Whoosh! Issue 35 - August 1999
Letters to the Editor


To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to ktaborn@lightspeed.net and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor". All letters with the subject "Letter to the editor" are subject to publication and may be edited. Due to the volume received, some letters may not be answered individually or receipt acknowledged.




PROMISE KEPT
LOQUACIOUS LETTER
ENDGAME, IDES OF MARCH,AND OTHER STUFF
MORE ON XENA AND KIRA
XENA SOUNDTRACK
JOEL TOBECK
FIFTH SEASON OUTFITS
STILL SPAWN OF THE DEVIL?
SCARY FANS
THE JOXER CORNER
KUDOS
THE WAY


Letters To The Editor



PROMISE KEPT

Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999
From: Billie Jatko
Subject: Promise Kept

I'm writing in reference to the articles and interviews [Bret Rudnick] publish in Whoosh. First I must applaud the effort that [Bret Rudnick] and the other staff put in your web site. I started watching Xena about a year ago, and I must admit your web page really filled me in on what I had missed. The reason I am writing is because I'm trying to keep a promise.

I work with problem adolescents. Most have drug and alcohol issues as well as behavior management problems. I'm an experiential counselor which means I have the cool job of taking kids rock climbing, rappelling, canoeing and various other outdoor activities while teaching them life skills.

Well to the point, I had this young girl who was extremely shy and would never share anything in group. When we took her out on the cliffs she came to life and got all excited because this was "the stuff that Xena and Gabrielle did". I must admit I was lost, I'm not a big fan of tv, and the only reference to Xena I had observed was when my ex boyfriend, described his new woman. But that's another story:-) Well in group that day she came alive and I allowed her to share some about the show and what drew her to the characters. She said that she related most to Gabrielle and started talking about how she would love to have values such as her. Well my interest was peeked, and after she begged to let the inpatient group view a few of her taped episodes, I caved.

Treatment policy was that I view them first so I went home and watched the one she had discussed in group, "Forget Me Not". My interest grew when I showed the episode, and each patient (all girls) began to relate to the character and how hard it was to leave the past behind. We had a great group on why we should keep our memories. Anyway, all this to say that I promised this one girl that I would send a letter to someone in connection to the show and tell them this story. I thought the fan letter probably wouldn't get too far, so I set the promise on a back burner until I discovered your web page. The girl is now a wonderful student and plans to attend college in the fall. I can't directly keep up with her but I hear she's doing wonderful. I would love to take some credit for all of her success but it really belongs to her, the writers of the show, and the skills of the actresses.

Thus fulfills my promise to tell this story to the "Xena" world. I still do not have a great deal of time to watch tv, but I know if I ever want to be fully entertained, and most times get a positive message, I can catch an episode of Xena. I know you may not be directly tied to the show but you guys are definitely in the "know", and you do a great job.

Thanks for the time.

Billie Jatko



LOQUACIOUS LETTER

Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999
From: amicus3
Subject: Loquacious Letter

I gotta tell 'ya, I was cracking-up with [Bret Rudnick's] "The Night of the Loquacious Letter" especially with the more negative choices like being "incapable of basic respiratory functions, throw toast at you, vertigo-inducing," etc. I just came home after a rough day at work and it made me really laugh. Thanks for the stress relief!



ENDGAME, IDES OF MARCH, AND OTHER STUFF

From: Shirley Burris
Subject: Whoosh comment
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999

There's a couple of things I wanted to say. First, I enjoy WHOOSH immensly. I've read every episode guide and love the different synopses. I started watching XENA in the middle of the second season (but I now have all the episodes on tape) and I depended on WHOOSH to fill in the gaps for me. It helped alot and the different perspectives made me stop and look at the episodes from angles I never imagined before and let me get a little deeper into the story. I love that you provided the Humorous Disclaimer too because sometimes I miss the episodes and have to tape it and don't always get the disclaimer. I also love Whimpers and Things to look out for as well as the script that's provided.

Which brings me to my next thing. I have been watching for someone to post this since 'Endgame' but no one has so I wanted to bring it up. I noticed that Amarice is carrying Ephiny's sword...at least I'm pretty sure it's Eph's. At least it's got the same symbol. Just thought I'd mention it.

You know what else kinda ticked me off? Amarice left with everyone else in 'Ides Of March'! I think a true and loyal Amazon would have made some kind of an effort to go back and help her Queen. (well Amarice was from a different tribe...but still...) But then she didn't waste time letting us know how she felt about Gabrielle and her ways...still no excuse but hey...

Also I am very upset about Ephiny being killed off. I really *really* hated to see that. (and Solari too) And I couldn't believe that nothing was said about Xenon. And I didn't think Chalupa was a good choice for the new Queen. She was barely known, needed Xena to give her basic instructions, and I think if TPTB were going to make her Queen they should have introduced her to us before and given us a reason to think she would be a good choice.

Hey, here's a question for you. In the commentary for 'Endgame', Beth Gaynor mentions that Eponin is dead. Did I miss that somehow? When, Where, How did she die? I've gone over everything I can think of and I can't find anything. I could go on but I'll stop now. Sorry to dump this on you. Guess I was just frustrated about the Ep and while it was good, I saw alot of things I didn't like. Anyway back on track and outta your hair...

Thanks for providing Whoosh. It's a great tribute to the Xenaverse and a spot that I visit almost daily and recommend my friends to. I think you guys do an excellent job with it and do the show an honor.




From: LizPrncess
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999
Subject: letter to the editor- deaths of xena and gabrielle

Did anyone else notice that Callisto was ordered not to hurt Xena physically, but Xena and Gabrielle would have escaped had Callisto not broken Xena's spine with the chakram? It seems that since Callisto broke the rules, the Him dude she is taking orders from would declare the deaths invalid and not let them die completely. Do you think that will be what saves them in the season premiere?



MORE ON XENA AND KIRA

From: J.R. Rasmussen
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999
Subject: letter to the editor

My mind fell off a horse and bounced on the pavement while I was working on the lookalikes section of Xena and Kira. I missed two characters.

Xena: Dr. Mel Pappas, American linguist visiting 1940s Macedonia; episode: The Xena Scrolls.

Kira: Kay Bass, American Science Fiction writer in 1950s New York City; episode: Far Beyond the Stars, sixth season.

I'm feeling much better now.



XENASOUNDTRACK

Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999
From:Nikalaos
Subject: Xena soundtrack, volume 4

I went INSANE when I read your article!!! I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A VOLUME 4!!! WHERE'S VOLUME3? Or is that the Bitter Suite? Oh, geez, I hurt myself by accident. I was so overcome with this angry/happy feeling I just smacked my fist into a file cabintet when I meant to hit a pillow. I was mad at myself then and I wanted to cry so badly for not already having Volume 4!! And I love Eastern Music (Chin and India tracks you described) wow, the adrenaline's still pumping. Ow, my hand hurts really bad. Well, thanks for the info!!! :)

Editor's Note: Volume 3 is the soundtrack to BITTER SUITE.



JOEL TOBECK

Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999
From: KathoulaWP
Subject: great interview

I really enjoy you interviews with the caste and crew of Xena and Herc. You don't ask the same old boring questions that true fans already know. I have one question. In your interview with Joel Tobeck, what is All Black?? What sport is it??- basketball??

BRET RUDNICK RESPONDS: the All Blacks are a New Zealand rugby team. Thanks for the kind words about the article(s).




From: Paula Mackey
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999
Subject: Joel Tobeck Interview

Just read your interview with Joel and wanted to thanks! It was, as usual, wonderful! Keep up the good work :-)



FIFTH SEASON OUTFITS

From: Videntur
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999
Subject: Letter to the Editor - Xena and Gabrielle's new look for season five

I just saw the new outfits for season five and I would like to make the following comments. Xena's outfit is okay but I like the leather outfit much, much more. I am hoping that this outfit is only during her pregnancy and that after her pregnancy the leather outfit will return (ex: mid-season). Gabrielle looks like a warrior wannabe. The name of the show is Xena Warrior Princess and I think the show needs to return Gabrielle back to the long hair and brownish-red skirt and green top that she wore in earlier seasons. I miss the fighting bard and truthfully I do not like all these new personality-types being given to Gabrielle. The Warrior (Xena) with her fighting bard was great - don't ruin a good thing -bring back the leather clad Warrior and her long haired fighting bard (that doesn't look like a warrior in waiting).



STILL SPAWN ON THE DEVIL

From: CR
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999

Here we go again. Your July Letters page had another of those mean-spirited RenPic-bashing sessions, this time courtesy of jkirk1701 and Ogami. (I won't even start on ColdWave's remarkably jaundiced view of the 'Caesar' story arc. Oh, I just have, haven't I? Well, I'll just say he seems to have interpreted every aspect of it in the worst possible light, according to his own remarkably idiosyncratic standards).

Back to jkirk and Ogami - they certainly are eloquent - about 10 pages worth of eloquence - which could be roughly summed up (and having read most of it, I feel like being rough) as 'Season 2 good, Season 3 bad'. They're entitled to their opinion, just as I'm entitled to think S3 was the best season and S4 (notwithstanding the awful In Sickness...) was nearly as good. (And it only took me two lines to say all that. )

A couple of points really niggled with me - jkirk (who appears to be a member of the 'conspiracy against Gabrielle' school of thought) couldn't even give "Tapert and Lawless" the courtesy of any titles before their names, which is just plain rude. I'm sure O'Connor (sorry, Ms O'Connor - get the idea?) doesn't need support like that.

And after pages of lurid description of the sad decline of XWP (is Ogami's fanfic all this eloquent? Must read it, some year) Ogami says "This was not the show we signed on for, it was not the show we started with, and the writers owe the fans, as well as Xena and Gabrielle, an apology".

Exsqueeze me! What precisely did anybody 'sign on' for? I don't recall being asked to sign anything when I started watching XWP. The only implicit requirement made of me was that I watch the show until *I* chose to do otherwise. Xenastaff promised me nothing, certainly not guarantees of future plotlines. They owe me and Ogami nothing, most emphatically not an apology. XWP certainly does not exist just so Ogami can write fanfic about it - the alleged lack of fanfic based on S3/S4 may say something about the preferences of fanfic writers but that's all it does.

Admittedly not all the writing has been good. (There were some clunkers in S1 and S2 as well, come to that). But Ogami's criticisms of the writing seem to be aimed mainly at the overall direction of the series, rather than inconsistencies in the plots themselves. The overall direction is solely a matter of taste - I like, Ogami doesn't. My tastes and my opinion are as valid as his.

Ogami's advice in his last paragraph might be good, (well, it looks OK to me, but then I'm not an expert on it either), but coming after pages of trenchant criticism of every aspect of S3/S4, it just looks patronising. He winds up with a statement of which no-one could disagree with the sentiments, but no-one can agree on the specifics: 'Give the fans what they want, quality entertainment featuring the adventures of two intelligent, brave and supportive warrior women.' If you check the ratings for Endgame and Ides on Rate-a-Xena, it appears Xenastaff just did exactly that.

A plague on all these fans who think XWP exists for their own sole benefit! And while I'm at it, an elbow in the ribs for all those remarkably humourless individuals who took your April Fool's joke page as some sort of personal insult directed at them. (Warning, o paranoid ones. It wasn't an April Fool's joke, it was a psychological test. You failed. ;-)



SCARY FANS

From: Jasper
Subject: Letter to the Editor.
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999

About Ren Robinson's scary fan article, interesting. May I offer a little annecdote on the difference between two sorts of fan . . .

First sort, whilst walking down the street they see Renee O'Connor walking down the other side. They cross over and say, " Excuse me Ms O'Connor, I would just like to say how much I've enjoyed your performance in Xena and if its not too much trouble, please may I have your autograph?"

The second sort greets her with a cheery yell of, "Hiya Gab!"

All the best,
Jasper



THE JOXER CORNER

Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999
From: Anita Lorenz
Subject: Letters to the Editor

In response to Shelley Sullivan's (who wrote that wonderful peice on the 'Joxer Syndrome') letter regarding the over use of Joxer, I obviously not only disagree, but find it rather amusing.

Joxer has become far more of an integral character than Sal or Minya or even Ares. He's become a part of Xena and Gabrielle's lives. He has become more than comic relief. He is a part of the dynamic of the show now. Sometimes, TV shows change, and some people don't like it. When Star Trek: TNG moved into it's 5th season, the nature of the show changed. By the 6th and 7th season I didn't really watch that much anymore. Moral of that story is sometimes TV shows, or a series of books, or even a song, change partway through. Sometimes it's for the better sometimes not.

For me, the introduction of Joxer to the show, and his later appearances, was a wonderful Godsend. I love Ted Raimi's acting, and I think Joxer is a thoroughly endearing and intruiguing character. There are many possibilities for him. He has been used a lot, and it's been shown through numerous episodes that Xena and Gabrielle really care for him, even if he annoys them a lot. You can't deny that factor, and this isn't some comic thing thrown in. Joxer now has his place firmly rooted in the Xenaverse. I pray to God (or Gods) he stays put.

Therefor, Joxer is not in the league of Salmoneus, Minya, or Ares. He's a step above them, yet a step away from the every-ep ranks of Xena and Gabs. What does this mean? He's the only man to become close enough to the girls that they let him stay with them in their travels. Even Hercules didn't get that treatment from Xena.

My message for Shelley and their ilk is - get used to it, accept it, or ignore it. It seems Joxer is going to be in the next season, and will have a few episodes where he makes an important appearance.

So, you don't identify with him... should that mean he be gotten rid of or reduced in appearances to cater to the whims of other fans? Like it or lump it - the powers that be will create what they want. Obviously, they like Joxer (contrary to popular belief). He has had a firm role in the third and fourth season, and if things go as they seem to be (crosses fingers, prays to numerous Gods) he should have an interesting one in the fifth season.

Kindest Regards,
Nancy.
(Napalm Nacey).



KUDOS

Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999
From: Judy Ng
Subject: whoosh

Just wanted to finally e-mail y'all on the kick-ass job you've done here. It's truly heartwarming to visit whoosh and see a "practical" application of academia :) at work... at times like these, I wish I were a sociology major instead of a Brit/Am. Lit major--if I were the former, there would be no stopping my senior thesis on The Cult of Xena... Don't know how many compliments you get, but know that you have two thumbs up and a huge hug here--

Judy Ng
(currently researching ways to avoid her thesis for a degree she'll never apply in the real world)



THE WAY

From: Cynthia Zaitz
Sent: Monday, July 05, 1999
Subject: Letter Re: "The Way"

Dear Whoosh Editor,

It is my hope that you will publish my letter to Rob Tapert regarding "the Way."

July 5, 1999

Dear Rob Tapert,

I watched "The Way" and I was deeply moved by it. I was moved by your sensitive and courageous exploration of Hinduism, a religious tradition that is foreign to so many of us. I have been studying world religions for many years and have just recently received my MA in Consciousness Studies from JFK University in Orinda, CA. I am not an expert on world religions and I don't pretend to be, just as I don't believe you pretend to be either. I am a dedicated fan of your work and am in the process of writing a book about Xena because she moves me deeply. I believe in your work and your creative exploration of the hero's path.

I was disturbed that "The Way" was pulled, it was one of those episodes I was really looking forward to watching again. I was intrigued by Xena's and Gabrielle's experiences with a culture that surely was foreign to them, and their reactions and impressions of that culture. No relationships are conflict free and it is my belief that it is only when we are prepared to be open to others while remaining authentically ourselves, that there can be any hope of developing and deepening any relationship.

When I was a child my brother molested me, which he denied. When I went to my parents to have them make him stop they told me he didn't do it! I spent much of my life believing I didn't have a right to speak my truth, have my own voice or be myself. Because of that I am deeply committed to freedom of expression, realizing that NO ONE has the right to tell anyone that his or her experience is not valid or is untrue. I have dedicated much of my life's energy to learning how to become a whole person. Part of that requires that I honor my way of being and experiencing life as completely valid - no more or less so than anyone else's.

It is my opinion (and I have lots of those) that your path is to create inspirational fiction. You lampoon everyone. To me that means that when you recoil from the anger of groups that accuse you of attacking them you are recoiling from an untruth. Attacking someone is different from lampooning them, hence the popularity of Dean Martin's "roasts" of all his friends. It is my perception that you were not attacking the Hindus, on the contrary, I understand that you went out of your way to hire someone to ensure that you would be sensitive to their feelings. However, the point is that you did not walk into their temples and attack them, or proclaim a new version of their religion. You created an authentic expression of your fictional interaction with Hinduism.

I believe that when you created "The Way" you came to it with all the fears, preconceptions and optimism that anyone might have when approaching a new philosophical or religious tradition. It would not be realistic for you to write from the standpoint of one of the converted because that is not your reality. Your reality appears to me to be an inquiry, and inquiry must always begin from where one actually is. It is my hope that despite the negative reactions of some of the more conservative members of the Hindu faith that you will continue to explore, from your own unique perspective, all of the various traditions because they all have something of great value to bring to the world.

I would encourage you to remember that lampooning is an honorable profession, one that has been with us from the earliest of times. In many of your episodes you make fun of others. That is part of the delicious irreverence that makes your show so appealing, all the more so because Xena and Gabrielle are often the brunt of the jokes, with body fungus and fart jokes being as important a part of the show's fabric as the sincere spirituality that comes through in every episode. The humor in your show is so nourishing. Hey, even the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn recommends smiling. In his book Being Peace he says, "If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it." Your show makes me smile, and cry and laugh. I encourage you to continue to trust your inner guide to lead you creatively, knowing that your heart is good and your intentions are honorable!

In "Deja Vu All Over Again", Gabrielle (as Maddie) lampoons as the lowest forms of life, cockroaches, worms, and TV evangelists. I am delighted that you did not pull that episode as well, though I would not be surprised if you got some serious flak from TV Evangelists and their many fans. It would also not surprise me if some obscure organizations dedicated to protecting the images of worms and cockroaches crawled out of the woodwork to criticize you for defaming their character! The world is full of people who are afraid to laugh and while they deserve our compassion, it would not benefit us to let them run the show!

The point is that I believe you have a right to your vision, your experience and your creative expression. I agree that consciously setting out to defame anyone is not a positive path to tread, but in my heart that is not what I believe you did.

I respect your creative expression and encourage you to continue to explore, take chances and push your philosophical boundaries, knowing that you will not always make choices that everyone will approve of and you will make mistakes because you are ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING! I respect your choice to pull the show. My guess is that it was at least partially because of a desire to be responsible in your programming. My feeling is that being who you are IS being responsible and I would encourage you not to be afraid to air "The Way" because it is an authentic expression of your creative journey at that time. The world can only benefit by the discussions that come out of that episode, and perhaps more tolerance can be strengthened on all sides of the issue, but only if we wade right in and get our feet wet and our minds opened.

If I allowed my fear of saying the wrong thing to keep me from writing, I would never write anything. Yes, I will change my opinions as I grow. I'm certain that what you write from this point on about Hinduism will be quite different from your initial creative products. Please do not pull back from the edges of your curiosity. It is your courage that is changing the world! It is your vision that is inflaming such passion in your fans.

I am deeply grateful to you for your work with feminine heroic archetypes, from "The Quick and the Dead" to "Xena; Warrior Princess." Thank you for inspiring me to reach for my own heroic potential.

Battle On!!!
Warmly,
Cynthia Zaitz, MA




From: Andjam
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 1999
Subject: In No Way inundated by replies (Letter to the Editor)

I haven't recieved a single direct letter stating why Xenites are raising Tartarus about "The Way" but not the Sappho and Jayce episodes and "Fins, Femmes and Gems". If no-one else answers it (maybe some people have discussed the issue in this batch of letters to the editor), at least be able to answer the question to yourselves. And don't be surprised if Xenites are not convinced that the campaign to reinstate "The Way" is noble.



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