many miles to Babylon?
Three score and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Aye, and back again.
If your feet are nimble and light,
You'll get there by candlelight.
Backstory, Babylonian America
And so, perhaps not in the alternate dimension of Babylonian America,where prostitutes are still sacred. Or, at least, the temple cult prostitutes, the Qadishtot, that is. If we recall our ancient history, the estate of the lay prostitute, or zhona, was less exhaled or valued than the better esteemed position of the Qadishtu, who are praised as a blessing and a gift of the gods. Indeed, zhonot might well be no better off than the streetwalkers anywhere else, and no less bitchy. And then there where the slave girls and boys, for the pleasure of their masters. Perhaps many become runaways and zhonot...
And so, as if the throngs of of the same eight faces, again and again, where not quite unsettling enough, exiting from the Dominion hotel out onto the streets, Zhona soon experiences a real culture shock in a society where Prostitution simply does not exist!
For, as BinarySystems suggested on 8.13.99 (SIY), the hooker soon realizes that no one on this world (with the singular exception of one Sam Becket, an annoying, peculiar and earnest do-gooder and gadfly pressing unwanted help and advice*) has the least bit of interest in her, at least on her terms, and, given Zhona's stunted social skills, mistrust and attachment disorder, if she is ever to be 'loved' again, she comes to believe that he or she is now the one who must offer cold hard cash! Thus, oh irony! Will the hooker ends up this world's first 'John' (Or 'Jane')?
And so, thoroughly disoriented and finding her way back again to the Dominion hotel, Zhona falls in with the relationally bullying clique of the Nouveau-Whipped, familiar as she is with their routine. (Because, leave us face it, cliquish Relational Bullies are kinda pimp-like, come to think of it, aren't they?)
Perhaps it even turns out
that the unruly John from whom Zhona flees is
actually one of them. The shill from whom they can "protect" Zhona along
with any other women they can socially isolate, deceive, intimidate and
exploit. At least until they can scapegoat the Sliders for that purpose.
(Relational Bullies are that obnoxious, after all!)
Perhaps the Nouveau-Whipped even know who Zhona really is, and have some political conspiracy in mind. The motivating goal put forth being to gain influence in Babylonian America to throw exclusive wild parties at which to abuse their sychophants, and from which to exclude their rivals and scapegoats. (Because that's what obnoxious influential cliques are all about.) And it is from this ulterior agenda that they offer to accept Zhona, however conditionally. Immediately, the Nouveau-Whipped (especially Sam's nemesis, the Evil Leaper*) enlist Zhona into their own petty vendettas and power struggles, instigating between Zhona and Maggie...
Then post to the forum, to help improve and complete this story with your input!
Bear in mind, however, that no matter how over the top any Science Fiction speculation, even to the point of social satire, the truth revealed often still the more shocking!
After all: 'Pimp Cult' is based upon actual events, truth more lurid than fiction, circumstances and appallingly common practices, yes, the intimate connection between sex trade exploitation and ancient religion prevalent and surviving even to this day!
before the celebrated Bacchanal of Anthony and Cleopatra, there
flourished the orgy cult of personality that was the royal court of
Israel, as best chronicled (with
to offend everyone") in The
Song of Solomon'
Mary of Magdala
But beyond sexmagick practices and even affect, what of core ideology and world view? Even though, of course, it's Hindu, not Babylonian, nevertheless, if one disregards the somewhat seemingly equivocal denial and qualification, the article 'Hidden Secrets of Tantric Sex' offers provocative cultural background and thematic content for the story. Indeed, Stephan Beyer's description of the followers of the Vajrayana could be adapted into marvelous expository dialogue for the character of Arturo Maximilian! See also:
And the article 'Whoring In Utopia' might offer interesting source material for adaptation as temple-state propaganda in Babylonian America.
Frisco Utopia Brothel Bonanza?
Marlene Dietrich opined that:
"A country without bordellos is like a house without bathrooms." But
isn't such clinical trivialization somewhat over simplistic?
The phenomena of prostitution and pornography marketed sexual services are also part and parcel of a total life style within a social network and varying background situation, with associated personal relationships, with customs and habits in that network manifesting the values thereof, indeed, in real life contexts with every bearing upon psychological effects thereof.
Hence, abandoning as quixotic any Moralistic effort to simply abolish all vice, one way or another, historical fantasies of Babylon are often looked to for inspiration in not merely amelioration but even exaltation of the miserable estate of the world's oldest profession. However, in the real life modern world, enfranchisement is safeguarded by secular institutions from which, nevertheless, taboo is still an exclusion.
That is why, for Anti-Slavery International, the problem is very much one of labor reform. After all, the more progressive among sex workers (that's 'sociolator', to you, fanboy! -Or ship's ambassador...) have actually been known to even Unionize.
Nevertheless, the begged question remains inescapable, truly, is everything demeaning in sex work purely extrinsic? Indeed, as to any question of job satisfaction, why do even the most radical activist printed manuals for prostitution advise only faking interest and enjoyment, so as to better secure return business? After all, even actors who only feign dedication to their craft, may eventually find themselves called to task for being so damn pretentious! But perhaps the John's suspension of disbelief is the more willingly manipulated than just any other sort of audience. And so, it may be that any bullshit notion of more radical change in the subjectivity of the world's oldest profession may still remain largely at the very fringes of plausibility in speculative fiction under whatever guise. Which leaves plenty of ambivalence to motivate conventional drama.
BASE TRADE: THEATER AS PROSTITUTION
In the obscure conlang (constructed language) of Kilirna, 'zhona' is an adjective meaning: free (agency), with leisure (or flex time), having free choices. But?/And? Even in modern Hebrew 'zhona' is still the word for whore or prostitute, though nary any quaint Pagan fine distinction of laity from, nor much point of, the sacred prostitution of the once holy temple whores, the Quadishtot, is ever recognized or even much remembered save among the scholarly.
1. In Star Trek Science Fiction Space Opera, different species may see and relate to one another, as nigh godlike or childlike, a theme used to turn our own conventions upside down in the Star Trek: The Ship of Fools fanfic virtual series spin-off, by the introduction of the new character, Security Chief Lycia, 15 years old and jail bait by Human (that is, conventional Western) standards, but within the Federation of Planets, as a superior Deltan actually held responsible and culpable as the adult, if she ever violates a required oath of celibacy with an emotionally fragile sexually immature species, that is to say, any mere vulnerable Human. Whereas, kidnapped among the Klingons, she has survived, according to their ways, only by sheer Stockholm Syndrome habituation, conditioning and socialization to the most flagrantly seductive manipulation.