Whoosh! Issue 56 - May 2001
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" to expedite the process. All letters received by 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 and may be published at the editor's discretion. Letters received after the 15th of the month may be reserved for a later issue.




A Quarter Million!!!
All Joxer Issue
The Death of the Lidador: Joxer's Death and the Problem of Self-Fulfillment
Joxer Fan: A Fandom of Our Own
April Fools Day Cover 2001
Are Xena and Gabrielle Together: An Issue Bigger Than Two Characters
Celts
Say It Loud, Say It Proud
O'Connor Should Sing



Letters To The Editor



A Quarter Million!!!

From: Mist
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001
Subject: A QUARTER MILLION!

I am pleased to announce that as of today, April 30, 2001, Sword and Staff donations have exceeded the one-quarter million dollar mark! What started out as a bunch of nutballs trying to make a difference in their little corner of the world, has mushroomed into a force to be reckoned with -- not just in the Xenaverse, but in the world!

My profound thanks to all of you who have done so much to help make the world a better place because you are a part of it. Congratulations and well done!

All the best,
Mist
http://sword-and-staff.com





All Joxer Issue

From: Linda
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001
Subject: A Thousand Gratitudes from this real-life Joxer

Thank you, Kym and all, for an April no-joke exploration of the character of Joxer. Now that we are all (hopefully) getting reconciled to the idea that a philosophical retrospective about the series and its principals is in order, a little perspective on Joxer will admit some of the points made by the great authors of this issue. Tears in my eyes over article after article. I know he was initiated as comic relief, but somewhere along the line I realized that, in his place, I'd probably not rise to the occasion as well as the so-called goofus repeatedly accomplished. I really appreciate the serious treatment given this most-maligned character of all in the Xenaverse. Love him or hate him, he made a permanent mark that had great moments of dignity and heroism. Thanks again.

Linda





The Death of the Lidador: Joxer's Death and the Problem of Self-Fulfillment

Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001
From: Bongo Bear
Subject: Joxer - Finally in His Place

The Death of the Lidador has everything you love in a Whoosh! article: Marxist theory, popular culture, and most importantly, a truly informed and intelligent analysis of the Joxer character. Rebello put Joxer in a historical literary perspective and gave the character more depth than any of the more vocal die-hard fans of the boob have ever been able to do with their incessant barking about Joxer's unappreciated heroism. Repetition, even of facts, proves nothing. Analysis is what counts. Rebello confirmed what I had always suspected about Joxer. The man's destiny was and always has been the meager, but sublime heroism of cannon fodder.

Bongo Bear



Joxer Fan: A Fandom of Our Own

From: Gregory Gruschow
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001

It was with Great interest that I read Janet Swainston's article "Joxer Fan: A Fandom of Our Own". However, I feel I should point out a couple of clarifications.

#1) The Joxer Shields she mentions actually did not come about because of the "Joxer Wars" of a.t.x. Rather, it originally was a small bunch of Joxer lovers who formed as one of the "lists" that were popular there at the time. The name Joxer Shields came about because of the round thingy on the front of Joxer's armor, which (sort of) resembles a shield (or a pizza plate- take your pick).
The more (in)famous and wider known Joxer Shields was a second banding of Joxer lovers, and it would be this group that would wage the "Joxer Wars" and the shield of their name would become symbolic of the desire to defend Joxer and his fans from any and all detractors in the form of friendly debate, point for point arguements, and episode dissection. The second generation Joxer Shields had but one important rule: Be Nice, a rule that, for the most part, was followed even under trying moments.
#2) While the Joxerphile/Joxerphobe rift was indeed a serious one to Fandom, the one most damaging, and indeed the one with the most far reaching consenquences, was the Subtexter/Non-Subtexter rift that occured late in season 1 and early season 2 as the show's subtext picked up speed.
This first and most far reaching Fandom rift, if it could have happened with less bitterness on both sides, if everyone could have just agreed to disagree, would have made Xena Fandom a far, far, better thing in the long run.

However, because it played out as it did, it set the stage for other Fandon rifts just as nasty to occur.

Rather ironic when you look at the lessons Xena:Warrior Princess attempts to teach concering how poor choices can come back to haunt you again and again in ways you never dreamed.

Greg Gruschow





April Fools Day Cover 2001

From: Connie
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001
Subject: Thanks for the issues

I just wanted to drop a note thanking you for some phenomenonal issues and another great April Fool's page. I've enjoyed the articles both tongue in cheek and serious and thank you for giving me more than my share of laughs and sobs. I appreciate your time and effort and the efforts of your fantastic staff. thanks for the great times.

Connie






From: L Jones
Subject: April Fools fake issue
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001

You've excelled yourselves - yet again!

Had me in fits of laughter.

Is it time for us loyal followers to submit our suggested topics for next year's edition? Something along the lines of - XWP, the only action series with TWO pregnant action heroes, pushes the envelope once again and comes back from cancellation?

Keep up the great work - in these sad days we need you more than ever.

L Jones





Are Xena and Gabrielle Together: An Issue Bigger Than Two Characters

Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001
Dafydd Thomas
Subject: The Relationship Matters

March issue, letters from Shaughnessy, Bram Reichbaum and Leedsbard say "It doesn't matter." They say it over and over again, "It doesn't matter." Chanting it like a mantra, imploring us, exhorting us, screaming and stamping their little feet, just as if they actually cared. And as such "It doesn't matter." joins the three great lies of all time: "The cheque's in the post." "The dog ate it." "I'm not homophobic but-."

I wish I was not homophobic but-, I would see the world through such happy spectacles Shaughnessy writes of "sub-text heavy season 4". What? When? The man sees gays everywhere! XG wore comfortable boots, they smiled at each other - this is all the evidence an inquisitor needs to crucify them.

Reichbaum writes "TV execs aim to maximize ratings." Earth to Reichbaum, the ratings have plummeted with the Roman Catholic story arc. TV execs aim to maximize profits. Often profits derive from ratings, but when profits flow directly from the Vatican Bank Advertising Department then that saves wasting money on producing entertaining shows. If TPTB cared about ratings, Tapert wouldn't have been so proprietorial, "It's my showTM and it's my wifeTM and I'll do what I like with it."

Leeds bard was a victim of queer-bashing but_ says how vitally important it is to crucify Lesbians and send them to Hell even while he insists that XG were never lovers or even friends or even aware of each others' existence..

Because their system follows Caesar's principle of divide and conquer. It is subtler than homophobia simplex. The ideal is that rich, middle-class, gay men can buy into respectable Patriarchy and join together in Lesbian-bashing.

In the midst of all the Dyke-bashing of seasons 4-6, male homosexuality is promoted in a positive light. Jett, Michael and Eli are portrayed as heroic figures. Everybody has to have the regulation gay skinhead hairdo. Tapert has made many tolerant remarks about male gays. Divide and Conquer.

TPTB don't even object to Lesbian sex as long as it is acted out by prostitutes for the entertainment of middle-class men. They sent Xena with Tara, Lao Ma's daughter, Ares and Anthony. Callisto begat Xena's baby. (Lucy's baby should have been an occasion of joy for the whole Xenaverse but TPTB turned that jubilation into ashes in our mouths, by naming the baby Julius Caesar and making him Damien 2.) In Roman Catholicism, the unforgivable sin is when Lesbian sex is mixed up with love and joy and loyalty and laughs and tears and all the pinko commie stuff that made me a hard-core nut-ball Xena fan in the first place.

Leeds bard etc all admit that the story-lines are crap ever since Eli censored the sub-text, but they think it is some weird co-incidence. (Spooky, spooky - play the X-Files music)

Censoring the subtext is precisely why the story-lines are crap. Studios USA privatized Renaissance Pictures because the subtext offended their bigotry and they wanted to ram their religion down our throats. First to go was the humour. We must give up desire and fill ourselves with fear and loss. Next, they took away the fantasy. Dragons and Wizards and Princesses are merely scene dressing. The very stuff of fantasy is the good guys win. When we want the bad guys to win we watch the news.

Out went the excitement. Remember evil Xena warlord in Hercules Season 1? Beautiful, proud, intelligent and honourable - very exciting! But evil Xena flashback is merely vicious and stupid; and evil Xena zombie Eli disciple is just boring and embarrassing. This killed off the drama. Every TV program begins its existence with grey men in suits making it up, the whole point is to coat it in so much Razzamatazz that it FEELS like important stuff happening to people we care about. When Xena and Gab-in-Hell became boring and evil there was nothing to care about. We didn't watch and worry "What will happen to XG?" We thought "How will Tapert humiliate Lucy and Renee this week?"

And when Xena Prostitute Princess and Gab-in-Hell became indestructible, out went any last lingering shreds of suspense. LOOKING DEAD IN THE EYE Lucy was driving the horse and cart directly at Hades. With the original characters, this would have been high drama, Xena, courageous and defiant to the last, goes out in one big blaze of glory, with her best friend by her side. As the Klingon Commander says, "It would have been glorious!" But no, what we got was the Power Rangers versus Xeeny God Slayer. She had slain so many gods with daggers and craprams and making faces at them that I assumed she was going to run over Hades with the cart. And Ares' speech at the end, "I did it all for love of you Xena." Utterly cringe-making! And people complain about FISHSTCKS?

TPTB hyped up the season 4 crucifixion prophecy. "Hey, everybody, look at us! We've got an end of season cliff-hanger! What a new, exciting, cutting-edge concept, that's never been done before!" And then a few weeks before "Ides of March" was broadcast, the Vatican Bank announced that contracts for Season 5 were signed. Talk about building up the suspense.

All out victory ain't enough for the anti-subtexters. They have to back-date Eli and pretend that XG always hated each other, that is if they were even aware of each other's existence. ONE AGAINST AN ARMY Gabrielle "Xena, when we were in China, I never meant to hurt you." So TPTB say "Oh yes you did!" and make FORGET ME NOT.

OAAA Xena "Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you." So TPTB make FORGIVEN, KING CON and all of Season 5 for Xena to say "P*ss off, Gabby. I've got a new little friend." Every subtext scene and tender moment has to be ripped apart and defiled by revisionist `historians'. CALLISTO Cyrra was the only time that Xena made war on women and children. So TPTB make a load of flashbacks where she did little else. XENA SCROLLS Xena to Janice "Now you listen to me. Gabrielle was never useless. She cared for others more than herself. She was the finest friend a person could ever have." REMEMBER NOTHING Xena to Alternate Gabrielle "When I look at you, I see the purest, kindest person I've ever known. A woman full of wonder and stories, who would never give up on anyone or anything." So TPTB invented Eli to turn her into Gab-in Hell, the useless tag-along, the peroxide psychopath who can't even write stories anymore THE PLAGUE'S THE THING and sacrificed her sense of humour on the altar of Eli PUNCHGROANS. A DAY IN THE LIFE Xena "I could stop bathing and wear a smelly wolf-skin." Gabrielle laughs "In that case, you'll travel alone" Season 5 uniform - a smelly wolfskin. DEATHMASK Xena to Taurus "Killing in self defence is fine, but the pure evil of murder is that it is premeditated." IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE and CONVERT preach that Self-defence is the evilest sin in the world, second only to Lesbian Love. And Self-defence really is the evilest sin because Lesbian Love doesn't exist and never has, because we send Lesbians to Hell for it. Oh, but they never did it. So we send all women to Hell just to be sure. Me thinks the Papist doth protest too much.

They want to punish XG for being gay, but at the same time, they insist that XG ain't gay. That's illogical, Captain.

The Bible does not condemn Lesbian Love. The Roman Catholics use one obscure verse in the Epistle to the Romans about "women leaving off from that which is natural" which could mean anything. In St. Paul's writing style, he is often obscure and platonic on quillets of theology, but we he condemns sin, he is loud and he is proud. When he don't like stuff, he makes himself absolutely crystal clear. He crosses every t, he dots every i. The only Scriptural reference is the positive light shone on the love of Ruth and Naomi. Suffer me not to depart from thee, nor to leave off from following after thee. For whither thou goest, I will go. Where thou stayest, I will stay. Where thou diest, I shall die, yea and have my grave there also. Thy people shall be my people and thy god, my god."

Dafydd ap Thomas






Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001
From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Subject: Letter to the Editor

When I wrote my letter criticising Anna Dooland's article "Are Xena and Gabrielle Together? An Issue Bigger Than Two Characters", I tried to present my arguments in a reasonable and inoffensive manner. Judging by Suzett Perry's response in Issue 55, I appear to have failed in this. If at first you don't succeed...

Ms. Perry's main problem seems to be my assertion that Ms. Dooland had started watching XWP for the wrong reason. She says:

"No doubt when Anna said "Wow! Finally a show that has lesbians!" she meant that she was happy to finally be represented in a positive way, i.e. the "tough female lead" that you refer to."
Reading the article, that does not appear to be the case. Ms. Dooland says:
"I initially began watching XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS because of THE QUEST (37/213). I recall having seen earlier episodes but not really paying attention to them."
Apparently it was not enough for Xena to be a strong, independent woman (surely a good role model for all women, regardless of sexual orientation?). Xena and Gabrielle also had to be lesbians in order to merit Ms. Dooland's attention, and the expectation of seeing a lesbian relationship portrayed was her main reason for watching THE QUEST. Had she watched those earlier episodes with more interest, Ms. Dooland would have been less disappointed. In accusing me of arrogance, Ms. Perry ignores the fact that Ms. Dooland did not join the series on a regular basis until halfway through Season 2, and then expected the show to become what she wanted it to be. She now vilifies the producers for not fulfilling her wishes. Is that not arrogant?

In her article, Ms. Dooland also refers to "those who would toss XWP to the heterosexuals". It appears that "heterosexual" and "homophobe" are interchangeable in her vocabulary. She asserts that the subtext has remained "sub" in order to pander to homophobic (i.e. heterosexual) viewers who would not wish to see Xena and Gabrielle portrayed as lovers. I am a heterosexual who does not see them as lovers, ergo I am a homophobe in her eyes. Just for the record, my main objection to such a relationship is the level of abuse which crept into Season 3, resurfacing during both the following seasons. This would apply regardless of the alleged partners' genders.

Oddly enough, in using "heterosexuals" as a synonym for "homophobes", Ms. Dooland has also alienated the many pro-subtext fans who happen to be straight. Has it occurred to either her or Ms. Perry that these fans are happy to imagine Xena and Gabrielle as a couple because they, too, wish to see lesbians portrayed in a positive way?

Season 6 has yet to air in the UK, but I understand it contains a number of subtext-heavy episodes. Were I to accuse the producers of "tossing XWP to the lesbians" I would, quite deservedly, be nailed to the wall for my bigoted attitude. There is no danger of that, however, since I am not the type who resorts to name-calling when he runs out of reasoned arguments.






From: LeedsBard
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001
Subject: Letters to the editor

Here we go again...aka, a few notes in response to Suzett Perry's letter in last month's Whoosh!....

OK, I've had enough now. Can we please stop the name-calling and get real? I'm not going to dignify the personal attack made on Mr Shaughnessy by any kind of formal response as I'm sure he's quite capable of defending himself, but I do have a few other comments for you....

Interesting aside about lesbian identity being a matter of genetics rather than politics, especially as Anna Dooland's original article was about the politics of Queer representation....hmm....and maybe I'm just getting old, but I remember the days when "the personal is the political" meant just that - that every aspect of our lives is political in one way or another, so I'm sorry but that old genetics argument just doesn't do it for me......

At the risk of repeating myself, I have to say that I agree with Mr Shaughnessy's assessment that starting to watch XWP because it's a "show that has lesbians" is getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. In fact, I would go so far as to say it's grabbing the wrong stick altogether, because The Quest was/is not at all representative of the first one and a half seasons of XWP, and coming in (no pun intended) at that point is bound to give a very different perspective than starting viewing with, say, The Warrior Princess, The Reckoning or Mortal Beloved.

Furthermore, as I read her original article, Ms Dooland didn't only "want to watch the show from a certain perspective", she wanted to challenge what she saw as its "heterocentric" bias. These are two fundamentally different things - the first is reading the existing material from a Queer perspective, the second is demanding that it be rewritten specifically for the Queer viewer....remind me who was being arrogant again?!!

Also, I think it's a little unfair to accuse Mr Shaughnessy of "trying to ram his own views down [other people's throats]" when all he was doing was responding in kind to an article that clearly equated heterosexuality with homophobia. Well, that would piss me off too, if I was straight. In fact, it pisses me off anyway, and I'm not straight.

And all I have to say about this being a "gross misinterpretation of reality" is: I don't know which "reality" we're talking about here, but give my love to Lyceus if you see him - oh no, sorry I forgot, you won't understand that reference 'cos it happened before The Quest. (I suggest you look up Remember Nothing in the Whoosh! Episode Guide - but you won't like it 'cos Xena's engaged to a real wuss of a bloke in that one.....)

Seriously though, I'm getting really fed up with people shooting their own troops, so to speak. It might be called "Friendly Fire" but it still kills people.... I just do not believe that you can be a real fan of XWP and also be a homophobe, not with the attitude of tolerance (and, let's face it, love) that surrounds the show (and I'm not going into all that again this time, I did that in my last letter.....) This is a TV programme, for the Gods' sake, not "real life". Hit the real "campaign trail", fight the real enemies! Campaign, demonstrate, argue, fight, whatever, for the real issues: equal partnership rights, recognition of gay marriages, an end to discrimination (in all arenas), an end to queerbashing and other hate crimes, decriminalising homosexuality in countries where it is outlawed....you name it, there's still a lot to be done. Don't waste all that energy knocking other individual Xena fans (or the Xenastaff) who are most likely sympathetic to The Cause anyway.

And remember what my goddess once said: "Be Nice." (Hey, if Argo could understand it, so can Xenafans of the allegedly grown human being variety!!!)

Peace, my friends.
LeedsBard





Celts Afoot!

Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2001
From: Senachie
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Andrew Shaughnessy wrote (Letter to the Editor: April):

"There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that Xena's ancestry is Celtic..."
The Celtic migrations from the European heartland extended as far south and east as Galatia in what is now eastern Turkey. The Galatians invaded the mountainous areas of Thrace and Southern Macedonia where they defeated and, in turn, were defeated by Greek defenders. Some of these Galatians may have settled in these relatively inhospitable regions.

Xena hails from Amphipolis on the eastern, Thracian side of the Strymon River, the border between Thrace and Greek Macedonia. Allies of the Trojans, the Thracians came late to the Greek Federation. Thrace was the geographic interface between areas of Balkan and Grecian settlement, the Balkan strain a mixture of Slav and Celt. The name Xena, of course, is Greek for "foreign," and while Xena is extremely bright, she's always had always trouble with her Greek ABC's.

The name, Gabrielle, appears to be of Hebrew derivation. Poteidaia, at the entrance to the Pallene Peninsula in southern Macedonia, lies eighty leagues to the south of Thessaloniki, home to one of the largest Israelite communities in ancient (and modern) Greece. Aristotle commented that Stagira, his birthplace, just to the east of Poteidaia, boasted a sizeable Greek Israelite community. It would have been unusual for a bard, at that time, to have been a woman, especially a young woman. Literacy rates among Israelite women, in relation to women of contiguous Greek settlement, may have been higher. The name Lila seems to be of Greek/Hebraic derivation: Delilah: the Philistine, "bride of the night" and, according to some traditions, Lilith was the nocturnal bride of Adam.

In terms of sub-text, the Celts and Greeks apparently didn't draw as hard and fast a line as we do between homo- and heterosexuality. What we call bi-sexuality, for lack of a better term, seems to have been common in much of the ancient world. One could surmise, at the risk of courting an anachronism, that if intimacies between men, both adolescents and adults, were as widespread and acceptable as the literature of the time suggests, the ladies, in that regard, were probably not idle.

Imagine two women of ancient Greece, one possibly of Celtic, the other possibly of Hebrew origins, sharing intimacies of a physical and emotional nature while burning up the Indo-European turf from Britania to Germania to North Africa to Chin. Add to the mix what's known about the historical Amazons, and another face of the "Hero of a Thousand Faces" materializes before our MCA-Universal eyes.

Senachie





Say It Loud, Sat It Proud

From: Paully Adams
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001

I sit here at the computer, and realize that a big part of my life is about to end. It's kind of wierd, for a long time, I denied that Iwas obssesed about Xena: Warrior Princess. Then I denied my fascination with a certain Bard. But by the end of Season Two I was proud of my obssesions, even to the point of speaking about it as much as I could.

This series has help me in unimaginable ways. I use to keep my feelings buried inside and let the anger and pain fester, but then I discovered fan fiction and that became my outlet. One story became a huge number (more than 20 so far). I discovered soulmates, and knew what type of relationship I desired and more importantly deserved. I realized what the treu meaning of family was, and I was not limited to just bloodkin. Plus, I've found numerous friends and buddies on the internet.

So I say it loud. I say it proud. I love Xena: Warrior Princess. Yes, I love and admire the Battling Bard of Potidaea. And when the show ends, I will go on, a bit stronger, a bit wiser-- all thanks to a show. Paully Adams





O'Connor Should Sing

Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001
From: Snarky Subject: Letter to the Editor

I was just reading the Lo Duca interview in #19, and got an intense craving to hear ROC sing Gab's part in "Love Will Be Our Guide" from The Bitter Suite, as I've always thought Susan Wood sounded insufficiently Gab-ish...And I know from Lyre, Lyre... she can sing, so I think she'd've done a much better job than she apparently believed. Has she since given in (You know -- to what must be intense fan pressure...;-{)}) and recorded her own version? I'd pay to hear it....

Snarky






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