Burn the Land and Boil the Sea

You know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who’s in ruttin’ command here.
– Jayne Cobb, Firefly

…The combatants moved about the suspended deck like a dance. The grey walls hum with the surrounding machinery creating the surrounding air. The blue clad Operative held out his sword while the captain defended himself with a screw driver.

This scene I am describing is one of the final shots from the film Serenity. Originally, this post was going to be a deposition of my thoughts on the character of Jayne Cobb…after about 500 words tapped out on my mobile, it evolved into something I didn’t expect.

The film Serenity…the big screen version of Joss Whedon’s television series Firefly…is about humanism. Oddly enough, until I took a look at the character of Jayne and tried to hang the word ‘bully’ on him, I did not see it.

Jayne is a rogue, for lack of a better word. He is Han Solo with less intelligence, more humour and more greed. He is hired for his guns and brawn but his mouth and attitude sometimes are the penalties that add a karmatic effect to his good points. There is the softer side that shows up during the show, but knowing Whedon’s style he would turn at the first good pay cheque offered.

I was going to refer to him as an evolved bully who turns into a kitten when backed into a corner…then I remembered The Operative.

The Operative is truly the evolution of the bully. This realization of how some defend bullying tactics for the, alleged, greater good. He is the equivalent of a believer…and one that carries a stick big enough to beat non-believers either into assimilation or to death…whichever comes first.

…the captain lunged and missed, falling forward and passing The Operative. The Operative quickly spun and punched a nerve cluster that would paralyze his opponent.

Bullies tend to be very good at bluffing. In the case of Serenity, it is taken a step further as The Operative believes in the bluff he is working under. So deluded in his belief of what is right that he does not see the damage it causes. Blinded by his mission and his belief that it is his job to make things right…as he says early on in the film, “Secrets are not my business…keeping them is.” He does not care what he is defending, but he believes it is for the common good…he is just as much a sheep to the silent hands as those who sit in the church on their knees and pray for better things rather than doing anything about them.

Suffice, The Operative is a sheep with ability and talent…but only knowledge of that which he must know.

…the captain blinked, realizing The Operative’s error. He froze to allow The Operative to overplay his hand.

Do you know what your sin is, Mal?

– The Operative

The captain chopped his hand into The Operative’s throat and sent him reeling.

Ah Hell… I’m a fan of all seven. But right now… I’m gonna have to go with wrath

– Captain Malcolm Reynolds

The evolved bully usually overplays his hand. Usually in his overconfidence and arrogance, those opposed are expected to bow to their power…their strength…or their will. The sin here is in their arrogance about their belief, power, strength and will. They see the others as sheep to be tamed…they do not see themselves as sheep with closed minds.

Some may see this description as hypocritical of me after my recent commentary on the Assange situation. Forget the fictional part of Serenity, the info there was more than just gossip…and if Assange had something worthy of our attention, I would be heralding him as a decent sort.

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