How Much Is That Geisha In the Window?

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Vid
Title: How Much Is that Geisha in the Window?
Creator: Lierdumoa
Date: 22 August 2008
Format: digital vid
Length: 2:56 min
Music: Boyd's Journey by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman on the Ravenous (1999) Original Soundtrack
Genre: metavid
Fandom: Firefly/Serenity
Footage: Firefly (2002), w/ additional source from Serenity (2005), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), 3:10 to Yuma (2007) and Gone with the Wind (1939)
URL: How Much Is that Geisha in the Window? (LiveJournal)
How Much Is that Geisha in the Window? (YouTube)

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Contents

How Much Is That Geisha In the Window? is a somewhat unusual vid in that it is not set to music with lyrics, but rather an instrumental piece. It concludes with a fragment of dialogue from the DVD extras[1] and several text plates containing the vidder's commentary, and an original voice-recording.

The vid critiques Firefly's appropriation of Asian culture and art, while having an almost total absence of Asian actors with speaking roles. It also argues that Firefly tries to glorify the Confederacy. As its author argues, "Southern culture, particularly the confederacy is perhaps the *main* thing Joss fetishizes in Firefly. It is a post civil war story from the point of view of the side that lost and all the characters speak in a bastardized Southern dialect."[2]

It was cited by legal scholar Rebecca Tushnet in her during the US Copyright Office's DMCA hearings:

One random example of how quality is important to show you things that aren’t easy to see in the original: a video called “How Much Is That Geisha in the Window?”—a critique of a science fiction series, Firefly, by Joss Whedon. Firefly is supposedly set in a future where Chinese and American influences are about equal. Low-quality doesn’t let you see what you need to see, which is the details of the Asian setting, the constant references to Asian cultures, and the fact that nonetheless there aren’t any Asian characters except in deep background—the critique is meaningless if you can’t tell why the artist is complaining because one pixelated person looks pretty much like another.[3]

It came out within a couple of weeks of Shati's Secret Asian Man, a vid along similar lines.

References

  1. "How Much Is that Geisha in the Window?" performed by Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres in the "Firefly Extended Gag Reel."
  2. lierdumoa. Comment, 12 September 2008. (Accessed 04 December 2010)
  3. Copyright Office DMCA Hearings: Noncommercial remix, 07 May 2009. (Accessed 04 December 2010)