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Brutal Antipathy is a pseudonym for a blogger and forum debate enthusiast whose views often rest well outside of social baseline. A self confirmed atheist, misanthropist, and sadist, his commentary ranges from parched textbook facts to satire and sarcasm. He is a proponent of free speech and individual liberty even when these are taken to excess. His political views shift between lower case libertarian and enlightened despotism depending on the level of contempt he is feeling for his fellow humans at any given moment. His reading interests include history, general science, archaeology, comparative religion, psychology, & sociology. Other interests and hobbies include practicing various crafts, torturing his slave, blogging, playing with his dogs, collecting antiques, role playing & tactical simulation games, renaissance fairs, and cheerfully making other people miserable by holding up a mirror of their shortcomings and repeatedly bashing them in the face with it. L is the owned slave of BA. She basically has the same interests and views as her owner except in music.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Code d' Odalisque

I can only hope you dear readers have been more fortunate than myself and have never heard of these miserable dung droppings, as I will then have the pleasure to torture you with the knowledge of their existence.  I first encountered these pathetic wastes of oxygen on Collarme, and wondered why these flies were dive bombing into the soup there.  The original Frankenstein's behind this disgusting monster have long since fled the scene, presumably dying of shame after realizing what disgusting and vile filth they created. Had it died there the world would have been better off. Instead, the universe being callous and indifferent, chance saw it that other vermin too lowly to suicide saw fit to resurrect and expand upon the monster that is the Code.

The Code d' Odalisque is a self proclaimed "...real life game for female slaves and male Slavekeepers,..." and is presented as an alternative to BDSM. In other words, they are weekend ass slappers, only omitting the ass slapping.  The authors claim that it "draws upon ancient Levantine opulence - the glory of King Solomon - and the sumptuousness of Ottoman High Culture."

The next sentence comes a little closer to honesty, stating that it is based upon the lurid European imaginings of Near Eastern slave culture.  Unfortunately, even this is quite a stretch. As you can see from the tiny selection I have provided below, the reclining female and reclining female nude were established themes well before the Orientalism art period.

Reclining Female Nude by Francois Boucher, 1751
The Nude Maja, by Goya, 1800. Reclining Female nude motif

And as other art below show, the reclining harem girl was by no means the only European depiction of Near Eastern slave culture. Either the authors of Code d' Odalisque are ignorant peasants with no knowledge of art and history, or they assume their readers to be ignorant peasants with no knowledge of art and history. Far from being inspired by European delusions of the Oriental harem, the Code has no real roots even there.  Solomon's glory and Levantine opulence are completely absent throughout. 

Before the Punishment hints that Europeans didn't think it all fluffy.

The sensuous and erotic The Pashas Concubine from 1883. Leg stocks are clearly visible in the foreground. Considering her arm position, a careful and enlarged viewing seems to suggest manacles present on the wrists between the baubles of bracelets.

A couple of slave market scenes from the period. The women look anything but serene and happy.
As contemptible as I find Goreans, at least they retained some of the fictional words used in the books. The Coders took the bastardized Euro version of odalik, then misapplied it by comically claiming that an odalisque was a sex slave.  Perhaps we can forgive the Europeans of the 19th century for confusing the term, but such a blunder is unforgivable in modern times. Melek-Hanim, supposed narrator of Thirty Years in the Harem (1872) and its sequel Six Years in Europe (1873) had her second book edited by Louis Alexis Chamerovzow, president of the Anti-Slavery Society as well as editor of Anti Slavery Reporter and several anti-slavery books. Chamerovzow was, like most Europeans in his day, convinced that all women in harems were slaves and subject to brutality and rape on a continual basis.  Public opinion was no doubt tainted by both Chamerovzow's twisted view of slavery and Melek-Hanim's mentally disfunctional outlook on her life both inside and outside a harem.  In her book An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem (1915) British author and traveler Grace Ellison sought to dispel the English notion of harems being places of horrid repression and abuse, but even after meeting and befriending the women and finding them relatively happy and not abused is still unable to overcome her preconception of their being enslaved. 

Is it not remotely curious why Ellison would have to dispel older notions of suffering and toil in the harem if the population thought harem life all fluff and tickle?  Europe in that time certainly did have a collectively imagined Oriental harem life, but it was not one of pleasure slaves bathing in scented water and lounging on divans while being fanned by eunuchs.  When we couple the wealth of written works with the Orientalism artwork of the period, one would have to be an uneducated idiot or delusional to think that harem slaves were viewed by Europeans then as pampered pets living in luxury and splendor.

While the alleged deference to 19th Century European fantasy misses the target by a mile, the reality of harem life was even farther removed from the Coders delusion than it was from 19th Century Europe.

1. The Odalisque (The Turkish word is odalik, by the way) was not a pleasure slave. While most odalik were slaves, even this was not always the case. The closest English equivalent to an odalik would be a chambermaid.  The odalik never saw the Sultan, and definitely did not have sex with him or other men. They were menial laborers, the workforce of the house and were often the slaves and servants of other women in the harem. The odalik, far from being the most highly prized of slaves, was at the very bottom of the harem barrel.

2. An odalik was stripped and inspected upon being brought to the house, but was not kept naked.

3. If an odalik was of exceptional beauty or talent, she might be trained in dance and service, and had a small chance of becoming a gedekli. At that point, she might be presented to one of the Sultan's wives, his mother  or a favored concubine as a servant, or she could be given as a gift to another man. If she were very lucky, she might even become a personal servant of the Sultan himself. Only upon being promoted to gedekli did she even have a chance of joining the Sultan (or any other man) in bed.

4. A gedekli who caught the eye of the Sultan might be ordered to his bed. These were the favorites, called ikbal. These were the slave concubines which were used for sex, and even then, sex was not their primary duty. Their main objective was to conceive a son. Through most of Ottoman history, once a ikbal birthed a son, her sexual tour of duty was over. She was then a kadin, a possible mother of a future Sultan.

5. Neither the gedekli ot the ikbal were passed around gratuitously. Either she slept with the Sultan (and no other man!) or she slept with a man the Sultan gave her to, in which case she would never under any circumstance find herself in the Sultan's bed.  Even the accusation of flirting with another man was enough to get some women killed in the harem.

Those educational but mostly irrelevant snippets of history out of the way, it is time to turn to more important matters. The question that should be asked is, does the Code d' Odalisque have enough redeeming qualities to make it a novel change to any of the cascade of subcultures under the BDSM fountain?

Like everyone else, I have my own distinct tastes, and the Code is not a taste that I would ever acquire. But like that one bottle of spice or seasoning in the spice rack that never gets used, different styles can be the the perfect spice in another's kitchen. While my own bottle of almond extract will never be opened, someone else might use it often. For this reason, I wish to look at the Code in order to see of it might be of use to someone, somewhere in the cascade.

By the authors own admission, it does not fit into the BDSM slot. Aside from caging, the authors have ruled out all but token and mostly symbolic ritual bondage. Likewise have they removed sadism and masochism. Discipline, while not entirely removed, has been crippled to the point of ineffectuality.

All we have left then might be some zero calorie form of D/s, so I will work to identify any merit in that.

The authors decide to offend people early on. In their outline of play they inform us that the odalisque is 'above low slaves'  and the Codifications proclaim without any justification that the odalisque is better than a whore or slut (later claiming that sexual slavery is respectable while whoredom and sluttery are lowly ), and that she is higher in status and more valuable than a slave that is made to perform manual labor.

The text soon falls into redundancy, causing me to suspect a dash of OCD somewhere in the penmanship. The themes of submission being a gift and slavery being a state of mind rather than a state of being are fully consistent with the weekend ass slapper mentality, and ironically both positions are as indefensible as the claim that an odalisque is superior to other slaves.

Of the numerous prohibitions found in the text, most of them are designed to limit the grotesquely misnamed Slavemaster. The slave is to be given her own lodging. She is encouraged to laze around the house 'as an ornament'.She should ideally not be used as a source of income. It is considered contemptible to treat her as a domestic servant, and masters who mistreat an odalisque ( for instance, telling her to get off her lazy ass and cook something ) are to be publicly shamed. Limited tenure is encouraged, with 6 years being the recommended maximum. The odalisque is expected to be rewarded with a string of black pearls upon her completion of an unspecified set of sexual ordeals - remarkably similar to paying a whore, but the odalisque is not a whore, remember? The Slavemaster is not to dress the oadlisque in a degrading or whorish manner. While the odalisque is to be marked or branded, the design of the mark is decided upon by her. The Slavemaster is prohibited from using her as furniture, and is required to obtain her informed consent before using hypnosis. He is required to feed her the same quality of food as he takes for himself.  A Slavemaster must not be negligent in servicing the odal...ummm, enjoying her sexual services night after night. Electro-play, nipple torture, play rape, humiliation, and exhibition are among the long list of prohibitions.  The 'Slavemaster' upon whom I at this point feel obligated to label in parentheses, must obtain the permission of his 'slave' before obtaining a second slave. The Overbottom, sorry, 'Slavemaster' is not to raise his voice to his 'slave'.

After maiming and neutering the 'master' the authors incredulously seek to shove their ridiculous little sex game down the throats of others, insisting in Article 161 that the weekend non-ass slapped odalisque is " be respected and esteemed among slaves..." because she sucks and fucks.

The most current 5th edition is even more pompous, insulting, overbearing, snobbish, and laughably role playing than is the older version. I wanted a set of dice and character sheet while browsing through it. Now we 'learn' that BDSM is violent and misogynistic. They have also taken the liberty of changing certain terminology in order to make the language more politically correct and diluted. Unlike the original authors, these ass-hats unashamedly ( not to mention entirely incorrectly ) state that odalisques were female sexual servants before smugly insisting that their pillow princesses are the most precious and prized of slaves and requires better treatment than a 'low' slave. By this logic, a computer that is only capable of being used as a gaming computer is superior to a computer with  outstanding graphics and sound cards and extra memory which runs games perfectly, allows the user to surf the internet, is useful for graphic design projects, and has business and tax software installed. Sucking cock is sooo much better than sucking cock and making you a snack afterward.

I'll spare you further details on the 5th edition. If you are curious and masochistic, read it for yourself, though I advise those suffering from bulimia to avoid it lest they induce an episode of vomiting.

The Code d' Odalisque is for service tops and pampered pillow princesses. Nothing useful for the D/s practitioner can be found within, as any adherence to the concept by necessity restricts actual dominance while bypassing the core concepts would take a practitioner outside its flavor of influence and deposits them squarely back into the realm of D/s.

Nor would I recommend it for novices as a gateway kink. While it does contain some positions, language restrictions, and protocols that a beginner might find useful, they are presented in such a cumbersome and weighty manner as to be discouragingly confusing, not to mention that these same elements are readily available in numerous other styles and flavors. The novice will also be subjected to the delusion suffered by the greater herd of BDSM sheeple that all subculture lifestyles are forms of role play. We have enough of those schmucks running around as is. No need to actively breed more of that particular species of vermin.

Code d' Odalisque is absolute, irredeemable garbage. Practitioners of this sick joke should be publicly shunned and humiliated in any instance that they present their tripe to the public at large. Self defined odalisques are useful for and deserving of being toilet slaves and literal doormats. Self proclaimed Slavemasters of the odalisque style demand death by extended torture until a more severe punishment for such an offense to mankind be devised.  The Code is not worthy of being printed and subsequently used as toilet tissue, though the faces of its practitioners just barely attain that height.  If you want something closer to respectability  give the Gorean or Klingon lifestyles a try. They are virtually identical, though Gorean is a little easier to pronounce.

For anyone still foolish enough to doubt the Victorian and Edwardian fantasy envisioning of harem life, Leslie P. Pierce's The Imperial Harem contrasts actual harem life to both modern and antiquated misconceptions.  Buturovic & Schick also touch briefly upon the subject in Women of the Ottoman Balkans. Also worth reading is Schick's introduction to the 2005 reprint of Thirty Years in the Harem if you can find a copy, as is his work Christian Maidens, Turkish Ravishers: the Sexualization of National Conflict in the Late Ottoman Period. For more information on the hierarchy of harems, this link is a great starting point. 

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