From: Linda Mallory
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2000
Subject: The Big Ado
Judging from the Letters to the Editor in February's Whoosh!, the incredible revisionist defenses of the January editorial would have it that the focus of your criticism was Lucy Lawless's representatives -- or we should have known it was. Well, in seven paragraphs, LL was named as that focus seven times; her unnamed reps were referred to only three, and twice of those were in combination with Lucy. I didn't bother to count the "she's" as opposed to the "they's," but suffice it to say it stretches credulity to say this was other than a pointed, personal complaint.
But what's done is done. Now, a fable, a history, a cautionary tale.
There seems to be something inevitable about the life cycle of the typical organized fandom ("OF"). It's born when like minded afficionados find each other and converge in happy appreciation and comradery. Organizers and leaders emerge, and TPTB take notice and offer a degree of contact. There is a joyous period of symbiotic benefit, in which everybody's delighted and life is sweeter than wine.
But there will follow, as night follows day, the time when the happy utopia begins to admit a dark cloud of expectation and exploitation on both sides of the fourth wall. The stars offer gratitude, the studio's machinery offers commerce; a faction of fans infer proprietary rights. "Where would we be without you" somehow begins to sound like a blank check for some fans to give directions as to where, indeed, we must go together. Fans dictate demands to the producers, the agents, the stars themselves. Write the show in this way! Rewrite the show back the way it was! This character is inappropriate and must be eliminated! This character needs more development! These conventions are an outrage!
All of this is unapologetically serious and, meanwhile, the fan base is imploding upon itself with personal agendas, high-drama crises based on misunderstandings, internal politics and outright jealousies. Discussions become debates become arguments that beget enemies of once-fast friends. "Art" has become "life," and life once again has its dark side.
Star Trek. Doctor Who. Blake's Seven. Beauty and the Beast. Phantom of the Opera. Insert your favorite prior OF here and see if the pattern isn't familiar. The Internet may have exponentially expanded the ability of fans to organize, but believe me, this scenario is an old story.
What's my point? That even though the show is still on, the fan base is still enormous, and the emotional levels are high, it's not that much fun to vacillate between anguish and anger over this, is it? Somebody has to lead, it's true, but it has a price. Part of that price is keeping your perspective. I know it's difficult to do from the midst of it all, but as you must realize, this too will pass. Meanwhile, lots of hard feelings have sprung from the original joy. My friends, I must disclose a basic truth: It was ever thus, and in all likelihood will ever thus be.
Kym, you know that Lucy Lawless owes nothing to your favorite charity. You must follow your conscience, and all others must follow their own. Your editorial is a perfect example of a galloping loss of perspective, and is exactly the kind of thinking that resulted in my own retirement from all OFs after the poisonous politics in Figure Skating Fandom (yep, there too) convinced me that familiarity doth indeed breed contempt. So I lurk in the Xenaverse and keep my own counsel (mostly) and enjoy (or not) the show on my own terms.
While being a leader in the OF community may have many attributes of a full-time job, it does not in fact make one somebody's boss or moral arbiter. My advice is, at the very least take ten deep breaths. Repeat the mantra "It's only TV. It's only TV." And if you still feel either entitled to finger-wag at actors like some sort of beacon of virtue, or remain disillusioned by your hero's failure to behave as you require, perhaps a sabbatical is in order. No one would blame you. (Or would they? Perhaps Tom could answer that question....)
Yours in lurky obscurity,
PS: Gillian Anderson must be mortified.
From: Virginia Carper
Subject: WHOOSH: Your editorial (questions)
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000
On the Editorial and people's reactions to it: In newspapers, there is the OP&ED page for the newstaff to express their views without readers regarding the article as news. I regarded your editorial as an OP&ED piece, and nothing to be upset over. Apparently, I was in the minority. I never knew people took anything regarding X:WP so seriously. I was mistaken.
On the issues you present and the response: I have no clue as to what the issues are or what the points being made are. Apparently, I am in the dark about the greater Xenaverse in regards to conventions, Creation Corporation, and charities. Could there be a fact-finding article (or factual) concerning the issues and their origins? Most of the letter writers and yourself assume that all of us know what you know. I am afraid I have only read snippets here and there about articles for sale for charities. However based on the passionate response to your editorial, I would think this article would be of service to the general readers.
There is a business side to this issue that keeps cropping up -- donations for charities versus on-going corporation operations. If you need any assist in business reporting, let me know. I've got lots of experience.
From: Larry Dale
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2000
Hi. Well I didnt care for the editorial's tone either. I feel to be really responsible to the editorial about contributions, there should have been more detective work done for answers. I simply dont have enough answers even "After" reading your editorial. The tone just seemed to be more negitive and accusatory than it needed to be, considering the lack of knowledge we have regarding Lucy.
Then also I take into consideration that one can have only so many charities. She may be full up on her charity quotas so to speak. Maybe we should request her list of donations and charitys and tell her which should be dropped in favor of one connected with her stardom? Hmmmm ( Who by the way chooses the charities for the S&S ? )
Tact has been a big issue with me through out THE WAY controversy and TOMS RETIREMENT posting. Maybe I have let the tact issue be a bigger thing than it should be. I dont seem to be able to let go of it.
I just wonder if you could not have been a bit more tactful? Waited for "hard evidence" before inferring possible blame on her. That seems to be what many fans are mffed about. Then if you found some real evidence , express it.
As for CREATION, YEA I HAVE TO AGREE. They seem to have some real problems. Is Sharon a negitive force here? I dont know but it is a really good question. One I wonder about.
Most of the things you brought up are good food for thought I believe. It just did sound like Lucy bashing a bit to me. Are you still trying to get answers and if so what avenues are you trying? Read a post in here about Kevin Sorbo being of some help to someone. ( boy I already miss him and Iolaus ). Maybe he would know how to get some of your questions directly to Lucy.
I hope I havent been to negitive to you. Really. I LOVE WHOOSH. It is my favorite site of all connected to the show. I do appreciate the basically uncensored forum it provides also!
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000
Subject: Response to Letters Regarding
My gosh, I am just taking a break from reading all the responses you got from your January editorial, "Where's Lucy Lawless" and I just have to say that this has to be, hands-down, the most pages in your "Letters to the Editor" section ever. Wow!
I also have 3 points that I would like to put out in response to the letters that I have read regarding your editorial. It may be redundant but I would still like to voice them. I will try to be brief.
1. I do not think you did anything wrong with voicing your feelings and opinions about the Sword&Staff/charity issue. You are rightfully entitled to both and it should be respected just as everyone else's viewpoints are. And I believe that your respect for their opinions were made perfectly clear by publishing both points of view even if some of them run contrary to yours (some very heatedly contrary to yours). I think that says a lot about Whoosh - Great Job!
2. I totally agree that Lucy Lawless is entitled to give to whomever she wants. I firmly believe that she is a good and compassionate person but folks, I don't think her kindness is in question here. X:WP of which Lucy is one of the stars is the "reason-for-being" for Sword&Staff and that it would be nice if she was at least on the contributor list. Other fans have mentioned this and I agree that in a way, Lucy does have an obligation to ensure that a charity whose existence came from a show that she stars in, gets some attention from her. In all fairness, it is possible that she is unaware of this, whether it is due to Creation's blockage or some other impediment. And, if it is being blocked, perhaps with this much commotion, she'll hear about it.
3. My last point is a reminder. Folks, we, including Kym, all love Lucy and the show. If we didn't, we wouldn't be fans, and one of us wouldn't devote a lot of time, energy, and love into an on-line magazine to give herself and us everything we enjoy about Whoosh. Let's try to remember that.
Kym, thanks for everything and keep up the great work!
TODAY IN THE XENAVERSE
Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000
Subject: Today in...
I like the "Today in Xenaverse History" addition. Great idea!!!
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000
From: Jane C
Subject: Today in Xenaverse
Hi! Just want to say that I aboslutely love your "Today in Xenaverse" section. It is a great new idea to reminiscent the old days and to know more about the people in the verse; not to mention it's a great opportunity for newbies to catch up! Keep up the good work! :)
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000
From: Anita Lorenz
Subject: Here we go.
You know, I hate being the whinging GJRSer, but really guys - it has to stop.
I mean come on! Nonsense?! (Re: Today in the Xenaverse Feb 26). I'm rather sick of this attitude, because you guys don't seem sorry about it, and we keep on having to write to you and tell you "Hey - that's offensive".
We do NOT say that subtext in nonsense. None of us do. Now GJR is a real, tangible and OFFICIAL dynamic in the show - it's about time you guys realised that and stopped dropping shit on it's supporters. It makes me sick, it makes me angry, and it lowers the respect I have for you.
We've been accepting that sure, we're not going to be favourites with Whoosh because it's run by subtexters. I don't have anything against you guys on a personal level, let's just get that out, but the attitude stinks, and it's gotta change.
Please, don't disappoint me anymore, I've had enough.
(Pretty much the Whinging GJR).
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000
Subject: To the Editor: "Today in Xenaverse History, Feb. 24""In 1997, FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS was released. This episode started all that Joxer/Gabrielle nonsense."Well, thanks. Thanks a lot. Thanks for making it clear that Whoosh has now reached the point where GJ Romance is not only ignored, but unwelcome.
Thanks *so* much for smacking me in the face for having my opinion. I remember when I could come to Whoosh and read the ep guide (which I have been doing on a weekly basis for the past three years) and even be somewhat *encouraged* in my liking for the GJ element; lately I've watched Beth Gaynor and others deny it, explain it away, call Joxer's perfectly normal behaviour "stalking" Gabrielle- but that's their editorial opinions, and I can hardly blame the entire newsletter for that, now can I?
But this. Well, I just- thank you SO much for rewarding my regular patronage of your online zine with a smack in the face for actually LIKING a different element of XWP than you do. At least I'm finally aware of how you see GJRs, and you can bet I won't be bothering you with my presence anymore.
Nonsense indeed. Ya know, if you said that [Insert early episode name here] was the episode that started all that Gabrielle/Xena nonsense, you'd be flamed to Kingdom Come.
-A Highly Offended Rebecca Littlehales
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000
Subject: To the Editor: "Today in Xenaverse History, Feb. 24"
I will add my voice to the cries of my brothers and sisters of GJR. I was very offended by your referring to Gabrielle/Joxer Romance, which we so enjoy, as 'nonsense'. I considered this extremely rude and inconsiderate. GJR is a very strong and working part of the Xenaverse, with obvious support in production circles. We are not 'nonsense'. We are as reasonable as any people can be who obsess about a television show, and we are very much offended at the lack of respect you show us.
Fan Fiction Bard
Freelance Fan Fiction Critic
Amazon in Training
And Proud of Every Title She Carries!
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000
From: Rupert Brown
Subject: "Today In Xenaverse History"
I've read Whoosh regularly for close to two years now, and in that time I've come to regard Whoosh as being a fair publication, irregardless of the leanings of its editorial staff. An editor has a right to have their own opinion, and to express it in their own column. But those opinions are their own, and shouldn't reflect upon the publication itself. An editors opinion is just that, their own. Not something to be held against the publication itself.
Having said that, you can imagine that I had a moment to pause when upon February 24th while logging on to the Episode Guide I was greeted with this sight:"TODAY IN XENAVERSE HISTORY February 24, 2000I am disappointed that this prejudice has seeped knowingly or unknowingly in this fine publication. Make no mistake, this is a fine, fine, "paper", but it is because of my high regard for it that I feel the need to express my thoughts. If I didn't care I wouldn't comment.
In 1997, FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS was released. This episode started all that Joxer/Gabrielle nonsense.
Happy Birthday to Katarina Lauckhardt!"
If one has nothing nice to say, one shouldn't say anything at all. And it is by this simple rule that I live. So in the sprit of that rule I think I shall end this letter here.
Rupert P. Brown
Table of Contents