GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Did the 'Companion' thing ever bug you in Firefly?

POSTED BY: CHRISISALL
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 11:08
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Sunday, February 14, 2010 7:47 PM

CHRISISALL


Look, I feel that prostitution should be legal & regulated, but is the idea that it's a profession to be elevated to some "noble" & semi-spiritual service make any here cringe just a little bit?

Or is this the wrong crowd?

Anyway, I'll be in my bunk.




The laughing Chrisisall

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 8:06 PM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


If I was single and RICH. I'll probably attempt to go through their entire catalog.

This will probably open an entire can of worms, but the current dating scene isn't much different, at least that's what I'm told by friends who are still in the game (funny how it's called that, but it's actually quite true).

I'm told that in certain circles, if the male buys dinner, do the whole wine and dine ting, it's expected that the female allow him to "close the deal," so to speak.

Okay, are we talking about this because it's Valentines Day? I wonder how many deals are being closed tonight...hmmm.




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Sunday, February 14, 2010 8:07 PM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


No, I thought it was an interesting idea that wasn't handled as well as it could have been (or had the opportunity to anyway). I would have loved it if we could have seen Inara and the Companions "in action", so to speak, in the Core.

The temple priestess idea is hardly a new one, and I got the impression that was largely the sort of role a Companion played. I wish we could have seen it more, but alas, Inara was out trying to bring culture and enlightenment to the border and outer planets, which in comparison to the Core must have been like female politicians trying to get shiat done in places like Yemen.

Or based on the comment above mine, in some places like here as well. :/

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 8:21 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Haken:
If I was single and RICH. I'll probably attempt to go through their entire catalog.

At 16, I would have spent every dime on that venue, I conjure.
Quote:



This will probably open an entire can of worms, but the current dating scene isn't much different, at least that's what I'm told by friends who are still in the game (funny how it's called that, but it's actually quite true).

I hated the *game* in my 20's, and I'd hate it more now.
I'm lucky to have found a beautiful & sassy mate back when love was still the most important thing.
(70's carryover to the 80's)
Welcome to "Demolition Man" & "Cherry 2000" era dating these days.
Quote:



I'm told that in certain circles, if the male buys dinner, do the whole wine and dine thing, it's expected that the female allow him to "close the deal," so to speak.


That's a form of, well, I won't say it, but, where's the equality here?


The demanding male Chrisisall

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 8:23 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by fearthebunnyman:
No, I thought it was an interesting idea that wasn't handled as well as it could have been

*heh heh, you said "handled"*


The immature Chrisisall

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 8:25 PM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


Oh you better believe it, baby

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 8:53 PM

PACHELBEL


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Quote:

Originally posted by Haken:
If I was single and RICH. I'll probably attempt to go through their entire catalog.

At 16, I would have spent every dime on that venue, I conjure.
Quote:



This will probably open an entire can of worms, but the current dating scene isn't much different, at least that's what I'm told by friends who are still in the game (funny how it's called that, but it's actually quite true).

I hated the *game* in my 20's, and I'd hate it more now.
I'm lucky to have found a beautiful & sassy mate back when love was still the most important thing.
(70's carryover to the 80's)
Welcome to "Demolition Man" & "Cherry 2000" era dating these days.
Quote:



I'm told that in certain circles, if the male buys dinner, do the whole wine and dine thing, it's expected that the female allow him to "close the deal," so to speak.


That's a form of, well, I won't say it, but, where's the equality here?


The demanding male Chrisisall



Hey, if a woman wined and dined me, I'd let her close the deal!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 9:03 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by pachelbel:

Hey, if a woman wined and dined me, I'd let her close the deal!

If you're a female Pach, I'll be in my bunk, otherwise *whatever.*


The laughing Chrisisall

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 9:39 PM

PACHELBEL


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Quote:

Originally posted by pachelbel:

Hey, if a woman wined and dined me, I'd let her close the deal!

If you're a female Pach, I'll be in my bunk, otherwise *whatever.*


The laughing Chrisisall



Ha! Chris, I'm male.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 10:27 PM

AGENTROUKA


Didn't bug me. In fact, it's one of the main things that made the show stand out for me.

Loved the idea, loved how Joss implemented it, hate how most people seem to see it as a terrible thing. I don't get why they do, no one has ever been able to give me a reason why that hasn't been patronizing to female sexuality, the male psyche or the concept of "hypocrisy". Or had an actual basis in canon and wasn't pure speculation.

There's different levels of esteem for pretty much any service. You can get a high quality restaurant, you can get a fast food joint. You can get a million different approaches to medicine (homeopathy, accupuncture, your more modern western medicine, your traditional wholistic therapeutic approaches, the four humors theories...), you can get a ton of different approaches to psychotherapy, some of which are accepted and recognized, some of which are derrided and scorned. Make prostitution legal and it follows that you'll have a spectrum of esteem for different levels of service.

People reveeeeere film actors, musicians, authors, royals, politicians, historical figures...

I think high-class prostitution with a spiritual, therapeutic bend and arm-candy service is no worse, possible much better than much of the things people consider to be of "elevated status".

I really like how the show had Inara stick by her profession, even though others on the show put it down, including some of the very limited sample group of clients we saw. I really wish we had gotten to see much more of the culture of Companions.

If anything, it offered an interesting alternative female lifestyle (albeit an exclusive one) to romantic love, without also losing sexuality, sensuality, confidence and influence. I actually think that this is one of the things that bothers many viewers the most: willingly foregoing romance as the default female life goal.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 10:34 PM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I hated the *game* in my 20's, and I'd hate it more now.

I'm lucky to have found a beautiful & sassy mate back when love was still the most important thing.



Yeah, same here. My wife and I were just talking about it earlier this evening how we were both fortunate and avoided the whole adult dating circuit.

Speed-dating, dating-in-the-dark, and all the other newfangled ways that people are using to try and find their true love just makes us feel tired and probably not survive the ordeal.


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Monday, February 15, 2010 2:48 AM

BIGRICHARD


I'm 20, single, and am not looking forward to trying to find 'that special someone'.

I think I was born in the wrong generation...

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Monday, February 15, 2010 3:12 AM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


I liked how even after Mal gave Inara so much flack she came in to save him in The Train Job. Makes me wonder who is against legalizing prostitution, men or women? Too much power for women? And if it was legal and women ran it would it be more like in the show?

Scifi movie music + Firefly dialogue clips, 24 hours a day - http://www.scifiradio.com

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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:06 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


As a single woman of a certain age (I'll be 50 on Thursday and far from being wealthy enough to be a "cougar" and I admit I'm lonely at times)I've made piece with myself and realized being alone has it's advantages.
Yes, I'll entertain the idea of a relationship if it presents itself but I'm not doing all the wacky dating stunts just to get a man.

As far as Inara is concerned, I like the idea of prostitution being out in the open and regulated but Inara's life seems to be rather lonely and without close personal ties.

She may have adulation, the men (and occasional woman) of her choice and all the sex she wants but eventually being on a pedastal is isolating.
And as the series progressed I think she was realizing it more and more.

http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/








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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:11 AM

ECGORDON

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


There is a long and honorable tradition in many cultures of institutions like the Companion Guild, as well as other treatments of it in science fiction. For example, the character Tamara in Robert Heinlein's "Time Enough For Love" was a revered hetaera.

From dictionary.com - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hetaera
Quote:

Word Origin & History

hetaera
1820, "mistress," from Mod.L., from Gk. hetaira "female companion," in Athens opposed to "lawful wife," and thus embracing everything from "concubine" to "courtesan;" fem. of hetairos "comrade, companion,"


BTW, if you haven't already read that Heinlein novel, I'd recommend you read "Methuselahs Children" first.




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:49 AM

MAL4PREZ


Sorry Chris, but...

Doesn't it seem that those who are uncomfortable with this idea of "Companions" are those who would be tempted to use the service? Not only in this thread, but in real life?

I'm thinking that the root of the discomfort is a man's (well... "client's" I should say) fear of his/her own sex drive. The client's own discomfort and shame gets externalized, put on the Companion.

Inara's in a position that she can refuse to accept that judgment: the fact that you'd hire her doesn't make her dirty. That's something you have to work out between you and you. And that's what I loved about what Joss did. He challenged the audience to accept Inara and her job, and by extension to accept our own sexual urges. You can spend your college savings on her when you're 18 and not feel guilty about it the rest of your life. Hell, in Joss's shame-free world you could even tell your future wife about it and she'd benefit from the fancy tricks you learned. Where's the bad in that?

As for the sex-for-dinner thing, I can't believe that actually happens often, (outside Sex and the City episodes) nor do I think it's prostitution when it does. What, you think the woman wouldn't be able to afford dinner otherwise? Or that a woman shouldn't act on an urge (yes, woman have those) simply because it's a common ritual for the man to buy dinner?

In my dating days I'd go 50-50 when possible. But some men were offended by that. Like opening doors - it seemed to make them feel good about themselves to treat me. Sometimes it was sweet, sometimes it was less so - when guys seemed to think I owed them in return. It was never stated, but sometimes the expectation was clearly there. That's just rude! To insist and buying dinner and then insist on payback... sheesh!

But not all women are empowered enough to say no in this situation. They're trained to think they have to do that payback, as men are trained to think the have to pay ahead. So... it's not at all prostitution, is what I'm saying. It's our society's fucked up gender/sex roles.

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

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Monday, February 15, 2010 5:52 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Sorry Chris, but...

Doesn't it seem that those who are uncomfortable with this idea of "Companions" are those who would be tempted to use the service? Not only in this thread, but in real life?


It comes from the idea that I wouldn't want my daughter to be one, yet I would have been tempted to use the service from someone else's daughter in my 20's. The inherent hypocracy there is the source of the discomfort, I conjure.

And yeah, this culture is whack when it comes to sex roles.


The laughing Chrisisall

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Monday, February 15, 2010 7:23 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
It comes from the idea that I wouldn't want my daughter to be one, yet I would have been tempted to use the service from someone else's daughter in my 20's. The inherent hypocracy there is the source of the discomfort, I conjure.

And yeah, this culture is whack when it comes to sex roles.


I totally agree with this. Which I think you can take a step further and point it right back at men. What wouldn't we want our daughter or sister in such a profession? To me it's because we know the male mindset all too well. There are plenty of men who would treat those women as nothing but a piece of meat. Most guys probably feel some guilt thinking that they've at the very least fantasied about a purely physical encounter without a single thought about a woman's personality or feelings. So, for guys it probably all comes back to self guilt really. That's my guess at least.

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Monday, February 15, 2010 9:49 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Look, I feel that prostitution should be legal & regulated, but is the idea that it's a profession to be elevated to some "noble" & semi-spiritual service make any here cringe just a little bit?



Well, the important issue with legalizing prostitution is ensuring the workers truly have a choice and are in control. Giving them professional status, a guild and ensuring that they are highly educated is one possible way of achieving that. A bit of mystery and ritual helps avoid the problem that people can work out the basics of the trade without special training...

However, I think a bit of cringe is appropriate, and an important part of the Inara/Mal relationship: at the top level, Mal doesn't approve of companions and Inara doesn't approve of "independent businessmen (ahem)". A bit deeper, Mal isn't particularly proud of his own current vocation and I was never sure that Inara completely believed her own propaganda (she seemed to have a few wistful moments...)



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Monday, February 15, 2010 10:09 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


I saw a bit on TV last week about the first male prostitute (as in he has female clients-not male)legally working in Nevada. OK looking and he lives and works in a trailer at a bordello in the middle of the desert in rural Nevada.

I was wondering how us females feel about that. I don't know if he'll go beyond a novelty. Us women aren't used to having a purely physical act without any emotions involved, paying and walking away.

At least me. I don't judge others but I would prefer an actual relationship exist before sex. I guess I'm just old fashioned.





http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/








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Monday, February 15, 2010 10:15 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Nope it never bothered me. I think the show did a great job of visualising the profession in the future. But I must admit my take on it would have been similar to Mal's in that were I attracted to a woman who was a companion, and I wanted the relationship to go further, I would in all honesty want her to give up that profession first.






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Monday, February 15, 2010 11:51 AM

CHRISISALL


What Somn said.


The laughing Chrisisall

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Monday, February 15, 2010 2:12 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by ncbrowncoat:
Us women aren't used to having a purely physical act without any emotions involved, paying and walking away.



Not at all interested in professional service?



The laughing Chrisisall

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Monday, February 15, 2010 3:00 PM

BYTEMITE


NCbrowncoat: FIRST male prostitute? I doubt it. Gigalos have been around almost as long. Think Ancient Greece, and maybe back to Babylon even.

First openly ADVERTISED male prostitute in a normally female brothel, maybe.

Women have needs much as anyone. Frankly, I'm not interested in sex OR relationships, but I don't believe for a second that women are somehow more "pure" in what they want. That's skirting the Victorian idea of the "fairer sex." I must reject it outright.

EDIT: looks like Chris got there first.

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Monday, February 15, 2010 3:06 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

But I must admit my take on it would have been similar to Mal's in that were I attracted to a woman who was a companion, and I wanted the relationship to go further, I would in all honesty want her to give up that profession first.



Did he?

In The Message, he tells Inara that he doesn't want her to jeopardize her career helping him.

I think his problem is more that Inara goes off and has sex with other men, and it doesn't seem to him like she's ever going to be interested in HIM. Of course, we know better, but such is the Takahashi couple. Both have each other at arms length for their own reasons, and very little of it has to do with the other person's profession. That's just the easy scapegoat.


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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:12 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:

Look, I feel that prostitution should be legal & regulated, but is the idea that it's a profession to be elevated to some "noble" & semi-spiritual service make any here cringe just a little bit?



The law and facts don't matter.

Just ask your wife what SHE thinks about it... and about you spending HER money on hookers.

Or how about if your daughter wanted to work that job... or your wife?

Legal or not, that's a hard sell for most folk.

If Mal married Inara... what if she continued as a companion? Great for blackmail (Mal's line of work), which is why so many cops and spies marry hookers. Side benefit for hooker hubbies, all the sex they can stand (or afford) with hookers not their wives... At least until their manparts fall off.



Patty Shultz: "Have you ever been duped?"
Castle: "I've been married twice..."

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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:19 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by piratenews:

Or how about if your daughter wanted to work that job... or your wife?

Legal or not, that's a hard sell for most folk.


Yep.


The laughing Chrisisall

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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:24 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

As for the sex-for-dinner thing, I can't believe that actually happens often, (outside Sex and the City episodes) nor do I think it's prostitution when it does. What, you think the woman wouldn't be able to afford dinner otherwise? Or that a woman shouldn't act on an urge (yes, woman have those) simply because it's a common ritual for the man to buy dinner?

In my dating days I'd go 50-50 when possible. But some men were offended by that. Like opening doors - it seemed to make them feel good about themselves to treat me. Sometimes it was sweet, sometimes it was less so - when guys seemed to think I owed them in return. It was never stated, but sometimes the expectation was clearly there. That's just rude! To insist and buying dinner and then insist on payback... sheesh!

But not all women are empowered enough to say no in this situation. They're trained to think they have to do that payback, as men are trained to think the have to pay ahead. So... it's not at all prostitution, is what I'm saying.



ALL dates are job interviews for "prostitution". The key in both types is to not negotiate price for sex. Just agree on a price for something legal (dinner, movie, massage), plus a tip for a happy ending. This according to MANSWERS!!!

If no happy ending after a "tip", on to the next interviewee. Or go buy a real hooker, like Mal did.



Becket: "If you want a happy ending you're in the wrong place."
Castle: "Guess I'll have to try that massage parlor down on _________ ."

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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:29 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by piratenews:
ALL dates are job interviews for "prostitution".

Wow. What an interesting dating history you must have.

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

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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:50 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Quote:

Originally posted by ncbrowncoat:
Us women aren't used to having a purely physical act without any emotions involved, paying and walking away.



Not at all interested in professional service?



The laughing Chrisisall



Of course I meant first legal, advertised male prostitute.

Saw the movie about 5 times in a row when I was a freshman in college. I thought I was hot stuff seeing an R rated movie as my parents wouldn't let me see an R rated movie at home. This was in 1978 mind you.

I also wasted no time in seeing Frank Langella as Dracula and multiple showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

What can I say. I'm from a small town in the South and the liberal university town of Chapel Hill, NC corrupted me.



http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/








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Monday, February 15, 2010 4:56 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Quote:

Originally posted by Haken:

Yeah, same here. My wife and I were just talking about it earlier this evening how we were both fortunate and avoided the whole adult dating circuit.

Speed-dating, dating-in-the-dark, and all the other newfangled ways that people are using to try and find their true love just makes us feel tired and probably not survive the ordeal.



My 20-something business associate did not survive the dating game with strippers and hookers. Or at least parts of him did not...

It was after midnight as he left the strip club enroute to booty call with his favorite paid companion... The country road was dark and snowy, as his pickup truck hit black ice... Dang that invisible dip in the road! What the hell is that guardrail doing there? WTF???!!! BAMM!!! BAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAM... ARRRRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!!!!

His pickup speared the defective guardrail head-on... The metal posts were illegally installed 2 feet deep in the soft dirt, making sounds like an assault rifle on full-auto... Dang those Mafia contractors to Hell!!! The sharp end of the "guardrail" speared the truck's grill, missed the engine block, entering the passenger compartment...

The frozen 12-inch-wide rusty steel blade first sliced his testicle from his body... then eviscerated his intestines... then amputated his leg... then separated his pelvis from his body... as another 70-feet of "guardrail" continued to pass through his guts and out the tailgate... as he and his truck and the entire bloody "guardrail" went off the cliff and into the icy creek...

They say it's the sudden stop that kills ya... Dead silence in pitch black in the boonies... Massive hemmoraging as he bled out... Shock setting in as blood pressure drops...

A neighbor wakes up from his slumber watching TV: "What the Hell was THAT?! He calls 9/11 and report gunshots... which made the deputy sheriffs too scared to show up...

The neighbor and his dad grab their flashlights (and guns) and go looking for trouble... After 10 minutes, they find it in a icy creek... They cover the bloody body with a blanket and call 9/11 again to report a crash...

Ambulance shows up 30 minutes after impact... still no cops... Helicopter flies the lifeless corpse to the local "teaching hospital"... The family is called with the news... Doctors tell them, "You better go ahead and make your funeral arrangements..."

Select to view spoiler:


Long story short: $500,000 in med bills, which his parents paid by selling their house to keep doctors from killing him and stealing his organs. He was the only hemipelvectomy to survive in the history of UT hospital. Within 6 months his was bangin his hooker in the hospital. Within 1 year he was water skiing, snow skiing, and driving his modified racecar at Road Atlanta. Went to college and got an engineering degree, which he used to get into the cartheft business with the international mafia and the local sheriff.
piratenews.org/SMRKnoxvilleGroup10RacingIndycars.htm


So watch out for them hookers, or your pecker might get chopped off. BOO!

And if you think companions are dangerous, try texting while driving to booty call.




"I find your argument both disturbing and intriguing."
-Castle

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:19 AM

JONGSSTRAW


The Companion element was a great concept that allowed Morena a chance to display her grace, beauty, and charm. She was a strong character, and much of that strength came from her profession. It would not have been as great a series without her presence on Serenity.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:43 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Also remember that there were class distinctions among prostitutes in the Firefly 'verse.

In "Heart of Gold", Mal (I think) said something about "...a whole house full of Companions" and Inara replied "No. They're whores."

BTW, A while ago I wrote a fan-fic about Mal's problem with Inara's profession.

http://www.fireflyfans.net/sunroomitem.asp?i=1242

"Keep the Shiny side up"

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4:57 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Quote:

Originally posted by pizmobeach:
I liked how even after Mal gave Inara so much flack she came in to save him in The Train Job. Makes me wonder who is against legalizing prostitution, men or women? Too much power for women? And if it was legal and women ran it would it be more like in the show?



With the notable counter argument that male prostitution isn't legal either (anyone here watching "Hung"?), I've got to agree with you that prostitution being illegal has been a form of sexism designed to keep woman who use their bodies to their economic empowerment down in the lowest class of citizens called criminals, riddled with disease, drug use and forced to rely on male pimps for protection.

The question isn't whether or not you would want your wife or daughter to do it, the question is, objectively, do the women who engage in this profession have the right to use their bodies as they please and be protected by the law? If you were going to use a prostitute and you had the choice between the hooker on the street corner and a licensed professional that you know has been tested for STDs, wouldn't you use the professional? Taking prostitutes off the streets protects them and the people that use them and would cut down on drug use and trafficking as well as provides another avenue of government taxation to fund schools and police, etc.

So, yea, I think that would be more like it is in the show. And of course there would be a spiritual element to it. It'd be like going to a massage parlor where they have all the eastern music playing and candles lit. I always felt like Inara's shuttle reminded me of a spa.

Quote:

Originally posted by ncbrowncoat:

What can I say. I'm from a small town in the South and the liberal university town of Chapel Hill, NC corrupted me.



Hey, fellow ACCer, my seminoles are playing you guys in a week!

I pray for one last landing,
on the globe that gave me birth.
Let me rest my eyes on the fleecy skies
and the cool, green hills of Earth.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 6:28 AM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Miss Kitty was a prostitute/madam on TV in Gunsmoke. In real life she smoked like a chimney and died of HIV AIDS.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_Blake
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunsmoke

So Inara's character is nothing new on TV, and FF was a space western. Gotta have a space hooker in the Wild Wild Verse. It's mandatory.

What's new is a hooker is allowed to fall in love (or love/hate). Tho happy hooker Julia Roberts did that in Pretty Woman.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:26 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by piratenews:
Miss Kitty was a prostitute/madam on TV in Gunsmoke. In real life she smoked like a chimney and died of HIV AIDS. So Inara's character is nothing new on TV, and FF was a space western. Gotta have a space hooker in the Wild Wild Verse. It's mandatory.

What's new is a hooker is allowed to fall in love (or love/hate). Tho happy hooker Julia Roberts did that in Pretty Woman.

In “Pretty Woman” Julia Roberts wanted out of prostitution; Inara wants a long career. Maybe Pretty Woman style prostitution is only superficially similar to Companionship.

In Nevada, prostitution is legal and yet prostitutes want out, same as workers at fast food restaurants want a short career in hamburgers. And prostitutes in Nevada are not respected by clients, like us retired Burger King food-handlers didn't get respect when we were working, either. And I deserved respect because a Whopper-maker can kill faster with E. Coli than a prostitute can kill with AIDS.

Being a legalized profession does not explain the high respect and status of Companionship. There has got to be some deeper explanation that Firefly never told us about. The religious angle (Companions are high priestesses of loving compassion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_prostitution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_magic ) doesn't seem to me to be the origin of Inara's status. Anybody got some wildly creative explanation??? Earth bound law and history doesn't go far enough to explain Inara and Companionship. Legalized whoring gets little respect in the 'Verse and Companionship gets lots of respect. Why is that?

The Hetaera of Greece does NOT work for me. (See ecgordon http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=2&t=41888#759124 ) That was thousands of years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neaira_%28hetaera%29

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 8:03 AM

PLATONIST


I like the idea of the Companion’s Guild. If you’re going to legalize and regulate prostitution you may as well leave it in the hands of those that do the actual servicing.

Like Two says, though, I was never able to buy into Inara’s high standing either as a Guild member or a sacred whore. It doesn’t make sense that whores, trained and certified in the future would suddenly have social status and credibility, notoriety, like celebrities of today, yes, but not power brokers of tomorrow. Legal doesn’t equal empowerment, money does, and maybe the Guild has a lot of money, like the Church at one time. But the Church was in the business of selling tickets for soul redemption, where the Guild’s services are more of a luxury for the rich, a luxury you can live without, especially if you lose your money, so even that comparison doesn’t hold up.

And, where prostitution is legal already this hasn’t happened, like Nevada. And the prostitutes working there want to leave and go into porn where the real money is.

HoG; the only redeeming thing about HoG, is that it gave us good examples of what happens to whores who don’t have the protection of the Guild and it’s no wonder why Inara kept defending its trained Companions as not being whores. She clearly sees a clear distinction between the two, even when Mal doesn’t, but maybe that’s what Mal learned from what happened at the HoG because he couldn’t protect Nandi, an independent whore.

And, just because we see Inara defending her chosen profession doesn’t mean she wants to do it forever, otherwise if she did, she wouldn’t have left the house to fly on Serenity and end up on backwater moons NOT having any clients to service. And, both Nandi and Saffron ran from the Guild, so something is askew there, too restrictive, probably.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 8:47 AM

MINCINGBEAST


Yes, absolutely. The companion thing made me keenly aware of my puritanical inhibitions, which I celebrate.

Its not the humping for money part that bugs me, but rather the insistence that humping for money can be an enobling, empowering and spiritually rewarding act. But I'm not really comfortable with the alternative--suggesting that humping for money is fine and dandy so long as it is a degrading and miserable thing.

So, reverence for companions bugs me, and my reaction to companions bugs me, too.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:00 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
Like Two says, though, I was never able to buy into Inara’s high standing either as a Guild member or a sacred whore. It doesn’t make sense that whores, trained and certified in the future would suddenly have social status and credibility, notoriety, like celebrities of today, yes, but not power brokers of tomorrow. Legal doesn’t equal empowerment, money does, and maybe the Guild has a lot of money, like the Church at one time. But the Church was in the business of selling tickets for soul redemption, where the Guild’s services are more of a luxury for the rich, a luxury you can live without, especially if you lose your money, so even that comparison doesn’t hold up...

And, just because we see Inara defending her chosen profession doesn’t mean she wants to do it forever, otherwise if she did, she wouldn’t have left the house to fly on Serenity and end up on backwater moons NOT having any clients to service...

I have a solution to the mystery of Inara's superior status, but I'm forced to imagine a history for Companionship. Inara on Serenity is like a professor on a sabbatical. Leaving Serenity, her next role was as an actual teacher back at a Companion operated school.

Imagine the Companion Guild as a rich and self-governed University (think Harvard) with a large endowment. I'll imagine that the Guild was formed on board the ships from Earth. The Guild has a special low tax status in the first constitution written after arriving in the 'Verse. The Guild has been wisely investing its endowment for centuries.

All this imaginary history would give Inara the high status of a Harvard full professor. She wouldn't be paid by the hour -- she's on salary. There's no pressure for her to teach more and more “students” (service more clients). Whatever fees the clients pay are "tuition" going directly to the “University” (the Guild.) By separating sex from money, I think this is a workable way to strongly differentiate Companionship from prostitution. This gives Inara status that high priced call girl could never attain.

And it fits with the science fiction genre: people haven't changed but society has been rearranged into a new order. Companions are on high, prostitutes are low, tenured professors are high, kindergarten teachers are low.

Sorry about that low status, kindergarten teachers, but working with noisy, snot-nosed kids is not as refined as working with 22-year-old graduate students writing dissertations, although there are similarities.

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:12 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
It doesn’t make sense that whores, trained and certified in the future would suddenly have social status and credibility, notoriety, like celebrities of today, yes, but not power brokers of tomorrow.



Well, the concept is hardly new:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtesan - note that someone has already added a link to Inara
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_prostitution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geisha (Although I believe the authentic Geisha service stops at a sexy dance and a nice hot cup of tea).

Quote:


And, just because we see Inara defending her chosen profession doesn’t mean she wants to do it forever, otherwise if she did, she wouldn’t have left the house to fly on Serenity and end up on backwater moons NOT having any clients to service.




Well, Inara's reasons for doing that have been discussed at length, elsewhere, and were clearly going to be an important element of the plot arc had the show continued.


Quote:


And, both Nandi and Saffron ran from the Guild, so something is askew there, too restrictive, probably.



Well, Nandi's problem with the guild was well described in the show - she had no problem with the sex for money thing, but was driven batty by poetry and dulcimer lessons. Saffron was just plain psycho. Well... really, really hot psycho, actually - we never got the full story, she may have been thrown out of the guild with extreme prejudice (probably after having stolen anything not screwed down).


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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:48 AM

STEGASAURUS


I'm suprised no one as of yet has mentioned the geisha. When I watched the show for the first time, I immediately thought of Inara as a geisha with more spice (after having watched Memoirs of a Geisha).

In Wikipedia it states the following about the origins of a geisha:

Quote:

In early seventeenth-century Japan (long before the word geisha was ever used), the predecessor of the geisha, a combination of actress and prostitute, worked on the stages set in the driver[vague] river bed of the River Kamo in Kyoto. The line between actress and prostitute was then blurred. The women would preform erotic dances and skits for their audiences. This new type of performance was dubbed kabuku, meaning "to be wild and outrageous". They[who?] called her dances kabuki, which was the beginning of kabuki theater.[1]

Traditional Japanese views of sex were very relaxed. It was a society that embraced sexual delights and where men were not constrained to be faithful to their wives. In fact it was socially acceptable to be in love with one's wife, but only what was considered a "professional" woman.[vague] For sexual enjoyment and romantic attachment, men did not go to their wives, but to courtesans. In order to maintain this profession, the Japanese government created "pleasure quarters" where the courtesans could reside and work and men could go to relax and enjoy the entertainment.[1]

These pleasure quarters quickly became glamorous entertainment centers that offered far more that just sex. The highly accomplished courtesans of these districts entertained their clients by dancing, singing, and playing music. Some were even renowned poets and calligraphers. Gradually, they all became specialized and the new profession, purely of entertainment, arose. It was near the turn of the eighteenth century that the first entertainers of the pleasure quarters, called geisha, appeared. The very first geishas were men, entertaining customers waiting to see the most popular and gifted courtesans.[1]

Around 1760, women began to join men in the art of the geisha and very quickly outnumbered the men. The first woman to use the term "geisha" was an Edo prostitute named Kikuya and[vague] became a full-time entertainer. Soon, many women, whether they sold sex or not, began using the term geisha. Doing so was a way of acquiring respectability and proving that they were professionals.[dubious – discuss] The geisha who worked within the pleasure quarters were essentially imprisoned and strictly forbidden to sell sex in order to protect the business of the courtesans. Geisha who worked outside the pleasure quarters, however, could do as they pleased. Eventually, the gaudy courtesans began to fall out of fashion and the geisha were seen as the chic and desirable entertainers they are in modern Japan.



While I realize the geisha is Japanese and not Chinese, what in the world would have stopped Joss from utilizing some Japanese cultural tidbits to further the excitement of his (our) show? Absolutely nothing.

As for it bothering or not bothering me? Not in the least. Our society is going to change 360 degrees 10 times over before we reach the timeframe Firefly/Serentiy is in, and I like to think myself a progressive thinker.

My wife, on the other hand, does not and would not approve.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:15 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by ImNotHere:
Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
It doesn’t make sense that whores, trained and certified in the future would suddenly have social status and credibility, notoriety, like celebrities of today, yes, but not power brokers of tomorrow.


I don't think it would have been sudden. It would have been a very gradual shift over 500 years. That's a long time! Think about it - 100 years ago women in the US couldn't vote and showing an ankle was grounds for sexual assault.

I do like the notion that Companions could be power brokers. There's the challenge: can we put aside our issues with sex enough to appreciate the talents they have? They are trained to read and manipulate people, and that would make them masters at politics and business. If we could all just get over the sex thing, that is...

And it's definitely a question of sexism. The stereotypical male power broker has a varied sex history, probably even has paid for it. That doesn't make him dirty. (ETA: in the eyes of those who do business with him, I mean.)

Quote:

Quote:


And, just because we see Inara defending her chosen profession doesn’t mean she wants to do it forever, otherwise if she did, she wouldn’t have left the house to fly on Serenity and end up on backwater moons NOT having any clients to service.


Well, Inara's reasons for doing that have been discussed at length, elsewhere, and were clearly going to be an important element of the plot arc had the show continued.

I agree. There could be many reasons that Inara left the Core that have nothing to do with her job. In fact, we have plenty of evidence that it wasn't her job. She shows no unwillingness to take clients, and nothing but respect for the Guild.

As for Nandi, Inara doesn't either sympathize or ostracize Nandi for her decision to leave. My take is that Inara accepts that the Guild isn't for everyone. It didn't fit Nandi, that's all.


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

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:15 AM

PLATONIST


Companions aren’t exactly empowered as courtesans were, and Companions aren’t exactly Geisha either, because they include sex, where a Geisha of high standing didn’t.

European Courtesans were only given high status because of who they were attached to at the time and most often that was for a limited time, as they could be replaced at anytime. And, once they were cast aside, it was a spiral slide into poverty. It became a short lived and precarious life style. They got what they could get and moved along. There were no guarantees of acceptance, one day you may find yourself on the outs of the social circle because your belonging was based on someone else.

Companions seemed to have high status solely based on having Guild affiliation, which maintains a high set of their own standards. Companions can pick and choose from several clients at the same time, etc. It’s not a singular attachment unless they choose or get an offer.

I guess I didn’t see the necessity of making prostitution legal and controlled by the Guild, and also attach high social status to those who were essentially sex workers, especially since there were a few instances where Inara didn’t seem to have such status on her own, like her lack of her own ticket to the Ball on Persephone, she had to be escorted by Atherton. Badger had tickets. Shouldn’t she have gotten her own invite if she was held in such high esteem? There are too many inconsistencies and not enough information for me to feel comfortable about believing that legal organized professional prostitution would ultimately lead to power, wealth and high social status for those practicing. It’s a nice thought and all very convenient at times, but not realistic.

Two, love the Professor on sabbatical analogy, and yes, I want to TA

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:38 AM

MAL4PREZ


Platonist: I agree that any comparison of Companions to things that have come before will come up short. Obviously! Women have never had the rights and the power over ourselves that we have now, which is all nothing to what we'll have in the future (I hope!)

One thing you're overlooking is the Companion training. The Guild is more than a "disease free" stamp on Inara's ID. It's a whole load of skills that come from years of training. This is what makes the Companion experience different from the quick sex to be had with a whore, and this is what makes a Companion valuable after she's retired. She is more than just sex for pay - this is repeated in the show again and again!

Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
I guess I didn’t see the necessity of making prostitution legal and controlled by the Guild, and also attach high social status to those who were essentially sex workers, especially since there were a few instances where Inara didn’t seem to have such status on her own, like her lack of her own ticket to the Ball on Persephone, she had to be escorted by Atherton.

You're making an assumption. Badger had tickets that Mal and Kaylee used, not Inara. The fact that Inara was at the party was completely a plotty coincidence, nothing to do with Badger.

It's very likely that Inara could have gone on her own, but why would she when she had several offers from clients to take her? Anyway, I doubt she'd want to go on her own. When your job is going to parties, you tend to prefer staying home on your free time.

ETA: On further thought, I think you kind of missed the point. Watch that scene after the duel again - Inara was the one with the power to kick Ath out of the party, so to speak, not the other way around!

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

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:47 AM

STORYMARK


Nope, no problem.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:18 PM

PLATONIST


mal4prez, I suddenly feel like the boy in the Parade who calls out that the Emperor has no clothes on because I can’t help feeling that a Companion is a euphemism for a sex worker. And, I too, would love for women to have power by controlling their own sexuality as they desire, in the future, but I think it could have been better served and achieved by making prostitution legal, organized, accepted, and controlled by the Guild without all the unnecessary endowments of high status and social esteem which seem to have been tagged on to convince us that what Inara does is valid and valuable to maintain the social structure and culture of core worlds who embrace enlightenment and moral integrity.

You have to admit, it’s a little gullible to assume that any profession in the future, especially sex work, oh, sorry Companioning, would be held in that high esteem, when none are today. We don’t even trust our trusted attorneys, doctors, and teachers anymore.

And, any educated person can retire and do whatever they want; some marginally educated people can retire and do whatever they want… waves to our own esteemed Arnold.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:37 PM

CHAPTERANDVERSE


Yes. It made me cringe quite a bit. And when I was borrowing it to friends, it was the one aspect of the series I felt I had to defend/apologise for. Its seems a highly unlikely/convenient plot device.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:37 PM

ECGORDON

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


Everyone seems to be concentrating on the "sex worker" part of being a Registered Companion, but it makes sense to me that the Guild would have as much political status in the 'Verse as they do social and financial status.




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:44 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
Everyone seems to be concentrating on the "sex worker" part of being a Registered Companion

Ummm... because it's the most coolest part, I conjure.

Look, I see it as an amusing/interesting plot device, but realistically, I'm with Malcolm Reynolds on this one.


The laughing Chrisisall

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:47 PM

PLATONIST


Well, It's hard not to concentrate on the sex work aspect of the job, when that's all we see Inara do, sex and serve tea, or teach how to sex and serve tea.

She's not exactly shown balancing budgets, writing grants and bills, or solving governmental crisis.

And, I'm okay with this, and I'm sure Mal would be too, if he was the sole receiver.

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