Whoosh! Issue 80 - August 2003
Letters to the Editor

Last update: 08/01/03

To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to letters@whoosh.org. 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 may be reserved for a later issue.

Topics Covered: A Woman Of Deception: Gabrielle???!; Life...Goes On; About Fan Fiction; Slash; DVD Review; That Address Again!

Letters To The Editor

A Woman Of Deception: Gabrielle???!

From: Suzanne Velcro
Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2003 7:38 AM
Subject: A woman of deception: Gabrielle????

May I congratulate Lee Reams on his wonderful diatribe on Gabrielle.

This is not to contradict any of his points. I thought that a couple of additions, though, might be in order. "Homeros" could also come from "ho me horon", i.e. "the blind one" (also in Liddell and Scott but attributed to the Cumaeans). Also "Platon" could very well refer to the Master's broad forehead. Both above interpretations of the names of the two seminal figures were favoured by my primary school teachers and we all know how impressionable one can be at that age. The above hardly detracts from the scholar's point on the use of pseudonyms, except that with with PC being entirely absent in the ancient world, both could have been used by these men's parents, although one certainly hopes not.

I, as a Greek, would certainly prefer Gabrielle to Polyxena, the latter being associated with a most dried up female stereotype in this country (PC still absent in this part of the earth), something like Hermione in the English world (also in the Greek world, as it happens).

Now, whether that last syllable of Gabrielle's name would have been pronounced like the Italians, Portuguese, Russians, and practically everybody else would, is more than certain. Actually, English seems to be one of the very few languages where you hardly ever pronounce what is written on the paper.

Regarding Xena's name, there was a great deal of confusion in this country when the series started playing, as the immediate transliteration would lead to Xene or, phonetically, Kseni, which, of course, means stranger/foreigner, or is short for Polyxene, which again would lead to the above connotations of that name. The matter was settled when it was silently agreed to pronounce her name 'Zina' and no further thought was given to the matter.

I do not share my compatriots' general view of the series, who overall use the local expression, that was derived from acute observation of a nuthouse playground, of "three are dancing and two are singing" (rhymes in Greek), when they refer to the show to express their feelings on the exact whirlwind of anachronisms that Mr Reams is referring to. I blame their attitude on the rigid education system and the lack of imagination that seems to be plaguing this country.

I know that both Poteidaia and Amphipolis played some minor role in some ancient alliance or other, but these were also quite unfortunate choices for the two heroines' origins, as far as this country is concerned. I wouldn't be so sure if Gabrielle would go unnoticed in terms of her hair colour, as I wouldn't be surprised if the locals had ever anything else to do in their few thousand years of agricultural existence in these places.

Again, I would like to congratulate the writer for his excellent analysis, but I would like to disagree with his dislike of MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS, which I thought was hilarious. But then again, this is what cultural differences are all about!

My most sincere regards
Suzanne Velcro (most certainly a pseudonym)

From: Dafydd ap Thomas
Sent: Saturday, July 05, 2003 1:19 PM
Subject: letter to Editor: Renees's acting ability


Lee Reams slags off Renee's acting; I will admit that he is correct, she was unconvincing yelling "Kill 'em all!" in seasons 5 & 6. But that don't mean Renee can't do it properly. Remember the finale of THE XENA SCROLLS, Covington blows up the tomb with dynamite, yelling "Sayonara, Sucker!" Now imagine that the tomb were swarming with Nazi soldiers, Covington would have been perfectly convincing yelling "Kill 'em all!" Deny it if you can.

But who needs imagination when there is Deineira's pep-talk to her troops in HERCULES AND THE LOST KINGDOM? I will check whether she actually speaks the exact words, but the speech as a whole is perfectly convincing and any pep-talk just before a battle must mean "Kill 'em all!" What other kind of pep-talk before a battle is possible?

If maybe, Deineira wrapped up the message in fluffy words of patriotism and duty, that is the script-writer's fault, not Renee's.

Deineira is the exact proof of Renee's range. As you may have noticed, I am in love with Gabrielle, I am totally in love with Janice Covington, but Deineira doesn't get me at all. Now that's range! Renee can convincingly play characters that I fall in love with and characters whom I don't.

Lee also contrasts Lucy's magnificent tour de force in WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP with Gabrielle having no double or triple roles. That is the Studio's fault, not Renee's. Read The Best of All possible Worlds, where Xena and Gabrielle, meet their evil twins from the parallel universe with hilarious results. [Note 01] Read Gentle Alice Brown. Alicia is Gabrielle's identical double, she is a Brigand Chief, seeking vengeance for her Father's murder. Xena is totally devastated when she hears rumours that Gabrielle has become a killer.

These one actor is good, the other is crap arguements are invidious bolleaux.

Both Lucy and Renee were brilliant actors. If either had been crap, then the other wouldn't have been able to perform so convincingly.

And "convincingly" is the whole problem with defining acting ability. The best actor must be invisible. All we ought to see is the character. When we notice the actor, it is because the actor has failed. TSUNAMI, I kept worrying that Lucy said she hated getting wet in CHARIOTS OF WAR. Precisely because the story-line was crap and unengaging. Malthus tries to kill people, Lucy threatens to kill him if he does it again. Malthus tries to kill people, Lucy threatens to kill him if he does it again. Over and over. If there was a worthwhile, engaging story, I would'nt have worried about Lucy getting wet, I would have worried about Xena and Gabrielle dying.

Note 01: Our Xena sees Alt Xena's power and wealth, she is tempted to revert to evil, but Gabrielle keeps her good. Alt Xena sees Our Xena's peace and love and is tempted to revert to Good. Both Zeuses intervene, the cosmic balance needs one good Xena and one Evil. Alt-Xena and Gabrielle, have a plan, if they turn good, it will destroy the Universe.

Life...Goes On

From: AnnB
Sent: Saturday, July 05, 2003 6:59 PM
Subject: Love the editorial

Yep, Kym, agreement comes from this corner. Do you know what people who are watching Oxygen say of this go-round of FRIEND IN NEED? I don't know how many times it has shown season 6 by now.

The Power that Was was bound to learn sooner or later of their foolhardiness. But I'll bet they don't care. Tapert wasn't alone in defending FRIEND IN NEED. Won't name names.

About Fan Fiction

Bongo Bear
Subject: A reader's response to Fran Bergman's "About Fan Fiction"
To: ktaborn@lightspeed.net

Dear Whoosh,

I am a voracious reader with eclectic tastes that includes Xena: Warrior Princess fanfiction. One of my objections to Bergman's article is her premise that romance, especially as typified by Missy Good, is the end all and be all of quality story telling. While romance is a commercially successful genre, what sells is not an indication of its quality. Sappy romance novels follows the same business model as junk food. Junk food goes down easy, won't challenge the taste buds, and makes you temporarily feel good. Romance is an easy read, won't challenge the brain and makes you temporarily feel good. There must not be enough prescriptions for Prozac to go around.

But worse than that, romance is a ghetto for women's writing. Walk down the designated "romance" aisles of any major book store, especially used ones, and read off the authors' names. The vast majority are women. The vast majority of XWP bards are also women. By belittling other bards' attempts to break out of romance fiction's formula-driven stranglehold, Bergman, perhaps unintentionally, reinforces the idea that a woman's place as a writer and reader is in romance fiction and no other. Forays into erotic fiction may be at times awkward and make some uneasy, but at least these bards are breaking out of the mold other women like Bergman seem all too eager to clamp on their sisters. Women should write like 800 pound gorillas. Write whatever you want, even romance but not just romance.

From: Dee Spencer
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 2:45 PM
Subject: About Fan-Fiction

As far as this Fran is concerned, this issue is closed and she won't be getting into the laughable verse politics which at this very moment it taking hold.

The article Fran wrote irked me so I wrote this individual on how I felt.

What's irking me now is; I read and reread her article and no where was there censorship. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. No one was told to stop, pull it off, or anything of the sort. What I do see is a form of censoring freedom of speech. Funny how that concept went right out the door.

Freedom of speech:

"Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one's discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments - and even human rights groups - all over the world constantly trying to curtail it."
Fran spoke how she felt and in no way censored anyone. She gave her opinion like we all have and do. So why try and censor her right to free speech?

I wonder if it's not about something else or something personal, and I wonder why once again in the verse, individuals hop on the ban wagon of crucifying without any form of knowledge of 'why?'

Fran you have the right to your opinion, but I don't agree at all, which is my right.

Freedom Of Speech.

From: Dafydd ap Thomas
Sent: Saturday, July 05, 2003 2:18 PM
Subject: letter to Editor fan-fic

Xena fan-fiction

Dear Whoosh

I used to write fanfic, I gave up when I read so much of it.

The "sex scenes" lack zing. They always felt like bog-standard pornography, with the names changed. Fran says she felt that Xena/Gabrielle and by proxy, Lucy/Renee were being raped. I never felt that. When I read fan-fic, it never felt like XG at all. The one shining exception had an action scene and XG were definitely being themselves, then a quick sex scene, so we still remember them being theirselves. More action, then, another quick sex scene. That worked.

The "first time scenes" are even worse. No drama at all. One says "Fancy a shag?" the other says "OK then." Planet Earth calling Bard, so why didn't they get it together before? There is no risk, so there is no drama. Suppose Xena is scared to come on to Gabrielle in case Gab rejects her and Xena loses all the glory of the Love they already have. Suppose Gab is scared to come on to Xena because of the redshirts. Everyone Gab kisses dies. Then there is risk, then there is drama. So it ain't going to happen in fan-fic.

It got so bad that I lost my Best Friend because she kept on writing torture Gabrielle stories.

Everyone is praising Missy Good. I don't get it. Didn't she write that crappy episode where Renee gets guilt-ridden about killing the boy who waved a message scroll that looked like a knife in the sandstorm? Maybe it was crap because the Studios changed it. Until we see Good's original script, we won't know how much was her fault and how much was theirs.

Renee is guilt-ridden about killing the boy. Hello, this is Elijan, Aryan skinhead, "Kill 'em all for the Greater Glory of the One True God!" Renee we are discussing. Why would she worry?

The RING ended with Gabrielle's innocence being restored if Good's episode had immediately followed it. Then innocent Gabrielle could have been upset about killing 'em all and accepted that her Destiny was to be an evil Elijan skinhead and there might have been some sense to it.

What we got was the bog-standard, the authorities arrest one of the gang and leave the other one free to rescue the first. They ride towards Renee waving their polo bats and we are waiting for Lucy to throw the Evil Chakram and cut their bats and they ride again and we are still waiting. Yawn, yawn, as if anyone cares anymore. Classic Xena doing trix with the good Chakram was exciting, but Eli's Evil Chakram is boring.


From: Rae Trail
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2003 8:39 PM
Subject: Uber K/S

I read several of your articles about 'why slash'? interesting stuff. I slash K/S, and have since I first saw them at age seven or so... but didn't realize what I was doing. It's fun and engaging to read about other slashers. Do you know if, as it is claimed, K/S was the first slash?

Yes, it was the first like Columbus was the first, and who knows, it really may have been the actual first. But the critical point is that it was the slash that inspired the others. Once started, it could not stop, and it consequently infected all other media fandoms on the way. Now we all have it!

DVD Review

From: Amy Anich
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2003 9:22 PM
Subject: Xena DVDs sold on Amazon

Hi Kym, thanks for all your great work on Whoosh - I love it!

A few months ago, there was a review of the Xena season 1 DVDs sold at the Xena/Hercules store. At the end of the article, it was noted that another producer was also developing Xena seasons on DVD, to be sold on Amazon and other places - and that Whoosh would review them.

Any word on that review? I'd like to get the DVDs, but would find a review helpful in deciding which one.

The review was done by Mil Toro and appeared in last month's issue (Issue 79/July 2003). You can get to it by clicking here: http://whoosh.org/issue79/toro6.html.

That Address Again!

From: Susan Solomon
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2003 5:51 PM
Subject: Rob Tapert's address

In a past Letters to the Editor you printed Rob Tapert's address. I can't seem to locate it now. I'd like to send him a little "Thanks for the good times" letter. Thank you,

Robert Tapert can currently be reached at

Robert Tapert
Renaissance Pictures/Ghost House
315 S Beverly Drive, Suite 216
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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