Whoosh! Issue 45 - June 2000
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.




Re-Imagining the Religious Cosmos
Sexual Objectification In Xena: Warrior Princess
Discrimination in the Xenaverse
Crucifixion Obsessions
Season Three: A Chronological Minefield
The Internet Fan Blackout
Family Feud?
Monogamy in the Xenaverse
More Thoughts on "That" Relationship
The Decline and Fall
The Info is (Not) Out There
Subtext Corner
The Diverse Nature of the Xenaverse
Lesbianism in Xena
Australia Misses Xena
Xena



Letters To The Editor



Re-Imagining the Religious Cosmos

Date: Wed, 03 May 2000
From: Rob Lent
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Regarding "Xena: Warrior Princess: Re-Imagining The Religious Cosmos", I can't agree that Najara is clearly meant to refer to Islam. The title "Crusader" seems to imply a reference to Christianity. The Crusaders were Christians who fought to take the Holy Land from Muslims. The only thing that could be viewed as implying a reference to Islam is the use of the word "djinn".

Historically, Islam has been much more tolerant of other religions than Christianity has. During centuries of Christian persecution of Jews, lands held by Muslims were safe havens for them. As I see it, the Islamic fundementalist is largely a product of colonialism.

Crusader is referring to anyone who practices a "believe or die" attitude, whatever religion they may belong to. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much time to find people on the web who advocate this kind of thinking. Fortunately, few of them manage to pass themselves off as sweetness and light the way Najara can.

Rob Lent





Sexual Objectification In Xena: Warrior Princess

From: Andjam
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000
Subject: Letter to the editor

I have several quibbles with Rachel Gordon's article in the last edition "Sexual Objectification In Xena: Warrior Princess, or Where are the Three Naked, Dancing Autolyci?". This does not mean that the work was not well written.

Paragraph 38 stated that "Joxer's suggestions regarding 'eye candy' are not about the objectification of men and women: just women". I think this is an unfair attack on Joxer, as he was open-minded towards Minya's objectification of men. And his building a bath-tub could be seen as him "getting" the subtext.

Other things:

-Paragraph 10: She may not have hid Joxer's body because he wasn't attractive, but because he was too attractive. The phrase "pleasantly surprised" comes to mind.

-Paragraph 28: Maybe the censors should have asked everyone to wear shorts, as some person had posted pictures of Gabrielle swinging where her skirt lifted up, leaving her "exposed"

- Overall thrust: I'd be worried about objectification if it weren't for the domestic violence by Xena against Gabrielle in The Bitter Suite, which you don't seem to have touched on in any of your articles, and other such huge leaps backwards in feminism on the show.

People who complain about Joxer's alleged sexism but don't touch on far more serious stuff are merely exploiting sexism to score points against him and shouldn't be regarded as being feminist but merely Joxerphobic.

Andjam





Discrimination in the Xenaverse

From: Dafydd Galahad
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 charset="iso-8859-1"

April issue:Nancy Lorentz writes Discrimination in the Xenaverse

She complains that pro-subtexters persecute anti-subtexters. It seems unlikely, but there is so much crud on the net that it's bound to happen to someone. My beef is that you publish this article NOW.

2 years ago, in the days of subtext ascendant, yes I can believe, that we pro-subtexters would have been so triumphalist, so confident in our victory that some of us might have persecuted the antis. THEN, this article would have been a valuable and legitimate charter of righteous indignation.

When XWP was about Love and Peace and Respect and Equality and stuff. And when triumphalist pro-subtexters weren't showing Love and Respect to the antis, THEN it was right and proper for the antis to call us hypocrites.

But you publish the article when the antis have complete victory. When the pros have fled to the hills. When more and more pros stop watching with each subtext denial episode. I gave up with "Back in the Bottle" TPTB are perfectly happy for Xena to have sex with Lao Ma's evil daughter - anyone except Gabrielle..

There may be a few pro-subtexters left in the Xenaverse. This article is designed to drive out even these.

Goodbye for ever
Dafydd ap Thomas





Crucifixion Obsessions

From: A.L.Shaughnessy
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2000 6:15 AM
Subject: Crucifixion in XWP

Regarding Suzanne Goodman's exasperation with XWP's "crucifixion obsession" as expressed in Issue 44, it should be noted that crucifixion was a remarkably prevalent form of execution in ancient times. You would have been hard pressed to go anywhere in the Mediterranean world without seeing a few corpses adorning a hilltop outside the nearest city.

Most readers will know that DESTINY is loosely based on an actual episode in Caesar's life, but he was not the only famous general to crucify his enemies. Alexander the Great, after capturing the city of Tyre, had 2,000 survivors (mostly civilians) crucified as a punishment for refusing to surrender. The bodies of Spartacus and 6,000 of his followers lined the Appian Way after their defeat by Crassus and Pompey. In Carthage they had an unpleasant habit of crucifying any general who lost a battle, which must have concentrated their commanders' minds wonderfully.

One thing which does puzzle me is the show's predilection for leg-breaking. Crucifixion was primarily intended to kill through asphyxiation. The weight of the body supported solely by the arms made it extremely difficult to inhale and resulted in a fairly quick death. Binding or nailing the victim's feet to the upright prolonged the agony, as it was now possible to raise the body by pushing down against this support, making it easier to breathe. In this way a strong person could survive for several days before asphyxia, dehydration or blood poisoning (from the nail wounds) finally killed him. In Mark's Gospel, Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus had died after just a few hours.

Breaking the legs prevented the victim from raising his body and hastened death, hence its use on the two crucified robbers in John's Gospel. As such it was an act of mercy, not an additional torture as represented in XWP. It also causes problems with DESTINY and IDES OF MARCH as in both these episodes Xena's legs would have been unable to support her weight. In the first instance it is likely that she would have died before M'lila could rescue her. The impression given in the latter episode is that Gabrielle outlived Xena by only a few minutes, whereas a likelier margin would have been 12 to 36 hours. Still, you have to allow for dramatic licence.





Season Three: A Chronological Minefield

From: A.L.Shaughnessy
Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000
Subject: Letters to the Editor

Thanks to all those Xenites who e-mailed me about my article "Season Three: A Chronological Minefield". Nearly all the comments were positive, too - I bought a perfectly good flak jacket for nothing! Having taken your views on board I've revised the Introduction and Conclusion, updated the commentaries on ONE AGAINST AN ARMY and FORGET ME NOT, and relocated FORGIVEN. If anyone is interested in seeing what is hopefully the final version, drop me a line and I'll send you a copy.

Andrew





The Internet Fan Blackout

From: Christy Sadergoske
Subject: Blackout comments
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000

I think what you are doing is highly commendable and I am in total agreement. I had no idea about what FOX was trying to do and, now that I have researched it, I am totally against it. As long as proper credit is given to the still images/media clips, I see no reason why fan-run websites shouldn't be able to use them. People are allowed to use images and media clips in classroom articles/presentations they create so long as they give proper credit. Web pages should not be any different, as they are essentially presentations created by the fan and presented to a large body of people, free of charge.

Christy Sadergoske






From: Rob Lowe
Subject: Blackout comments
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000

Kudos to you and your Group for observing the black out.

This is a very important thing and it's a shame most people are so clueless as not to realize that it happens and more frequenrtly than they realize, in that media companies bully non commercial websites into going down or removing material that is covered under fair use.

Rob Lowe (not the actor).






From: Ailaia@aol.com
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000
Subject: Blackout comments

I respect you for observing the blackout to protest the copyright stuff but it's bad timing for me. I really needed a Xena ep update since I missed last week's episode and I was counting on your EXTREMELY informative site to help me!!! I always check out your site when I need to know something about the shows from Ren Pic and since I missed Xena, Cleo, and Jack last week I want to get caught up before tonight when they come on starting at 8 pm. You guys are the most current, up-to-date site I've found so far. Anyway, keep up the good work and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get back online soon!!!!!






From: Spokker Jones
Subject: Blackout comments
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000

What nonsense.






From: Adriane Saunders
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000
Subject: Blackout 20 comments

Thanks to Whoosh! for keeping fans informed. I agree wholeheartedly with what is said on the "Blackout" page. Copywrite laws should be updated to embrace today's realities, and (elsewhere mentioned), fan sites help not hurt a show, generating interest and fans. In fact, Whoosh!''s "spoilers", and clips from Xena ephisodes, have kept me uptodate. I note Xena episodes (profiled on Whoosh!, both reruns and current) in my Day Timer--like business appointments, or social occasions--not to be missed. And, some of the fan fiction is terrific--terrific enough in at least one case (Missy Good's) to have come to the attention of the show's producers, and for her to have sold a script!

Keep up the good work! Whoosh! is a site I visit regularly, learn lots from--and much appreciate! Thank you!

Adriane Saunders






From: Jules
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000
Subject: Blackout comments

I'm proud that you are recognizing the black out! Just my lil two cents! smiles. Will check into yer website when the blackout is over to find out whatcher folks say about the new Xena episode "Eve" that aired today.

In solidarity!

Jules





Family Feud

Date: Sat, 27 May 2000
From: Dearcy
Subject: Letter to the Editor: Family Feud?

I have one question. When the h*ll did the Xenaverse become so divisive?

I've just read through the current letters to the editor regarding the long standing feud between the Hatfi...errr...the subtexters and the non-subtexters. When did we veer onto the "I'm right, you're wrong" road? Is this the replacement feud now that the Herc fans aren't around to be ridiculed?

In my opinion, the fourth and fifth seasons of Xena: Warrior Princess sucked swamp water. If you've enjoyed them, more power to you!

I'm straight. I see the subtext. It doesn't bother me one way or the other. I did think Perdicas was a mistake and I didn't shed a tear when Eve served up Joxer-On-A-Stick. But that is my view. If everyone shared my view of the world, it would be a hellishly boring place without sushi.

XWP is just a television show. However, the Xenaverse has grown beyond the show. For me, being a Xena fan has less to do with the actual episodes and more to do with the friends I have made over the last five years. This television show has changed my life, literally.

Now it seems as though everyone is caught up in being part of a faction. Sutexters, non-subtexters, Gab/Joxer, Ares/Xena, Xena/Argo, the list goes on and on. I'm going to start my own faction, the Nostalgists. If I could have my way, things would go back to those early, heady days where 40 odd people gathered in a pizza parlor in Rancho Cucamonga to share their little obsession with a TV show. A time when the biggest problem was finding something cool that said "Xena" on it and having the show pre-empted for "The Billy Graham Hour".

If anyone cares to join me, I'll be watching my well-worn copy of "Hooves and Harlots". Feel free to pull up a chair.

Liz Monroe





Monogamy in the Xenaverse

Date: Tue, 02 May 2000
From: Lori Coulson
Subject: Who says the Characters _Have_ to be Monogamous?

I've been vastly amused by various folk stipulating that a. Xena and Gabrielle is the only reasonable match-up, b. No-it's Gabrielle and Joxer, c. No-it's Xena and Ares...and so on, ad infinitum.

Hey, folks, ever heard of polygamy/andry? Or possibly, group marriage?

Just think of it--Xena plus Gabrielle plus Ares plus Joxer...the mind boggles...

Perhaps it's just that I belong to a faith that practices group marriages (The Church of All Worlds) but why does everyone else seem to think only in pairs?

Bright Blessings,
Lori Coulson





More Thoughts on "That" Relationship

From: A.L.Shaughnessy
Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000
Subject: Letters to the Editor

Not wishing to strike a match in a powder magazine, but I've read the arguments pro and con Xena-Gabrielle and Joxer-Gabrielle relationships over the last few months and I have a question. Does Gabrielle actually have to be in a relationship with anyone? It seems to me that in both the main relationships proposed by Xenites the traffic is going mostly one way. Please understand this is just my opinion, not the Ten Commandments.

As far as I've seen in Season Five, now that Gabrielle knows how Joxer feels about her the answer is still "I like you, but..." (I've been on the receiving end of that, and believe me it hurts). Joxer needs to accept that you can't make someone love you, and I really don't see him making any headway without the benefit of an Act of Scriptwriter. Stranger things have happened, though - why did she marry Perdicas, exactly?

With Xena, things are a little more complicated. She and Gabrielle have been like that (you'll have to imagine me crossing my fingers here) for the best part of five years. Gabrielle has made it clear on many occasions how much she loves Xena, but that's not the same as being in love with her. Certain episodes indicate that Xena is the one making most of the running:

THE TITANS: Xena displays what may be interpreted as signs of jealousy when she suspects Gabrielle has slept with Philius. Remember also that in Season One Gabby displays an adolescent tendency to fall headlong for anything in trousers.

IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?: Xena doesn't handle her loss at all well when Gabrielle "dies on the table", becoming almost hysterical. Just as well, really, otherwise she wouldn't have invented CPR.

THE QUEST: Do I really have to describe The Kiss to anyone? Okay, it was Autolycus' body, but the motivation was Xena's. So was the choice of target area. Compare this to the affectionate but chaste kiss Gabrielle gives Xena in the final scene of A DAY IN THE LIFE.

FISH, FEMMES AND GEMS: Xena totally misreads Gabby's "I looked into your eyes..." speech here, and you can see the Warrior Princess turning to mush. This and her reaction when she realises her mistake speak volumes.

FALLEN ANGEL: Xena's behaviour in this episode borders on the obsessive. She's literally Hellbent on spending eternity with Gabrielle, whose attitude is very different. When Michael tells her the only way to deal with Xena is to "...cut her up and let her spend the rest of eternity in pieces" Gabrielle, though clearly unhappy, replies "If that's what it takes." Apparently her love for Xena has its limits.

CHAKRAM: After giving Joxer some advice on how to express his feelings to Gabrielle, Xena sinks back in the bathtub and says "Of course, you could just kiss the girl." Again, the dreamy look and voice say it all.

Gabrielle also makes a revealing statement to Amarice in THEM BONES, THEM BONES. She says "For many years I walked in Xena's shadow. I wanted to be her. She taught me something - it's warmer standing in the sun." This more or less confirms my earlier suspicion that Gabrielle's feelings for Xena were initially based on hero worship, coupled with a "schoolgirl crush". The little girl Xena met in Poteidaia all those years ago has grown up since then. She walks in the sunlight, and can proudly declare herself a person in her own right.

It may even be that Gabrielle feels her identity would be threatened by a long-term partner, male or female. She would rather remain unattached than submerge (some might say diminish) herself in a relationship. I realise that in saying this I'm probably upsetting both sides, but hey, three-cornered fights are more interesting!

Andrew Shaughnessy





The Decline and Fall

From: Jerazk
Date: Sun, 7 May 2000
Subject: Letter%20to%20the%20Editor

Okay, I have to write again. XENA continues to sink into the mire of the 5th season. I have to continually ask myself: is this show trying to get itself cancelled? Is it trying to make us forget what great merit it had in seasons 1, 2, and most of 3? Does it know how to tell a story? And why every man in the show be made to be a selfish and/or comical buffoon or sneaky bastard? I would tend to think this show is anti-man. Almost every episode this year sucked. Why? Forced emotionalism such as Xena saying, "I will never give up on you, Eve." Poorly placed, even poorly acted by Lawless (whom I would never have said that about in any other episode). The writing is the key to why XENA sucks. Very rushed arcs. Arcs which make little sense. For instance, Octavius changes babies and takes Eve---why didn't any of the gods see that? Aren't they able to hear all and see all? Why did Gab and Xena survive the attack on them by the gods--okay, they did die (sigh, again) but only after several attacks? And I am not talking about the attacks when Celesta was chained up. Interesting how Octavius changed to become a real creep. Oh, and I suppose no one can raise a kid like Xena and Gab. In season 3 we see that is not true. Solan was better off raised by others than Xena and died due to his assiciation with Xena and that little snit Gab, (spelled backwards she is Bag). The Twilight of the gods was an ill thought out arc. So now is the Eve in the 25 year future arc. Xena truly should be cancelled. It is the worst fantasy, sci fic show on the air. The characters are uninvolving, comical to a fault, poorly conceived, badly interacted with other charcters, and ill fitting to their storylines. There is no real emotional attachment to the audience. It is all forced--fights, comedy, a few kisses here and there, makeup, make fun of Joxer, old or young, and there you have it. Never have I seen a show that was so involving and good, fall so hard. I have never seen seasons that came after 3 fairly good seasons, make one forget how good a show was just by being so bad.

I don't know all the titles but I can site almost all of season 5. The only one that was slightly okay was the one where Mark Antony dies----and of course, he, being a man could not understand Xena's ways--so she kills him. The mermaid episode was embarassing. Any ep with Xena carrying around Eve, while Eve plays with Gab's knives is bad. It should have ended either with season 3 (probably after the BITTER SUITE would have been a good ending with Xena and Gab laying down their swords forever, and maybe with Xena getting pregnant). I do admit to liking Callisto being reincarnated at Eve--that put a positive spin on things. But here we have Eve back to being a Callisto impersonator (and a very bad one at that). I have a feeling they might just do the: oh, that was just one possible future, it didn't really happen bullshit they pulled in a Callisto/Hercules/kill Herc's mother storyline a few years ago---if it didn't happen, why bother to watch it or tell it? Give it up. Tell some stories, show some action, give us some character that is worth caring about again. I know longer care about any of them since it seems anything can happen to them and be reversed. h, and thanks for killing off the best two gods at the time: Hera and Zeus. The BITTER SUITE would have been a good place to end since both Xena and Gab acknowledged that it is better to forgive if not forget, to love those who hate you, and to admit your own faults.

Now I have nothing against any of the actors, they are all good. It is the way the characters are written that bothers me. Gab was a bard, then a warrior, then a peace professor, then a warrior who professes peace. Get a life for her,. writers. I wish Gab was like (and Iolus in HERC) the companions in season one of HERCULES---just there sometimes. I liked seeing Herc with other people besides Iolus. I liked it when Xena was sometimes separated from Gab in season one. Xena interacted better with some of the characters there. Nothing against Gab, just that the other characters were more interesting. I seem to recall a ghost of a man that was pretty cool in reacting to Xena. I also thought last season's angry Amazon who wasn't an Amazon was rather interesting too. But no, we got Gab and even worse, on Herc, we got Iolus all the time! Let the two of them take some time off. I never took fully to her after season 2 (Gab that is). She didn't know what or who she wanted to be but professed to be all of them at the same time. A phony. I also could not get over that she betrayed Xena more than once, cost her Solan, and just thought she was right all the time.








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