THE OUTSIDER: CONFESSIONS OF A JOXER FAN
By Janet Elizabeth Swainston
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
One is the Loneliest Number (01-03)
Roses in the Dark (04-06)
Venom and Vitriol (07-09)
A Voice in the Wilderness (10-12)
The Joxer Wars and Other Stories (12-16)
Death of a Never-Would-Be Warrior (17-18)
One is the Loneliest Number
Joxer hanging out with his godly buddy in GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN.
 Hi, my name is Janet and I am a Joxaholic. This is my story.
 It was Saturday, January 2, 1999 and I stayed home to watch a TV show on the USA Channel. Not just any TV show: I was about to watch my first XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS episode, KEY TO THE KINGDOM (78/410). I had seen the promo for it earlier in the week and saw that one of my favorite actors was going to be in it, Bruce Campbell. I had seen him in an X-FILES episode the previous Sunday night and re-discovered my adoration of him. So, in anticipation of another great Bruce Campbell moment, I snuggled up on the sofa with my blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and began to watch. But as I watched one of my heroes doing what he does best, making me laugh, I discovered a new hero, a hero that was not so obvious. His name was Joxer, played by the actor Ted Raimi.
 In him I saw a multitude of things. First of all, he was cute! Extremely cute, at least to me. He was cuter than Bruce Campbell. He reminded me of a young Jerry Lewis, on whom I had an enormous crush when I was a just a girl. I have always loved a man who could make me laugh one minute and cry at his own heartache the next. Ted/Joxer fulfilled my girlish fantasies of the perfect man. He was sweet, funny, caring, compassionate, but not perfect, either in looks or in personality. He was sometimes boorish and immature, much like real men. He was not always graceful, which appealed to clumsy old me. But he had a boyish charm with a sensitive man's heart that appealed to me as very few characters do. So, my fate was sealed. I had found my perfect man.
 But my obsession did not stop just at the show. During the next week, while anticipating the next episode in which I might see my beloved fantasy boy, I began my online search for more about Joxer and Ted. I had to feed my need, as it were. I went to my favorite search engine, Yahoo by the way, and typed in Joxer. I got somewhere along the lines of 23,000 matches. But I was to be sorely disappointed when I began to explore these websites. I would have a rude awakening at the plethora of anti-Joxer and "I hate Joxer" and "Joxer Must Die" websites. I was horrified and dismayed. I assumed I was alone in my adoration of the Mighty One!
Roses in the Dark
 Disheartened, I immediately shut off my computer and lay on my bed in despair. I could only wonder at the hate and venom that was directed at a character that I thought was so adorable and funny. How could these people dislike someone so likeable? I began to get angry and decided I needed more information. I would find out what these @**holes were spewing their garbage about and then give them what for. There was no way I was going to allow my fantasy man to be maligned.
 I turned the computer back on and got back online. I did my search again and went to the first Joxer site I found. It was a "Die Joxer, Die" website. This sickened me, but I plowed ahead. I read the comments in the guest book, the opinions on the site, the diatribe of evil hate that was directed at Joxer and at Ted Raimi, who is just an actor playing a role for crying out loud! It seemed insane what these people were saying. That is when I realized, the fans of the show thought that Xena and Gabrielle were lesbian lovers. That is when I learned a whole new meaning for the word "subtext"!
Venom and Vitriol
 I continued to explore these absurd and discriminatory websites, all with messages in varying degrees of hate and rage. I became more and more sickened, not by the belief that Xena and Gabrielle were lesbians. I did not care about that. I did not even know if they were or were not. I had only seen one episode. So what if they were? Why did that make Joxer such a target for this despicable attitude? I did not understand until I decided to make a little trip over to the Studios USA message boards. It was there that I found out the reason behind the madness.
 Joxer was in love with Gabrielle and the subtext/Gabrielle fans did not like it. They did not want Joxer with Gabrielle. The little Bard was supposed to be with Xena and Joxer was, among other things, a stalker, a pervert, a pig, a jerk! I will not go into the libelous insults that were being thrown at Mr. Raimi! It seems my hero was an "intrusion" in the life of Gabrielle with his "silly" behavior. The "perfect" Gabrielle was "too good" for Joxer the Mighty. I could not believe it! All I could think was, if Gabrielle is supposed to be in love with Xena, then who cares if Joxer loves her? If she were so wonderful, then it would make sense that he loves her, along with a whole lot of other people. What was the big deal?
 So, with this in mind, I watched the next week's episode, which was a repeat of A FAMILY AFFAIR (71/403) and originally aired in the United States on the USA channel (October 12, 1998), and was finally introduced to the glorious Gabrielle. I was not impressed. I found her pushy, arrogant, self-centered and phony. I did not even like the way she treated Xena, let alone Joxer. I could not understand what my hero saw in her. Sure she was attractive, in that bubble-headed, cheerleader, bimbo kind of way. But so what? If anything, Joxer should have fallen in love with Xena, at least in my opinion. Nevertheless, Joxer loved Gabrielle and that was that. I believed in him and there had to be others like me.
A Voice in the Wilderness
 I went back to the search engine and looked for more Joxer websites. I had to find one out there, somewhere that was pro-Joxer. I began to carefully scan the search results. It would take forever but I was going to find one. Then, about half way through the list I spotted a site called The Ted Files [Note 01]. I immediately clicked on it and found an oasis of fan fiction and information about Ted Raimi and the characters he has played. I hungrily explored the site and finally got my first taste of fan fiction, Joxer fan fiction no less. I was entranced and inspired. That afternoon I wrote my very first piece of Joxer based fan fiction [Note 02]. It was rough and I had to do some research on the characters and their histories, but I was proud of it. I had written a story that expressed my untold feelings for this wonderful character. With this done, I sent my story to the website for publication.
 A few months later, after Gabrielle and Xena had been crucified, I had 3 more stories written and still had not found any way to contact other Joxer fans. The website where the stories were archived offered limited contact at best. I decided I would make my own place for Joxer on the net and have the Joxer fans come to me. In about a month the site was ready and posted with my meager supply of tales. I went to the Studios USA message board again, lacking knowledge of any other forum, and posted the announcement of my web site. It was met with about as much enthusiasm as an emergency appendectomy. People were kind and some non-Joxer fans did go there and encourage me, but it wasn't the same as if we shared the same point of view. It was then that a miracle happened. It was August and I received an email that changed my life.
 Another Joxer fan had found me! His name was Findley K. Boyd III and he loved my site, my stories, and told me about a mailing list and website dedicated to Joxer and his love for Gabrielle. This was my introduction to the GJRS (Gabrielle/Joxer Romantics Society) [Note 03] and I was in heaven. I was welcomed and met with such camaraderie that I almost wept for joy. We talked about all things Joxer and the J/G (Joxer/Gabrielle) relationship. We discussed possible futures and exchanged stories and fan fiction. I learned about filks and even attempted some of my own. I was not alone in the Xenaverse anymore! I reveled in my newfound family, but alas, I discovered that all was not well in the Joxerverse.
The Joxer Wars and Other Stories
 I began to read references peppered through some of the emails about something called the Joxer Wars. It was then that I learned of the Joxer Shields [Note 04], who roamed through XENA fandom righting wrongs and singing the praises of our mutual hero, Joxer. I was dismayed at some of the comments made by the more experienced members of the group. I inquired about the nature of the Joxer Wars and received a very brief reply that gave a sketchy account of the events that spawned the GJRS mailing list. I began to hear names of online anti-Joxer fans and about their heinous actions towards the supporters of the Mighty One. But a terse story was all I could get. It seemed that nobody wanted to talk about that dark period of Joxer fan history. I let it lie. Unfortunately, a pale ghost of the Joxer Wars resurfaced at the beginning of Season Five.
 Joxer had shown up to bring Xena and Gabrielle back to Greece from their icy death of crucifixion [FALLEN ANGEL (91/501)] and then in the next episode he tells Gabrielle that he loves her, no strings attached [CHAKRAM (91/502)]. The GJRS were in heaven, but even then the anti-Joxer fans could not leave us alone. For the most part, we did not go onto the mainstream lists and flaunt our joy at an event that we had waited for. We kept our celebrations to ourselves. But the Joxerphobes just had to seek us out to deliver more venom into our little slice of happiness. They even tried to infiltrate our mailing lists just so they could mock and bait us with snide, libelous remarks about Joxer and Ted.
 I was disgusted and in a fog of fury I went to the one place I had vowed to never go again, the Studios USA XENA message board. I was appalled at the postings there. So full of rage and senseless Joxer bashing, I then foolishly jumped in to defend my hero. It was a big mistake. I was ripped to shreds with such hateful words. I even received some emails that sickened and devastated me. I turned to my GJRS family and they helped me through this crisis. I have never since posted to that message board, nor do I visit any other mainstream XENA message board, mailing list, or forum. I refuse to open myself up to that kind of abuse again.
 There have been many skirmishes since then, lurkers and trolls subscribing to our mailing lists just to hurl abuse at us or betray us to the phobes. Attacks on our web pages and even the horrendous behavior of certain anti-Joxerites towards one of our younger members at last year's Pasadena Creation Con. But we closed ranks and survived, weathering everything that was thrown at us. Eventually, things died down, but only due to the end of Season Five
Death of a Never-Would-Be Warrior
 Alas, the rumors proved true. Joxer was dead, dead as a doornail and we mourned the loss. We wept, we raged and we even went into denial. One of our members coined the phrase TLFENH (the last few episodes never happened), which became a rallying cry around the GJRS mailing list and even a few denied that anything happened after KINDRED SPIRITS (107/517). Me, I just decided that if Xena and Gabrielle get to come back to life, I would do the same for Joxer, even if it were only in my fan fiction.
 Despite our devastation, our loss of belief, the dismaying announcement that a non-Joxer fan was going to write for the show, Chris Manheim's (St. Chris as some called her and our most faithful Joxer writer) saddening exit, and the fact that Joxer might possibly return as an idiotic ghost, Joxer the Mighty lives on in our fan fiction and our hearts, forever a hero.
The Ted Files Website
Owned and operated by Sherri Morrison.
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"Two Souls Unrequited"
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The Gabrielle and Joxer Romantic Society
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The Joxer Shields are a society of Joxer fans who defend the honor and name of the character throughout the XENA fandom.
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Janet Elizabeth Swainston, "Subtext or Subconscious" WHOOSH #42 (March 2000)
BiographyJanet Elizabeth Swainston
Janet Elizabeth Swainston is an aspiring screenwriter and publishes her own and other's Joxer fan fiction on her own website, The New Bard Library http://www.crosswinds.net/~kateaofpompeii
Favorite episode:KINDRED SPIRITS
Favorite line:Joxer to Gabrielle: "I love you, I'm in love with you!" CHAKRAM
First episode seen:KEY TO THE KINGDOM (78/410)
Least favorite episode:MOTHERHOOD
THE 50 MONTHS
HOW XENA HELPED ME KEEP MY JOB AND STAVE OFF DEPRESSION
By J. S. Stephens
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
The Payoff (07)
The Future (08)
Amazon etiquette in HOOVES AND HARLOTS.
 I had just come home from a library convention and was checking my email when I saw the message from Kym Taborn, asking me to contribute a few lines about how XENA fandom has changed my life. She had sent this message to all past contributors to WHOOSH and since I had contributed an article in 1997 on "The Odyssey vs. ULYSSES", could I please send an update of my life, etc.
 I started thinking about how things have changed since I submitted my article in 1997. First, I went through a merger in 1998, my remaining grandparent died in 1999, and my partner and I had to put our dog to sleep this July. One might read the prior sentences and say, "how does this relate to XENA fandom?" Be patient, dear reader, and all will be revealed.
 First, I started my own Xena and Gabrielle fan fiction site in the summer of 1997, around the same time that I contributed my article to WHOOSH. I was miffed about what I thought was the outrageous deviation from the Odyssey and the previous characterizations of Xena and Gabrielle, so I wrote a little story called "Poseidon's Revenge" (http://members.aol.com/jstep64/poseidon.htm). In my story, I postulated that it was actually a spell by the God of the Sea that caused Xena and Ulysses to fall in love so that he could not make it back to Ithaca. Poseidon was angry that the Greeks had forgotten him in their "wild celebrations" following the fall of Troy, and thus wished to punish Ulysses, who was their leader. This story, written on AOL's (America Online) crude HTML editor, was the first of many stories that I have written in the past three years. I moved up to using Microsoft FrontPage, then parlayed my experience in building my fan fiction site into building a department web site at work. An officer in my local library organization also noticed my site and I soon found myself as the webmaster of their web site as well.
 When I moved up to using FrontPage, I was freed from AOL's HTML editor and could actually post stories that were longer than a dozen or so kilobytes. I started gaining confidence, writing longer, more complex stories, and then started introducing new original characters. Instead of thinking in individual stories, I started thinking in timelines, story arcs, cause and effect, and ultimately, life cycles. This, in turn, sharpened my thinking at work to the point that I could tackle long projects of increasing complexity, including departmental webmaster and departmental newsletter editor. All of this increasing exposure at work through my writing and web work paid off during the merger, but more on that later.
 During 1998, my beloved grandmother started losing her health, both mental and physical. She had already gone through one battle with cancer, but it came back, eventually robbing her of the ability to live by herself. My parents put her in an assisted living center, so she had her own apartment, but it just was not the same as living in her own home. She was getting forgetful and sometimes was uncharacteristically lashing out at people, or accusing them of forgetting her medicine. I started thinking about what my parents were going through and started writing a story of an independent woman, Diedra, who had already lost her life partner, and was now slowly losing her mental faculties. The story, "Beginnings and Endings" (http://members.aol.com/jstep64/begin.htm), was one of the hardest stories I had written to date, but it helped me put things in perspective.
 "Beginnings and Endings" also seemed to be the theme for 1998. Early in the year, I came to work to find that my company was going to be involved in a merger. For those of you who have never gone through this experience, it can be the most agonizing time of one's life. My company was not the surviving company, a very important distinction. It meant that the other company was basically calling the shots and that we would be lucky to wind up with any kind of job. I have mentioned my departmental web and departmental newsletter. One of our highly placed people was "making the transition" (or "going to the dark side", as the joke ran) and asked me to join his department as an information person, working on databases and developing an internal web site.
 How does this all relate back to XENA and fandom? Without Xena and Gabrielle, I would not have started writing fiction. Without the Internet to post my fiction, I probably would not have survived the merger in the same company. My writing has allowed me to explore my darker feelings, the feelings of grief in losing my grandmother, my work family, and this year, my dog. I have also received many good responses from my readers, giving me the incentive to continue with my Uber fiction. My Uber fiction has allowed me to explore modern themes of homophobia, both external and internal, and to explore the role of religion in my background (the Laura and Ruby series -- That Texas Summer http://members.aol.com/libriscat/texsum.htm and The Revival http://members.aol.com/libriscat/revival.htm)
J. S. Stephens, "Odyssey vs. ULYSSES, The" WHOOSH #17 (February 1998)
BiographyJ. S. Stephens
J. S. Stephens is currently a cog in information technology in a Fortune 500 company. When she's not busy creating new stories or teaching herself new web techniques, she helps her partner dig holes and plant flowers, shrubs, and trees in their yard. Her other hobbies include collecting books, music, movies, and learning new skills. She would like to learn more about woodworking, but does not have the time or money right now. Her partner wants her to learn to ride horses, which she may do in the near future.
Favorite episode:IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?, A DAY IN THE LIFE, BETWEEN THE LINES, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, and ANIMAL ATTRACTION.
Favorite line:Way too many to mention, but Gabrielle's smirk in SEEDS OF FAITH when Xena tells Ares that Gabrielle is the father of her baby was priceless and is my current favorite. One of my all time favorites is Gabrielle: "You had people waiting on you hand and foot, catering to your every whim". Xena: "Hey, that's what you're for". WARRIOR... PRINCESS
First episode seen:ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES
Least favorite episode:USELESS [ULYSSES], KING CON, and MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS
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