To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to email@example.com and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor". All letters notated "to the editor" are subject to publication and may be edited for brevity and or clarity.
On The Brink Of Madness
Gabrielle's Staff Techniques
Bravo Bitter Suite
Bitter Suite and the Abuse Of Gabrielle
Kudos To XenaStaff
Just Who Is Xena's Father?
XWP Censored In UK!
A Calendar Tradition!
Responses To The Guy E-Mail Edition Article
Bummed Over The Rift
Xena And The Psychomachia
Writing Campaign Request
Need Help Locating Parody
Cry Murder!Wed, 4 Feb 1998
Subject: Article: Cry Murder!
At first, I skipped past your summaries of 1st and 2nd season episodes in this article, but then I went back to them. I realized that you were building a case against Xena's actions in the 3rd season (particularly in Gabrielle's Hope), based on the "definitions of law" from the 1st and 2nd seasons.
While I totally agree with your article, let us recall that Xena did not act without information during "The Deliverer" and "Gabrielle's Hope":
All these things might all add up to vindication for Xena, except for one thing.
- Khrafstar boasted to both Xena and Gabrielle that Gabrielle would be the instrument to bring Dahak into the world.
- Xena at first dismissed Ares' warning in "The Deliverer", and with good reason. Later, she obviously remembered her dialogue with him in "Ten Little Warlords". There he states that while he might be deceptive at times, a god need never outright lie. By the time "Gabrielle's Hope" rolled around, she (obviously) had reason to believe him.
- Let's not forget the three airheads, I mean banshees, who drool all over Gabby in "Gabrielle's Hope". (Then again, who wouldn't?) They plainly state in front of Xena and Gabrielle that she is the mother to Dahak, whose darkness will sweep across the world.
Were Xena to treat Hope as having the slightest potential for humanity, or the slightest smidgeon of Gabrielle's parentage, she would regard her attempt to kill Hope as the basest villainy.But Gabrielle says exactly this in "Gabrielle's Hope"! She tells Xena that as half of Hope's parentage is hers, she can teach her goodness, and overcome any innate evil of her father's side.
At this point, Xena should have hugged her, and they would have gone on to raise a family together. But of course, this would never pass the censors, and so we're stuck with the pointless "Rift" story arc.
All in all, this was one of the best articles to yet appear in Whoosh! magazine. Thanks for the superb job.
John E Baber
Author S. L. Nelson Responds:
You are welcome, thank you for your kind words.
Much of Xena's information about Hope came from known liars like Khrafstar or the Banshees, but your point about Ares telling the truth hits home. Xena probably did consider Ares words when she decided to kill Hope. On the other hand, Xena knows that Ares does not possess complete knowledge. Even if she finally decided he was telling her the truth she should expect that he would fail to see the possibility of good in Hope because "good" is not a concept that Ares readily recognizes, just as he doesn't understand "evil", which Xena did note.
I intended not so much to "bring a case against Xena" as to bring a case against ascriptive guilt and assassination. Gabrielle's actions in Maternal Instincts also fail to meet the earlier rules about murder. Our show moved from easily seen moral values to murky issues indeed. In the second season, Remember Nothing, Return of Callisto, Intimate Strange and The Price all had difficult moral choices, but the facts to consider before making a decision remained plain to the viewers.
Now that I've seen all six rift episodes, I see that the writers used the previous solid moral message about murder as the baseline to allow dramatic surprise when considering the new concepts they brought out, namely 'Why do bad things happen to good people?' and 'When does Faith fail'. These themes require tragedy, which they engineered ( or maybe over-engineered) as far as episodic television could possibly permit.
In the second season, the thematic highpoint demonstrated an infinite love from beyond the grave, encapsulated in a Summum Bonum kiss. Finite persons and finite characters can only point toward the infinite and so must always be in process but never in arrival.
For the third season, to keep the process kinetic, given how far The Quest had already advanced, they had to fight hate but win nevertheless. I hope my article helped clarify the baseline that set up this theme. I would like to see the writers return to the issues of ascriptive guilt and the morality of assassination now that the more important conflict between hate and love has received such full attention.
On The Brink Of MadnessThu, 12 Feb 1998
Subject: ...Whoosh! 17 article.
...Just read... Xena & Picard: On The Brink Of Madness, in this month's Whoosh! [by Mike Deeds], enjoyed it, and thought I'd comment on it. You stated:
The theme of both shows is that if a hero is consumed by an irrational hatred of a seemingly unstoppable enemy (s)he edges toward the brink of madness.Good premise. I think that it holds true for Picard's role in the Star Trek movie, but not for Xena in The Price. I've watched this episode many times and have come to a different conclusion. I think Xena's reaction to the Horde is the opposite of madness -- rather, in her effort to survive, she becomes an efficient, calculated killer -- a perfect warrior with all distractions and moral ambiguities pushed out of the way.
Her thinking becomes focused, she bottles her emotions, and she comes up with cunning plans, traps, and strategies to defeat the enemy. When she kills the Hordesman with an axe in the back it is not due to madness, but strategy -- she cannot let him escape because he has seen the fort's battlements and is therefore a tactical threat. As to the wounded Athenians, she can't spare the energy or emotion to care for them. She knows that caring for them could mean the end of them all. This seems like rational thinking to me.
Xena goes to war in this episode. To be successful at war, this type of focused mental and physical energy must be exercised in order to prevail. Perhaps it could be said that the concept of war is madness, but it does not follow that every participant in war is mad, does it? (But hey, that's why we have philosophers, right?)
I wholeheartedly agree with you that this is one of the very best Xena episodes. It really blew me away on first viewing.
Again, I enjoyed your article, and keep up the good work!
Mike Deeds Responds:
Of course, your interpretation is a valid one worth expanding into an essay for Whoosh. The idea for my article came from a review from Spectrum magazine. Here is a quote:
The first half is amazingly gripping, and Xena can be forgiven for teetering on the brink of madness...It's like a simpler, TV version of Apocalypse Now: Xena (instead of Willard) moves down the rive into a strange, violent world that's dominated by a palpable sense of fear and intimidation, the Horde (instead of Kurtz's Cambodian army)... Xena is close to losing control, and such a state ultimately endangers the success of defending the fort. (Again, remember Kurtz)... Knowing that Xena could return to such madness provides the depth that other episodes need to maintain effective drama."Basically, this quote perfectly captures my take on the episode. In my opinion, the episode clearly implies that Xena has 'lost' it. I do realize that Xena gave the same excuse you cited for killing the Hordesman with an axe in the back. Did you notice the sense of glee in Xena's face after killing him? A more rational course of action would have been to capture the Hordesman (as she later did) by knocking him out with her chakram. In today's army, her action would be called a war crime (although I do realize that you can't judge the past, even a mythical past, by today's standards). During my time in the army, I would have killed an enemy solider but I would have felt no sense of joy in doing it. You can be "an efficient, calculated killer" and still have "moral ambiguities".
Anyway, thanks for responding. So far, you are the only one to email a response. I thought I would hear from a Star Trek fan unhappy that I was somewhat critical of the movie or a Joxer hater due to my comments in the bio. To be honest, I was taking a jab at the Joxer haters who don't understand the term "comic relief".
Gabrielle's Staff TechniquesTue, 17 Feb 1998
Subject: Correction to current Whoosh! article
I'd like to offer a correction to the article Gabrielle's Staff Techniques [by Donald Plunkett, Whoosh #17 (February 1998)].
There is one group outside the martial arts community who teaches (or at least taught until recently) staff technique: the Army National Guard, as part of their riot-control training. The buzz-word is "pugil stick". (And while they don't use true staff methods ... SCA pole-arm combat can be very informative about the general issues involved.)
I'd also like to suggest the article is inappropriately titled. It's not really about staff technique, but is instead a historical survey of staff-using cultures. A real overview of _technique_ -- considerations of range, power, and accuracy, and a general examination of basic offensive and defensive moves -- would likely be extremely well received.
Changing TimesSat, 07 Feb 1998
Subject: Changing Times: February Issue of "Whoosh"
Just a short note to let you know that I greatly enjoyed your piece in February "Whoosh" Return of Callisto is perhaps my favourite "Xena" episode, and I think you encapsulated most of the complexities found within that great episode.
Peter Norrish and family
Bravo Bitter Suite[Because of the letters and fan reaction to THE BITTER SUITE, Whoosh! is planning an issue devoted to BITTER SUITE tentatively for the month of April 1998. This is a tentative date since we are trying to get permission from Universal/Renaissance Pictures to use audio clips and visual aids in the article. Wish us luck.]
Sat, 7 Feb 1998
Subject: Bravo Bitter Suite
The melodies are haunting, the words speak truths that are universal and need to be heard. It was SO Xena, all that has made this show the fantastic program it is.. Lucy is just terrific! Watching her bear down on the Amazons in search of Gabrielle, I wouldn't want to be on her wrong side! The Xena and Gabrielle duet as they express their pain, and then realize they need love to replace hate; the simple yet captivating song for forgiveness. The expression on Gabrielle's face as she says yes. Everyone was so great, and special thanks for the special effects and great writers and lyricists. They should expect an Emmy nomination for this one.
Darlene F Berchin
Sat, 07 Feb 1998
Subject: Bitter Suite
I just want to pass along an observation. In the episode synopsis of "Bitter Suite", Bluesong refers to Callisto as being dressed "kind of like Little Miss Muffet". Actually, she was dressed as the Fool in a Tarot Deck. Fool cards usually share common elements, so I can't say, for sure, but it looked like Callisto's Fool was patterned after the Fool in the Universal Waite Tarot, painted by Mary Hanson-Roberts. I'm not sure why, really, because Callisto didn't seem to be playing the role of the Fool (the innocent). But I am no expert in Tarot; perhaps someone else can explain the reference.
Also, the Wheel of Fate "screen" that hung in the air and had a lion and some other animals on it is also a tarot reference. The wheel of fate looked like a chakram to me, but the screen also looks very much like the Wheel of Fortune card in the Hanson-Roberts Deck (also painted by Mary Hanson-Roberts). I don't know the meaning of all of the symbols on the card (or on the "screen"). Maybe another participant can enlighten us. I'd sure like to know. If there were other tarot references, I missed them.
Lynne O. Fox
Mon, 16 Feb 1998
Subject: Comments on Bitter Suite
I must say I love Whoosh! because it's a well organized and convenient Xena source. I figured you'd be the person to E-mail about synopses. I've got a few comments on "Bitter Suite"
First: Someone please learn how to spell Eleusia. I looked it up in the dictionary, it's a real mythological place spelled E-l-e-u-s-I-a not I-l-l-u-s-I-a. I found that out while researching tarot cards.
Second: While viewing Bitter Suite I noted that after Callisto sang "Xena be calm, open your eyes" Xena's dress and the throne she sat in reminded me of the High Priestess in Tarot. Then I realized Callisto was the Fool in Tarot, with her bag, a dog following her and she was Xena's guide. I also think the wheel that looked like Xena's chakram was supposed to be the Wheel of Fortune in Tarot. The animals around it, the sphinx and Egyptian god. Later Joxer is hanging upside down, just like the Hanging Man in Tarot. Ares made me think of the Charioteer or the King in Tarot. So is it just me or is there a definite tarot theme in the episode Bitter Suite?
Regarding the spelling of Illusia, we have no control over that. That was dictated by the writers of BITTER SUITE, Steven L. Sears and Chris Manheim.
As to your other question, yes, there is a rather severe tarot card theme inBITTER SUITE. The BITTER SUITE issue of Whoosh! coming soon will highlight several interpretations of the use of tarot card imagery in the episode.
Bitter Suite And The Abuse Of GabrielleMon, 16 Feb 1998
Subject: Letter to the editor
Having finally seen Bitter Suite, my disappointment with the third season XWP is complete. And surely I can't be the only woman viewer who found the Rift arc to be so disturbing and unwelcome.
Different viewers are moved by different aspects of XWP, but for me part of the strong appeal of this series was that it offered women a safe haven from sexual violence. Even for women who have not had direct involvement in situations of abuse or rape, there is always the lurking knowledge that we have escaped that experience due to sheer luck; no woman is immune from that danger. Thus the fear of rape, the fear of sexual violence, is a powerful repressive force that circumscribes the lives of women. However, XWP was a fantasy land in which the young Gabrielle could leave Poteidaia to explore the world without fearing the gender-specific dangers that have kept countless generations of women confined to their homes. That alluring fantasy was shattered with "The Deliverer" when she was raped. (Or, for those who resist this description of her experience with Dahak, when Gabrielle was subjected to a violent, non-consensual impregnation.) Such a violation is the penalty that women, and only women, can pay for trying to widen their horizons.
Then, with "Bitter Suite," XWP's first season promise of emancipation was revoked in the most bitter way possible. After watching Gabrielle be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of Dahak, we were subjected to the sight of Xena dragging Gabrielle away from the shelter of the Amazon nation itself. Thus, there is no place left that can offer her -- or, by extension, us -- any safety. And the woman who had been her staunchest protector was responsible for battering Gabrielle more graphically and violently than any of her enemies. This type of battery, rooted in the fury of someone who supposedly loves the victim, is an all too familiar echo of domestic abuse. Complete with the traditional message that obedient women should stay with their abusers.
Some viewers have applauded the emotional intensity of this season's story lines; I'm not one of them. That intensity has been achieved largely through the systematic victimization of Gabrielle, the Every woman of this narrative. Over and over again throughout third season she has been portrayed as a hapless victim of deceit, betrayal, rape, impregnation, despair and violent physical battery. As a woman, I don't need this reminder that I live in a dangerous world; I get that message every time I step outside my front door. What I craved from XWP was a vicarious enjoyment of adventure and daring that have been denied me both in real life and literature... and have now been denied even in this fantasy.
For me, the message of third season is that Gabrielle should have stayed in Poteidaia.
Fri, 13 Feb 1998
Subject: Letters to the Editor of Whoosh!
Just what are TPTB ["the powers that be"] trying to pull off here? This is the question I had to ask myself after watching Bitter Suite. Specifically, I am referring to the overwhelming amount of violent physical abuse that Gabrielle suffers at the hands of Xena. Any fan of the show must be aware, by now, that there seems to be a repetitive pattern of Xena abusing Gabrielle, both physically and mentally. So, here's a guy's POV on the images I've seen thus far.
However, before y'all go off and think "what a nut", keep in mind that I realize the difference between Real Life and Fantasy Life. The simple fact of the matter is that people tend to believe what they see on TV, if not consciously, then subconsciously. The message I'm getting from TPTB is that if you love someone who abuses you, and you forgive them for their abuse and they stop for awhile but just "loose it" sometimes, it's okay to stay with them. I don't believe it or agree with it, but an abused or battered woman, who is already running low on self-worth and esteem to begin with, just may.
The message I see is regressive social thinking at its worst! Whether or not you believe that X & G have a relationship based on sex, friendship or romance, any woman (or man) involved in an abusive relationship has to get out before it's too late. I don't need to go into statistics on Domestic Violence, I'm sure the issue is prevalent enough that most folks know what I'm talking about. Women involved in these sorts of situations either end up maimed, empty shells, dead, or in prison for defending themselves (though this is slowly, thankfully, getting to be less and less the norm with the advent of Battered Women's Syndrome).
Leaving isn't easy and it may result in the woman's death or maiming anyway, but it's certainly worth the risk if the potential of death is significant. Without getting into issues of the psychology of a battered woman, suffice to say that I believe that Gabrielle has no other choice than to leave Xena, lest she end up dead someday. Xena's episodes of violence directed at others (and Gabrielle directly) have escalated in intensity since the series began. And even though Gabby always pulled her back from it, it's been getting progressively hardened to succeed at this task. They may be able to be reunited at a later date, assuming Xena seeks help for help problems, but the way things are (at least up to and including part of Bitter Suite), it seems this is the only logical course for Gabrielle.
It almost seems like the ultimate form of hypocrisy for TPTB to push LL's Public Service Advert on domestic abuse and then have her character commit the self-same acts they spoke out against! Yes, it is just TV and entertainment, but whether or not you want to believe it, it does have *some* effect on you at *some* level. Social conditioning and the furtherance of societal conceptions of gender specific stereotypes certainly don't help the issue. This is a case of mixed signals at best and blatant lack of forethought at worst.
Whether or not TPTB realize or agree with it, they have a duty to present social issues in a responsible, socially conscious manner. And, IMHO, they certainly failed in this instance. Whether or not they address the issue at a later date is a moot point. Metaphorically speaking, It's too late, the damage is done and they have missed the boat.
Roger A. Duarte
Kudos To XenaStaffMon, 16 Feb 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Xena is one of the most creative TV shows around. The staff must have a blast doing it. The show is all over the map, the centuries and the moods, never staying in one place long enough for us to figure out what is going on.
Action! Tears! Passion! Friendship! Bathos! Comedy! Tragedy! Silliness! Music! Incoherence! History? Fun!
Kudos to the staff for not taking themselves too seriously and for their willingness to experiment. Their creativity comes thru and makes it so much fun for us to watch. Great job, folks!
Just Who Is Xena's FatherSun, 8 Feb 1998
I have read the article [Who Was Xena's Father? Theories on the Warrior Princess' Origins, Whoosh! #6 (March 1997)] and I have...another theory:
You wrote, that Xena has her abilities because she is an demigod, like Hercules. But there is an other women who has this abilities too: Callisto! So I think, that Callisto is also an daughter of Ares and Xena's sister! There are many hints for that, hidden in a few episodes of Xena:
- Callisto is a perfect warrior and has the same strength and ability like Xena.
- It seems, that Callisto's father left her family like Xena's. (Callisto never mentions her father, only her mother and her sisters.)
- Ares never wanted to kill Xena before, but as Xena has killed Callisto, he tried to rescue Callisto and changed her with Xena ("Intimate Stranger").
To the begin of this episode Ares said, that he has found now "this one woman who will conquer the world in his name", and it was not longer Xena for him, but Callisto.
- As Xena attacks Cirra, she was evil and perhaps leaded by Ares. It is possible that Ares provoked the fire and took care, that Callisto survived. Perhaps he wanted to make Callisto to that evil warrior what she is now.
- Hera brought Callisto in "Surprise" back to life. Hera is Ares mother and, if I am right, Callisto's grandma.
XWP Censored In UK!Sat, 14 Feb 1998
Subject: Letter To The Editor
First of all, I'd like to say how much I love your page!
Did you know that episodes of Xena are censored in the United Kingdom? I didn't realise this until last year when I was on holiday in Jamaica and saw "Destiny" on American cable TV. I thought it was amazing episode. Later, I saw it in England, and the scene where Caesar has Xena's legs broken was edited out, as also was the bit where her legs got put in splints. So anyone who hadn't seen the original must had imagined her legs had been injured in the fall from the cross. Of course, when Gabrielle nearly has the same thing happen, and Caesar alludes to what happened to Xena, this would have been very puzzling to British fans! I haven't seen the Chinese episodes yet, which refer back to it, so I'm wondering now how these are to be mangled...And how much has been cut from other episodes? I expect I shall never know.
Power to the Xenites!
A Calendar Tradition!Sat, 17 Jan 1998
I want to thank you for your work on the 1998 Calendar. I must have scoured every Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and other book stores for Xena calendars. What a missed marketing opportunity!
Here Disney has their crappy Hercules calendar, and Paramount has four or five calendars for off-the-air Star Trek, 4th or 5th-place Star Trek shows, even a calendar for last year's First Contact! Here Xena is the #1 syndicated show, and no calender! (Huff Huff Huff)
Okay, I've calmed down now. Again, thanks to all the staff at Whoosh! for the wonderful calendar.
Thanks for your support. We wanted to do something special for the January 1998 issue and doing a calendar seemed only natural. Creation Entertainment has produced a calendar for 1998, and it's quite a handsome one with lots of color photos and humorous dates. For 1999 I believe someone else has a license to produce a calendar as well. So, now and in the future, you will have a choice of Xena calendars to choose from.
We are going to make the Calendar issue of Whoosh! an annual event. We want to use it to keep track of important fandom dates and birthdays of fans all around the world. Our goal is to have something for every date!
Thanks for writing.
Subtext Everywhere!Fri, 6 Feb 1998
Subject: Subtext is EVERYWHERE, Even Batgirl!
Wow, subtext IS EVERYWHERE! I picked up the first issue of the "Batgirl Adventures" comic.. (Based on the "Batman, the Animated Series" universe and version of Batgirl) (What can I say, I've been a Batgirl fan for 20 some years) And it's got subtext! If you're a Batgirl or Harley Quinn fan, go get it, quick! Anyways, in it, Batgirl is asked by Harley Quinn to rescue Poison Ivy from a group of female terrorists who want to forcibly recruit her.. At one point, Ivy is being defiant as Batgirl and Harley watch and Batgirl asks why Harley hangs around with Ivy, being as she's so Poisonous and all, and Harley replies: "Oh, Ivy can't hurt me, she gave me a special shot so we can play and I won't get sick and all." And Batgirl is like: "You mean you two.." What?" "You and Ivy are... Well... `Friends'? " "Yeah..?" "Y'know, FRIENDS, like..." "Like what everybody says about you and Supergirl?" "What? Who says..? Forget it, forget it!!" Subtext! Great!
DagnineTue, 27 Jan 1998
I have to say that I really loved the article on Dagnine, the warlord/Centaur monster from "Orphan of War." He has always been my favorite of the one-time, guest starring, bad guys, although he is grossly under appreciated. He was pragmatic, funny, and entertaining.
Responses To The Guy E-Mail Edition ArticleSubject: Letter to the editor...
Tue, 27 Jan 1998
Dear Ms. Taborn,
I find myself compelled, as I am certain others will, to write in response to a commentary/opinion proffered by Mr. Guy, Whoosh! #17, February 1998 [E-mail edition].
It is not my intention to create, in your forum, a combat zone but rather to simply express an opinion that differs from that expressed.
It was acknowledged, by Mr. Guy, that women may take offence to many of his comments. I find that I am able to both agree and disagree.
I agree that women do not have the natural "gift" of upper body strength that men have, but please keep the following in mind,
Make no mistake, women can be or do anything that they choose. I am proof of this fact. I have a university degree in family studies/early childhood development and am currently pursuing another degree in education so that I may teach high school, but in truth my first love is the sea. I am a professional sailor, who adores nothing so much as the rough stormy seas of the North Atlantic in March. I am the ultimate dichotomy of the tradition and modernism and yet I do not view myself as a feminist, simply as a person. I am a sailor at work, and a woman after work, but I will not allow myself to be limited by other people's expectations.
- a woman can be capable of resolving issues through the use of physical as well as intellectual skills... this is not to say she must be physically subservient or intellectually devious to accomplish her goals.
- a women is not always physically inferior to a man... this will depend on the man and on the woman.
- a woman can be physically competitive, and still be sensual.
My ship's Captain complained one day that our portable fire pump wasn't very portable. At 275 lbs, it was impossible for one person to move, in the event of a fire or other emergency. I know for fact that he is wrong; in 1991 while sailing on the West Coast of Canada, the ship had a slight mishap and my shipmate was pinned under the pump... I can't do back flips or pummel warriors unconscious; I can't even do a single chin-up, but while a man (who because of his own interests and martials arts background can do these things) stood by helplessly, I moved the pump and freed my shipmate. I have "no upper body strength" relative to most men my height, but I am 6' tall, sufficiently sturdy and I am a sailor.
My story is not unique.
Ms. Lawless' own history indicates this same dichotomy. Ms. Lawless is a mother and a daughter; she is thereby fulfilling two very traditional roles. However, Ms. Lawless was also a miner; surely that is a profession that employs the use of upper body strength.
I know that if women in physical traditionally male roles is not sexually appealing, than many of my shipmates have lied to me over the years; I am suspicious, though I don't know her, that Ms. Lawless had one or two admirers during her time in the mines.
Sexuality, and what defines it is different for each individual. I believe that the success of Xena: Warrior Princess would be tainted by the reversion of either of the main characters to the stereotypical T&A creatures for which Hollywood' is famous.
Ms. Lawless and Ms. O'Connor portray two women of character and integrity; they care for and support each other and struggle to find their own self-worth. It is said by many psychologists that women are attracted to an individuals mind and emotions men are attracted first by physical appearance; I believe the commentary/opinion expressed by Mr. Guy reinforces the findings of these psychologists. I find it highly unlikely that either actress would allow their characters to be moved into the role of sexual subservience. I hope I am not wrong...
The writers of this program write fiction. I am reasonably certain, though not completely without faith, that Ms. Lawless does not do back flips, and jump over walls. I know enough Greek mythology to know a minor degree of literary licence is employed within the confines of the scripts. Please, believe while there maybe a Santa Clause, there is no Superman, no Wonder Woman.
Xena may not be the object of some individuals' sexual desire, because of her obvious' masculine qualities; but she is fiction, (yes, it had to be said). Xena is an image that represents the majority of modern' women; she is sexy and sensual; strong and vulnerable; a parent and a child.
I respect Mr. Guy's right to his opinion, though I must maintain my own right to disagree. It is the very image Mr. Guy lament's Xena: WP lacks, that attracts me so obsessively.
Thank you for your time. I believe that the staff of Whoosh! perform a phenomenal feat every month, and efforts are appreciated.
To Ms. Lawless and Ms. O'Connor: Thank you and well done, Ladies.
Thu, 29 Jan 1998
Subject: A commentary on "Fear Of Femininity
This is my opinion of the research project: "Fear Of Femininity" by "Joe Guy".
As I read the piece it made me frown and shake my head a lot. The whole attitude of the article gave me the impression he really has no business even watching "Xena Warrior Princess" but should stick to things more his speed like "Debbie Does Dallas". I have nothing against "Debbie Does Dallas" or strippers. As a matter of fact, I like them both just fine. I am by no means a "feminist". I am a woman who loves being a woman. I love being pretty, being soft, and being feminine. But there is nothing wrong with a woman being independent or being a capable fighter. In feudal Japan the women (who no one could argue about their traditionally instilled femininity) were trained diligently in the arts of war. As my husband says, "When the Samurai fell and the castle was under siege it was the women's job to be the castles last line of defense against the enemy, and kick some butt."
Joe Guy criticizes the "Xena Warrior Princess Show" for having her as a dancing girl saying sarcastically, "A DANCING GIRL! Oh me! Oh my! How sexist! Then he criticizes Xena for her attitude toward the "sexist thing". Which I believe would be the Xena character's natural heartfelt reaction to the situation.
As for Xena's clothing, less is not always better. Sometimes there is a certain appeal for the unknown. Unwrapping and discovering sweet mysteries cannot be done if everything is already right there blatantly in front of you. Sure, there is a time and place for blatant and there is a time and place for subtle and every shade in between. Hard to get, and disinterested, are some-times the fastest ways to get a person with a certain personality interested. Also being, "the one that is different" has a drawing quality of its own for some.
Remember, the men in this story were warrior "men behaving badly" as Joe Guy put it. Maybe that worrier liked the idea of having a more spirited lady for the evening in lieu of the SOFT, YIELDING, DOE-EYED fantasy of Joe Guy.
Plus, Joe Guy throughout his article seems to think the "Xena Warrior Princess" show is trying to, "SHOW them" and be "politically correct". I have never seen anyone from the show ever indicate the show is for any purpose but the pure viewing pleasure of the audience and fans. My husband and I both like watching the show. We don't take it too seriously, we just have a lot of fun. Most of the actors can be quoted as saying, "We don't take ourselves too seriously we just have a lot of fun with it." That's the way it's meant to be and that's the way it can be best enjoyed. Don't think it to death, just enjoy it!!!!!
Mon, 16 Feb 1998
Subject: Letter on Fear of Feminists
I am used to seeing a certain rather high standard of research parameters in the articles in Whoosh. Imagine my surprise in reading, "Fear of Femininity, A Critique of XWP, by Joe Guy. His arguments seemed to be built solidly in mid-air and made of playing cards.
My first comment is on the section where Guy critique's Xena's use of Heavy sword by saying, "Another boy mistake she makes (boy being someone who is learning to handle masculinity) is that her sword is too heavy for her. Her writs fold over when she swings it.
In using heavy sword, the technique is to snap the wrist in delivering the blow, as anyone who has had lessons in Kendo, SCA heavy weapons combat, or Sword technique would know. Lucy Lawless has had lessons from Doug Wong, an established expert in the field. As for the sword being too heavy, Lawless has said more than once in interviews that her sword is a prop sword made of foam. How heavy could it be?
Another quote without support is, "Force is our business. Once males go through puberty, it is no big deal for them to develop enough upper body strength to kill another man by accident. Force is not woman's business. Women never need to learn to handle it."
What are you trying to say here? Why would women never need to learn force? Is it because they could be assumed never to be attacked? The statistics do not bear this out. Women are too frequently attacked. That is why we have crime categories like rape. That is why we have shelters for battered women. If an abuser had to face a Xena or Gabrielle every time he chose to attack a woman, he might learn to grow out of using force in such an immature manner.
And who defines what is masculine or feminine? Is it only White males from the USA? I would go on, but you have the basic idea.
Bummed Over The RiftSat, 31 Jan 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
To quote the indomitable Ed Grimsley "I must say..." then throwing on my part "that this is the best site I've ever seen in analysis and review of a show (with the possible exception of Lurkers Guide to B5 and MajCullah's Star Trek: Voyager page my other favorite pages). After being thourghly depressed by Neo Genesis Evanglion 8-10 and seeing Maternal Instinct....geez I am depressed. I think I had some point somewhere about how great I thought this site was and how I hope all of you keep up the great work, but I'm just too freakin depressed *sigh* Shinji, Gabrielle, Xena....anyway, may Canabilistic Ewoks spare you in the name of culinary taste. Fizban
Xena And The PsychomachiaTue, 17 Feb 1998
Just curious, but after reading the accounts you gave and those of your staff one does have to wonder if anyone from R. Tapert on down has a clue as to the core of the Xena story. Every time you hear "For the Greater Good" mentioned, it all is based on the 16th century writings of the Spanish poet who penned Psychomachia, the tale of a female departing from traditional roles as home keeper to tackle moral issues for all.
Admittedly, it is after all just a tee-vee show, but understanding the basis for the characters only serves to give that much greater depth into the work and its characters. Best of luck on your continued efforts. If need be back-sourcing in this research should further improve your fine reports plus make you even smarter than the show's creators. Wouldn't that be something?
InterviewsSubject: Interviews with Jacqueline Kim & Alex Tydings
Sun, 1 Feb 1998
Just a note to let you know that once again, really good interviews. I knew a little bit about Alex Tydings background but didn't know anything about J. Kim's except some of her movie credits (WHOOSH #17). The interviews were interesting and I enjoyed reading them. Good job dude!
Sun, 1 Feb 1998
Really nice interviews on both Kim and Tydings. Great questions and flow.
Mon, 02 Feb 1998
Subject: jacqueline kim interview
Thanks so much for a wonderful, respectful interview of a great actress.
Mon, 16 Feb 1998
Subject: Your interview with Jacqueline Kim in Whoosh
Thanks for a great article. As someone who has experience interviewing people, I think you did an exceptional job.
...I think Whoosh! is great. I used to read it when I had an Internet connection some months ago at work, then left that job and the Internet too. Now that I finally have a personal account I'm trying to catch up on what I've missed at Whoosh! and elsewhere. Thanks for lots of hours of fun.
Xena Rave!Wed, 4 Feb 1998
Subject: xena is great
I love Xena!!! I stay up until 4:30a (starting at 2:30a) every Saturday night just to watch all three channels showing 3 different episodes...who cares if they are repeats! It is Xena!! I have been obsessed with the show since early February 1996. I have a whole wall dedicated to pictures and articles from the 'net and magazines of the show and Xena/Lucy herself! I would love to see another interview with her on television. None of my friends realize why i do this--to them it is just some show and they don't see what i like in it but it is AWESOME!! I don't see what they are talking about! I think, by far, my favorite episode(s) were The Debt I & II. The best so far! Just thought i would tell you how i feel about the only TV show i even bother to watch as I get older and am going to graduate.
Kyla B. Lucas
Writing Campaign RequestMon, 16 Feb 1998
Subject: Who to contact
After viewing the re-runs of Xena the last year, it struck me that we see a lot of the same ones over and over and over...you get the idea. Watching La Femme Nikita on USA this weekend, I noticed that they were rerunning 3 episodes that the fans chose! How can we suggest this to Universal or Renaissance Pictures??? I personally have no idea, but thought I would pass the thought along.
You can write to express your requests for a possible "viewer's choice" repeat schedule to Renaissance Pictures and Universal TV at the same place: Universal Studios. The addresses are:
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Dan FilieDan Filie has left Universal Television, but I do not know the name of his replacement. However, the mail will go to his replacement.
Senior VP, Universal Television
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Need Help Locating ParodySubject: To the editor
Fri, 6 Feb 1998
I'm a huge fan of Xena, and a big fan of Whoosh! as well. You folks all do an amazingly professional job, while maintaining the multi-faceted appeal of everyone's favorite Warrior Princess.
I write with a request.
Some time ago, I stumbled on to a just brilliant satire of Gilbert and Sullivan's "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General" song about Xena.
Unfortunately, I have lost it and have no idea where I got it in the first place. Can anyone there help me? Any readers?
Feel free to forward it or any information to me at firstname.lastname@example.org