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MAL (also panicky) "What does that mean?"

POSTED BY: MUDD
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 13:43
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Monday, November 14, 2016 12:49 PM

MUDD


I thought it might be useful to have a thread for lines whose meanings/references might not be initially obvious.

For me the classic one is, "It's okay! I am a leaf on the wind!" Because even Mal seems confused. What DOES that mean? From context it seems like it has something to do with negotiating the chaotic battlefield, but where does it come from? Doesn't it feel like it's supposed to be referring to something specific?

But I actually started this thread to ask about a line from the pilot. Another Wash line, actually. He says, "Cry baby cry. Make your mother sigh." The only reference to that I can find is a fairly obscure Beatles song. I wouldn't expect anyone to catch that reference NOW, let alone 500 years from now. Does this line make sense to anyone else?

I'm sure I'll come back with more, but that's it for now.

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Monday, November 14, 2016 8:17 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


Well, as a Beatles fan, that song is hardly obscure, and I got it the first time around.




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Monday, November 14, 2016 9:33 PM

RIVERLOVE


When any song from the 'White Album' is called "obscure" I know it's time for me to take a dirt nap.

I'm comin' to join you Elizabeth, and I'm bringin' the Garrard turntable with me!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016 4:07 AM

MUDD


Huh. Well I'm definitely open to adjusting my perception of whether or not it's obscure. I found the song on Youtube and played it for someone who was in college when it came out, and he didn't recognize it.

Just out of curiousity, I tried to figure out how popular the song might be. It didn't make the cut for Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Beatles Songs," and it isn't on Billboard's list of "The Beatles' 50 Biggest Billboard Hits." Maybe those aren't great yardsticks, but I'm not sure what else to use. Would you have expected someone who didn't live through the British Invasion (or was a Beatles enthusiast) to know Cry Baby Cry?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:11 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I'm not sure why you think a musical reference has to be known and recognized by every viewer. Obviously there are many Firefly fans that were born well after the Beatles broke up and may be familiar with only a couple of their songs. Joss is obviously a fan, as he is a fan of Sondheim and other musical theater composers. I'm sure there could have been reference to a song I wouldn't get, and I'll try to keep that in mind on my next rewatch of the series.

As for how or why the Beatles would be known in the 26th Century; there are various Firefly timelines, but I don't think any are definitive. When was the first exodus to colonize the new system? It was probably long before the tragedy that befell Earth, whatever that might have been. The first expeditions would probably have taken along sound and video files for entertainment, and if that event was only a hundred years or so from now the Beatles could well have been among the selections. Their music should be popular, or at least known, for that amount of time, if not longer. For comparison, when I was a kid I had a couple of albums of earlier folk tunes, such as Stephen Foster's "Oh, Susanna" and "Camptown Races" along with other minstrel tunes. Those were written over a hundred years before I was born, and a lot of people from my generation would probably recognize a reference to them today.




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016 1:43 PM

MUDD


My questioning of the line wasn't meant to be a criticism; I was just trying to understand. I think you're totally right that Beatles music probably exists somewhere in some form in the 'Verse. I just wasn't expecting it to be part of the 'Verse we'd see.

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