FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

Why is Mal anti-companion?

POSTED BY: AKREDHEAD
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 15:27
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Friday, August 11, 2006 6:51 PM

AKREDHEAD


I've seen the movie three times and the episodes twice...

So...WHY is Mal so disrespectful towards companions as a profession?

I mean...her certainly didn't have a problem sleeping with one (albeit a special situation)...is it just jealousy?

He is also inconsistant because at one time I think (if my pot addled brain can remember) he says that Inara is atleast making honest work.

Your input and opinion?



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Friday, August 11, 2006 7:00 PM

JOSSISAGOD


I'm not really sure, I think Mal might have a problem with the idea of people getting payed for sex.

well, that's all I have to say about that

JOSSIS(Most Definitely)AGOD

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Friday, August 11, 2006 7:40 PM

PINBALLWIZARD


To Mal, Companions are one of the many symbols of Civilization the Alliance is forcing upon the verse. That fact that Nandi rebeled against that establishment appealed to him. Like he said, "You're my kind of stupid."

No, I am not insane, I am crazy. Thank you for asking.

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Friday, August 11, 2006 10:19 PM

TRAVELER


I noticed in "Out Of GAS" his attitude toward Inara was already rough going. So love interest wasn't there yet. So it probably is more like Pinballwizard said. She was establishment. Remember she said she supported the Alliance.
So that must have ruffled his feathers. And he used whore right from the start.

Hard to beleave you can love someone and treat them so shabbily. But Inara doesn't back down. I think Mal secretly respects that.

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Friday, August 11, 2006 10:55 PM

SPACEANJL


I think it might be a geographical attitude. The Core sees Companions as a profession and a respected one, similar to geisha. But Mal isn't Central Planets, and I think the attitude there might be a bit more inclined to view the profession as simply prostitution.

Add in the fact that Mal is the kind of man who doesn't like to share his toys, and I think it might be more that he is anti- Inara being a Companion.

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Friday, August 11, 2006 11:53 PM

AGENTROUKA


It's hard to be sure. We haven't seen Mal meet other Companions - WE haven't met other Companions.

We also haven't seen Mal have an honest and earnest discussion about his opinions with anyone neutral.


What we know is:
1) Mal has no problem with prostitution in general, or he would be chewing out Jayne on a regular basis and would have said something to Nandi.
2) Mal states that he dislikes the "dishonesty" of pretending affection for money.


However, if he wasn't biased, a business-savvy mind like his should be able to appreciate a women doing what the hell ever she wants and making good money with it. Companioning doesn't harm anyone. Unlike thieving. Or killing. And I think Mal knows that.

So, personally, I think Mal doesn't actually have a problem with Companions, at all. They are educated professionals, and while they are a part of the society he hates, so was Warrick Harrow, and Mal had no problem with him. Conversely, he did keep pushing down Simon for simply having been rich, even though he was a trauma surgeon, a highly respectable job that even now benefits Mal immensely. It's the being rich that Mal detests in general.

Inara's job is a convenient target for Mal's sarcasm (that contradiction as he sees it, of a "whore" being respected by one name when they aren't by another) and it becomes a conveninient way to lash out at Inara when they grow closer, because... that's when her job and the connected sexual and status issues start becoming a problem.


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Saturday, August 12, 2006 2:59 PM

XITWOUND117


I think its a number of things. The fakeness of it, for one; he makes numerous comments about the dishonesty of it all. Mal respects people who are upfront and truthful. Secondly, he doesn't like that Inara is one.

Really, I think its that Mal is just more of an old-world kind of person, and therefore views the job of a "companion" as unprestigious and something to look down on.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006 5:07 PM

WHITEFALL


Now I know I'm biased cause I'm something of a feminist my self, but then again, so's Joss, so that's my theory.

Mal believes (as evidenced by his acceptance of Kaylee in OoG, his treatmeant of Saffron before she was YoSafBridge, etc) that women are the equal of men, and it's only their character (namely the honest kind that Mal respects, as mentioned above) that matters. So, as he says in Shindig, 'the lie of it', that the man gets to parade Inara around (either in public or in bed) as if he'd won her affections, but he respects her and her affections to the point that he thinks she is beneath that. Hence he does not understand why she does it.

"But, these strong women characters?"

"Why aren't you asking 100 other guys why they don't write strong women characters?" -Joss Whedon

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Saturday, August 12, 2006 10:37 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Whitefall:
Now I know I'm biased cause I'm something of a feminist my self, but then again, so's Joss, so that's my theory.

Mal believes (as evidenced by his acceptance of Kaylee in OoG, his treatmeant of Saffron before she was YoSafBridge, etc) that women are the equal of men, and it's only their character (namely the honest kind that Mal respects, as mentioned above) that matters. So, as he says in Shindig, 'the lie of it', that the man gets to parade Inara around (either in public or in bed) as if he'd won her affections, but he respects her and her affections to the point that he thinks she is beneath that. Hence he does not understand why she does it.

"But, these strong women characters?"

"Why aren't you asking 100 other guys why they don't write strong women characters?" -Joss Whedon




But what I find a little short-sighted in Mal's suppossed "feminism" that he refuses to aknowledge that this is a mutually agreed-upon illusion. Everyone, as he says, knows it - and is getting along with it. The client, as well. No one is actually being lied to. It's a clear and obvious service.

And always, always, always, it's just another way of oppression for Mal to stand there and basically dictate to Inara how she should live her live in order to be "respectable" to him. He doesn't accept her personal choices, her perception of her job. It's what he thinks she should do that counts to him.

Which is not exactly feminist.


But, of course, that's probably just an aspect of Mal attacking her job for standing between them, rather than out of principle.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006 10:52 PM

WINDSTRUCK


Mal hates the alliance.
He also hated the society they created.
He wanted freedom. A companion is a creation of the alliance. And in a way bound by it.
He likes Inara but hates her profession.Mal thinks Inara can do better than being a Companion.
Although he cannot take Inara away from being a companion and lead an honest/different life. He cannot afford it. He does not want her to be a "petty thief" either.
Inara offered to fence the Lassater. Mal declined.
He does have feelings for Inara but cannot say it. Instead he take it out on her profession and the society that made it.




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Sunday, August 13, 2006 10:18 AM

TERRI


Hmm, everybody's raised some really interesting points, and while it seems a bit redundant to put in my two cents, I can't pass up a really good discussion. So, I think that this has been mentioned before, but I don't think that Mal has a real problem with companions in general. I think that his problem is with Inara being a companion. The whole lie thing mentioned in Shindig. And are his supposed 'feminist'views potentially biased because of what he feels Inara should be doing? I'd say yes. But mostly only because of his feelings for her. Inara gives as good as she gets (in her frequent arguments with Mal) and I think throwing the word whore around is his way of getting back at her in a way that he knows will get under her skin. Of course, somebody did mention that she is really the only 'official' companion we've seen him interact with. I don't know if he'll put on the charms for someone else, but he might at least be civil. They do represent a lot of what the Alliance is and what the Independents were not: cultured, and all that. Not that the Independents needed to be. Maybe like how Mal wouldn't respect an Alliance scientist, or something of the sort. It's a respectable position (barring what some Alliance scientists have done to River), but to him, it doesn't mean much.


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Monday, August 14, 2006 6:51 PM

DREAMWALKER


Besides Mal's views about the Alliance I've always thought it was a bit more personal. Inara is an intelligent and talented woman, so I think Mal believes that she should be doing something else with her talents instead of being a Companion. In Shindig he told her that he respected her even though he didn't respect her job. I think Mal's predjudice is because he thinks that being a Companion is beneath her and that she could be doing something better with her life. Given his feelings for her it would also be understandable that he doesn't like her line of work. Even though he knows that she isn't involved with her clients it can't be easy for him to watch her go off to sleep with other people.

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Monday, August 14, 2006 7:03 PM

KANEMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
I think it might be a geographical attitude. The Core sees Companions as a profession and a respected one, similar to geisha. But Mal isn't Central Planets, and I think the attitude there might be a bit more inclined to view the profession as simply prostitution.

Add in the fact that Mal is the kind of man who doesn't like to share his toys, and I think it might be more that he is anti- Inara being a Companion.



Why is it then, that where ever they travel it seems accepted?

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Monday, August 14, 2006 7:22 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by kaneman:
Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
I think it might be a geographical attitude. The Core sees Companions as a profession and a respected one, similar to geisha. But Mal isn't Central Planets, and I think the attitude there might be a bit more inclined to view the profession as simply prostitution.

Add in the fact that Mal is the kind of man who doesn't like to share his toys, and I think it might be more that he is anti- Inara being a Companion.



Why is it then, that where ever they travel it seems accepted?



Look at the attitude she gets from less than enlightened figures like Atherton, Magistrate Higgins and even the Persephone boy from the pilot episode. That's probably not Core world standard.

It might be that Companion culture is just gradually integrating into what was a "backwater" society maybe a century ago. (Terraforming takes decades.)

Her jobs with people like Fess and the Councillor are probably pioneer efforts that lay the groundwork for making Companions respected, not just accepted, by showing them the difference to mere prostitution. Give it another 50 years and further Guild expansion and there would be fewer and fewer people like Atherton (or Mal) walking around, congratulating themselves for seeing NO difference.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 3:28 AM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


I'd agree that Mal's issue is more with companioning in general and less with Inara being a companion in particular. He mentions himself in Shindig that he doesn't respect what she does, but he does respect her. He doesn't see companioning as a respectful profession the way the core planets do, to him it's just whoring. Remeber in Out of Gas when they first met? Inara said she could bring respectability (or something like that - I forget the exact quote) to the ship and he laughed in her face, quite spontaneously. As Inara said, most people on the rim "don't know the difference between a companion and a common whore."

That being said, his love for her can't help matters any.




More animations available at http://desktophippie.googlepages.com

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006 9:37 AM

TWILIGHTJACK


I'm going to go a a different direction with this, and say that Mal has a definite problem with companions in general (Although I do agree that he has certain jealousy issues with Inara in particular).

Somebody upthread made a throw-away comment that the same profession can be incredibly respected by one name and despised by another. Really, I think that comprises the very heart of Mal's issue.

Watching Heart of Gold, Mal shows nothing but respect to Nandi and her girls. Seems to suggest to me that Mal hasn't got a problem with whorin'. It's an honest profession, in its way, and Mal respects folks makin' a living for themselves however they can.

Society feels differently, however. Whores are despised and looked down upon my a great many. Why? Because they have sex for money. They sell their bodies and their sexuality to the highest bidder. For their decision to do so, they are considered victims of a cruel world at best, and perverse despoilers of civic virtue and moral standing at middle.

But if they go to a special school and learn how to play music and perform a tea ceremony and dance and converse intelligently on a multitude of subjects, then they're companions, respected courtesans moving smoothly through the highest levels of society. They are considered by many the very epitome of the feminine mystique, the beautiful and mysterious woman of pleasure, and a mark of social standing for any man able to attract one to appear on his arm. But strip away the fancy dresses and the schoolin', and what does a companion do? She has sex. For money.

Mal's problem isn't with sex for cash arrangements. It's with the fact that the same exact job can be simultaneously considered the height of civilization and feminity and the ultimate degradation of womanhood, based upon an artificial division created by society in order to have its cake, and eat it too.

Inara has sex with people for money. She can call it whatever she likes. Mal calls it whoring, because it fits the definition. He hates it because she tries to pretend its something else.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:26 AM

MAL4PREZ


Great post twilightjack, re the whoring versus Companioning. I have a slightly different take, I think it's more a personal thing between Mal and Inara than between Mal and Companions.

I agree that Mal has no problem with whoring. He's very into personal freedom, so if folks want to sell sex, it's their business. But I doubt that, before he met Inara, he had a problem with Campanions either. Probably because he'd never met one before (that's just my take, given his history of living in the way out edge of the 'verse). Maybe he had a distant dislike of them, just because they are part of the Alliance establishment, but no big deal.

So - he did make the appt to show Inara his shuttle, and was friendly to her at first. I think if he really hated Companions, this wouldn't have been so.

My take: I think he was attracted to Inara when he first met her, and he felt the power of her feminine wiles (insert scary music! ) She put on the charm, manipulating him a bit to get the cheap rental of his shuttle. (You want me...you want me on your ship) To make it worse, she went and said she supports the Alliance, which Mal took as a personal insult. So Mal felt pissed off and played, and it's his hatred of the Alliance and his defensiveness that had him calling her a whore.

In my take of things, it continues this way while she's on the ship. He obviously feels something for her, but he distrusts her. He thinks that if he ever got close to her, it would be just a big lie. He's very reluctant to accept any kindness from her - as in having tea at the beginning of HoG. (It was HoG, right?)

Several folks have said it - it's the way she fakes affection and caring that he can't stand, especially when he'd like to have the genuine thing for himself. So he calls her a whore, to knock down her power over him.

BTW, this was in my first fic, (I'm shameless!) that Mal's fear with Inara is that they might connect emotionally and physically, but then he'll find out that she was acting and didn't mean it.

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006 11:15 AM

CAPTAINJOSH06


All Empires and great civilisations have their whores and "companians".
Rome had whore houses, near Baths, selling themselves for money, the children who were born were either sold into slavery or thrown away, if they were not wanted.
The British Empire, London, go throuugh the streets and somewhere you would find "indecently" dressed women looking for sex...well money and ready go give sex.
The American West had them too.(Whore houses)

Rome the great Barbarian Roman Empire, not the civilisation we have been told about. Many so called "Barbarians" were infact more civilised than Rome, and some were opposed to selling sex. Women in the Celtic world were allowed to hold power and had full rights like modern day women. But in Rome a woman was a mans property.


The Alliance's versions of whores are companians, slightly more respected than slutty whores, as the companians make the occasion as if it is a ceremony.

Mal may dislike the Job of Companian because its basicly a whore, as in Shindig he does say
"I may not show repect to your job, but didn't respect you" or something to that affect.


Thank you! And good Night!

Captain Josh!

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006 11:21 AM

TWILIGHTJACK


A good take with some seriously well-supported arguments.

I still hold to my view, at least regarding Mal's general feelings about companions, but your argument here is incredibly persuasive and has certainly swayed me somewhat.

I do think, however, that Mal's politeness to Inara in OoG says nothing about his opinion of companions. Mal is quite used to dealing with people he finds distasteful. Insulting a potential paying boarder would have been stupid of him. Also, obviously, he's quite attracted to her, as you pointed out, which also tends to engender politeness in Mal, gentlemanly as he is. Once she says she supported Unification, though, all bets are off. And since we're not being polite anymore, look at the first insult for which he reaches. "Whore." Why?

First, he knows it'll dig at her. After all, a companion is not a common whore. Whores are despised and looked down upon. Inara is an esteemed lady of society. Right? Right??

Which segues right into point the second, outlined in my earlier post. Mal hates that Inara pretends at propriety and uses euphemisms to distance herself from what she does. Especially because by justifying your profession with, "I'm not a whore; I'm a companion," you leave all the other whores wallowing at the bottom of the barrel. In fact, through insisting on the distinction, Inara insinuates that whores should be pitied and despised. Furthermore, the necessity of being licensed by a guild in order to call yourself a companion means that control over this artificial distinction between status and dejection is in the hands of a ruling council. Follow the rules of the guild, and you get to be an honored companion. Step out of line, you're nothing but a whore.

Yet another reason for Mal to dislike 'em, once he starts thinking about it.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006 11:48 AM

AGENTROUKA


All this, of course, ignores that there is a distinction between Companions and common prostitutes.

Yes, both parties include sex in their service, but Companions so obviously offer more than just that, and I think that it's this that Inara and other Companions want to emphasize when they demand that distinction, not the supposed unworthiness of whores. If the term wasn't loaded with negative sentiments, I doubt she would be as opposed, alas, it's a curseword, almost.

It's society that looks down on whores. Mal hating Companions for not being despised would be just another kind of oppressive attitude. Supporting the underdog prostitutes because they're victims of a cruel world but not if they're actually in control of themselves. That's misguided. I don't think he's that short-sighted.

Quote:

Mal hates that Inara pretends at propriety and uses euphemisms to distance herself from what she does. Especially because by justifying your profession with, "I'm not a whore; I'm a companion," you leave all the other whores wallowing at the bottom of the barrel.


But you already imply that Inara must be ashamed of what she does by saying she is trying to distance herself. Who says she is necessarily doing that? Why does it have to be a secret shame instead of honest disagreement that sex is the only part of her job? Or that sex is a demeaning aspect of it?

It's not just a distinction of status, it's one of education and purpose.

And I have trouble seeing how Inara voicing an opinion she doesn't agree with (being a whore) would make anything better for street prostitutes whose context is completely different? The only thing I can think of is that you mean this would be a slap in the face of society that frowns on whores but apparently uses them if they're dressed pretty, but that actually simply negates the respect Inara herself has for her profession.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 11:28 AM

TWILIGHTJACK


And we hereby have come full-circle. Throughout the history of feminism, the subjects of sex-work and pornography have been a major point of contention between feminists themselves. To whit, can the sale of sexual enticement and satisfaction to men be a source of feminine empowerment, or is it by nature an evil--a rank objectification of womanhood as nothing more than a source of sexual gratification for men?

I certainly appreciate the point you're making here, but I feel perhaps you have slightly mistaken my interpretation. It largely concerns whether or not sex-work, in and of itself, is degrading to women; perhaps more importantly, it concerns whether Mal truly views it as such.

Is there a difference between a Companion and a common prostitute? Well, certainly there is. As I've made mention, Companions are exquisitely trained and schooled, registered with a guild, and subjects of much respect and even admiration. Furthermore, they have complete choice over their own clientele and a very sex-positive philosophy, which combine to eliminate any real sense of victimization within their prostitution.

Ultimately however, the social legitimacy of "Companionship" is linked, not to a generally sex-positive and free society, but rather to the same pseudo-aristocratic elitism that fuels and undergirds the Alliance. A Companion is considered superior in standing to a common whore, not because she is by definition smarter, more skilled, more gentile, more cultured (although she is very likely all of these things), but because she belongs to an organization that proclaims her superiority and has the social clout to enforce that perception.

Is sex-work degrading? Maybe. I personally think that determination is an internalized one that is made within the mind and heart of any sex-worker individually. It concerns her reasons for the choice of profession, her attitude towards it, and her own sense of herself. This applies equally, whether the woman in question underwent years of intensive schooling or merely found she enjoyed making a living with her sexuality. What certainly does not make the difference between degrading and empowering is an arbitrary set of social orders and rules which mark some sex-workers as esteemed and some as despised, based upon membership in an elite organization (like the Companions Guild, or the Alliance). That's what I see in Mal's opinion of Inara's profession, especially when compared to his opinion of Nandi.

And I in no way mean to imply that Inara is ashamed of what she does. My implication is that Inara's defense against Mal's attacks is often to point out her status as a Registered Companion (tm). This suggests that she feels in some way that a common prostitute would and should be ashamed. She defends her profession through a distinction that Mal sees as completely artificial, based not upon merit but upon an arbitrary societal rule. When I say she distances herself through euphemism, it is only in that she sees herself above whores by virtue of her association. Based upon everything we know of the Alliance and the Unification War, I can see new levels to Mal's disdain.

So, the question becomes, for me, whether Mal would resort to calling Inara a whore as his primary mode of insult if she were a common prostitute and had none of the "respectability" that accompanies her position. I really don't think he would, nor would he casually attack her work at all. Loving her as he does, he would be hurt by it, certainly. But he wouldn't call her a whore, nor insinuate it, not without feeling incredible guilt the moment the words left his lips.
But Inara does have that special exalted status and Mal calls her a whore at every available opportunity, without the slightest twinge of remorse. So, is Mal's problem with prostitutes or with Companions?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 12:41 PM

AGENTROUKA


I really, really apologize for the length of this!!



Yes, the prostitution debate is one of those never-ending circles. It's fun for a while but gets tedious quickly because largely it comes down to an emotional response on both sides. Alas.

Quote:

Originally posted by TwilightJack:
perhaps more importantly, it concerns whether Mal truly views it as such.



I agree that this is the point.

My personal opinion is: emotionally he views it as degrading, intellectually he doesn't.

But where I think we truly disagree is his ability to appreciate the practical (not just semantic) difference between the services a Companion provides and those of a common prostitute. Which reach far into the regions of counceling and emotional support. Things that a non-accredited prostitude might provide as well but would do so more incidentally, not by definition.
A Companion's work is, as you say, sex-positive, but it is not just sex. That is what I mean by difference of purpose, and I think Mal is aware of that.

Quote:


Ultimately however, the social legitimacy of "Companionship" is linked, not to a generally sex-positive and free society, but rather to the same pseudo-aristocratic elitism that fuels and undergirds the Alliance.



For the sake of accuracy, we do not know that for sure. The most high-class example of Inara's work we have seen so far was on Persephone, which is hardly a Core world. Atherton Wing was a dandy not remotely comparable to Simon in terms of bearing and I'm fairly certain the lack of awareness regarding Guild rules that he displayed is also not standard.

Attitudes might indeed be different in the actual Core. A place like Sihnon, even Osiris, we don't know, we haven't seen her work there.



Quote:

A Companion is considered superior in standing to a common whore, not because she is by definition smarter, more skilled, more gentile, more cultured (although she is very likely all of these things), but because she belongs to an organization that proclaims her superiority and has the social clout to enforce that perception.


The Guild certainly protects the interests of its members, but could it really enforce a perception in society if not through the work its members do?

The Guilds educates a specific brand of prostitution that is highly sought after. The quality of the service offered defines the esteem in which Companions are held, and certainly this encourages the Guild to emphasise that exclusive distinction to common prostitutes, but it does not create it.


Quote:


Is sex-work degrading? Maybe. I personally think that determination is an internalized one that is made within the mind and heart of any sex-worker individually. It concerns her reasons for the choice of profession, her attitude towards it, and her own sense of herself. This applies equally, whether the woman in question underwent years of intensive schooling or merely found she enjoyed making a living with her sexuality.



I agree. And I believe that this is the most important aspect that needs to be considered. Too many people use professed concern over a supposed degradation as a cover for an actual need to simply control. Women aren't stupid. Unless forced through illegal or economic pressures, they won't choose prostitution unless they want to. Save the saving for those who are being forced, I say.

Quote:


What certainly does not make the difference between degrading and empowering is an arbitrary set of social orders and rules which mark some sex-workers as esteemed and some as despised, based upon membership in an elite organization (like the Companions Guild, or the Alliance).



Again, I agree. Nandi feels no shame for her work, in fact, she must have obviously chosen it freefly, just like Inara.

Quote:


That's what I see in Mal's opinion of Inara's profession, especially when compared to his opinion of Nandi.



You, however, assume that Inara herself looks down on whores.

That is not necessarily the case. She protests the word coming from Mal because it contains a history worth of mysogynist connotations. Men have used that word to oppress female sexuality for millenia. It's an insult, coming from him, especially since Inara's profession does indeed carry that very important distinction of self-determination. She's not a slave or a victim, staying in a job against her better judgment. She is a trained professional in control of herself.

Now, she herself has no trouble using the word to describe Nandi's business, a woman she loves and respects, because it doesn't carry those connotations in her meaning. In fact, I find it very easy to believe that Inara abhors the disdain that prostitutes often suffer in society.


Quote:


And I in no way mean to imply that Inara is ashamed of what she does. My implication is that Inara's defense against Mal's attacks is often to point out her status as a Registered Companion (tm).



Actually, it's not. I can't think of a single example.
Her defense is that her work is legal, as opposed to his. Or she doesn't bother defending and simply demonstrates her irritation.

Quote:

This suggests that she feels in some way that a common prostitute would and should be ashamed.


Again, I disagree. Because the reverse would imply that she would have to accept his false description in order to demonstrate respect for common prostitutes.
I think it's entirely possible she is simply disagreeing with Mal's need to equate all sex trade as equal, or his need to narrowly define Companionship as mere sex trade in the first place.


Quote:


She defends her profession through a distinction that Mal sees as completely artificial, based not upon merit but upon an arbitrary societal rule.



Here I disagree again, and point above to where I explain how I see it as a distinction in merit (I call it purpose) and how I think Mal is aware of that, as well. :)


Quote:

So, the question becomes, for me, whether Mal would resort to calling Inara a whore as his primary mode of insult if she were a common prostitute and had none of the "respectability" that accompanies her position.


The thing is, though, would Inara have chosen common prostitution and would she be enjoying it? The job is not comparable, neither in terms of psychological and intellectional challenge, nor in terms of the respect that soeciety pays it because society undervalues prostitutes as human beings. Nor in terms of choice. She would have to have chosen an unchallenging, unsave job, and that just doesn't jive with her character, which is why I can't accept this example.

The Inara who has chosen common prostitution would be an entirely different one, with different issues and we can't know whether Mal would have reason to insult her at all. Their difference in social status, right now, is after all one of the factors between them in the series. Remove that and you remove a major conflict.


Quote:


But Inara does have that special exalted status and Mal calls her a whore at every available opportunity, without the slightest twinge of remorse. So, is Mal's problem with prostitutes or with Companions?



It clearly appears we are arguing from different standpoints, yours being that the difference in status between Companions and whores is largely artificial, and that Inara looks down on whores. Both of which I cannot agree with.

I think Mal has no problems with prostitution, be it the common kind or the enhanced kind that buys Companions their social esteem.

To me, the largest part of Mal's tendency to insult Inara's job comes down to the very personal barrier it presents. It's an emotional target, because all those philosophical and political aspects he could actually justify without backing down. And back down he does, in "Shindig" when they are arguing about that very thing. It all comes down to "I got no call to stop you, anyways don't."

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 1:14 PM

ESTHER


Twilightjack and AgentRouka, I think you both made very valuable points and there is not one single reaon for Mal insulting Inara as a "whore".

Looking at the other side, I really liked it, what Joss did in HoG, when Inara finds out, that Mal had sex with Nandi, and she is all calm about it - and in the next scene she's just plain crying. That shows, that having sex is not just "some work" like being a baker or a miller. And that's why she has to be so cold towards Mal. She can do her work only, if she closes off her feelings in a way. She does not dare to fall in love with him, 'cause if she did, having sex with another man would just hurt her too much.

Hmmm .... just thinking, maybe I should start another thread on that topic.

Esther


Love my captain!

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 2:09 PM

TWILIGHTJACK


I don't mind the length; I enjoy the debate and proper debate requires enough room to accurately state a notion.

I've always believed that truly honest debate contains, at its core, an idea that, by reasoning together, consensus may be reached. So, in the interests of brevity, allow me to state what I perceive to be the heart of our disagreement. Otherwise, we may find ourselves addressing each point seperately; as further points are raised, this may quickly lead to dissertation ad infinitum rather than debate.

Your points are well taken, and interestingly, I would say I agree with 95% of what you've said in each of them. Truly, I do believe in a tremendous distinction between Companions and prostitutes, both in practice and motivation. However, I stress the "artificial" distinction in order to highlight the fundamentally similar basis of both lines of work, despite the complete disparity in the perception of them.

Ultimately, I think our truest disagreement is in how Mal views that distinction (fittingly, since the original subject of the thread is Mal's anti-Companion leanings). Given his experiences in the war against the Alliance, I see much of his perception of Companions and the respect they receive colored by their association with the Core Worlds. You state more than once that you think Mal is aware of the real distinction between Companions and prostitutes. I tend to think he has a number of prejudices which prevent such a clear-headed assessment. Most of my arguments throughout this assume Mal's point of view in some way. Once I abandon that, many of the points you've made are much more in line with my own thoughts.

As a further concession, I do believe I overstated myself when I said that Inara looked down upon prostitutes. In fact, I had the notion that I was doing so when I typed it, but left it as-is so as to avoid parsing things too fine and extending my post any further. I think it would be more correct to say that my impression of the Guild suggests such a view inherent in them (I'm basing this mostly on their shunning of Nandi, so it's admittedly thin, but hey, we've only got 15 hours of "text" with which to work). Since Inara was raised within the Temple on Sihnon since she was 12, I think some of this prejudice has rubbed off, even if she's not completely aware of it.

Okay, I'm stopping now. :) Brevity, I had mentioned. Even now, I want to go back and address numerous points in greater detail. It's a snowball; it's a snowball and no good will come of it.

In any event, it's been fun. Here's wishing for a resurrection of our show, so we can get more ammunition for further catfighting.

Until then, I'm all for drawing massive conclusions from insufficient evidence. It's like theology!!

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 11:51 PM

AGENTROUKA


You are right. We both disagree on two points that we simply perceive quite differently about the show and further debating would be pointless, but I very much enjoyed trading opinions with you. :)


There are many subtle reasons for why I hold my opinions, but people view these things differently, there's no helping that, hehe.

Quote:

Until then, I'm all for drawing massive conclusions from insufficient evidence. It's like theology!!


Hah! We can certainly agree on that! *g*

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 1:17 AM

MALBADLATIN


Inara uses her profession as an emotional foil against close personal contact to men whom she might become intimate with. In this case- Mal. I think this is part of the series backstory which was never fleshed out - pun intended. We all know what led Mal to be what he is - what about Inara?

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 3:03 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by MalBadLatin:
Inara uses her profession as an emotional foil against close personal contact to men whom she might become intimate with. In this case- Mal. I think this is part of the series backstory which was never fleshed out - pun intended. We all know what led Mal to be what he is - what about Inara?



Could be the opposite, that Inara's feelings for Mal challenge what is a very deep devotion to her profession. ;)

After all, she seems to genuinely enjoy her job, and hearing her talk about Guild traditions with such reverence, it's more than a mere foil to her.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 3:05 AM

FELLOWTRAVELER


Again, Forgive me.

But isn't it possible that Mal just doesn't like the idea of a woman he has feelings for getting boned by another dude? Yeah, it's simple and unsophisticated, but emotions often are.

As for the difference between a "companion" and a "whore": "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 4:26 AM

MAL4PREZ


I think there is a big difference between Companion and whore, because of the whole pretense of feelings...

I haven't been able to pitch in, but I'm enjoying the debate. One thing though - consensus is not necessarily the goal of a debate, I think! We can learn from understanding someone else's point of view without agreeing.

Which I think is happening here, and it's nice because it doesn't turn into RWED ugliness!!

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 6:01 AM

TWILIGHTJACK


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by MalBadLatin:
Inara uses her profession as an emotional foil against close personal contact to men whom she might become intimate with. In this case- Mal. I think this is part of the series backstory which was never fleshed out - pun intended. We all know what led Mal to be what he is - what about Inara?



Could be the opposite, that Inara's feelings for Mal challenge what is a very deep devotion to her profession. ;)

After all, she seems to genuinely enjoy her job, and hearing her talk about Guild traditions with such reverence, it's more than a mere foil to her.



I really like the way you put this, and on this point at least, I couldn't agree more.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 6:54 AM

LOSTDOG


Some interesting responses. I am certain that in the relation to companions and the Alliance, he has a problem. Anything that has to do with the alliance he has a problem with(don't blame him my own self). I don't particularly think it is the actions companions do. Having said that though, I think that our Captain may have a little crush on Inara and he might not too much care for her visits to clients. I mean, at first, he was glad to have a companion on board because it brings a kind of respectability, but now that he likes her, things are different.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 6:57 AM

TWILIGHTJACK


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
I think there is a big difference between Companion and whore, because of the whole pretense of feelings...

I haven't been able to pitch in, but I'm enjoying the debate. One thing though - consensus is not necessarily the goal of a debate, I think! We can learn from understanding someone else's point of view without agreeing.

Which I think is happening here, and it's nice because it doesn't turn into RWED ugliness!!

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.



My point about debate producing concensus is based upon an Aristotlean notion of objective truth. If two reasonable people discuss reasonably, they should discover the same truth together, as truth is unchanging and can be discovered through the proper application of reason. As I do not buy into a black/white objectivist dichotomy, I don't hold to this concept, but it's a nice framework of suspension of disbelief, allowing for vigourous debate without animosity.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 6:58 AM

ASORTAFAIRYTALE


Yeah pretty much what everyone else has said, I have always thought it was because they were connected to the alliance, and Mal doesn't really like anything that has to do with them.

------

We're all just floating...

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 7:08 AM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by MalBadLatin:
I think this is part of the series backstory which was never fleshed out - pun intended. We all know what led Mal to be what he is - what about Inara?



Could be the opposite, that Inara's feelings for Mal challenge what is a very deep devotion to her profession. ;)

After all, she seems to genuinely enjoy her job, and hearing her talk about Guild traditions with such reverence, it's more than a mere foil to her.



Yes, but from HOG, we know that Inara was headed for the top of her profession. She could've been house priestess. You don't leave that if you have very deep devotion to your profession. She only returns to the core of her profession once she finally recognizes the need to break away from Mal. Her feelings for him are getting in the way of her job.

On the difference between Companion and whore...the only difference between Inara and Nandi is registration with the Guild.




***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 8:27 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:


Yes, but from HOG, we know that Inara was headed for the top of her profession. She could've been house priestess. You don't leave that if you have very deep devotion to your profession. She only returns to the core of her profession once she finally recognizes the need to break away from Mal. Her feelings for him are getting in the way of her job.



Who says that as House Priestess Inara wouldn't still have taken clients? Or that teaching trainees is the core of her profession?

We really have no idea why she left, but there is a bit of indication that it might not have been entirely voluntary. Besides, Inara never gives up her job, she uses her time on Serenity - for whatever reason she came there - to expand her client base. She doesn't look for excuses to not do her job, she complains to Mal when he gets in the way, and as you rightly point out, when she realizes that her feelings for Mal have become too strong, she leaves.

I'm not certain how this indicates a lack of devotion to her job..


Quote:

On the difference between Companion and whore...the only difference between Inara and Nandi is registration with the Guild.



I disagree. I doubt that her job allows Nandi to practice all the things she learned during her training. Nandi has had the same education Inara had, or nearly, but the job she chose (which was probably not her only choice) has no demand for all those things.

Her choice to practice under the unsafe conditions without Guild protection, that is the difference between Inara and Nandi. I sincerely doubt Inara would do the work Nandi chose to do, simply because it's entirely different. There's no councelling, nothing spiritual about what Nandi and her girls do. Their work isn't the point to them, their relative freedom is.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 8:28 AM

AGENTROUKA


Double post.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 8:51 AM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:


Yes, but from HOG, we know that Inara was headed for the top of her profession. She could've been house priestess. You don't leave that if you have very deep devotion to your profession. She only returns to the core of her profession once she finally recognizes the need to break away from Mal. Her feelings for him are getting in the way of her job.



Who says that as House Priestess Inara wouldn't still have taken clients? Or that teaching trainees is the core of her profession?



I never said anything about not taking clients. And by core of her profession, I was referring to the actually place, not the action. She returns to the training house. The center of companion life/training.

Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
We really have no idea why she left, but there is a bit of indication that it might not have been entirely voluntary.



There is? Can you please explain because I never picked up on that. To me it has always seemed that Inara left of her own volition.

Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
I'm not certain how this indicates a lack of devotion to her job.



Different conclusions from different assumptions? We are definitely coming from two different places so our conclusions are going to be different.

For me, if you voluntarily leave a place where you are headed for great things there are only a few conclusions and devotion to the job isn't one. Possible conclusions:
1. The job is unfulfilling
2. You are unhappy in job
3. You are bored
4. You don't like where the job will take you
5. You're tired of the demands of job

None of those point to devotion to said job.

Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:
On the difference between Companion and whore...the only difference between Inara and Nandi is registration with the Guild.




I disagree. I doubt that her job allows Nandi to practice all the things she learned during her training. Nandi has had the same education Inara had, or nearly, but the job she chose (which was probably not her only choice) has no demand for all those things.



Hypothetical: Take two doctors, both trained at the same medical school. Both get their license to practice and both are good doctors. Then one day, one decides the rigors of following AMA guidelines are too strict and confining. They don't renew their license, but head off to a third world country to practice medicine. Does that make their training/education/knowledge any less? Does that training/education/knowledge only yield the title "doctor" if the AMA says it does (i.e. issues license?)

We don't know if Nandi uses her Companion training. She definitely gets Mal to comply. Her story of the dulcimer plays right into his hands. Not wanting the follow the established rule, taking off and carving out a life of her own, by her rules and standards. It's freedom and is exactly what Mal respects and makes Nandi more attractive to him. That right there is "wiles." (If Inara would be a little less bound to rules, you can bet the two of them would've been together). She's a companion without the license.

***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:21 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:
I never said anything about not taking clients. And by core of her profession, I was referring to the actually place, not the action. She returns to the training house. The center of companion life/training.



You're right, I misunderstood. However, Inara does not return to Sihnon, she stays on the Rim, which might or might not indicate an inability to return there, or an unwillingness born of something other than job dissatisfaction.

Quote:

Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
We really have no idea why she left, but there is a bit of indication that it might not have been entirely voluntary.



There is? Can you please explain because I never picked up on that. To me it has always seemed that Inara left of her own volition.



We have very little hard evidence to go on, obviously.

In the pilot, when the young man mentions that he can't imagine ever leaving Sihnon, she looks away, whistfully. It's intercut out of time with her actual speaking and it indicates a deeper story behind her words.

Plus, Joss and every one have stated repeatedly that Inara has secrets and a past. Coupled with her, indeed, unusual choice to leave a promising career, this could easily indicate some amount of pressure to leave the Core, be it direct or indirect.

Quote:


For me, if you voluntarily leave a place where you are headed for great things there are only a few conclusions and devotion to the job isn't one. Possible conclusions:
1. The job is unfulfilling
2. You are unhappy in job
3. You are bored
4. You don't like where the job will take you
5. You're tired of the demands of job

None of those point to devotion to said job.



You are already assuming that she left voluntarily. You completely discount the possibility of outside pressure in any way shape or form, the nature of which we can't know because we don't have enough evidence, but that doesn't mean it's not a possibility.

There's a host of theories out there, even, ranging from hidden crime over terminal illness to some kind of private entanglement gone wrong. None of which would have a direct relation to whether she is devoted to her job or not.


Quote:


Hypothetical: Take two doctors, both trained at the same medical school. Both get their license to practice and both are good doctors. Then one day, one decides the rigors of following AMA guidelines are too strict and confining. They don't renew their license, but head off to a third world country to practice medicine. Does that make their training/education/knowledge any less? Does that training/education/knowledge only yield the title "doctor" if the AMA says it does (i.e. issues license?)



I don't think the example applies. Losing one's licence is not a pre-requisite for going to the third world to practice medicine, nor does the doctor in the third world lose the opportunity to use everything he has learned and practiced so far.

Not to mention, Nandi is not exactly the typical common prostitute. That's another Big Difference. She HAS had the Companion training and the according range of choices that 99.9% of prostitutes don't have. It's that training, largely, that yields the title Companion, as it's the pre-requisite for even getting registration.

Your basic shaman is also active in medical issues but I wouldn't call him a doctor, no.

But while registration is what allows Inara to be a Companion and do a Companion's work, giving Nandi's house the title Companion would do nothing to make the two services equal, unless all her girls got Guild Education, and infrastructure allowed Nandi a wider ranger of actual choice in terms of custumers.


Quote:


We don't know if Nandi uses her Companion training. She definitely gets Mal to comply.



She certainly does manipulate him in many subtle ways, indeed. She even offers him a form of therapy.

But I doubt Mal is the typical customer. Men don't come to the HOG to be talked into using the service, I suspect, but Mal has no intention of "trading" as he puts it until Nandi starts up mentioning Inara and bringing up all that heart-ache.

It's most probably not something she has to do with most clients and I can imagine, living on the world that she does, that she would not want to with the sort of men like Rance Burgess frequenting her house.

Clients like Fess Higgins or the female Councillor, for whom Inara is able to provide an emotional service imbedded in the sexual, those would be pure happenstance in a place like Nandi's, not part of the job description.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:58 AM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
We have very little hard evidence to go on, obviously.

In the pilot, when the young man mentions that he can't imagine ever leaving Sihnon, she looks away, whistfully. It's intercut out of time with her actual speaking and it indicates a deeper story behind her words.

Plus, Joss and every one have stated repeatedly that Inara has secrets and a past. Coupled with her, indeed, unusual choice to leave a promising career, this could easily indicate some amount of pressure to leave the Core, be it direct or indirect.

Quote:


For me, if you voluntarily leave a place where you are headed for great things there are only a few conclusions and devotion to the job isn't one. Possible conclusions:
1. The job is unfulfilling
2. You are unhappy in job
3. You are bored
4. You don't like where the job will take you
5. You're tired of the demands of job

None of those point to devotion to said job.



You are already assuming that she left voluntarily. You completely discount the possibility of outside pressure in any way shape or form, the nature of which we can't know because we don't have enough evidence, but that doesn't mean it's not a possibility.

There's a host of theories out there, even, ranging from hidden crime over terminal illness to some kind of private entanglement gone wrong. None of which would have a direct relation to whether she is devoted to her job or not.




Oh, I absolutely believe there is back story. and if I'm discounting that there could be external pressure forcing Inara to leave, you're discounting the possibility that there might not be. I just don't believe Inara's decision to ship out was involuntary. I make that assumption, just as you make the assumption that it wasn't. That's what I said in my previous post.

And I haven't read a theory yet that I thought was the actual story. Some outright made me laugh (the terminal illness one, for instance...I personally think that is ridiculous. If Joss decides to prove me wrong, so be it. But if he does, I will be VERY, VERY upset with him).


Quote:

Quote:


Hypothetical: Take two doctors, both trained at the same medical school. Both get their license to practice and both are good doctors. Then one day, one decides the rigors of following AMA guidelines are too strict and confining. They don't renew their license, but head off to a third world country to practice medicine. Does that make their training/education/knowledge any less? Does that training/education/knowledge only yield the title "doctor" if the AMA says it does (i.e. issues license?)



I don't think the example applies. Losing one's licence is not a pre-requisite for going to the third world to practice medicine, nor does the doctor in the third world lose the opportunity to use everything he has learned and practiced so far.



Huh? I never said anything about "losing" one's license. I said doesn't "renew their license." In other words, makes a conscious decision to no longer be a licensed doctor...but then decides to go somewhere on the outer rim (i.e. third world) to do essentially the same thing.


Quote:


But while registration is what allows Inara to be a Companion and do a Companion's work, giving Nandi's house the title Companion would do nothing to make the two services equal, unless all her girls got Guild Education, and infrastructure allowed Nandi a wider ranger of actual choice in terms of custumers.



Again, you've read way too much into my post. My first post said the difference between Inara and Nandi. Not Nandi's house or Nandi's girls. The comparison was strictly Inara and Nandi. Inara possibly has more training than Nandi, but the only difference between them, IMO, is Guild registration.

***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 11:37 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:

Oh, I absolutely believe there is back story. and if I'm discounting that there could be external pressure forcing Inara to leave, you're discounting the possibility that there might not be.



Actually, I just meant to carve away at the absolute way you phrased your statements. I am not discounting anything. I'm pointing out indications and possibilities. You came across as pretty "This is the way", which prompted me to argue.

Glad we can agree to accept each other's different opinions as valid, then.


Quote:


Huh? I never said anything about "losing" one's license. I said doesn't "renew their license." In other words, makes a conscious decision to no longer be a licensed doctor...but then decides to go somewhere on the outer rim (i.e. third world) to do essentially the same thing.



Well, either way, a lack of licence is not obligatory to do the work you describe, and apparently we'll just have to agree to disagree whether the work Nandi does is the same that Inara does. I really don't think it is, you apparently do. We won't likely convince each other. :)


Quote:


Quote:


But while registration is what allows Inara to be a Companion and do a Companion's work, giving Nandi's house the title Companion would do nothing to make the two services equal, unless all her girls got Guild Education, and infrastructure allowed Nandi a wider ranger of actual choice in terms of custumers.



Again, you've read way too much into my post. My first post said the difference between Inara and Nandi. Not Nandi's house or Nandi's girls. The comparison was strictly Inara and Nandi. Inara possibly has more training than Nandi, but the only difference between them, IMO, is Guild registration.




But you started the sentence with "the difference between Companion and whore..." indicating a relation to the general subject and an equation between Nandi and common whore, which is simply not correct and what I argued against.

Similarly, you choose to ignore what I already said on the subject. To me, the difference between Inara and Nandi is in the work they chose.
Nandi isn't a prostitute in even a remotely similar environment as Inara. If she lived in a society like Sihnon and did the type of councelling work Inara did, but did not receive the respect that real Companions receive, then the only difference and the only reason for their different status would be the Guild registration.

Instead, Nandi moved to the ass end of the universe, among people who have a default disdain for prostitutes and she lives a poor live that doesn't allow her to use her training. It's not comparable.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:08 PM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
But you started the sentence with "the difference between Companion and whore..." indicating a relation to the general subject and an equation between Nandi and common whore, which is simply not correct and what I argued against.



Got me there. my statement was a bit confusing. I was only trying to cut my post shorter and to indicate a change in concept I was addressing. I should've stated something more like this:

Earlier parts of this discussion have been focused on the difference between companions and whores. From my perspective, the only difference between Inara and Nandi is guild registration. However, there is admittedly a larger difference in skill/training between Nandi's girls and Inara.

I would go further to say that Inara is the total embodiment of what a "whore" can be. Sex is the main function of a whore, with other functions being secondary to that. For a companion, sex is merely one of many duties and not necessarily primary.

Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Similarly, you choose to ignore what I already said on the subject. To me, the difference between Inara and Nandi is in the work they chose.
Nandi isn't a prostitute in even a remotely similar environment as Inara. If she lived in a society like Sihnon and did the type of councelling work Inara did, but did not receive the respect that real Companions receive, then the only difference and the only reason for their different status would be the Guild registration.

Instead, Nandi moved to the ass end of the universe, among people who have a default disdain for prostitutes and she lives a poor live that doesn't allow her to use her training. It's not comparable.



Not ignoring anything on purpose. For me, the work they do is the same, just in degrees. The counselling aspect has little to do with the distinction between whore and companion. People are paying both types of women for some form of companionship, be it emotional or physical. Just because some are more skilled than others doesn't change the job, IMO.

***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:23 PM

AGENTROUKA


Thank you for clarifying your earilier statement. I find that easy to accept, although I don't completely agree. :)

Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:
I would go further to say that Inara is the total embodiment of what a "whore" can be. Sex is the main function of a whore, with other functions being secondary to that. For a companion, sex is merely one of many duties and not necessarily primary.



Assuming that you mean "whore" in a positive, affirming way, without the negative connotations people often pack into it, I can heartily agree. :)


Quote:


Not ignoring anything on purpose. For me, the work they do is the same, just in degrees. The counselling aspect has little to do with the distinction between whore and companion. People are paying both types of women for some form of companionship, be it emotional or physical. Just because some are more skilled than others doesn't change the job, IMO.



I don't disagree on principle. :) My scale of degrees is a little more distinguishing, though. Plateaus of personal investment, if you will.

Inara speaks of a "spirit of compatibility" and there's a strong spiritual aspect to her Companion work. Choice of partners is very important. The work is more interactive and the connection between customer and Companion probably stronger, in many cases.


It's nice to know, though, that we're not so far apart in our opinions. :)

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:41 PM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Assuming that you mean "whore" in a positive, affirming way, without the negative connotations people often pack into it, I can heartily agree. :)



Well, in a post on another thread, I went into how I don't think Mal is being all that insulting to Inara when he calls her a whore. If companions are seen as acceptable I really don't think the term "whore" would carry the same meanings that it does today. So yes, postive and affirming for the 'verse's time (which is not to be mistaken for an affirmation of sex for money.... Complicated, eh?).



***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Thursday, August 24, 2006 1:02 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:

Well, in a post on another thread, I went into how I don't think Mal is being all that insulting to Inara when he calls her a whore. If companions are seen as acceptable I really don't think the term "whore" would carry the same meanings that it does today. So yes, postive and affirming for the 'verse's time (which is not to be mistaken for an affirmation of sex for money.... Complicated, eh?).




I'd like to agree with that, except it's very obvious that Mal is intending to insult Inara from the very first moment he says the word to her.
Besides, on the Rim worlds where Mal grew up, prostitutes are not so respected. Not to mention the religious believes he held for a long time.


I do think Mal has no problem with whores, but he's well aware of the word as an insult and uses it as such against Inara.
In a way, I suspect, he pretends to look down on them, as a way of creating impact. Inara's job matters a lot to her and it stands between them. What better way to undermine his perceived social (and emotional) inferiority than by creating an image of disgust? That way they're rejecting each other, in his eyes, as opposed to just being rejected by her.

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Friday, August 25, 2006 3:31 AM

FELLOWTRAVELER


Sorry, but back to the Inara/whore/companion thing for a moment.

With the exception of the counslor (and I suspect more than a backrub ensued), every client Inara sees in the show has engaged her for sex.

The purpose of her visit in "Shindig" is made pretty clear by Atherton (something about everybody wanting her in their beds). In "Jaynestown", she's there to make the kid "a man" and in "Serenity" her only scene with a client is after they have, presumably, had sex.

Negative connotations aside, a whore is defined as:

a woman who engages in sexual acts for money

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/whore

There's little question that Inara is a smart, well educated, articulate woman. But if it walks and talks like a duck...

Perhaps, in the Core a companion is more than whore (although in essence, I doubt there is), but it appears that out on the Rim there is no difference. She's contracted for sex.

What evidence is there that the Guild is anything more than a labor union for prostitutes? It would seem to me (might be wrong) the ladies organized and now have the power to make demands about clients, compensation, working conditions, health care, and the required training of its members.

Am I forgetting about a client or something? Are we shown a client that didn't engage her for sex?

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Friday, August 25, 2006 4:34 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by TwilightJack:

My point about debate producing concensus is based upon an Aristotlean notion of objective truth. If two reasonable people discuss reasonably, they should discover the same truth together, as truth is unchanging and can be discovered through the proper application of reason. As I do not buy into a black/white objectivist dichotomy, I don't hold to this concept, but it's a nice framework of suspension of disbelief, allowing for vigourous debate without animosity.



Whoa Aristotle! I know not so much...

At the risk of hijacking, I don't believe there is just one truth, and I think it's dangerous to pretend that there is. Especially regarding works of fiction and fine art, the same object (or story, or dance) can mean many things to many people, and that's part of the beauty of it. Saying that there is only one correct truth leads to the kind of stuff we see in RWED, name calling and judgement and frustration when one person won't come around to another's view.

For example, you present that definition of whore. Maybe you believe that definition, but not everyone will. And that's really okay! I think the definition of whore, in Joss's verse, is notably different than the definition of Companion, in ways that have been gone over lots already. There is sex in both, but Companions include much much more.

Again - fun thread! It's amazing, the different ways everyone sees it. It's a credit to Joss, and the complexity of the verse and characters he created.

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Friday, August 25, 2006 4:48 AM

FELLOWTRAVELER


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Quote:

Originally posted by TwilightJack:

My point about debate producing concensus is based upon an Aristotlean notion of objective truth. If two reasonable people discuss reasonably, they should discover the same truth together, as truth is unchanging and can be discovered through the proper application of reason. As I do not buy into a black/white objectivist dichotomy, I don't hold to this concept, but it's a nice framework of suspension of disbelief, allowing for vigourous debate without animosity.



Whoa Aristotle! I know not so much...

At the risk of hijacking, I don't believe there is just one truth, and I think it's dangerous to pretend that there is. Especially regarding works of fiction and fine art, the same object (or story, or dance) can mean many things to many people, and that's part of the beauty of it. Saying that there is only one correct truth leads to the kind of stuff we see in RWED, name calling and judgement and frustration when one person won't come around to another's view.

For example, you present that definition of whore. Maybe you believe that definition, but not everyone will. And that's really okay! I think the definition of whore, in Joss's verse, is notably different than the definition of Companion, in ways that have been gone over lots already. There is sex in both, but Companions include much much more.

Again - fun thread! It's amazing, the different ways everyone sees it. It's a credit to Joss, and the complexity of the verse and characters he created.

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.



Sorry, not trying to cause trouble.

Edit- I'm trying to learn the etiquette. Will try to behave myself.

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Friday, August 25, 2006 5:00 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by FellowTraveler:
Sorry, not trying to cause trouble.

Edit- I'm trying to learn the etiquette. Will try to behave myself.



Sorry that I made you say sorry! Didn't mean to jump on you - you weren't misbehaving! I just have a tendacy to go tangential and be wordy. Not good with linear thought. Don't mind me!

a-hem. Please, carry on with the Mal/Inara fun...


-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Friday, August 25, 2006 5:25 AM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
I'd like to agree with that, except it's very obvious that Mal is intending to insult Inara from the very first moment he says the word to her.

I do think Mal has no problem with whores, but he's well aware of the word as an insult and uses it as such against Inara.



Oh yea, it's a mild insult, the same as when Inara calls him a petty thief, but I think it's more to remind himself that she is off limits than to put Inara in her place.

Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Inara's job matters a lot to her and it stands between them. What better way to undermine his perceived social (and emotional) inferiority than by creating an image of disgust? That way they're rejecting each other, in his eyes, as opposed to just being rejected by her.



I can agree with that.

***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, August 25, 2006 5:48 AM

ROCKETJOCK


A few points:

1. It should be noted that at no point is it stated that simple non-guild prostitution is illegal. Nobody tries to shut down the Heart of Gold because of illegality, but instead because they're defying the local ganglord. Disrespected yes, illegal, maybe not.

2. Yes, Inara is a prostitute, by definition. But if you can call her a whore, then being a Cordon Rouge chef is the same as slapping burgers on the grill at McNasty's.

3. That stated, I feel that the difference is one of degree rather than of kind. Continuing the analogy, no gourmet chef, however well trained, should have a higher standing before the law than a fry cook. So long as both are providing what their customers want, and giving fair value, they should be equal before the law. Given the Alliance's "Some are more equal than others" attitudes, I'm willing to bet this isn't the case in the 'Verse.

--This, I think, is why Mal rubs it in--he thinks of simple whores as being fundamentally more honest than fancy-schmancy "Companions"--as other have stated, it's more a statement about his feelings towards the holier-than-thou sanctimony of the Alliance than any true animosity towards Companions in general.

Slight change of subject: In regards to Inara's dedication to the calling of Companion: There are women (and men for that matter) in America today who fit every definition of a Companion, except one. There are high-class courtesans of both/every gender available, who possess great social skill, commmand high price, and pick and choose their own clientelle.

The one difference is that, of course, in America today their chosen profession is illegal.

My question is, if Inara's chosen profession were against the law, and minus the legal protections and high public status she enjoys, would she still practice it?

That would be the true measure of her dedication.

"She's tore up plenty. But she'll fly true." -- Zoë Washburn

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