Whoosh! Issue 44 - May 2000
Letters to the Editor




The Joxer Corner

From: Katya
Sent: Monday, April 03, 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor

[response to letter by J. Collins Fisher in April 2000 WHOOSH #43]

*Assumptions of Subtexters*
First of all, never, ever make assumptions. I hope you have heard the rest of that statement.
"1. Heterosexism---i.e. the actualized belief that heterosexuality is the sole approved norm---is (morally) WRONG."
And that is a sexist thing to say. By lumping ALL heterosexuals together, you deny that there are groups within the larger whole, and therefore, all are bad. I live in the South, in a right-wing, highly fundamentalist town that also happens to have the LARGEST population of homosexuals in the state. I, a heterosexual, have homosexual friends. I do not feel that their preference is morally wrong, nor do I think my preference is the end-all, be-all of human existence.
"3. The heterosexist majority of the PCXB oppresses an _anti-heterosexist righteous minority_ (AHRM)."
Pray, tell. It has been my experience of five years and counting that it is the AHRM oppressing the HM. And where do you get the 'righteous' part of your argument? By saying that, you are saying homosexuals are the righteous underdogs and heterosexuals are just tyrants stepping on your rights. I don't know a single 'righteous' person, heterosexual or homosexual. Those of us who do not see the "sexual relationship" between Xena and Gabrielle are NOT stepping on homosexuals toes. I know of homosexuals who also do not see the "relationship" that some see. Where's your argument there? Are they blind? Are they being brainwashed? Are they just ignorant?
"4. a.The Xenaverse (population that regularly views and discusses XWP) exists within the larger PCXB.
b.There is a larger percentage of the AHRM in the Xenaverse than in the PCXB as a whole. "
Again, speculation. The Internet-based Xena fandom seems to be largely AHRM; however, there are no TRUE numbers of homosexual fans compared to heterosexual fans outside the realm of the Internet. The basic consensus I have been told among the Powers That Be is there are more heterosexual fans watching Xena that homosexual fans.
"5. a.The AHRM _deserve_ better---_including better media representation_ (DBMR) of themselves and their (same-sex) relationships. This would offer some small relief from their overall oppression.
b. Nevertheless, such DBMR remains exceptional (i.e. rare). "
I agree with point a, but disagree with point b. In the beginning when the show was young and was more apt to drawing media attention, there was A LOT of positive media coverage of the "relationship" between Xena and Gabrielle. Of course, they had to say it was totally speculative, because as it stands at that and this moment, there has yet to be presented on screen or in script that there is a "sexual relationship" between the two main characters. People may see that, or they may not. That is their perogative. You choose to see Xena and Gabrielle in the sack, I do not. Simple as that. I am not trying to step on your toes, so please try not to step on mine.

It really is that simple, people. Non-subtext believers do not regularly go around bashing subtext moments. I at least look at it and move on. I do not see it. Simple as that. You may see it, you may believe that it is there. I do not. Simple. Move On. That is what people like Nacey, Rob, Rebecca and others have been trying to say for the past three years. Yet there seems to be a wall between communication between these two camps. So sit back, get the wax out of your ears (yes, I know I just broke my own rule about assumptions, but what the hell), listen to what we have to say, agree, disagree, but do not EVER say that what we believe is not valid. Do not say that we are trying to oppress someone, because we are not. But you are. Ever DAMN time you pop up and say that we are wrong, ever time you overlook or toss out something that does not agree with what you think is going on in a bloody TV SHOW, ever time you call a person an idiot, or a fool, or an imbecile, or blind, or stupid, or childish, you are oppressing our freedoms, our views. And that makes you just as bad as the right-wing fundamentalists who say homosexuals are an abomination that needs to be wiped from this planet. Because just like those people you ignore the truth that people have something to say that may be different from how you feel, but they have ever right to say it because it's how they feel and what they believe in and they have the right to express those views that you deem so oppressive.

"7. GJers, by asserting a heterosexual (hence, unexceptional) relationship between Gabrielle and Joxer, deny this DBMR to the AHRM. "
How? That argument has no point. How can we, by expressing our views, be denying you your relief. And how can you say unexceptional? Because it's a heterosexual relationship? Again, isn't that being judgmental and sexist of you, as well as oppressive?
"8. Therefore, GJers would deny this exceptional, small relief to the AHRM. They thus add to an already-heavy load of oppression."
Again, I have trouble grasping your use of the word exceptional. Just because, in your eyes, they are the only two homosexual females on TV today? How is that exceptional? Why bring real life into fantasy, by the way? This is a fantasy show... reality does not play a big part in that. These are fictional characters. I do not have a problem with subtexters, hetero or homo, who envision the two main characters as a homosexual couple. What I do have a problem with is not being able to express my views without worry that the wrath of the subtexters will rain down upon my head if I express an idea or view that is in total opposition to what they feel is the only RIGHT WAY. There is no right or wrong here, there is the story, people have ideas, they express them. And in this fandom, when the "wrong" idea is expressed, the ideamaker gets an earful from a bunch of angry partyliners, that is usually on the subtexters side.

Now, tell me if I'm wrong, but normally one of these arguments gets started because a person, and usually seems to be a subtexter, bashes a G/J 'shipper or Joxer fan on a point that has been argued a million times before, a 'shipper or fan defends their position and about 5-10-20 subtexters start harping on the schmo who got defensive. I rarely see a subtexter write a post and a 'shipper or fan come out and totally lambast the post, the idea, or the person. The first way, more times than I'd like to admit. The other, maybe once or twice.

We 'shippers and fans are always on the defensive. We are the outcasts from this "society" We are the oppressed and downtrodden.

"9. GJers seem oblivious to their adding to the oppression of the AHRM. "
How can we oppress you? This is a bloody TV show. Everyone has their own bloody views of the show. We should ALL be allowed to express our views. If you are the majority, then why fear us? Because we are different, because we see this fantasy world at another angle? How is that different than the way homosexuals are treated in the "real" world?
"*Result: The AHRM within the Xenaverse who view XWP as DBMR (aka "subtexters") become extremely resentful towards, if not p*ssed off at, the GJers. This leads to dismissive comments ("GJ nonsense") and regrettably, insulting characterizations ("GJers are idiots"). "
Then please excuse us if we get defensive at such statements as "GJers are idiots" and "GJ nonsense" because we have every friggin' right to those views, just as you do. Just watch the wording, and maybe no one will get hurt. BG.

I hope this, um, manifesto(?) provides grounds for discussion with the end of greater light and less heat. I am sure that some GJers will dispute some of the assumptions, as will (no doubt!) some subtexters.

I'm afraid that will never be. There will always be someone, like myself, with a short fuse and fast fingers who will "get pissed" at something a subtexter says, either intentionally or unintentially.

To reduce misunderstanding, let me clarify one thing. I in no way am implying that one cannot be both part of the AHRM and a GJer, simply that in denying XWP to be a DBMR ("they're straight!"), one denies the AHRM (subtexters, beleagered in the heterosexist world at large) some small relief.

Again, the "small relief" comment has me beleagered.

Katya






From: Andjam
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000
Subject: It's a matter of logic :P (Letter to the editor)

Such a lot of anti-Joxer/GJRS letters. I'd reply to more than one of them but ... actually, I replied to four of them in private, and I only got a reply from one person. But as person who did logic up to 2nd year uni and is currently doing artificial intelligence in 3rd year uni, I'll reply to J. Collins Fisher's deductive reasoning.

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with logic, an exclamation mark before a statement means "not", and the ampersand "&" will represent "and".

*Assumptions of Subtexters*

1. Heterosexism---i.e. the actualized belief that heterosexuality is the sole approved norm---is (morally) WRONG.

1. Fine.
2. Nevertheless, the _population and culture where XWP is broadcast_ (PCXB) is overwhelmingly heterosexist. (The Netherlands excluded, Petra!)
!2. The media, politicians and the like are _Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender/vestite_ (GLBT)-unsupporitve, but that's mainly due to fear of a well-organised unrighteous minority.
3. The heterosexist majority of the PCXB oppresses an _anti-heterosexist righteous minority_ (AHRM).
!3. AHRM is not a subset of GLBT or vice versa. And the main target of the opressing would be GLBT.
4. a.The Xenaverse (population that regularly views and discusses XWP) exists within the larger PCXB.
!4a The Xenaverse mainly exists within the internet, which is more GLBT friendly than PCXB.
b.There is a larger percentage of the AHRM in the Xenaverse than in the PCXB as a whole.
Lemma of 4b: There is also a larger percentage of AHRM and of "out" GLBT amongst Gab-Jox shippers than PCXB.
5. a.The AHRM _deserve_ better---_including better media representation_ (DBMR) of themselves and their (same-sex) relationships. This would offer some small relief from their overall oppression.
b. Nevertheless, such DBMR remains exceptional (i.e. rare).
5a & 5b. Both true.
6. Many of the AHRM within the Xenaverse believe(d) that XWP, through its lead characters (X&G) and their relationship, is this exceptional DBMR. As such, it provided some small relief.
!6. XWP does not provide DBMR. Xena's actions to Gabrielle (and possibly their actions against Hope) can be reasonably interpreted as domestic violence and therefore very negative portrayal. Also, a fairly large age difference exists between Xena and Gabrielle.

Lemma of !6: These two things drove me away from being a Xena- Gab shipper per se. I used to be one before the nastiness of the 3rd season.

7. GJers, by asserting a heterosexual (hence, unexceptional) relationship between Gabrielle and Joxer, deny this DBMR to the AHRM.
!7. Saying that the Gab-Jox relationship is unexceptional is only looking at gay rights. However, many groups in society need DBMR. For example, several relationships in HTLJ/XWP are "exceptional" because they are "inter-racial". The Gab-Jox relationship is exceptional as it has someone with Asperger Syndrome as a sexually active being.

!7. This also assumes that Xena plans to seduce the first female she can get her hands on, which is hardly DBMR. She may end up with some other woman.

8. Therefore, GJers would deny this exceptional, small relief to the AHRM. They thus add to an already-heavy load of oppression.

9. GJers seem oblivious to their adding to the oppression of the AHRM.

!(7 & 8 & 9). Many view Gab being into Joxer as bisexuality as opposed to heterosexuality. Some may like to see it as a love triangle, while others see Xena, Gab and Jox as a three-way relationship.

!(7 & 8 & 9). Sadly, bisexuals face oppression not only from the PCXB but sometimes from AHRM, especially those with a lesbian AHRM agenda.

!(7 & 8 & 9). Some that support a Gab-Jox relationship wouldn't support various other heterosexual relationships. Recently Rivier and I dissed the suggestion by a AHRM of Ares or Autolycus being with either of the two women.

!(8 & 9). The AHRM is far less oppressed within the Xenaverse than Joxerites and GJers. There are plenty of sites inciting violence against Joxer but one that would incite violence on the grounds of sexuality would gather universal condemnation. GJers consider themselves as supporting the underdog relationship, though it is harder to convince people that it is an underdog relationship than with XG stuff.

!9. Joxer being male is one of the two biggest hurdles faced by GJers.

*Result: The AHRM within the Xenaverse who view XWP as DBMR (aka "subtexters") become extremely resentful towards, if not p*ssed off at, the GJers. This leads to dismissive comments ("GJ nonsense") and regrettably, insulting characterizations ("GJers are idiots").
While there is much dislike of Joxer, few say that it's about sexuality, claiming it's just that they dislike Joxer. Actually, I'd probably prefer it somewhat if they disliked Joxer over sexuality (rather than because Joxer has Asperger Syndrome), though it would be sad that heterosexuality has been criminalised.
I hope this, um, manifesto(?) provides grounds for discussion with the end of greater light and less heat. I am sure that some GJers will dispute some of the assumptions,
7 out of 9.
as will (no doubt!) some subtexters.

To reduce misunderstanding, let me clarify one thing. I in no way am implying that one cannot be both part of the AHRM and a GJer, simply that in denying XWP to be a DBMR ("they're straight!"), one denies the AHRM (subtexters, beleagered in the heterosexist world at large) some small relief.

Your last statement fails to discuss the possibility of bisexuality and therefore is oppressive.

Andjam






From: crystal blue
Subject: XGRS vs. GJRS
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000

In regards to the subtexters attacking the Gabrielle-Joxer Romantics Society, you all have about as much sense as star-bellied sneeches. For the love of god, it's not like people enjoying the thought of one relationship on a show negates all your happy thoughts! I personally don't think Christianity is where it's at; however, being reasonably sane, I don't halloo off and attack random Christians just because I disagree with them. Cos they have a right to their opinion, see? And in my opinion, people with different opinions don't need others trying to bully or convert them full time. Xena/Gabrielle and Joxer/Gabrielle are both valid pairings based on the show, but that's not the real issue, is it? You're afraid that if J/G gains prominence, you'll lose your foothold. If this is your motivating fear, you should write to TPTB (you know, the ones who actually decide what goes on the show) about how you feel and tell them how much you enjoy the subtext, instead of harassing GJRSers, who are normal nutballs like you. Just everyday people on the net, obsessed with a show and a dynamic. Subtexters, by being such hardasses you are forcing GJRS members to disguise their preferences, or stay in their own little enclaves, into which you occasionally venture in order to harass them further. Hello? What does this sound like? Anybody? Is this thing on? Now that you have a little power, now that you're a major faction, it's time to shit on the next one down in the food chain? It's childish and it sucks. Get over it!

Go in peace,
crystal blue

By the way, in case you need my credentials to finalize your opinion of my opinion (though the mere fact that I am enough of a hardcore nutball to even bother and try to change minds once more should be sufficient): Female. Bisexual. Joxer shield. Subtexter. Not particularly fond of Gabrielle.






From: August Krickel
Subject: Re: Zulu, Lila, and Cooley
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000

I noticed and was much amused by your comment on the implication of a Joxer-Lila romance in "It Takes One To Know One." It's a shame they didn't really follow up on that aspect beyond the fact that she wrote a love letter to him. At least it did give Ted Raimi a good opportunity for a typical wisecrack "I love Ga.....gallivanting around fighting evil."

Interestingly, I have always thought that they would make the ideal couple. The Joxer-haters surely would have no problem with him transferring his attentions to Gabrielle's "plain-Jane" sister. And the Joxer-lovers would surely have no problem with a nice girl treating him better than Gabrielle does.

Now of course, for those few Willa O'Neill fans among us..did we not see this coming in "A Family Affair?" I observed at the time when that show aired that Lila was shamlessly flirting with Joxer. More with her eyes than anything else, when Joxer attempted to be gallant. "Any sister of Gabrielle's...is a member of her family." Go check out the screen grabs from that episode. She's smirking at him, and he's staring straight at her chest when he kisses her hand.

Of course, I always adored her as Althea on HTLJ, who was sort of a female Joxer. Goofy, geeky, annoying, sympathetic. Who better to distract Joxer from Gabrielle? From interviews I've read with her, Willa O'Neill seems to be the Winona Ryder of Auckland, appearing in a lot of independent, high quality "art" films and stage plays.

By the way, thanks for quoting several of my notes to you, especially the one about the pie fight in "Punch Lines." Most Xena fans are not Stooges fans (their loss!) but the connection of the two can't be denied. Invariably, when people discuss Sam Raimi's career, they concede that his early short films were comedies in the Stooges mode, and that he and his partners turned to horror (i.e. The Evil Dead) as a genre they would be likely to be able to sell. And of course, Stooges lines turn up in every few Xena episodes, most recently in "Kindred Spirits," when Gabrielle accuses Joxer of spying on naked Amazons. "I resent that!" he protests. "Do you deny it?" she asks. "No," he concedes, "I just resent it." Curly Howard must have used that line a dozen times!

And speaking of the Three Stooges, I wonder how many Xena fans watched the recent bio movie on ABC about their lives? If so, they may have been pleasantly surprised to see Martin (Borias, Khraftstar) Csokas in a fairly significant role as Ted Healy, the Stooges' original partner. As was common in vaudeville, he played the wisecracking son-and-dance man, who had several supposedly half-witted "stooges" as his sidekicks and the butt of his jokes.

I've seen old films of Ted Healy - his style was very much the cigar-chomping, abrasive style that we later see in Milton Berle, Alan King, and even David Letterman. Just as Letterman dominates the unusual-looking, hapless Paul Schaeffer, in the same way the tall Healy would use the diminutive, strongly-accented Horwitz brothers (who later changed their name to Howard) and Larry Fine as his foils, and as the recipients of innumerable eye-pokes and face slaps. Csokas did a fine job, although he's much better looking than Healy ever was. The TV movie was produced by Mel Gibson, and so was filmed in Australia, although I didn't notice any other Hercules/Xena performers in the cast.

August Krickel




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