December 9, 2005, - 6:34 am

Memoirs of a Whore in a Kimono

By Debbie Schlussel
Hollywood should change its name to Greater Absurdia.
It’s not news that, these days, it’s putting out movies in which the outrageous is the heroic; the heroic is outrageous; and prostitutes are our new moral heroes.
Except we’re supposed to be fooled into thinking a prostitute isn’t, in fact, a prostitute at all. Instead, she’s a classy lady to be venerated, glorified, and even emulated.
That’s the case with “Memoirs of a Geisha,” out in some theaters, today, with subsequent roll-outs in theaters nationwide. This movie is a case of the Emperor wears no clothing. Only she’s a geisha. And she’s wearing an eight-layer kimono, instead. Until she takes it all off for her wealthy Japanese patron of the night. This movie, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, could have been called, “How I Became a High-Class Prostitute.”

geisha2.jpg

Chinese Actress Ziyi Zhang:

Kimono-Clad Glorified Whore in “Memoirs of a Geisha”

But calling a spade a spade wouldn’t sell as well to the elite, self-anointed culturatti crowd with whom a little exoticism goes a long way in excusing the inexcusable. (They couldn’t even get the “exoticism” right, using Chinese actresses for all the Japanese women in this movie. They tell US it’s racist to confuse these two Asian nationalities, but no prob when liberal moviemakers do it in the name of helping us understand the glories of prostitution.) Director Rob Marshall claims this film is a “women’s epic.” What’s next–porn stars as the new epic heroines?
Besides, the twisted theme of prostitute as moral heroine has been done before. It was called “Pretty Woman”–and was a whole lot more charming than “Geisha,” a depressing chick-flick falsely posing as some moral love story fairy tale. It’s the story of Sayuri, a young girl sold into slavery by her parents for grooming as a geisha.
In all media appearances, the chorus is the same: A geisha is not a prostitute. She’s a high-class artist skilled in fan dances, delicate walking techniques, and exotic Japanese dances. But from what takes place in the movie, you could have fooled me. A hooker is a hooker.
The heroine of the movie, a geisha in training, has her virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder. The denouement of the movie is when her virginity garners the highest bid ever for any geisha in the history of Japan.
Selling sex for money–if that’s not prostitution, what is?
Star Ziyi Zhang doesn’t do much to dispel that she plays a prostitute, no matter how many false nuances she throws in. No, geishas not prostitutes, she told USA Weekend, because “they don’t have their own lives.” I suppose she’s referring to the geisha house mothers–and this movie made very clear, they’re no different than pimps (but for the kimono).
“They must walk a certain way, kneel and serve teas to men,” Zhing tries to differentiate. “Their lives are sad.” But those are distinctions without a difference. Prostitutes must walk streets a certain way and their lives are sad, too. But instead of a fancy kimono and white powder make-up, they’re wearing sequined tube-tops and leather minis. Both have the slutty bright red lipstick thing down, though.
Director Marshall claims “Geisha were the supermodels of their day.” Really? Did Cindy Crawford auction off her virginity to the highest bidder, too? “The word geisha means ‘artist’,” he told Vogue, “not prostitute.” And the word “John” is a first-name, but we know that’s an epithet for something else, too.
In case there’s still any doubt that this movie is not glorified prostitution with a Japanese accent, compare “Geisha” to our own version, Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls“:
Zhang claims geisha are not prostitutes because they are “sad.” Hmmm . . . Donna Summer’s prostitutes: “Talking about the sad girls, sad girls.”
Zhang’s “Geisha” markets her body to the highest bidder in Japan. Donna Summer’s American version: “Picking up on all kinds of strangers, if the price is right. You can score, if you’re pocket’s nice. . . . Hey mister, have you got a dime? Mister, do you want to spend some time? Oh yeah, I got what you want. You got what I need. I’ll be your baby. Come and spend it on me.”
Sounds the same to me.
Marshal claims geisha are “artists.” Donna Summer’s street-walkers: “Like everybody else, they wanna be a star.” No difference.
Then, there’s the “witty” dialogue from “Geisha,” which I swear I’m not making up. In discussing sex and the need to preserve her virginity to the highest bidder, Sayuri’s mentor utters these pearls:
“Sayuri, you know that men have eels and women have caves? Sometimes, a man’s eel likes to visit a woman’s cave. A man likes his eel to visit a new cave that has never been visited by other men’s eels.”
High-class stuff, isn’t it.
In a national media campaign to–pardon the expression–pimp “Geisha,” the movie has been gushed over by Oprah (on her show and in her magazine), “The View,” and various celebrity and fashion magazines, like the December edition of Vogue, which features tips on geisha-style make-up and clothes in its TEN pages of glowing coverage of this prostitution movie. People Magazine has a two-page spread: “Geisha Style: Mementos of a Movie,” featuring “official tie-in fashions, including gazillion dollar jewelry. Companies from M.A.C. to Banana Republic to prestigious L.A. jeweler Neil Lane are all pimping official “Geisha” products.
Gee, I think I have a new Oprah-inspired costume idea for your little girl, come next Halloween.
Can you imagine Tiffany & Company pushing a whore line of jewelry? The whore-chic thing generally doesn’t sell, but with a Japanese accent and locale, I suppose that makes it highbrow to the intellectual glitterati who are already making this horrid movie a big part of Oscar buzz.
It’s as if Donna Summer was talking about this movie ahead of time in her ’70s disco hit. “Now you and me, we are both the same. But you call yourself by different names.” Indeed.
“Memoirs of a Geisha” is nothing more than the Memoirs of a Whore in a Kimono.

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17 Responses

If Oprah and The Shrew (View) recommends it, that’s all I need to know to avoid it.
I hate to see one of my faves Ziyi Zhang in this.

The_Man on December 9, 2005 at 12:15 am

Yea! “In all media appearances, the chorus is the same: A geisha is not a prostitute. She’s a high-class artist skilled in fan dances, delicate walking techniques, and exotic Japanese dances. But from what takes place in the movie, you could have fooled me. A hooker is a hooker.”
Debbie, you got it right!! A geisha does not have sex with its client, I’ve been to geishas and it was entertaining. Funny thing though, drunk G.I.s usd to go in and tried to pick upp on these 13 to17-year-old girls but got their ass kicked for their attempts. A lot of them got locked in the brig. The geishas love me because I’m an American who can’t speak a lick of Japanese but when I start speaking about the different dances and cultural aspects, that blows their minds. I’m not going to watch memoirs, nor will I download it

KOAJaps on December 9, 2005 at 1:00 am

Debbie,
Hollywood has always been a whore. The business, as you may know, was formed by clothing company manufacturers and designers from New York. That business has always and still is full of prostitution of one’s morals. That theme carried over into the movie business. They can never control themselves because they are all about themselves. Vanity, sex, jewelry, looks, etc. Empty morals because of selfish desires that they strive for. Why do you think the whores of Hollywood are the liberals of politics? They defend the liberal stand, supposedly for the poor people of the country but the real agenda is their own selfish life styles.
Of course they will do anything, such as being a cultural whore, to make money to keep supporting their life styles. Gay, promiscuous vain people who kill their unborn so they can go on being whores and not face responsibility for the life of a child. Of course it is not murder in their eyes. Intelligent people but manipulating their own agenda.
New lovers from year to year. New homes with different marriages. New heart throbs every month and children are just something that belong to others.
Cultural examples of life such as “Get Rich Or Die Trying” with 50 Cent is a great example of this idealogy. Make a lot of money selling songs and movies that degrade women as whores. Then talk about helping the children of the world by donating money to his pet cause. Never stops to think about the root of the problem which is the horrible example that he and others like him set for society including that child. Then that child grows up wanting the same selfish things in life.
Here is the cycle of frustration. Those kids who grow up realizing they cannot attain the selfish things in life, especially good looks. So let’s save money and get bigger breast and about Penis enlargement. How about the promotion of the need for these articles of human value, as the necessary tools to be on top of the world. Yet there is never enough money to keep up with the rising cost of entertainment, travel and Paris Hilton.
Now let’s be honset with ourselves and look in the mirror. Why do they do this? Why do they make these movies like “Geisha”? Because we as a public pay hard earned money to watch this trash! If we did not then they would stop making it. We are our own worst enemy. So who can control Hollywood and also save us, as a people, from ourselves?
If these smut movies and TV programs about sex and being gay were not available to watch then we would not be exposing our children of the future to such degregation. So who is going to control us? The government used to until some selfish, probably gay or promiscuous politician decided to allow free speech of smut into the interpretation of the original constitution. We cannot stop ourselves because some political whore gave in to their own lust and ruined the whole party. Especially the Democratic Party.
Ted Kennedy is not a murderer! He just went home, went to sleep and let Mary Joe drown after hours of struggling. Then he bought the system to secure his freedom in politics to keep GIVING US CRAP IN THE SENATE WITH HIS SICK POINT OF VIEW OF LIFE! A judge let him off the hook. Just like a Judge let all women continue to kill their unborn so they can go on being promiscuous. Why? Just to satisfy that selfish man with the penial enhancement.
Think it’s not true? Just look at the rising numbers of abortions, of breast implants, of pills sold to enhance the old Johnson and the money spent on entertainment including “Geisha” and “50 Cent”.
And of course the grand opening of where our money will go to next! Howard Stern – $100 million dollars a year for 5 years coming out of our pockets because we want to pay to hear that smut. In his big NBC & CBS interviews he said he was going to bring in a live phone sex operator on his show to perform her talent with a live caller. Surprised? Why? Americans are paying the bill and the government says it’s free speech!
When are we gonna get it? When are we gonna quite denying that we are the problem. We buy the smut and then we vote the political whores back into office!
People, you still don’t agree? Then that’s the problem!

Deep Throat on December 9, 2005 at 1:38 am

I was actually more offended that they placed a Chinese actress as the lead instead of finding a Japanese actress to portray a major cultural phenomenon of Japan like the Geisha.
Similar to appointing a woman with no experience in law enforcement to the head of the ICE.
What, there were no other qualified actresses that are Japanese in the whole world?

Digger on December 9, 2005 at 9:32 am

“Really? Did Cindy Crawford auction off her virginity to the highest bidder, too?”
One never knows! I’m sure there’s plenty of models out there who have “sold their virginity” in order to break into the high paying business.
Thanks for including the part about the mix up in Asians in your entry above as well. Having lived in Japan for 2 years and cruised all of Asia in the Navy, it just irks me to no end with the constant mixing on the screen when I know there’s so much talent out there “of the right ethnicity”.

Digger on December 9, 2005 at 10:21 am

Deep Throat,you’ve been doin’ to much deep
throat…Regarding your comments about Hollywood bein’ a hoe because the movie biz was started by
“clothing company manufacturers and designers from New York”,first read,’An Empire of Their
Own:How The “Chews” Invented Hollywood';then shoot off your big tuchis.

jaywilton on December 9, 2005 at 10:34 am

Oy vay…’An Empire Of Their Own:How The Jews Invented Hollywood ‘was written by Neal Gabler.

jaywilton on December 9, 2005 at 10:40 am

Guys!
Who do you think turned the clothing business into an Empire of Their Own and still run it today? Same people and even they will accuse each other of being whores! Jewish businessmen!

Deep Throat on December 9, 2005 at 12:09 pm

I couldn’t care less who invented Hollywood, I just want to know why there are so many movies about hookers with a heart of gold, ala Pretty Woman, this one, etc.

Jeff_W on December 9, 2005 at 12:51 pm

FYI,
Go to http://www.myjewishlearning.com/history_community/Modern/ModernSocial/JewsInHollywwod.htm and you will see the clothing and movie connection in black and white!

Deep Throat on December 9, 2005 at 1:16 pm

king of all Japs(koajaps)where have you been ‘no bragging on Debbie’s artical on P,harbor?”You do know when to stay silent don’t you

danny on December 9, 2005 at 4:09 pm

I think hollywood knows no other type of woman only whores who would do anything. And I think that is why so many whoremongers gravitate to hollywood. Didn’t the give Pretty Woman an ocsar nomination???
You can put lipstick on a pig, but…it is still a pig!!
Personally, I don’t see the fasination with being a whore so why on earth do so many see fit to glamorize this behavior?

KrnHwll on December 9, 2005 at 5:29 pm

Geez… I want to watch something like “Memoirs of Geisha”, I’d grab a box of Kleenex and download some AZN pr0n via P2P.
And anyways, it’s not getting any good reviews.
Now if Spielberg could do the right thing and reconsider “Munich”…

Y-2-DRAY on December 9, 2005 at 9:20 pm

From “Deep Troat”:
“(…) And of course the grand opening of where our money will go to next! Howard Stern – $100 million dollars a year for 5 years coming out of our pockets because we want to pay to hear that smut. In his big NBC & CBS interviews he said he was going to bring in a live phone sex operator on his show to perform her talent with a live caller. Surprised? Why? Americans are paying the bill and the government says it’s free speech!
“When are we gonna get it? When are we gonna quite denying that we are the problem. We buy the smut and then we vote the political whores back into office!
People, you still don’t agree? Then that’s the problem!”
Hey relax… at least it ain’t kiddie pr0n! [dry sarcasm, off]
We have a choice whether to watch something or not. Howard Stern doesn’t really offend me, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t think of him as an ass.
Sadly, Hollywood is running out of great stories to tell and has resorted to glorified product placements and infomercials posting as tv shows. The news has been reduced to mildly entertaining sound bites. Morality is getting subverted in favour of narcotic hedonism while faith is getting blacklisted in favour of orgiastic profane saturnalian urges.
As an agnistic Jew, all this trivializing of the human condition makes me want to crucify someone. Someone pass me some Nine Inch Nails…

Y-2-DRAY on December 9, 2005 at 9:32 pm

Geisha or prostitute, either way Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is fully on board!
As for Howard Stern, we aren’t paying for him, not unless you are signing up with the ‘pay for a year’ satellite radio company, Sirius. He’s actually being marginalized this way. Thank God.

Isaiah538 on December 11, 2005 at 5:22 pm

3 things. From what I’ve heard Geisha’s aren’t prostitutes. The white guy who wrote the book got it wrong. They seem to be more akin to a cross between strippers and ballet dancers. Basically, entertaining men with their dancing, music and tea pouring. All the while covered under 8 layers of komono.
2ndly, this whole thing results from our fascination with the “mysterious orient”. Japanese men can be the worst sorts of people when it comes to the treatment of women, but we have veiled the whole culture under some sort of romantic Lord of the Rings-esk land from another time and place all together. That and really cool karate kicks.
Finally, the most fasinating thing about this movie is will it make any money. I heard they spent a ridiculous amount of money on it. The level they spend on action flicks. Is the thinking that asian people will have to come out in droves to see it to support their inclusion into the culture. That a billion chinese people will be forced to watch it even though Geisha’s are chinese.
I’d rather look at Debbie. She’s hotter, and once in a while wears less clothes then a geisha. :) caaawww caaawww

JoeCanuck on December 14, 2005 at 5:28 am

Prostitutes are not sympathetic victims of society, they are just petty criminals. It’s ridiculous how most of the entertainment industry either glorifies the pimp-and-ho stuff (rap music) or just the ho part (Hollywood). These people are just plain trash. And this has been around in this country even before feminism came into effect. Prostitutes have been made out to be sympathetic ever since the dubious circumstances of Lucky Luciano’s pandering trial. Nobody should feel too bad that one of the most powerful and dangerous crime lords of all time was finally taken off the streets, but it unintentionally left a negative social effect when he was railroaded by a bunch of lying hookers. I’m sick of hearing about poor, persecuted prostitutes.

KnightoftheImpaler on January 15, 2006 at 5:44 pm

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