Whoosh! Issue 50 - November 2000


WHOOSH Contributors Ponder Fandom
Page 11



One Obsession Leads To Another by Gregory R. Swenson
The Revolution Over: A Former Fan'S Reflections On XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS Burnout by Brent Allison
Greetings Fellow XENA Fans! by Kimberly N. Foster


ONE OBSESSION LEADS TO ANOTHER
By Gregory R. Swenson
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1104 words




It Has Been a Fun Ride (01-06)
Articles
Biography



ONE OBSESSION LEADS TO ANOTHER




It Has Been a Fun Ride

Gabby lets her hairdresser know she's NOT pleased with the fringe

Gabrielle does obsession in WHO'S GURKHAN.


[01] I do not do obsession. At least that is what I kept telling myself for the first year that I spent watching XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. Of course, I was still collecting STAR WARS Power of the Force action figures, vehicles, and 12-inch figures. DEEP SPACE NINE was shaping up nicely, VOYAGER looked promising, and X-FILES was beginning to kick b*tt in the ratings. What the h*ll happened to me?

[02] All I know was there she was having an impossible fight on villagers' heads with some guy named Draco. Some little blonde kept pestering her about being friends. What was this stuff? I knew that I liked Ellen Ripley, Sarah Conner, and Dana Scully already. But here was someone new to admire. Sure Ripley knew how to use a gun and a flame-thrower but somehow she seemed always to windup being a victim. Conner had no compunction about using guns too but she seemed like she was caught in a tidal wave of time. Scully, bless her soul, is probably the smartest character on television but she has a horrible time understanding that sometimes one just has to color outside of the box. Xena, though, is a woman who grabs her own destiny and runs with it.

[03] Manipulating my own destiny is not something that I am inclined to do. I am more likely to watch how things shake out and record them for future reference, more of a Gabrielle. Fortunately, my soul-searching phase is long over and like Gabrielle I have developed new skills to cope with a changing world.

[04] Xena has many skills. I appreciate this. In the past I have played a science fiction role-playing game called TRAVELLER. No matter how well I rolled to generate skills for my character, my own personal skill set was always higher. I could use a greater variety of weapons, operate more different kinds of vehicles on land or water, and I definitely had better camp craft. I must admit though that with a death in the family and trouble at work I went through a difficult period, a period of no growth. Watching XENA helped to wake me up and challenge me to acquire new skills. Consequently, I have written several articles for WHOOSH, and jumped into general aviation simulators.

[05] I written "Alexander the Great: Blue Print for XENA", "Puritanism, Transcendentalism, and Capitalism in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS"", Hipolyta's Girdle or Discovering Maslow's Hierarchy in Amazon Culture"", Xena Does Shakespeare: The Callisto Episode Arcs", and "BEAD XENA: Subject, Color, And Pattern Evoke An Emotional Response At Southern California Xena Fest IV". But what can I write about next? While I have enjoyed writing about Xena's possible origins, the psychological motivations of the characters on XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, and the emotional response to artwork incorporating XENA as its subject, I have become increasingly entranced with the locations where XENA is filmed. I appreciate Lucy Lawless' and Renee O'Connor's artistry and work ethic to the nth degree as well as the rest of the cast and crew, especially the Frock Tarts. But there is something about the scenery. It is the Transcendentalist in me. God is more approachable in nature then when one is cooped up in a building with set routine for worship. What do I want to do most? Crawl around in some catacomb looking for ancient evil with Buffy or camping out under the stars with Xena and Gabrielle? No contest. The stars have it!

[06] That brings me finally to general aviation simulators like "Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000". With it I can fly past the New Zealand locations where XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS is filmed and get a feel for what it is like to be there. Or I can visit sites where the show is set like the Great Wall of China, and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It gives one a wonderful sense of place. I had received Flight Simulator 2000 for a Christmas gift. I installed it on my hard drive. But it just sat there until summer vacation. Then poof! I caught the bug and have started working on a couple of articles for WHOOSH. The first is on coastal locations in New Zealand used for filming XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.



Articles

Gregory R. Swenson, "Alexander the Great: Blueprint for Xena" WHOOSH #4 (January 1997)
http://whoosh.org/issue4/richan.html

Gregory R. Swenson, "BEAD XENA: Subject, Color, And Pattern Evoke An Emotional Response At Southern California Xena Fest IV" WHOOSH #29 (February 1999)
http://whoosh.org/issue29/swenson5.html

Gregory R. Swenson, " Fantasy Flight One: Coastal Locations Used For Filming XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS" WHOOSH #48 (September 2000)
http://whoosh.org/issue48/swenson6.html

Gregory R. Swenson, "Hippolyta's Girdle or Discovering Maslow's Hierarchy in Amazon Culture" WHOOSH #12 (September 1997)
http://whoosh.org/issue12/swen4.html

Gregory R. Swenson, "Puritanism, Capitalism, and Transcendentalism in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS" WHOOSH #8 (May 1997)
http://whoosh.org/issue8/swen2.html

Gregory R. Swenson, "XENA Does Shakespeare: The Callisto Episode Arcs" WHOOSH #14 (November 1997)
http://whoosh.org/issue14/swen3a.html



Biography

Gregory R. Swenson Gregory R. Swenson
I'm an English teacher at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley, California. I usually teach general English survey classes like English I, English II, and English III. Every once in a while I get to teach Science Fiction/Fantasy or Detective/Gothic Fiction. I've sponsored the role-playing club for eleven years and the Japanese animation club for two years.

I am currently collecting robots representative of screen and television either in model or toy formats. Sometime in the future I'll post pictures of them to the web. If anyone knows where I can get a Johnny Five, please let me know.

Bret Rudnick and I went to Pacific High School in San Bernardino, CA at the same time but never met. It was bizarre but fun bumping into him on-line over Xena and WHOOSH.
Favorite episode:REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202). Xena emerges from her vision with a strong feeling of who she is and what she must do.
Favorite line:Xena to Diana in WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115): "Well, you're going to have to convince people you're me, and I like dark". First episode seen: I saw was SINS OF THE PAST (01/101). I popped in at the "fight on heads" scene and found my "focus".
Least favorite episode:SACRIFICE II bums me out because Callisto is gone. Of course, Strife came back in HTLJ: Yes Virginia There Is A Hercules so maybe there is "hope"






THE ROLUTION OVER: A FORMER FAN'S REFLECTIONS ON XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
By Brent Allison
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
2287 words




The Critiques: Catharsis That Is Good Enough For XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS is Good Enough for Me (01-03)
Sold on Californication (04-18)
Conclusion (19)
Articles
Biography



THE REVOLUTION OVER: A FORMER FAN'S REFLECTIONS ON XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS BURNOUT




The Critiques: Catharsis That Is Good Enough For XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS is Good Enough for Me

Xena wishes she could tell Gabby that this is taking Yoga waay too far

Xena and Gabrielle were dead to the world wayback at the almost end of season four.


[01] The world of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, as well as Internet-based television fandom in general, was supposed to be a non-issue for me by now. Alt.tv.xena, WHOOSH, and the Gabrielle and Joxer Romantics Society, all of which had long filled my free time, were dead to me.

[02] Gabrielle, once my vicarious counterpart of idealism in an unforgiving landscape and the foil of those same ravages, became alien. She had become Heroic. Not that I minded heroism per se, but the transition could never have made smoothly enough for my sensibilities. Instead of growth towards handling herself in her travels with the Warrior Princess, she leapt into an uncomfortable anti-pragmatism and became all too comfortable with her new warrior-based ethics system. She now no longer grew. She could kick ass and be every bit the warrior that Xena was, but she was no longer was the Gabrielle I knew. It was as if by extension, I was not supposed to have reservations or growth any longer, that I should suddenly be comfortable with my own destiny.

[03] Joxer. His was the life of the sweet natured, confused, hopelessly in love, and dejected comic relief just asking to take abuse, albeit unintentional, from those who surrounded him. I bought into his unrequited love for Gabrielle at the end of COMEDY OF EROS (46/222), and followed it season after season, only to have my emotional investment fall faster than a Silicon Valley stock. Some may call it sour grapes; I call it flagrant false advertising. Gabrielle certainly did not give any obvious signals, but Joxer's stumbling attempts to woo her affection only intensified my desire for such a romance to initialize and carry on into at least a resolution where peace could be made between them. To this day, my inner Leninist cries foul, and will see to it that common ownership of the means of entertainment production, guided by a Gabrielle/Joxer-oriented revolutionary vanguard party, will culminate in a utopian paradise for them, if not in ancient Greece, then in a later life.




Sold on Californication

[04] Were I and others simply duped by Hollywood, Auckland, and a host of other Powers That Be into believing that we had control and direction, when in reality, we were played as suckers? Or had the hidden meanings that we had discovered and extrapolated from the series really taken on a new form, filled with possibilities that could be used as the basis of organization, action, and consequence from within ourselves and amongst others in the fan community?

[05] I cannot escape from the notion that the series is indeed a product of Hollywood, and by extension, California culture in general. In an exercise of mixing and matching pop cultural phenomena, the "Californication" single by the Los Angeles-based band Red Hot Chili Peppers provides a framework by which such an analysis can be conducted. The irony of using a studio-produced mass hit single in order to understand how a television show produced in a similar manner may be the product of manipulation or the impetus for fan empowerment is not lost. To begin, let us take the first stanza of the song:

Psychic spies from China
Try to steal your mind's elation
Little girls from Sweden
Dream of silver screen quotations
And if you want these kind of dreams
It's Californication

[06] What would make the mind "elated" in the first place? The same reason that children from Scandinavia want to repeat catchphrases from films. Involving oneself in the entertainment industry is a well-known venue for achieving, if not fame, at least the satisfaction of working in an envied sector of the economy. Nevertheless, in a society that is well aware of the bankruptcy of Hollywood culture (the aspiring actress leaving her Nebraska farm home for Hollywood is a well-worn clich‚), the mere desire to leave it all behind for such a lifestyle can be termed sinful.

[07] How often have we heard of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS described as a "guilty pleasure"? In the same Xenaverse, how many times has entertainment culture been derided, mocked, and satirized, thanks to the two HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS episodes YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A HERCULES (H74/415) and FOR THOSE OF YOU JUST JOINING US (H90/509), and to XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS' THE PLAY'S THE THING (85/417)? The series itself is acutely aware of its ties to a backdrop so easily parodied the Hollywood studio.

[08] Enjoyably self-ironic as this quality is, there seems to be nowhere else to go with this concept. It allows itself be satirized, but only because such mockery means good business with no threat. To suggest a viable alternative paradigm seems archaic and somewhat silly, even a tad Soviet. "Who needs weekends? Weekends are for Communists," says B.S. Hollingsworth. "And look what happened to them," replies Liz Friedman in YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A HERCULES.

[09] The truly innovative forms of entertainment are ignored or attacked by lawyers (unless they happen to be fans such as Missy Good, in which case they are simply institutionalized and made part of the structure).

It's the edge of the world
And all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East
At least it settles in the final location
It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication

[10] Hollywood as our shared experiences, affected by centuries of European hegemony and American cultural globalism. The sun sets in the final location, not just in the generic West. A theme similar to that of the first stanza arises here, though with more emphasis on the power differential between California culture and everyone else's (and by extension, Renaissance Picture's and the XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS Internet fan base), as well as the state of California as the last frontier that has swallowed up even the colonizers.

Void where prohibited

If you have a complaint, THIS is the place for you.


[11] Just as Hollywood's peddling of daily awareness and contentment is not only tolerated but understood as fixated, efficient, and in some cases desirable, so is XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS' own direction in the series. My dissatisfaction with the direction of the characters and the show's essence becomes lost in a pool of stagnation, apathy, and resistance. It is understood that the Californication sold to me is of high production quality; always has been, and always will be. Attempts to demonstrate the ability of fans to discount the material handed to us are rendered impotent. I have no training or experience in direction or production, nor do I accept the subtext that I as an Internet fan am readily assumed to relish the Xenaverse experience. I do not understand. I do not get it.

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Celebrity skin is this your chin
Or is that war you're waging

[12] For fear that Xena and Gabrielle may age whilst the saga of Eve's maturity continues (shudder), it is far less painful to the eye if our two heroines are kept on ice for a quarter of a century, to be thawed out a la DEMOLITION MAN. Here the point is more straightforward. To U.S. entertainment culture, age is something to be combated, not celebrated. Xena and Gabrielle (but not Joxer) are allowed insights to the secrets of existence without the haze in vision or graying of temples that usually comes with the territory. This implicitly continues the geronphobic component of Hollywood's and America's shared worldviews that play off one another in a supply-demand-influence trichotomy.

Marry me girl be my fairy to the world
Be my very own constellation
A teenage bride with a baby inside
Getting high on information
And buy me a star on the boulevard
It's Californication

[13] Here, an allusion to the reality of many Californians is made. Before I learned to manage my own intake of the wealth of static in cyberspace, I too went into hallucinations and "trips" on the amount of knowledge about the most esoteric of topics available online, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS among them.

[14] Encountering the novelty of the online fan community had drawn me towards the direction of my screen for approximately the lifespan of an average non-stoned Teletubbies viewer. Far from regretting the time wasted in these activities, my encounters with members of the Xenaverse had pointed me to new, interesting, and useful directions. Once I became disenchanted with the show, I could no longer stay a part of the online community. It is terribly difficult to converse about things when you have stopped paying attention to the main topic of conversation.

Space may be the final frontier
But it's made in a Hollywood basement
Cobain can you hear the spheres
Singing songs off station to station
And Alderon's not far away
It's Californication

[15] In my tangent-oriented thinking, I would amuse myself with thoughts of Renee O'Connor circa 1992 in the West Coast grunge scene, baggy plaid, combat boots and all, shrieking along with Kurt as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" crashed along her CD player while she did her laundry in a dank one-room apartment. *Sigh* At any rate, the first two lines here need little explanation, unless Gene Roddenbery's name means nothing. (If it does, stop reading now!) As it is comforting to think of the tragic life of Kurt the Sanctified reflected in the work of later artists, so it sets me at peace to think of aspiring scriptwriters and producers carrying on Joxer's memory through an unrequited romance in their hopelessly abused characters that comes to concrete fruition.

Born and raised by those who praise
Control of population
Everybody's been there
And I don't mean on vacation

[16] The righteous hypocrisy of Hollywood, the contradictory nature of Joxer's treatment as comic foil and sometime successful mission finisher, the dismissal of Gabrielle's former idealistic essence in favor of a pragmatic action figure who might have an ideal in there somewhere, or all of the above? Choice E: an interrupted vacation from all things XENA to provide WHOOSH readers with reflected ranting on my years in the Xenaverse based on a song I have listened to until my ears hemorrhaged.

Destruction leads to a very rough road
But it also breeds creation
And earthquakes are to a girl's guitar
They're just another good vibration
And tidal waves couldn't save the world
From Californication


All right, who broke the strings already? Joxer?

Xena does acoustic.


[17] Just as an acoustic instrument propped up on a doorway can absorb 7.6 on the Richter scale, so RenPics and Studios USA will treat this essay as yet more ignored criticism of the artists that produce a flagship series from a malcontent ex-fan mad that the spaghetti strainer-clad dweeb did not get the girl. Fair enough. It is never an easy task to rescue the planet from a force unseen yet permeating most every facet of humanity's shared reality. Frankly, I am not in the league, and even less in the mood.

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Sicker than the rest
There is no test
But this is what you're craving

[18] If repeating these specific lyrics twice in the song is any indication, the aging Angeleno band is becoming a tad resentful of the possibility that it may have to go under the knife eventually. After a bit of time in the educational establishment, I can say with some certainty that there is or can be a test for most everything, even narcissism. Maybe with even some validity and reliability, for good measure.




Conclusion

[19] What, are you still here? Even I would have left this tortured trip down Memory Quagmire by now and moved on to the sunnier essays on how Xena made me get back with my ex, make peace with my mother, or discover new and exciting uses for armor plating for that old-timey Bronze Age feel. I have tortured you enough. Now that Season Six will be perpetually new to me, I do not suppose there is much use in reading WHOOSH or the Xena-related perspectives of friends online. For some reason, though, I am continually drawn back by the allure of old friends made in the trenches, the rewarding sensibilities of seasons past, and my suspicious feelings that what turned out to be a series in decline may have rewarded the Internet with a model by which other fan communities will be compared and improved while avoiding our mistakes.



Articles

Brent Allison, "Is Gabrielle a Marxist?" WHOOSH #32 (May 1999)
http://whoosh.org/issue32/allison1.html



Biography

Brent Allison Brent Allison
Brent Allison has currently made good on his promise to flee the asylum of the high school for the halls of academia as a doctoral student in Social Foundations of Education at the University of Georgia. When not studying the fascinating culture, ethics and educational philosophy of computer hackers, Brent enjoys sending a new generation of school teachers to the wolves, er, world of public education from his own collegiate classroom along with the usual delights of net surfing, reading and learning Linux. He is still waiting for Renee's hair to grow back so that he may go in peace.
Favorite episode:THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER...(56/310)
Favorite line:Gabrielle: "You used my scroll?!!" A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
First episode seen:A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214)
Least favorite episode:ULYSSES (43/219)






GREETINGS FELLOW XENA FANS
By Kimberly N. Foster
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
605 words




Greetings (01-06)
Articles
Biography



GREETINGS FELLOW XENA FANS!




Greetings



Xena cheats at playing statues by substituting a cardboard standee

No home is complete without a Xena standee.


[01] It has been a year and some months later, and I am an even bigger fan. I have a satellite TV and I got the superstation package so I can watch XENA up to six times a weekend. The funny thing is, I usually do. Here in Chicago, they play episodes a week behind the rest of the country, which can be annoying, but if I miss one or just want to see an episode again I can always turn on WGN.

[02] I am a little annoyed with Sci-Fi channel. They used to have XENA Tuesday and then they switched to HERC/XENA Tuesday. Now they do not have XENA at all. Do they not know I have to watch XENA several times a week?

[03] I went to the XENA convention here in Chicago last year (1999), lots of fun. I bought a lot of good XENA stuff including an anklet that I am never taking off. I will be 108 years old and someone will say "look at that crazy old woman with the Xena anklet on". I am going to Pasadena next year. I can hardly wait. I think I will faint if I see Kevin Smith or Lucy Lawless in person.

[04] Wasn't this past season fun? I love Ares, as you all know, and that season ender! What is on his mind? I do not doubt his love for Xena, but I also know Ares does not do anything without a reason. At first I thought, hey, maybe this is his first unselfish act? Then I thought, nah. I love that episode.

[05] I wish that the season never ended. I find myself wishing Fall would get here already so I can find out what happens next. If you know our Fall/Winters here in Chicago you know what a statement that is. I am thirty-five now and still unmarried. I want to name my first girl Xena. Do you think that could be a reason why I am not married?

[06] I still work for Kraft, still love XENA, so I guess not much has changed, but I would not have it any other way.



Articles

Kimberly Foster, "What Is It About Xena?" WHOOSH #30 (March 1999)
http://whoosh.org/issue30/foster1.html



Biography

Kimberly N. Foster Kimberly N. Foster
Kim Foster, Age 33, Chicagoan! Born & raised in Chicago, relocated against will in the early eighties to L.A. Spent 8 Bad years and 2 semi-years in Lost Angeles before finally driving across country back home to Chicago in `90. Best part of trip was tuning the car radio and hearing WLS. Career highlights, Improv, U.S. Robotics, Ameritech, Kraft Foods.
Hobbies: Xena, Computers, Xena, home improvements, Xena, Desktop publishing, Ares (thought I was gonna say Xena, didn't you), My Dog Budha (aka My Son). Still single.
Loves: Jesus Christ, My Dog, Xena, Ares, working for Kraft, my garden, my other pets (finches, parakeets, koi), sexy confident men. Dislikes: Pretense, apathy, tax collectors, bill collectors.
Favorite episode:THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER...(56/310), BITTER SUITE (58/312), THE RECKONING (06/106), and KING CON (61/315). Not necessarily in that order.
Favorite line:Xena asks Rafe to hand her an article of clothing, and Rafe says, "What do you say?" Xena says "Or Else." KING CON
First episode seen:Not sure but THE DELIVERER (50/304) and A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) were among the first
Least favorite episode:HERE SHE COMES... MISS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211)





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