So in addition to my other duties at my new job, I’m a general errand runner. I announced today that I would be heading out to get a few chores done. Immediately I was bombarded by requests from all sides. Most were reasonable. Taking packages to the post office, purchasing various supplies, recycling used ink cartridges, etc.
But then I was tasked with buying several dozen pillows.
This is what my car looks like stuffed with about 30 pillows (not pictured is all the pillows in the trunk, which was full to near bursting).
There were lots of questions from curious onlookers. Here, in no particular order, are the various reasons I gave for purchasing a plentiful plethora of pillows:
“Because my queen demands it!”
“Best. Pillow fort. Ever.”
“I’m opening up the cheapest and comfiest bordello this side of the Mississippi.”
*shifty eyes* “For research.”
“I’m just supplying my emergency bunker so I’ll be ready for the apocalypse.”
“*incredulous look* “You don’t have this many pillows?”
A spell for immigrants to feel welcome in their new home
A map of your homeland
A map of where you live now
A white candle
**Lavender plant start
Gather your items and place a small amount of soil in the bottom of the pot. Light candle and use to burn map of your homeland then burn map of your new home. Place ashes in pot, add a bit more soil and stir deosil. Place start on pot. Do this all while chanting Immigrada Immigraniada and imagining everyone in your town being friendly and welcoming to you and your culture. Place plant near entrance of your home
*if you don’t have your own yard, use pot
**If you don’t think you can maintain a plant, bury ashes in area near or on your property
If you’ve lived many countries, you can modify it to suit your needs
Sorry for the horrible screencap, hopefully replies will be fixed soon.
He did indeed outright say they represented Native Americans; I’d have to google for the quote but I believe he explicitly mentioned Apaches.
Plus it is very evidently implicit in the episodes and film if you watch knowing that’s what he wanted to do, or with a knowledge of old Western film tropes. The Reavers are mysterious Others who attack isolated ships, leaving behind wreckage and vanishing like ghosts; additionally, the Serenity crew have to disguise themselves to pass through “Reaver Country”. (Reaver Country is actually the point at which I went from “Did he really…?” to “Oh shit he fucking did”.)
Maybe people aren’t aware, but “we gotta pass through Indian Country” was a big thing in old Westerns, and the way the Reavers are portrayed otherwise is heavily similar to the way Native Americans were portrayed, as invisible menacing monsters who struck brutally without warning and vanished, leaving behind only slaughter.
I mean. Technically bears attack people and I’m sure there is “bear country” out there but you generally don’t have to dress up like a bear to pass through bear country. While bears were an issue, people didn’t live in the same kind of mortal terror of bears as they did of Native Americans, and they don’t have the overwhelming presence in westerns that Native Americans did.
I mean, it’s a space western. It’s explicitly a space western. Every other aspect of the western, from chipper frontier bordellos to Great Train Robberies to Useless Dudes to Exotic Foreign Concubines to town dances to the aftermath of a massive civil war is represented. And there’s an “Injun” shaped hole in there, which the Reavers fill pretty much perfectly.
So either Joss Whedon did ignore the Native Americans completely, which is not great, or the Reavers, who are virtually identical to caricatures of Native Americans from 200 years of white media about them which Whedon explicitly based the entire show on, are the Native Americans. It’s not exactly rocket science.
Faceless as they are, television’s ladies for hire have certainly multiplied. If you were to judge the female population based off their representation in the last decade’s programming alone, it would appear more like 4 out of 5 women sell sex for money, and they all happen to look like swimsuit models — just without the swimsuit.
You’ll find them in, to name just a few, “The Girlfriend Experience,” “Emerald City,” “Billions,” “Anger Management,” “Goliath,” “The Knick,” “Taboo,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Ripper Street,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “True Detective,” “Training Day,” “Ray Donovan,” “House of Cards,” “Secret Diary of a Call Girl,” “Hawaii Five-0” and the various flavors of “Law & Order,” “CSI” and “NCIS.” Remember the HBO drinking game — take a shot every time they show a scene in the whorehouse or strip club? Audiences are still drunk.
And viewed through the male gaze of the hero, as they almost always are, the working women of TV are a fail-safe plot device. They’re the hooker with a heart of gold that he hopelessly falls for, the imperiled hooker he saves, the hooker he brazenly uses, the dead hooker who’s a clue in the case he must solve. They’re the perfect backdrop to help define his dilemma, and require almost no setup when it comes to staging those ubiquitous, hot sex scenes in unlikely places. And that’s when they are afforded the dignity of being a plot device as opposed to mere titillating window dressing.
But with “Harlots,” television’s favorite wallpaper now has its own show.
The Hulu series, which premieres Wednesday, doesn’t just visit the brothel, it lives there among the women of London’s 18th century sex trade. It’s their perspective that drives the narrative and, it turns out, prostitution looks a lot different through the eyes of a woman in the business. (A British co-production, the show airs two days earlier on ITV.)
“Harlots” is a frank depiction of women forced into the profession by poverty, class or birth, but not an entirely desperate one. The sex scenes here are neither titillating nor horrifying, gratuitously explicit or unnecessarily judgmental. They are simply a function of the job.
Bodices aren’t ripped in passion, but rather skirts lifted for the sake of practicality and time. The quickies in an alley are just that, quickies, and it’s onto the next John … or maybe a lunch break.
The women’s lives beyond these paid transactions is where the real story is.
The Wells family is building a small empire off their hard work. Margaret (Samantha Morton) owns and runs a brothel in a hardscrabble section of the city. She was born into this life: Her own mother sold her at age 10 for a pair of shoes. But she’s made the best of the hand she was dealt, and unlike most of the women in 1700s London, she is a small business owner. Now Margaret is pimping out her own daughters, Lucy (Eloise Smyth) and Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay).
Her appalling choice is not without guilt, but whatever maternal instincts she has are countered by her goal to raise enough money to buy a home in the upscale neighborhood of Soho.
“Money is a woman’s only power in this world,” says Margaret. “This city’s made of our flesh, every beam, every brick. We’ll have our piece of it.”
There is competition, however. Formidable madam Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), who runs a classier crosstown bordello in a more respectable part of London, is intent on destroying Margaret’s business. Their brilliant and ruthless tactics to undermine each other rival that of the competing agencies of “Mad Men.”
The eight-part series was influenced by “Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies,” a directory to London whoring written by patrons and pimps in the 1700s. The guide, published for nearly 40 years, was like a Yelp for sex trade customers that listed the specialties, talents and physical attributes of prostitutes in the highly trafficked area.
Created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman, the show’s team of producers, directors and writers is largely female, which partially explains why “Harlots” is a fresh look at an age-old profession — and television trope.
The casting of Brown Findlay (formerly the feisty Lady Sybil of “Downton Abbey”) as the steely-eyed, calculating survivor Charlotte is a statement in itself. She moves among the powdered-wig upper crust with the confidence of a professional woman, which in contrast to the limited roles for ladies of that era, is empowering.
But “Harlots” is not a feminist proclamation that recasts the sex trade as something noble. It’s a series in which the prostitutes are treated by the show’s writers with the same levels of humanity and importance as the men who’ve historically used and defined them. Here, the Johns play a supporting role to the show’s real stars: complex, shrewd and conflicted women who, just like their customers, have ambitions and goals.
Notes: Thank you @icedteainthebag for spending immense amounts of time working this through with me and for being brilliant. @gazeatscully and @h0ldthiscat for the hugely helpful early stage beta’ing that helped get it to this point.
And to all of you who’ve been so supportive and amazing.
The strident echo of
Stella’s boot heels grew humbler come late afternoon as they clicked down the
damp concrete sidewalks of London’s shopping districts. All morning long,
she’d walked arm-in-arm with Scully in a mood seemingly unscathed by pain and
weather best described as a permanent cold sweat. But now Scully could
feel Stella’s arm growing heavy, leaning a little rather than leading, and
beneath the buttery leather of Stella’s off-day civilian jacket was a tightly
clamped fist, the humps of four bracing fingers visibly knuckling the black
calfskin. Scully asked if she needed another painkiller.
“One last stop,” was
Stella’s indirect answer.
“Are you sure because -”
And then Scully saw it.
Secretive and svelte, a door tucked trenchlike down four wrought-iron
steps–a place that looked as likely to sell James Bond his spygear as it did
his girlfriends their racy underwear. Scully had been watching Stella
fight to feel like herself all day, and one look at this shop said it was meant
to be the pièce de résistance in that carefully drawn battle plan.
“Nevermind,” she said.
The first time Stella ever
suggested they go shopping together, they’d just arrived in Chicago, one of
their early girls’ weekends when they’d managed to make their paths cross
amidst conferences and con artists (psychics, was Mulder’s word for them).
A wicked midwestern wind had whipped past as they stepped out of
the taxi and Stella promptly announced that she hadn’t packed appropriately.
A bit of a rash declaration for someone who’s just arrived, Scully had
thought, a bit like someone who, say, wanted to go shopping. In an effort
to act fast, she’d offered to sacrifice up her own warm coat.
“Tsk. You look so tired, my dear. It is all this constant walking and fighting. I think I know what you need.” ~ Zevran
This custom blended fragrance is inspired by Dragon Age’s Zevran, the Antivan Crow assassin who vowed to kill the Hero of Ferelden while hoping for his own death…only to find a new purpose for living and to learn that a real love could change his world and give him a reason to live. Zevran is worldly, sly, and could charm the pants off the least suspecting person, just don’t ask him to pick any locks, but he’s also a tender man who practices chivalry by honoring consent and the wishes of his love.
Fragrance - Bright satsume citrus kisses the skin and fiery cayenne brings heat to cool whispers of leather. Zevran’s memories of dark bordellos and late night trysts, of the rich spices of cinnamon, clove, patchouli, frankincense & myrrh that hung heavy in the air, are a contrast to new memories of a new lover adorned in rose, jasmine, and musk on a warm summer night spent in a tent under the night sky.