, wrong and iffy since they are so rich and powerful, nothing can touch them.

There's a fun thought. What is the life expectancy in a technologically advanced culture like the Core? OVC says average span is 120. Factor in the skewing from the rough Rim worlds, and the age could go to near 200. You could have people who remember their grandparents talking about the Landing. You could have people in power who could take a very long view with regard to policy decisions.


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Sunday, November 11, 2007 7:09 AM

MERRYK


I'm wondering if that could explain the strange-seeming customs on planets closer to the Core: the almost Jane Austen balls and high society. If you have that long to live, you don't need to worry about marrying and having children quickly to ensure the survival of the human race, so you can take your time with long courtships and gradual changes. Whereas out on the Rim, though lifespan naturally is longer, there are other factors such as gangs, Reavers, etc. Could explain why Mal, Jayne, Kaylee, Wash, and Zoe have such a quick way with relationships as opposed to Inara and Simon, who take a frustratingly long time.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 10:30 AM

SPACEANJL


The 'civilised' cultures set a lot more store by propriety and manners. In the kind of society where life might end abruptly, people tend to be a little more straight forward. Part of the cultural collision between Simon and Kaylee.

Of course, what we see on Persephone might be a little behind the times closer to the Core. Ariel was quite different, a lot more modern and clean lined. Also, in the BDM, the suits worn by Dr Matthias and the hench goons were quite 20thC rather than the slightly Civil War (US not UK) feel of 'Shindig'.

Culture travels at the speed of communication. Fashions in dress, music etc would slow as you moved out from the Core. (I had the 'new' film at the Picture House on Deadwood as being one old in Simon's childhood back on Osiris.) This could also mean that the cultural mores would be more rigid, perhaps. The way things change back in countries of origin, whilst the immigrants from those countries hold onto an older way of life in their new countries.

Persephone is I think one of the 'changeover' worlds, right on the edge of Alliance influence, and apeing a way of life seen through artefacts rather than first hand. Ariel is closer, and more 'modern'. Then you get places like JiangYin. Which is twenty-toe country.

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Friday, February 8, 2008 3:32 AM

SPACEANJL


*Bump*

Because I'm still interested in these ideas. Where is everyone else?

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