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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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:20 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by 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.

I think the show presents something different which you aren't seeing. You're interpreting things to fit your view - there never was any suggestion that Inara couldn't get her own ticket to the ball, for instance. You aren't allowing for everything that is presented.

I'll agree that this Guild thing is not something that can exist today, or even in the near future, but we're talking about 500 years from now. The whole point is that things - including the human mentality - will be different.

ETA: Also, we see Inara do much much more than have sex and drink tea! You might not see all those others things if you're excessively focused... I must admit, it is easy to get tunnel vision with Inara on screen. Even for a hetero female. :)

Quote:

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.

Sure, the writers of the show gave her all that status to force the viewer to reexamine our assumptions about someone who would exchange sex for money. But again, that's not all there is to it. Inara wins respect and high status because there is more to her. Cause and effect: the cause is her skills, the effect is her status. Not the other way around.

Or do you really not see the skills? Is the sexual aspect that blinding?


Quote:

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.
No, I don't have to admit that! In fact, I think it's a little silly to assume that the rules that apply today will still hold in 500 years. Again - look at how different everything was 100 years ago, only 1/5 of that time!

Quote:

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.
I don't see how this applies. It's not about Inara retiring and doing what she wants. It's about a Companion - any Companion - having certain skills as a result of her training that would be valued by those who don't have a hang-up over her sexual history.

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

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:21 PM

BYTEMITE


Two: It comes from China and Japan. The obvious parallel in Japan are the Oiran (actual pay for sex high class courtesans) and Geisha (not pay for sex, but flirty companionship and tea and sophisticated entertainment).

And in China, even though the state frowns on it, concubines and escorts are very much a reality. Especially for the rich inner members of the party, who have more than enough power to bend the rules their way and buy off anyone who might go after them for it.

Then when China and America warily shook hands before the first arcs launched, probably these traditions and the Eastern medicine practices merged with American new age hippie/wiccan goddess worship ideas.

Prostitutes serving on the arcs probably became familiar with all the various services, approaches, and ideas making up the later companion profession, and were well appreciated by any unmarried officers or sailors (though probably not so much the civies). When the arcs arrived in the new system, prostitutes had a lot of power from the military and were able to organize and make a demand of legitimacy from the Alliance precursor.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:30 PM

BYTEMITE


Platonist, you forget, sex is addictive, and for ambitious people it gets lonely at the top. That's where I think the power came from initially.

I think companions try not to mess up marriages, and they all take client confidentiality seriously, but here also, secrets and skeletons in closets are also power. A politician say gets a special treatment, and the guild isn't going to tell anyone, probably, but does that politician want to risk making them mad? What if what the politician does is something that maybe outside confidentiality, charges could be pressed against them, or they could be sued? Hell hath no fury...

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:45 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

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.


Aha, yep Two, that's how I see it too.

I should read the entire thread before I comment. ^_^'

Although, it seems also that the Alliance controlls a little bit of the companion training as well, after all, Inara identified in Our Mrs. Reynolds that Saffron is "companion trained" which means "Academy." Probably the same branches of Academy that put River in a special "accelerated" program... And tore her to pieces.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:45 PM

PLATONIST


I'll agree that knowledge is power, B, but I don't think the Guild rules by threats, intimation or blackmail, over time, they wouldn't keep any clients, if they did. I think they've acquired land and wealth more likely, endowments and such.

And more likely, their clients have a broad range of needs, not exclusive to addiction.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:46 PM

PLATONIST


Mal4prez, I think my view maybe narrowly defined because I'm only relying on how the show presents Inara's work, and I’m seeing, that she does have sex every time she goes to work, as in a sex worker. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I’m not willing to read into it anymore than what is not shown or stated. And, I'm not debating whether or not a Companion needs the upmost in training, skill and personality to fulfill the role competently, all I'm saying is that I think the show could have done a better job in clarifying the limitations and justifications for having Companions held in high esteem, above other professions, like Shepherds, or Firefly pilots. What is this based on?

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:00 PM

BYTEMITE


Yeah, I think it's a better explanation, though I think HOW the guild came to power was by leaning on their powerful clients when everyone was on the arc, and also that a merger of east west is what created their philosophy and practices.

But after that, I can see endowments and tax breaks giving them a lot of money. Very much so.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4:15 PM

KPO

"Love is natural and real. But not for you my love. Not tonight my love..."


Quote:

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?

As someone else said, it's an industry that can cater to upper and lower ends.

So it can be classy. I don't think it can be spiritual. I can accept a certain amount of mysticism along the lines of human psychology but I think 'spiritual' is pushing it. I believe in love, and I believe in lust, these are valid parts of the human experience - any spirituality in sex that goes beyond mere psychology to me is just pretentious - though that's just me, as an atheist. So the idea doesn't appeal to me personally.

As for it being a 'noble' or 'edifying' service, that notion for me is somewhat unconvincing I must say. It strikes me as being at best a morally neutral service - a restaurant is a good analogy: it can be high class or low class but ultimately it's catering to a basic animal instinct - to eat. Joss tried to put companionship more on a level of 'teacher' and 'priest' - professions that edify the mind and the soul. But the comparison doesn't quite fit - in fact it clashes, and seems forced, imo.

Heads should roll

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:35 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 kpo:

So it can be classy. I don't think it can be spiritual. I can accept a certain amount of mysticism along the lines of human psychology but I think 'spiritual' is pushing it. I believe in love, and I believe in lust, these are valid parts of the human experience - any spirituality in sex that goes beyond mere psychology to me is just pretentious - though that's just me, as an atheist. So the idea doesn't appeal to me personally.

As for it being a 'noble' or 'edifying' service, that notion for me is somewhat unconvincing I must say. It strikes me as being at best a morally neutral service - a restaurant is a good analogy: it can be high class or low class but ultimately it's catering to a basic animal instinct - to eat. Joss tried to put companionship more on a level of 'teacher' and 'priest' - professions that edify the mind and the soul. But the comparison doesn't quite fit - in fact it clashes, and seems forced, imo.

I got this fanciful notion: “Companions want their client's friendship; prostitutes want just their money.” That explains why a Companion is not like a prostitute (temple, geisha, call girl, etc.). And it seems to match Inara's actions. Real prostitutes try to keep their personal lives separate from their work. But for Companions there is no separation. They want love and friendship from clients. That's what I think.

I remember Inara looking at photos of potential clients. I imagine a science fiction future where there are Companion Guild certified-accurate psychological profiles that give Inara insight to a client.

When Inara searches a new client's profile, she is picking a permanent friend, hopefully. Inara is searching for people that could fall in love with her. She's out on the Rim because she's disillusioned with the shriveled and dried-up hearts of Core people.

Remember Atherton Wing, the sword duelist? Inara picked wrong. She had such high hopes for him, but all the care that Inara took and all the time she spent with Atherton and he was a monster hidden underneath that polished exterior. Since it was Joss Whedon's show, that's where we got our entertainment, by watching what went so wrong.

Finally:
Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” is not how real prostitution works. The best a real prostitute can hope for is to become Sasha Grey in “The Girlfriend Experience” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1103982/synopsis It is depressing to watch Sasha's life, even as she grows rich & famous. If Companions existed, they, too, would be saddened by Sasha Grey's life.

Sasha is a version of a Companion from a parallel dimension. She's going through the motions of being a loving person with real feelings. When she's with a client, she switches to autopilot. First she does this, then she does that, then she charges the client's credit card. Maybe she has injected herself with Novocaine, making herself numb, mistaking that for self-control? As beautiful as Sasha Grey is, she is faking love. Because Inara/Morena Baccarin has the spirit, my choice is her, even if she shaved her head and morphed into a Visitor lizard. Her spirit shows when she plays a Companion. She is not faking. Or if she is, Inara's doing an award winning performance.

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

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:57 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


No, not at all. I think the whole thing was handled quite nicely (as far as TV is concerned).

My guess is that as 'we' become more 'civilized' 500 years into the future the world's oldest profession gets a makeover and blends into the mainstream.

I'm also guessing by the way everyone treats Inara that the semi-religious connotation lends an air of credibility and social acceptance - almost like royalty. I imagine the earth has gone through some major changes economically, as well as political. The Geisha elevated to new heights because of the mixing of the cultures - both East and West.

Perhaps some wise warlord thought it was an easy buck and made the business decision to harness the power of sex.


SGG

Tawabawho?

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:58 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Originally posted by Bytemite:
Quote:

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



Yes but what Mal says and what Mal does are two very different things...


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 8:17 AM

BYTEMITE


I think it's more likely Mal being pissed off and mean is a front than him being nice is a front. I see glimpses of niceness from Mal being glimpses of his real self. So if Mal is nice to Inara occasionally about her profession, that seems to suggest to me hints about how he might really feel about it. He doesn't seem to hold whoring against Nandi. Something about Inara just makes Mal defensive, so he lashes out instead of says what he really thinks and feels.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 8:36 AM

KPO

"Love is natural and real. But not for you my love. Not tonight my love..."


Quote:

Real prostitutes try to keep their personal lives separate from their work. But for Companions there is no separation. They want love and friendship from clients. That's what I think.

I see - so you could describe companionship as like 'an art of intimacy', and the sex is a natural part of it?

That's an interesting idea, but quite a difficult one to write I imagine. All too easy to fall into cliches - like Inara in Jaynestown turning a quivering 'boy' into a decisive 'man' in one episode, just by sleeping with him (and also a little bit of life coaching).

It has to be more deep and complex than this, for me. I would like to see the idea represented well - companionship making a significant and credible difference in a person's life. It would be posible to write this, but difficult and involved I think (especially difficult when condensed into just one episode).

Quote:

Her spirit shows when she plays a Companion. She is not faking. Or if she is, Inara's doing an award winning performance.


Morena's performance left me cold, I sometimes wonder if there's something wrong with me...

I don't like the way she delivers her lines, in like her witty exchanges with Mal - that's one thing... she seems to hurry them and just recite them it seems... Hmm.


Heads should roll

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:53 AM

BYTEMITE


Wha... Really?

I've always thought she gets REALLY animated when they're fighting. And her eyes kind of do this flashy thing, her facial expressions are pretty excellent. Like in Trash, that was a particularly good fight. And her shocked look that the end of Our Mrs. Reynolds is well done too.

Maybe it's her tone when the fighting is more subdued. Her snarky tone is very subtle. I know people who actually think Inara's specialty really IS washing feet (it's not. Snark!).

I like that she has range and can be subtle, because the CHARACTER is subtle. And when she gets really mad, and she speeds up like that, it doesn't strike me as bad acting, it's a superbly done "feisty latina girl." Hands on the hips, huffy gasp, I half expect her to let fly with a whole bunch of angry indecipherable Spanish all running together. It's awesome, I love that Morena was willing to bring that to the portrayal, it's a very spirited interpretation.

And maybe it's just me, or maybe it's just a girl thing, but that is just such a perfectly expressed non-verbal "Oh no you DIDN'T!" that I can't help squeeing a little inside.

Morena, argument, can't act? Doesn't compute.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:55 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 kpo:
Quote:

Real prostitutes try to keep their personal lives separate from their work. But for Companions there is no separation. They want love and friendship from clients. That's what I think.

I see - so you could describe companionship as like 'an art of intimacy', and the sex is a natural part of it?

That's an interesting idea, but quite a difficult one to write I imagine. All too easy to fall into cliches - like Inara in Jaynestown turning a quivering 'boy' into a decisive 'man' in one episode, just by sleeping with him (and also a little bit of life coaching).

It has to be more deep and complex than this, for me. I would like to see the idea represented well - companionship making a significant and credible difference in a person's life. It would be posible to write this, but difficult and involved I think (especially difficult when condensed into just one episode).

I don't want Inara to be a selfless Buddhist sex therapist. I prefer to imagine her as selfishly bedding people to make friendship. Money comes secondary. She helps little Mister whats-his-name in Jaynestown, the callow and inexperienced youth, to grow because she's looking for a friend when the kid finally get some emotional maturity. If Inara wants to make a friend, she acts friendly, and that kid needed her help. Inara was thinking long term relationship with the kid -- after his old fart father dies. That's why Companions take clients from the important people -- to make connections. Mal's a nobody. Inara doesn't need his friendship.

We can pretend that the 'Verse has recently left some Golden Age of Sex, maybe because of war, where the Companions' ideals could be reliably expressed. A time when relationships worked properly. The 'Verse has fallen into the Lead Age, where there are billions of guys like Atherton Wing, narcissistic, all polished surface, no interior life, who will never love Inara no matter how many times she makes love to them.

[Then there is rough, ill-mannered, emotionally complex Mal, Atherton's complete opposite. That's not right, Jayne is Atherton's exact opposite. I don't think Inara is willing to go as low as Jayne while searching for authentic love and friendship. There are limits.]

Somebody could write fan fiction about Inara's disillusionment with Companionship. A few more bad clients ought to make her crave retirement. She can switch permanently to teaching. If she was a whore, Inara wouldn't care for anything but being paid. She'd never stop taking clients. The Atherton Wings of the Universe are good enough for whores. The 'Verse is growing cold and hostile toward what Companionship is. The 'Verse is getting mean and nasty, like Earth-That-Was was. There could be years of drama in that for Inara.

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

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:07 AM

BYTEMITE


Wait wait wait. Switch over to teaching girls how to do the thing she couldn't stand any more, for clients she couldn't stand anymore? Send them out into a verse that's gone cold and mean towards her ideals of love and comfort, took a profession she trained for since she was twelve and crushed all her idealism and enjoyment out of it?

Sounds like happy times.

There are plenty of fanfiction about Inara's disillusionment, and while some are well written and very pretty, they're all kind of alternate character interpretations. Even if Inara has had some bad clients, she's never expressed anything but satisfaction and pride for her career. Putting up with the occasional boor seems to be part of that.

Quote:

If she was a whore, Inara wouldn't care for anything but being paid. She'd never stop taking clients. The Atherton Wings of the Universe are good enough for whores.


And this. What? So most whores today, they can stop taking clients whenever they want, huh? They only do it so they get paid, that a fact? And getting hit by some rich jerk, uglied up so no one else wants them, that's "good enough" for a whore? So Inara has to like her clients to be a good person? To want their love and friendship (which I don't think she does)?

I don't agree. She has a job, she wants to be independent, she wants to spend what time she has in dignity and comfort.

What's with all the judgment? She's making money to support herself. Yeah, maybe she could do other things. But if she likes this, isn't that her choice? Why take that away from her?

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 1:22 PM

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 Bytemite:
Wait wait wait. Switch over to teaching girls how to do the thing she couldn't stand any more, for clients she couldn't stand anymore? Send them out into a verse that's gone cold and mean towards her ideals of love and comfort, took a profession she trained for since she was twelve and crushed all her idealism and enjoyment out of it?

Sounds like happy times.

There are plenty of fanfiction about Inara's disillusionment, and while some are well written and very pretty, they're all kind of alternate character interpretations. Even if Inara has had some bad clients, she's never expressed anything but satisfaction and pride for her career. Putting up with the occasional boor seems to be part of that.

Quote:

If she was a whore, Inara wouldn't care for anything but being paid. She'd never stop taking clients. The Atherton Wings of the Universe are good enough for whores.


And this. What? So most whores today, they can stop taking clients whenever they want, huh? They only do it so they get paid, that a fact? And getting hit by some rich jerk, uglied up so no one else wants them, that's "good enough" for a whore? So Inara has to like her clients to be a good person? To want their love and friendship (which I don't think she does)?

I don't agree. She has a job, she wants to be independent, she wants to spend what time she has in dignity and comfort.

What's with all the judgment? She's making money to support herself. Yeah, maybe she could do other things. But if she likes this, isn't that her choice? Why take that away from her?

It's not that terrible. Inara doesn't need to be a hypocrite to still work with those that maybe, someday, become Companions. Inara could be a physical education and creative writing teacher. She teaches archery and English. A teen entering a Companion school doesn't mean they're destined to be a Companion, no more than starting high school means you will go on to college and become a Licensed Electrical Engineer. You may end up being an electrician.

As for Inara STOPPING taking clients, why not? Inara's better than me. Whores and me are paid by people we don't like and work under dreadful conditions. Inara would tell a bad client to bend over and take this job and shove it without K-Y jelly. Me, I don't have the courage to quit. I got to work. Unless a prostitute is Sasha Grey in the "The Girlfriend Experience" they are stuck in their crappy job, like it or not, until better comes along. Some of us don't have good options.

Bytemite, this thread is for explaining why Inara and Companions get extraordinary respect. If Companions act like me, wage slaves, fearful and angry at their employers, getting all their self-worth from their career, Companions wouldn't be respected. Companions have to arrogantly believe they're better than that or they will be mistreated. And sometimes they need to quit the job or go on strike or call the police rather than suffer abuse.

Inara could follow the example of the writers strike in Hollywood. Why go on strike? They were getting paid. They got their names on movies or TV episodes. They could have peacefully capitulated to the Studio. But they didn't. Well, some of them retired. Some took the Studios side against the Union.

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

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 2:00 PM

BYTEMITE


But... WHAT abuse? It only makes sense to go on strike if your Employer is abusing you, and Inara's employer is the guild, not her clients. Furthermore, it's made pretty clear that companions choose their clients. She doesn't have to quit her job to get away from the Atherton Wings of the world. You seem to be making an assumption that Inara's situation is automatically abusive and/or exploitive.

And normally I'd agree with you, comparing her to real whores in the modern day, and I'd also point out that Joss Whedon is using feminism to hide the fact that Inara is being oggled in the show and treated like a sex object. But apparently she's choosing it and SHE doesn't see it as abusive or exploitive, or why would she even think of training other girls into it? Call it a poor representation of the profession, if you must, but it still doesn't make Inara abused or exploited, because nothing suggests that she is. And as you said, she has the option to quit... Most whores don't. That alone says her situation IS better, for whatever reason.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:04 PM

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 Bytemite:
But... WHAT abuse? It only makes sense to go on strike if your Employer is abusing you, and Inara's employer is the guild, not her clients. Furthermore, it's made pretty clear that companions choose their clients. She doesn't have to quit her job to get away from the Atherton Wings of the world. You seem to be making an assumption that Inara's situation is automatically abusive and/or exploitive. ...

Inara's Companion career is on a long, slow detour. She is teaching and not seeing Clients. Not even at parties, on weekends or festivals. I'll take the following dialog as evidence. It is from page 136 of the 190 page script for Serenity, the one where Wash and Book live http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/8/13/2048723/Serenity-190pages.pdf

MAL: So how many has it been? Clients.
INARA: There are so many levels on which that's none of your business.
MAL: Come on, death on the doorstep, can't be truthsome with an old friend?
INARA: Well, let's see, five months, minimum three hour visit, plus regulars and extended contracts, allowing holidays...(does the math in her head) ... none.
MAL: None.
INARA: I've been teaching, Mal, you know that.
MAL: So, none.
INARA: Let it go, Mal.

I can't believe Inara's too busy teaching to have time for sex. I don't know why Inara stopped seeing Clients. Maybe she's on strike? Maybe she's unhappy with some Clients? All Clients? Maybe she is trying to impress Mal? Only Joss knows Inara's motives. I do know that she is still a Companion.

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

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:35 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
I think it's more likely Mal being pissed off and mean is a front than him being nice is a front. I see glimpses of niceness from Mal being glimpses of his real self. So if Mal is nice to Inara occasionally about her profession, that seems to suggest to me hints about how he might really feel about it. He doesn't seem to hold whoring against Nandi. Something about Inara just makes Mal defensive, so he lashes out instead of says what he really thinks and feels.



Mal doesn't hold whoring against Nandi because he isn't in love with Nandi. He is in love with Inara. His conflict comes from the fact that he has fallen in love with a woman who is invoved in a profession that he does not regard as honourable.

Mal sleeps with Nandi for one reason only : To highlight to Inara how painful it is when someone you love engages in a sexual act with a complete stranger.






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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:56 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Mal sleeps with Nandi for one reason only : To highlight to Inara how painful it is when someone you love engages in a sexual act with a complete stranger.


Um, well, I'm pretty sure Mal's intention wasn't making Inara jealous. I'm pretty sure he was hoping she wouldn't find out, because considering his constant insults, it seems pretty hypocritical of him.

Now if you mean that was the reason for that particular plot point... Maybe and maybe not. We don't KNOW what Joss intended.

But considering how Joss recently outed what Inara's secret is, Inara's secret suggests her grief over that instance, and her subsequent leave taking, are far deeper and more complicated than just Inara having the tables turned on her. Inara leaving because Mal slept with Nandi, compared to the hundreds of times she slept with other men doesn't make sense if you think about it. Why wouldn't she just stay and quit companioning if the whole thing was just Inara feeling guilty? Why SHOULD Inara feel guilty? They're not together, not really. And what's with Inara apparently wanting Mal to go after her in Those Left Behind? Not exactly a guilty conscience wanting to disappear, rather, it appears she's hoping for Mal to prove something to her, which it appears he's done so by the end of the movie. My take is Inara wanted to see if she could rely on him to not just abandon her... Which she NEEDS to know, because a lot of people probably wouldn't bother, in light of her secret.

And, BTW, Inara calls Mal a petty thief to his face, but when he's not around, she calls him "noble" and "a Robin Hood." Very similar to Mal being more charitable about Inara's profession when SHE'S not around. They're both reflections of each other, and they both think the other has more honour than might be expected at surface glance.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:12 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:

And, BTW, Inara calls Mal a petty thief to his face, but when he's not around, she calls him "noble" and "a Robin Hood." Very similar to Mal being more charitable about Inara's profession when SHE'S not around. They're both reflections of each other, and they both think the other has more honour than might be expected at surface glance.

VERRRRY astute, Byte!!!!


The laughing Chrisisall

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:19 PM

BYTEMITE


Well, yeah. She's not exactly on strike, though, because the guild is still her employer and still paying her and she is still a companion.

I'm not sure how well she could teach from Serenity if she took that up again. Teaching new companions seems to be sort of hands on required, if the movie is anything to go by. Obviously this was an alternative job she found she could do within the guild, while no longer on Serenity. It happened to be a stationary job. What if she got tired of waiting for Mal, and jumped on another ship, and resumed her other job, which probably pays better?

What's she going to do once she gets back on Serenity and is traveling again? Assuming they aren't all fugitives at the end of the movie still, because otherwise they're flat out screwed because none of them can get any work (or at least work Mal would likely be okay accepting). So assuming they aren't fugitives, except for Simon and River, because the Operative says people will still be looking for them. What does Inara do? The crew can't afford dead weight, so she has to contribute somehow. How do you respect her spirit and desire for independence with a job she can take after all this?

The problem is, if she retires from Companioning then confines herself to just one field, even something relatively empowering, like say politics, then she's going to be giving up something else she enjoys (in the example of politics, comforting and nurturing people). Ultimately, being a companion allows Inara to do EVERYTHING that she likes doing, there really isn't any other job out there that fits her better and makes her as useful to have around on Serenity (what with the apparent companion near-diplomatic immunity power).

Though I've been thinking recently there might be some potential for Inara free-lancing for ALL the aspects of her profession (diplomacy, arm-candy, parties, massage, therapy, entertainment/art/music), except the sex, which is what guild membership seems to make legal. And when she's not working, I imagine she'd make an excellent quartermaster, and be pretty good at working her own contacts to run higher end, safer cargo.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:29 PM

BYTEMITE


Chris: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's the reason Joss changed the dialogue exchange with Wash in the pilot, right before Inara is introduced to him saying "someone on this boat has to make an honest living." Originally what Joss had planned for Mal to say wasn't too flattering, but I think it was changed entirely to set up this "what's beyond the surface, what's the difference between what they feel and the masks they show each other" dynamic.

The more pleasant exchange in The Message could have a few interpretations. If you take the Message in it's original order, with this being after Heart of Gold, then it potentially becomes Mal trying to be nice to convince her to stay or him thinking "screw it, I've lost her anyway." But if you take it in the new order, there's no apparent reason for Mal to say something nice there, and it seems more like he slipped up and said something honest.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 4:42 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Originally posted by Bytemite:
Quote:

Um, well, I'm pretty sure Mal's intention wasn't making Inara jealous. I'm pretty sure he was hoping she wouldn't find out, because considering his constant insults, it seems pretty hypocritical of him.


Here's Mal and Inara at an impass in thier relationship. Mal is suddenly faced with the opportunity of a beautiful woman (Nandi) showing interest in him that involves more than just put downs and hurtful remarks, and so he seizes the opportunity. Not because he's interested in Nandi but because it will cause Inara to react. What kind of a reaction doesn't matter.... And of course she's going to find out, they are in the whore house! Hypocrisy is irrelevant. (It was hypocritical of him to allow her on the ship in the first place if he is so principled). That's why the plot focusses on Inara breaking down and crying. That's the reaction we HAVE to see. There is no other reason why that shot is in the show but to illustrate what MAL has intentionally done to INARA. It's the money shot as far as thier relationship goes because now WE know that Inara absolutely loves Mal.

Quote:

But considering how Joss recently outed what Inara's secret is, Inara's secret suggests her grief over that instance, and her subsequent leave taking, are far deeper and more complicated than just Inara having the tables turned on her. Inara leaving because Mal slept with Nandi, compared to the hundreds of times she slept with other men doesn't make sense if you think about it.


It makes perfect sense.

Quote:

Why wouldn't she just stay and quit companioning if the whole thing was just Inara feeling guilty?


It's not about making Inara feel guilty it's about Inara understanding what MAl feels. She now knows what it is like to be in love with someone who has sex for a reason other than love.

Quote:

Why SHOULD Inara feel guilty?


I'm not saying she should feel guilty - but it's about pain. She put Mal through pain, and that's Mal's way of deflecting it back at her, without having to say to her "I love you Inara - and this is what you do to me every time you go off with your clients".

Quote:

And, BTW, Inara calls Mal a petty thief to his face, but when he's not around, she calls him "noble" and "a Robin Hood." Very similar to Mal being more charitable about Inara's profession when SHE'S not around. They're both reflections of each other, and they both think the other has more honour than might be expected at surface glance.


Indeed they are but they are bound by an inner conflict/pride if you like, that won't allow them to reveal to each other how they feel.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 5:42 PM

BYTEMITE


In my opinion, the thing with Nandi wasn't ABOUT Inara. Look at his reaction when he sees her the next morning. He wasn't thinking ahead at all. It wasn't jealousy, and really don't think it was I love you, so I'm going to hurt you. It was Mal, needing comfort, and thinking Inara would never be willing to fulfill that need for him.

The attempted conversation at the end of that episode is much closer to I love you, but Inara cuts him off, because she can't stay.

She DOES leave because she can't stand what she's doing to Mal, but I don't think it's the way you think it is. Inara thinks if she stays it's going to destroy him, and it's not because of her profession. At the end of the movie, she realizes that he might be able to withstand what's coming and be there for her, so she maybe kinda sorta discusses staying with him.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:29 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Bytemite wrote:
Quote:

In my opinion, the thing with Nandi wasn't ABOUT Inara.


It's all about Inara. They are down there because of Inara. Mal is doing Inara a favour.

Quote:

Look at his reaction when he sees her the next morning. He wasn't thinking ahead at all. It wasn't jealousy, and really don't think it was I love you, so I'm going to hurt you. It was Mal, needing comfort, and thinking Inara would never be willing to fulfill that need for him.


Mal is always thinking ahead. It's his character. It is NOT about jealousy, it is about Mal illustrating to Inara what he has to feel when she goes off with her clients. And it's right in her face this time.

Where/how do you surmise it's about Inara feeling she would never fulfill him?

Quote:

The attempted conversation at the end of that episode is much closer to I love you, but Inara cuts him off, because she can't stay.
... and why can't she stay?....

Quote:

She DOES leave because she can't stand what she's doing to Mal, but I don't think it's the way you think it is. Inara thinks if she stays it's going to destroy him, and it's not because of her profession. At the end of the movie, she realizes that he might be able to withstand what's coming and be there for her, so she maybe kinda sorta discusses staying with him.


Well I don't think I stated why I think Inara leaves Mal? But to clear that up I would guess (because there really aren't many clues with this one) but I would guess it's because Inara has that option left to her. It's the one thing remaining that she is able to utilise to control thier relationship and it's less degrading than Mal telling her to leave - always a possibility. (But this is a big guess) It could simply be she can't stand the sight of him now he's bedded one of her friends. - (I've been there with this one!)

and..... Destroy him how? I'm not sure I follow you on this one....

But Bytemite - I wanted to say how much fun this is. I love the fact there are so many interpretations to this show and it's always interesing to read things from others and reconsider Firefly from alternative viewpoints. Gives me more reasons to re-watch Firefly and now in particular Hearts of Gold


Just to say I don't regard my point of view as definative ( I hope it's not coming across that way)


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Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:18 AM

BYTEMITE


I know this thread is about the whole companion issue, but I think Mal and Inara are an important subpoint of this. Mal is the designated, genre savvy hero of Firefly, the story starts with him (and him opening up a box with an omniscient MacGuffin Girl in it), so a lot of people take their cues on how to feel about companions from Mal.

So I think how Mal feels about companions, and particularly what Inara does, is very important to this conversation. I hope you'll all indulge me a little longer, because this conversation I think has it's place in the bigger picture here.

Quote:

Mal is always thinking ahead. It's his character. It is NOT about jealousy, it is about Mal illustrating to Inara what he has to feel when she goes off with her clients. And it's right in her face this time.


Ehm... I have to disagree with you on the first part, about Mal thinking ahead. Mal has always struck me as a pretty impulsive, "flying by the seat of his pants and change course on the turn of a dime" kind of guy. He says and does PLENTY of things that it seems to me he's kicking himself about later, even if they seem necessary at the time (and sometimes they aren't). Look at his terse comments to Kaylee in Shindig, or in the movie, after they leave Haven, and he goes to the shuttle and kind of just pauses there to absorb what he's done. He probably did have to do this, but turning Serenity into a Reaver ship and defiling their friends is a very "shoot the poor diseased dog" kind of thing. The thing is, a lot of his ideas are good ideas, so even though he has absolutely TERRIBLE luck, he's able to adjust on the fly and save as many people as possible, which makes him a good captain. Mal isn't the chessmaster, thinking several moves ahead. That's River.

If it's not about jealousy, why does it upset Mal so much? And why should it hurt Inara?

And also, is this really something Mal does? Hurt people he cares about in a pre-calculated way? He hurts them, no question about, and insults them, but it always seems to me like he was just being insensitive, speaking off the cuff, or that he was mad and not really in control of what he was saying. If it's pre-calculated to rub in Inara's face and hurt her, isn't that a little sadistic? This is quite a bit different from telling Simon that Kaylee's dead and terrifying the poor boy into thinking he and his sister are a few minutes from airlock city. That was a mean joke. I don't really think either he or Inara thought his night with Nandi was funny.

And it's almost like you're suggesting Inara needs to be hurt to be shown the error of her ways... Almost like she deserves it?

Quote:

... and why can't she stay?....


Now, it could very well be that she can't stand the sight of Mal, though that seems inconsistent with her wanting him to stop her/go after her in Those Left Behind, and her seemingly happily coming back to Serenity after the events of Miranda two months later.

But me, I think she can't stay because

Select to view spoiler:


She's dying. Mal loves her, and she knows it, and watching how Nandi's death affected him gave her a glimpse of the future. And he barely KNEW Nandi, yet he was still blaming himself for her death. Imagine how Mal will feel if Inara dies? I think it will destroy him, because here he is, trying to move on to Serenity Valley, trying to build himself and his crew a future, and he's struggling at it as it is.

My impression is that Inara wanted to spare him from that, but part of her wants him to be strong enough that he can stay with her and help her face this, because she's scared and lonely. And dying.

Inara maybe represents something normal for him, a luxury, maybe an actual future, a home with kids running around. He does express that he wants kids. What's so painful about this is his talk about "a passel of youngin's" reminds Inara that she can't have any with him, that she can't be with him. Similarly, his being with Nandi reminds Inara of what she can't have.



Oh, and I have links to prove it, but watch out, major spoilers.



http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=22301

Select to view spoiler:


Speaking of “Firefly” secrets, Morena Baccarin had recently spilled the beans at a convention that her character Inara was suffering from a terminal illness, which Whedon went on to reluctantly confirm.



Interview with Joss:

http://www.tvguide.com/News/Whedon-Buffy-Angel-1003015.aspx

Transcript:

http://stormwreath.livejournal.com/70109.html

Select to view spoiler:


When can we expect a Serenity 2 movie; and if never, can you tell us what Inara's secret was?

I'm not giving up Inara's secret - although I believe Morena has at conventions. Thanks, darling.



So maybe on top of everything else, the whole "sleeping with other people" thing was devastating for Inara. I mean, that could still be a PART of it. But I think revealing her secret changes the landscape a little, so to speak.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:25 AM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
Mal sleeps with Nandi for one reason only : To highlight to Inara how painful it is when someone you love engages in a sexual act with a complete stranger.



Very interesting Som. When I first read your post I thought, "hmmmm.... that's pretty good!" But the more I think about it the more I think Mal just wanted to f*ck. In fact, he's just that much of a clod that he DOESN'T think those kinds of things through, which only ads to Inara's pain. "He didn't even have the decency to think about how it would affect me!"

I also think it underscores what a hypocrite she is, and her realization of it, which leads to her decision to leave. She thought she could separate "sex" from "love" (she's a trained professional after all) but she's finding she can't - which ultimately takes us to the movie and her decision to stay. Her comment in HoG to Mal about it not mattering seemed flat and by rote, no sincerity at all, like "I know what I'm suppose to feel even if I don't."

There are other conflicts between them, like class distinctions. Mal's a commoner or lower, while Inara is High Society. It's more than who she sleeps with, it's who she is. She hangs out with the Dr. since he's people, where her growing feelings for Mal probably surprise her and shake her sense of control - "he's not even one of my people." Her tone with him can be very snippy and condescending (which he ignores). I think that's an unresolved conflict that also pushes her to leave.
And then forward again to the movie when she's deciding to stay and we see her without any of her Companion trappings of dress or makeup, like she's ready to go "slumming" with Mal.

I like what TWO was suggesting about Companions versus Whores - Companions wanting friendship, whores money. What if it goes further, what if part of their training was in the art of making their clients fall in love with them? Not just the art of physical pleasure, but really get inside their hearts, where it seemed completely mutual and real? That would be a powerful "service."

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:28 AM

BYTEMITE


Well, pizmo, I disagree, and see above for why. I'd do a step by step argument here, but I got a site visit thing I gotta do. Be back later!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:58 AM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Well, pizmo, I disagree, and see above for why. I'd do a step by step argument here, but I got a site visit thing I gotta do. Be back later!



Looking forward to it - I didn't see your post since we posted at about the same time. That spoiler does add to the mix... I'm not sure how just yet though. :)

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

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Thursday, February 18, 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 pizmobeach:
I like what TWO was suggesting about Companions versus Whores - Companions wanting friendship, whores money. What if it goes further, what if part of their training was in the art of making their clients fall in love with them? Not just the art of physical pleasure, but really get inside their hearts, where it seemed completely mutual and real? That would be a powerful "service."

That's an old-fashion scifi idea: Companions are highly respected because they are the human-embodied essence of Love Potion No. 9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Potion_No._9_%28film%29 Wasn't there an elixir in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince[2009] that did almost the same? “Amortentia doesn't create actual love. That would be impossible. But it does cause a powerful infatuation or obsession. And for that reason, it is probably the most dangerous potion in this room.” I think Companions agree with J. K. Rowling about it being a dangerous idea. I think they're too ethical to do that to their Clients.

I'm going to be romantic and postulate that the friendship between Companion and Client is real. Anything less in the relationship feels like failure to a Companion and that's why they are highly esteemed.

And to make things worse for Inara, she is not creating as many of the connections she expects. She feels like a failure. That might be why she temporarily stopped seeing Clients during the 5 months she is away from Serenity -- she's trying to get her old confidence back.

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

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:39 AM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


Quote:

Originally posted by two:
I'm going to be romantic and postulate that the friendship between Companion and Client is real. Anything less in the relationship feels like failure to a Companion and that's why they are highly esteemed.



I prefer your romantic take to mine, because I like to think of Inara as a genuine person, and yet... if Companions have that power (and I'm not suggesting that they have a potion or some kind of hypnotics, just great understanding through training and years of accumulated experience, The Training House), they would be a very powerful group in the 'Verse. What if Inara left because they were getting too political, using their power for other things than Companioning?

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:31 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 pizmobeach:
I prefer your romantic take to mine, because I like to think of Inara as a genuine person, and yet... if Companions have that power (and I'm not suggesting that they have a potion or some kind of hypnotics, just great understanding through training and years of accumulated experience, The Training House), they would be a very powerful group in the 'Verse. What if Inara left because they were getting too political, using their power for other things than Companioning?

That's two ideas. Companions are the Bene Gesserit from “Dune” Or they are the “spice.” One or both. Wiki quote: The story explores the complex and multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the Empire confront each other for control of Arrakis and its "spice". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_%28novel%29

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

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:40 AM

MINCINGBEAST


Fascianting, thought-provoking stuff!

However, my distrust of nuance and depth councils me that maybe Inara is just the 25th century Ashley Dupree, gussied up with Buddhism and faux-spirituality. I hope that doesn't sound unduly dismissive, but the fact is that she puts out for money, however we frame it.

Sad how Inara having sex with strangers (which is a very friendly thing to do) makes me cringe, while Mal shooting strangers (not so friendly) makes me applaud. Something about the American psyche makes violence seem wholesome, perhaps even regenerative, while sex is just icky.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:47 AM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


Quote:

Originally posted by two:
That's two ideas.

It is indeed, the first one of Companions being real with their customers (yours) or being fake and manipulative (mine), led me to the second one; expanding their sphere of influence through manipulation, something you believe Inara would not like or want to be a part of AND THEREFORE, giving her motivation to leave the Guild.


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Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:08 AM

BYTEMITE


Okay, back, yay! Also my map generator thingie is working on my computer, which means I'm not going to have to spend all day redoing figures and I have time for a few comments.

Okay, so, actually, I was a bit hasty with my blanket disagreement, pizmo, there's really only one thing you said that I disagree with, the other two points I'm right with you.

Nathan said in the visual companions that his take on the whole Mal/Nandi scene is that it's Mal "wanting to be human for a little while, which isn't something he really allows himself much." Or something like that.

I think it wasn't to hurt Inara, but rather that at the time, Mal actually wanted whatever it was Nandi was offering. I also think it was more than "just sex," that Nandi was actually doing some Companioning. Here Mal is, he offers to help Inara's friend as a gesture to Inara, right? And Inara has to brush it off as just business, because she can't let anything go deeper between them, she can't accept the gift/favour Mal was offering.

Well, that HURTS. The "strictly business" comment when they're introduced and Inara's subsequent eye-roll tells Nandi right away that Mal is feeling rejected. So Nandi was giving Mal something he wanted, telling him things about Inara and giving him a night with a companion. Nandi was trying to be helpful, because it seemed to both Nandi and Mal that Inara just plain wasn't interested and Mal's feelings were unrequited. Hence what I said about Mal needing comfort, and believing Inara would never offer it. Thus, Mal's lie about only two people in the room, he's still thinking about Inara or maybe trying to forget about Inara (only to be reminded the next morning).

Mal has no idea that Inara has any feelings for him at all, I mean it doesn't even seem like the idea even occurs to him in Our Mrs. Reynolds, so why would he think that sleeping with Nandi would somehow "show" Inara how he feels about anything? Mal's discomfort was over his apparent hypocrisy, and then anguish as Inara seems to reinforce that it doesn't bother her and she doesn't care about him.

I actually agree with you that there's a class issue here, but I see it more on Mal's side. Inara seems remarkably just fine hanging out in a seedy bar in Shindig, or hell, even just renting a shuttle on a low-end transport. Does she seem judgmental towards Kaylee? Zoe? Wash? They all seem to have working class backgrounds. Yet she's kind and friendly to them, and I think that's genuine. It's only when Mal's around that she puts on airs, and that's to discourage him, because she doesn't want to get involved with him.

But with Mal, unfortunately, that feeds a very real class distinction that HE sees and that seems insurmountable to him. He sees Inara and Simon and sees Simon as a threat, Simon as "more right" for Inara, more "Inara's type," like her clients. He dislikes Simon IMMEDIATELY based on apparent class. And to Inara, he retaliates with the whore comments, in an effort to try to bring Inara down to his level. But while he thinks maybe Inara is misguided and idealistic in regards to her profession (like the conversations in Shindig, about "the lie of it"), I don't think he believes his insults.

And Two pointed out this problem, but Inara offering actual love for money is dangerous.

Actually, I don't really like the friendship idea, because that feels very manipulative and unethical to me. I don't think Inara MAKES people feel ANYTHING, I think people feel that on their own.

Why does Inara have to offer anything other than sex, beauty, grace, and comfort? Why does she have to be anything different to be a high class whore, or even set apart from whores in general? I think we can all agree that maybe while the basic transaction is the same, Inara is very different from a streetwalker.

But so long as we're going here, I do think she cares about people, in general, and likes to relieve suffering, in general. Personality wise, she is not like someone who is only interested in money or pleasure, I think she's naturally helpful and friendly, and she's just getting paid for it. I don't know why that requires any specifically deep meaningful connection. Does a doctor have to be a friend or lover to their patients to treat them? Does a psychiatrist?

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:51 AM

PLATONIST


Good read, Byte, very well thought out, especially the part about Mal and Nandi, you nailed it, and thanks for getting all the Inara Secret links organized in one place, even if they tear a piece of my heart away, every time I view.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 11:04 AM

BYTEMITE


Well, watch out. If I seem sharp it's only 'cause I'm kind of running with scissors here. I'm liable to trip up at some point.

Also interested in counterpoints/arguments. It's good to have a different cross section of opinions here than usual, most of the time when we're talking about Inara it's you and me and other Inara fans. Even if maybe it doesn't show Inara in as good a light, it's nice to get other perspectives. Especially to understand the character (and to better write the character, on my part).

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 12:03 PM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


Good stuff Byte - I like your take on the classes conflict in particular, that it's more Mal than Inara.

And now I have a great reason to go watch HoG!


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Thursday, February 18, 2010 1:40 PM

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 Bytemite:
...And Two pointed out this problem, but Inara offering actual love for money is dangerous.

Actually, I don't really like the friendship idea, because that feels very manipulative and unethical to me. I don't think Inara MAKES people feel ANYTHING, I think people feel that on their own.

Why does Inara have to offer anything other than sex, beauty, grace, and comfort? Why does she have to be anything different to be a high class whore, or even set apart from whores in general? I think we can all agree that maybe while the basic transaction is the same, Inara is very different from a streetwalker.

But so long as we're going here, I do think she cares about people, in general, and likes to relieve suffering, in general. Personality wise, she is not like someone who is only interested in money or pleasure, I think she's naturally helpful and friendly, and she's just getting paid for it. I don't know why that requires any specifically deep meaningful connection. Does a doctor have to be a friend or lover to their patients to treat them? Does a psychiatrist?

Do doctors and shrinks need to be warm and caring? Yes, they do... on TV. There are the cold technocrats of medicine that nobody likes (respect, maybe) and the warmhearted ones that everyone loves, even when they incompetently kill a patient on TV. But they really feel bad when their patients die! If you want to work in the imaginary world of Companionship, you got to be warmhearted. Cold commercial sex gets no respect on Earth. The Firefly Universe is no different.

We haven't solved the mystery of why Companionship is respected while prostitution is not. The question in my mind is: Will the opposite of cold commercial sex be respected and admired? I think the answer is YES and that gives Companions high status. Others think NO and that gives Companions low status.

We could put it to a vote. Maybe run a survey. If you vote NO then stay far, far away from Companions. They are just whores with pretensions of superiority. You can get the same service cheaper from girls in front of No-Tell Hotel. Those girls aren't judgmental and they know you only as John. Inara actually knows who you are and you know who she is. And she likes you, anyway, faults and all, because she picked you, knowing who you are. She did her research. She spoke to other Companions about you. She read your psych profile. She remembers you.

I bet Inara would be horrified by 21st century dating where people hookup with people they know little about. It would seem bizarre to her.

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

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:01 PM

BYTEMITE


...I think your survey is a little bit loaded...

Okay, there's some ways I agree with you, but I think it's going too far to say Inara, and by extension other companions are looking for friendship. She clearly didn't know some of her clients very well, and some clients earn themselves a black mark on the guild registry.

And I don't really think the service she's OFFERING is friendship. Maybe for repeat clients and people who continue their subscriptions could get to know her better, but I have trouble believing that Inara would compromise her "undefinable allure" to let herself be very well known to anyone. It also runs counter to the service I think she IS offering: someone who will listen, a shoulder to cry on, well meaning advice, comfort, massage, and obviously sex. There's certain advantages to remaining an unknown and also unattached; it allows you to be more objective about the problems you might be helping someone with, and someone might tell you things they wouldn't tell someone closer to them. Call it cold, but I see it as distant benevolence.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:24 PM

ALIASSE


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
...the service I think she IS offering: someone who will listen, a shoulder to cry on, well meaning advice, comfort, massage, and obviously sex.



I agree that this is how Companioning is presented mostly through the character of Inara. For me, 'sex' fits as well into this list as well as 'chocolate' does into one comprising 'oatmeal, gravel, chalkdust, unsweetened muesli'. The others are fairly safe, emotionally; sex isn't. And this is what I find, if not cringe-worthy, then most hard to square about 'Companion' - two sets of things (with sex on its own in one of the sets) that can not work if presented as part of the same package.


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Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:32 PM

BYTEMITE


Ah, and that's the thing, isn't it? Inara clearly has some clients that do attach emotionally with her, and possibly because of the sex being seen as something emotional and intimate by the same clients.

But my thinking is, in the Core, that same feeling might not be attached, or people might not take it as seriously. It's like, look at today, and how many people in urban areas have sex just to have sex. Project that into the future, and that might give a commentary on how much importance people attach to sex in the future.

If you think of the Alliance as a Brave New World Corporatocracy kind of thing, this fits even better. Brave New World encouraged citizens to have sex with numerous partners and to not find much meaning in it because it made the citizens more complacent and encouraged economic consumption for social reasons.

Maybe the problem with Inara is that she has some kind of core world "sex isn't very important, it's just for fun" mindset, coupled with religious guild teachings about sacred marriage and goddess worship. It's a contradiction, but maybe one she's never had any reason to question. So to her, maybe it's not the sex that's important, maybe for Inara, sex DOES fit into a list of more vanilla comfort activities. For Inara, maybe it's the RITUALS associated with the sex that's important, rituals that come from being a companion.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:38 PM

TWO

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


New York Governor Spitzer, who resigned because he hired expensive call girls, wasn't recognized by most of the women. Who's he? they said. Some big shot on Wall Street or something. They didn't know him but still... All the escort service knew about Client 9, the Gov, was his credit card number and his preferences. And these women were at the top of the field, the best. This bunch in tight clothes and high heels were nothing like Companions. They deserve to be arrested for not knowing who Spitzer was. I understand why call girls are disrespected. They just don't give damn about anything important beyond themselves.

Again, there has got to be gigantic differences between call girls and Companions. Companions would not act this way. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/10/emperors-club-all-about-e_n_9
0768.html


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

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:54 PM

BYTEMITE


That's a little rough. They deserve to be arrested? So, should someone be arrested for not knowing who Thomas Reid is? Ignorance is not a reason for arrest, most people don't pay attention to politics. And what if you don't have a good memory for faces?

But anyway, you're making the point that Inara would remember her clients. Sure. She's an educated woman, ignorance and her don't even belong in the same sentence together. But that doesn't mean she's friends with them. They're acquaintances, business associates.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:17 PM

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 Bytemite:
That's a little rough. They deserve to be arrested? So, should someone be arrested for not knowing who Thomas Reid is? Ignorance is not a reason for arrest, most people don't pay attention to politics. And what if you don't have a good memory for faces?

But anyway, you're making the point that Inara would remember her clients. Sure. She's an educated woman, ignorance and her don't even belong in the same sentence together. But that doesn't mean she's friends with them. They're acquaintances, business associates.

If the Alliance elite wanted great anonymous sex with someone who's a hopeless ignoramus like those call girls of Governor Spitzer, they could buy a used robot from the estate of Mr. Universe. It can do what women can not attempt. And it has a reservoir that can be filled with all the healthy pheromones necessary for a completely natural and wholesome experience. What can a Companion offer that a robot can not do better?

Face recognition software is available for the discerning Alliance elite who want a more personalized experience. For Christians, it is only a venial sin, not a mortal sin, to use a sexbot, which is good to know. Again, how can a Companion compete with that?

Only problem I see is that a top-of-the-line sexbot will cost a million to own. Or lease it for 20,000 per month. You do have to keep it's battery charged. But you don't have to respect it.

Companions will become a historical curiosity, much like chimney-sweeps, when everyone on the social register buys a sexbot.

I'm only kidding. There's more to Inara than sex. Time for everyone to post their answers! Does the future need Companions?

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

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:30 PM

BYTEMITE


Actually, I'm pretty sure all the functions of the sex bots are why anyone who owns one earns an automatic black mark in the guild registry. At least, that's according to the RPG manual. It's pretty hilarious, the ladies clearly feel like their turf is being intruded upon.

Besides, I dunno about you, but the thought of it kinda squicks me out. Not the lack of connection, but just that it's not human. What if there's, like, GEARS in there? Euuuugh.

It's also bizarre for me that the moment we can make robots that realistically approximate people, the immediate question everyone seems to jump to is "can we have sex with it?" I mean, why even GO there?

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 4:00 PM

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 Bytemite:
Actually, I'm pretty sure all the functions of the sex bots are why anyone who owns one earns an automatic black mark in the guild registry. At least, that's according to the RPG manual. It's pretty hilarious, the ladies clearly feel like their turf is being intruded upon.

Besides, I dunno about you, but the thought of it kinda squicks me out. Not the lack of connection, but just that it's not human. What if there's, like, GEARS in there? Euuuugh.

It's also bizarre for me that the moment we can make robots that realistically approximate people, the immediate question everyone seems to jump to is "can we have sex with it?" I mean, why even GO there?

Makes me concerned about Joss Whedon. Why sexbots in your movie? Why Mr Universe marrying a machine? People were not recommending the movie to friends because that was creepy. And Joss reminds us how creepy by putting the robot's picture on the Mr Universe's memorial stone at the end of the movie.

A point I made before: call girls don't want to feel anything about clients. No future with the client. It's inhuman, a girl impersonating a robot that wants nothing to do with the client unless the client is paying - zero friendship, all business. I guess the call girl could fraudulently pretend to be a girlfriend so that the client will call again. That's sleazy business.

If Inara wants to be a Companion, she has to be more human than any 21st century call girl. She makes connections with her clients, does things more meaningful than sex because if it is only about sex, the robots (and whores) win every time.

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

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Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:07 PM

BYTEMITE


Well, not necessarily. According to the RP handbook, there's no such thing as AI. The sexbots are good at their primary function, but can't say more than a few dozen phrases, they need a constant powersupply so can't move beyond what their power cord allows, and pampering... probably not.

I still think there might be something to this ritual thing. Inara makes a big deal out of it: maybe that's more what people go to her for, like the Geisha (who doesn't have sex) with her tea ceremony. Maybe because of some kind of devaluing of sex in Core culture.

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