Whoosh! Issue 19 - April 1998
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". All letters notated "to the editor" are subject to publication and may be edited for brevity and or clarity.

Young Dr. Jung
Bravo To the Rift Arc!
About that Drop and Drag
That Darn Bitter Suite
Jeers to the Cheers And Jeers
Love Those Episode Guide Commentaries
Love Those Convention Reports
Love Those Interviews
Comments From a Publicist
Asterix Influences The XenaVerse?
Fans in South Africa!
Censorship in UK
Anachronism Denial!
Disgruntled Fan Shoots Off
E-Mail Edition Versus The On-Line Edition

Letters To The Editor

Young Dr. Jung

Tue, 03 Mar 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I just finished reading Richard LaFleur's paper: "Dream Archetypes in DESTINY" I found it to be both fascinating and insightful-and also a lot of fun. Well done Mr. LaFleur, and well done Whoosh!

Brian Lashmar

3/6/98 4:50 PM
Subject: article at whoosh

Just read Dream Archetypes In DESTINY -- I am *impressed*! This was *marvelous*! I'm very into the archetype concepts espoused by both Jung and then Campbell, and you have taken those leads and applied them beautiful to this subject! BRAVO!

Thanks so much!

Suzette L. Mako

Bravo To The Rift Arc

Mon, 09 Mar 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

First, I'd like to say "HATS OFF!" to you and the staff at Whoosh! I know it must take a Herculean effort to maintain this site, and I am very glad you do it!

This is my first letter to the Editor of any sort.

I have heard and read tons of opinions about The Rift Arc, from "It was just wrong!" to "It was fantastic". To say these six episodes have stirred up viewers' emotions would be an understatement. I include myself. I questioned and cried. I was disillusioned, bewildered and duped. These episodes got me talking about issues I don't usually discuss with people. I have looked back on my life and compared to this arc, what I have done in situations where MY convictions were challenged. Did I run, or resolve? Did I betray myself or others?

This show has to date, presented topics most can't or won't. I appreciate this, even though at times I am left uneasy, or don't agree with what I see. Never have I been so intrigued, no, obsessed with a television show. The XWP staff continues to keep me on edge with the material they present. I am amazed at the performances Lucy and Renee give us each week, and commend them. If I could personally tell the writers, producers, and actors to keep pushing buttons, I would. It makes me feel. It makes me think. It makes me share. BRAVO!

P.S. My gripe with these episodes was the airing schedule, which is an issue in itself.

Karen Muleski

About That Drop And Drag

Thu, 26 Feb 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I want to commend the Editor-in-Chief's "Jeers!" discussion of the abuse of Gabrielle in "Bitter Suite," as well as the letters by Carmen Carter and Roger A. Duarte as well as Rebecca Hall's fine article, "Xena: Warrior Princess: Abuse and Healing" (Whoosh #18). I too was deeply shocked by Xena's abuse of Gabrielle, and like Duarte, found it highly incompatible with Lucy Lawless' domestic violence ad campaign. I have argued this point bitterly on other XWP Internet fora, and many posters have found what is being callously called the "Gabdrag" to be perfectly within Xena's character -- she is violent, she is an ex-warlord, and her dark side is very near the surface. Some posters hold Gabrielle responsible for the death of Solan, which strikes me as misguided. Other posters remark that 20th century awareness of domestic violence is inapplicable to a series set in Ancient Greece. I vehemently disagree with all those positions.

XWP frequently deals with contemporary feminist issues, from the beauty contest degradation of women in "Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis" to the issue of Helen's newfound independence in "Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts." XWP has a consistently contemporary approach, and thus the issue of domestic abuse is relevant as well. Xena's behavior clearly qualified as abusive. Second, I do not find Gabrielle to be responsible for the death of Solan. I would hope that given some thought Xena would realize that if her admired mentor Lao Ma could not kill her own son, given much more concrete evidence of his villainy, then she could hardly expect Gabrielle to kill Hope, not having absolute proof that Hope was a demon, not a baby. Finally, as to character. Yes, Xena is a violent ex-warlord with her dark side very near the surface. I see Xena as a character who will never entirely escape her past. BUT, my own reading of her character and her relationship with Gabrielle suggests to me that Xena would never attempt to murder Gabrielle, no matter what the situation. For her to do so, in my opinion, negates all we've learned about Xena's attempts to change herself, about her growing self-awareness, and about the mutual love between her and Gabrielle. Flawed as Xena is (and that makes her character interesting), I believe that her love for Gabrielle is an untouchable constant in her life. They have differences to overcome, but the core is unchanging.

I choose to view the opening sections of "Bitter Suite" as a serious mistake on the parts of the series' creators -- a place where commercialism and the desire for drama and sensationalism outweighed consistency of character.

The only possible way to excuse Xena's behavior is to argue that she was under Ares' control, and thus, not herself. On the one hand, this may not be plausible, given her ability to withstand Ares in "The Furies." On the other hand, if Gabrielle is her "source" as she says in "Once Against An Army," then perhaps, separated from Gabrielle, she is unable to withstand Ares' brainwashing.

Sorry about the length. I was just glad to see that others shared my point of view and my dismay at what I saw as an uncalled-for, unnecessary, and destructive scene. As a writer of fan fiction, I had to write my own alternative versions of the resolution to the rift, as the canonical versions struck me as simply wrong. I found the musical sections of "Bitter Suite" much more appealing, and Xena's "Forgiveness" song would have been much more effective (moving as it was--it made me cry) if she hadn't just performed an unforgivable act toward Gabrielle.

Atara Stein

Thu, 5 Mar 1998
Subject: Bitter Suite, or why I stopped believing in the show

I'm writing to add my voice to the chorus of Xenites newly disenchanted with XWP, in the hope that TPTB will hear our hymns of woe and thus come to understand how their horrid faux pas (the Gab Drag) has damaged our trust in the show. In my case, effectively killed my interest in the show.

Thanks to Carmen Carter and Roger Duarte for their March issue letters to the editor -- I second their opinions.

The Xena/Gab axis no longer holds any interest for me -- I leave them to their sick co-dependency. As I would leave an abusive relationship, so I leave the relationship I had with them.

Yo, TPTB! I'm a core-audience member! 30-something, straight, female, married, disposable income on hand. You lost me! Wake up!

MST3K, I'm coming back home. Why did I ever leave you? Oh yeah, the two-year halt in production. Forgot about that.

Thanks for your excellent work on Whoosh!, which I will continue to read, whether or not I continue to watch the show.

Kristin Peterson

That Darn Bitter Suite

Tue, 17 Feb 1998
Subject: Bitter Suite

This is difficult to write as I have seen this episode four times now and each time it breaks my heart. I have been an erstwhile Xena fan until recently. I discovered this website with its episode guide and naturally read them all. It brought an appreciation for the series and its writers I did not have before. I can only hope that the first and second seasons will be repeated sometime in the future in the order in which they were originally presented or that some company (Renaissance, maybe?) will market them the way that all the Star Treks and other series have been marketed, uncut and perhaps with the other pieces that were edited out for time restored. I also look forward to the time that Lucy and Renee are in feature films as I believe they are extraordinary in their skills. The nuances I have seen in the recent episodes are remarkable. I did not see either of the Debt episodes nor the Deliverer episode, much to my dismay. I hope to pick them up in reruns.

Anyway, I am so VERY glad to have found this site. It has been such a find now that I am coming into the 'Xenaverse' kind of late...


Editor Responded:
Thanks for writing. As to seeing the first two seasons, the USA cable channel plans to re-run the entire first three seasons of XWP a couple days a week starting in September 1998. That's only 5.5 months away! Also, Universal Video has already released the first season in a video package. It costs around $150 for this set, so its for the more bourgeois fan. There is some talk of offering the videotapes separately later in the year and perhaps doing it with the second season as well. As to offering tapes with cut scenes, only the Xena Trilogy from HTLJ has that thus far.

Both Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor currently do not have any films in their immediate futures, however, as we know, that may change at any time.

Sat, 21 Feb 1998
Subject: The Bitter Suite

First off - thanks so much for Whoosh! I always enjoy my time spent at your web site.

I read the synopsis and comments about The Bitter Suite eagerly as I found the episode fascinating. Jean Andresen was mostly spot-on in her comments on "Tarot Stuff". She wasn't sure about Xena's first appearance in Illusia with Callisto as the Fool and thought Xena might have been symbolizing the Queen of Pentacles. Actually, Xena was dressed as the High Priestess, distinguished by the moon headdress and the black and white pillars of her throne. The High Priestess symbolizes wisdom, objectivity, self-reliance, intuition and emotionlessness. Generally, Xena symbolizes these things as well.

I think that Jean is correct in identifying Gabrielle as the Empress who is recognized by her crown of stars. The Empress symbolizes feminine forces - motherhood, sisterhood, fruitfulness, the ability to motivate others, practicality and intuition. Jean is also correct in identifying Joxer as the Hermit in his second appearance with his black robes and candle.

I would also submit that Solan at the end symbolized the Sun, a card that always features a child. The Sun represents accomplishment, contentment, friendship, love, joy and liberation. A very appropriate card for that moment.

I wouldn't be surprised if one of your regular writers is busily writing a Whoosh! article giving a run down on all the tarot symbols and their significance to The Bitter Suite but, if not, and you think that your readers would be interested in this topic, I'll be happy to submit such an article [Ed. Note: Ms. Meredith has a submission in this month's Bitter Suite issue].

Thank you again,
Victoria Meredith

Jeers To the Cheers and Jeers

Sat, 28 Feb 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Cheers and Jeers and the problems with both:

Your comments in the Editor's remarks (Cheers and Jeers) got me wondering about the transformation of XWP as a whole. You remarked about "the swing between high drama and low comedy" as if there was any other kind. I have seen a frightening "gentrification" of XWP over the last year or so, how people seem to have a high-brow expectation of it, and how many have been alienated by the third season because of "inconsistent" writing and characterization. I doubt very seriously that XWP was supposed to be Masterpiece Theatre, in fact, the mix of drama-comedy has always been evident from the very beginning. Personal tastes vary, and all are welcome to view the show any way they wish, but lets stop expecting that the show is gonna transform from a campy syndicated fare into something like the tired formula shows that dominate network ratings. When it gets to the point that it's indistinguishable from NYPD Blue or ER, that's when it'll be time to jump ship for me.

Brian Baker

Editor Responded:
My primary concern about the show was the extremes of High Drama (aka Melodrama...which means demon baby, the black and white fight between good and evil, etc.) and Low Comedy (locker room antics, scatological & hygiene & generally sophomoric humor) finally taking the front stage in XWP. In the past, the extremes were almost non-existent. You had the drama and humor developing out of the situations the characters would find themselves in: visiting a town, encountering someone on the way to a town, answering someone's plea, etc. The third season has been focusing on more plot driven stories than character driven ones. One of the things I found very charming and satisfying about XWP in the beginning was that the comedy and drama was understated and character driven. Now, the drama is melodrama with tragic themes and the comedy is watered down three stooges routines thrown in with homages to Porky's. I am hoping this is a third season anomaly. I still greatly enjoy the show, but I find in the third season I have more to tolerate to get to what I enjoy, whereas in the first two seasons I did not have to overlook as much.

Yes, XWP is a goofy, iconoclastic show, but it showed the first two seasons that you can have a goofy, campy, iconoclastic show without resorting to sexism, low humor, and high drama to be satisfying.

Love Those Episode Guide Commentaries

Tue, 10 Mar 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I would like to say how much I appreciate the Xena Episode Guide with its well-written synopses by Bluesong. The commentaries by Beth Gaynor have been fabulous, with her clear interpretations and opinions of the various episodes. I also very much enjoyed the second, and often contrasting commentaries by Carmen Carter, through the first half of the season. I was sad that she stopped writing the commentaries, but then I read her own Letter to the Editor and understood why. I know that legions of fans are upset over the Rift storyline and the way it was depicted, some to the point of taking down their websites. But I believe that the producers of Xena do read Whoosh! and that they take the commentaries of both Beth and Carmen as representative of fan response. Beth's work has been great, and I hope that Carmen will again write commentaries in the future. Also, the explanations of the TAO and Chinese symbolism in THE DEBT were very much appreciated. I hope that along with the monthly articles, that everyone also take the time to read the Episode Guide.

Nusi Dekker

Carmen Carter Responded:
Thanks for the compliments, Nusi, and it's nice to know I've been missed. However, I'd like to clarify that the Rift is not solely responsible for my departure from Xena fandom. Ironically, it was the so-called comedies that prompted my decision to stop commenting on the series. The three episodes of King of Assassins, Warrior...Priestess...Tramp, and The Quill convinced me that the sensibilities of XWP have changed drastically. The vulgar, sexist humor -- with allusions to happy whores and feminine hygiene -- is a new element, and one that I simply can't tolerate. The increasingly graphic depictions of over-the-top violence that followed the comedies simply confirmed that the show I loved is gone for good.

2/20/98 9:47 PM
RE: About your [Beth Gaynor] commentaries...

Hey, there! For introduction's sake, (I know it's in the address and all but...), I have been deemed Danufunk by our online gods. Recently, I have become a fan of the show Xena: Warrior Princess, and through the miracle that is the Whoosh! back episode guide, I've been able to pick up some plot points and various other fun stuff to help me comprehend the show. It is this endeavour which introduced me to your magnificent commentaries [Beth Gaynor's commentaries on the WHOOSH episode guide]. You simply crack me up!! Your perceptions of each episode are usually dead-on target, and they are absolutely hilarious, as well. I thank you for providing me with countless hours of entertaining backstory, and I hope you continue with it for as long as the show runs. I appreciate all your work! Be well, take care, and all that other stuff...


Love Those Convention Reports

Mon, 09 Mar 1998
Subject: Thank you

I wanted to go to the last NY Xena con really bad but could not get the time off to get up there. I thank you and Whoosh! for posting the photos; because of that, I felt like I was almost there. I hope to go to the NJ Xena con and see all of the new friends that I met at the VF con. Again thanks.


Love Those Interviews

Mon, 09 Mar 1998
Subject: interviews

I just wanted to send this quick note to express my appreciation for the interviews that you conduct which appear in Whoosh! each month. I have been traveling internationally quite a bit on business trips lately, so I tend to download the current Whoosh! articles each month for later perusal.

After a long, hard day away from home, there's nothing more satisfying than having a glass of fine Chardonnay while contemplating the events and issues surrounding the Xenaverse!

It's obvious that you do your homework before you conduct an interview. I actually get an impression of the interviewee's personality from the transcripts. I hope you get a chance to go one-on-one with Lucy and Renee someday.

Bill Maxwell

Comments From A Publicist

Tue, 03 Mar 1998
Subject: Whoosh!

I just wanted to take a moment to commend you and the rest of the staff at Whoosh! on a beautifully done site.

I am a fan of XWP and find your site has been a great resource and honestly the best site I've seen. I don't have much time to surf the net for pleasure -- usually it's work related, but I know if I get a few minutes, that your site will be worth the trip.

I'm an entertainment publicist and deal with the media daily for my clients and have seen that your site has received some worthy recognition in the press. I know for me it is a pleasure to work with a client or on a project that I personally admire, even if it sometimes means working into the wee hours of the night -- which you likely do on Whoosh!

I can't think of a more interesting subject to cover than Xena Warrior Princess or a better tribute to the quality of the show than your site.

Keep up the great work.

Christian Garcia

Asterix Influences The XenaVerse?

Thu, 26 Feb 1998
Subject: Regarding "When In Rome"

Hello, all.

Regarding the upcoming XWP episode "When In Rome" and your episode listing, I am reminded of the French comic series "Asterix and Obelix."

Vercinix reminds me of the warrior Vercingetorix (sp?) and the "famous battle" at Alesia - now, I'm not exactly sure of the name of the actual battle - but it's one that Chief Vitalstatistix is **NOT** fond of remembering. All those hours scanning all those issues of Asterix and Obelix ...

Keep up the great work with "Whoosh!"

Henry Lee

Fans In South Africa

Mon, 02 Mar 1998
Subject: 'The sun never sets...'

Hello from South Africa!

I don't know what time it is in the States at the moment, but I'm sure the sun ain't shining!

Thanks for a great site. Here in SA, we have just come to the end of the 1st season of XWP... Yes, XWS is in full swing here. I don't know many other Xenites in SA, but thanks to the Web, I've 'met' a few, and happily obsess with them via the net.

I am one of the 55000 individuals who can't wait for next month's issue.

Nici Marchand
Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

Editor Bret RudnickResponded:
Thank you very much for your kind note. It's very heartening to learn that we have so many readers all around the world. I just returned from a trip abroad myself and also discovered that many people from all parts of the globe are hard-core Whoosh! fans. It's very humbling and gratifying, and thank you very much for reading. It's great that the Web can bring so many people together from places both near and far!

Censorship in UK

Sun, 01 Mar 1998
Subject: Xena Censored

Rupert Murdoch's Sky Television is making a mess of XWP. Sky One insists that this is a children's programme suitable for a 6pm time-slot in the UK, then proceeds to cut the episodes to *make* it suitable.

Censorship is ruining the series. Any editor would be appalled to see what a hacked up job Sky makes of this show. The pace is ruined, dialogue is lost, the stories develop sudden plot-holes.

Thank you, Mr Murdoch. At least Patton can afford to sue you, even if we can't.


Anachronism Denial!

Mon, 23 Mar 1998
Subject: letter to the editor

This is about the historical setting of Xena: Warrior Princess. I believe that the show is "actually" set at the time of the Trojan war, as indicated by the presence of Helen of Troy and Ulysses.

Now to explain away the contradictions:

(I have experience explaining these things away: I'm a physics major trekkie.)

1. So, Hercules lived a little longer than they thought.

2. So, David fought Goliath a little before they thought. Dates in the Bible aren't that reliable, anyway.

3. The presence of people named "Euripides", "Sophocles", "Hippocrates", "Cleopatra", etc. does not prove that these were the actual persons known to history by these names. (Indeed, the Euripides we know was not a "bard" but a playwright.)

4. The presence of a "Roman" empire in the series does not prove that it is set in what we call Roman times. Indeed, it cannot be set at the time of Julius Caesar, because the Romans owned Greece at this time and so Xena's days of forest-wandering would be numbered. (Granted, she could take on about ten Romans at a time, but they were very persistent.) My theory is that there was actually a "Roman" empire at the time of the Trojan War, which did not include Greece, and which was more or less founded and led by a ruthless warlord named (purely by coincidence) Julius Caesar. (This Caesar also coincidentally had rivals named Crassus and Pompey.) After the death of this Caesar, the "Roman" empire was destroyed and records of it vanished from history. Needless to say, it bore little resemblance to the Roman Empire that was later to dominate the western world, and which revived the long-forgotten practice of crucifixion.

5. The "Persian" army Xena fought was actually not from the Persian Empire, which did not exist at this time, but from the group of wandering primitives who would later become the Persians. (They apparently migrated farther west than historians thought.) This fight against the Persians was, needless to say, lost to history, since it occurred shortly before the more important Dorian invasion which led to the Greek Dark Ages.


Disgruntled Fan Shoots Off

Tue, 24 Feb 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

The Xena: Warrior Princess I began watching two and a half seasons ago is no more. I can no longer stand to participate in the lives of these heroines, vacillating each week between watching or not.

There are many reasons for my disillusionment, but I pick the one nearest and dearest: Gabrielle.

We were told that these characters would change and evolve, no going back; that "light" (read Gabrielle) would become more dark. Well, I've had about all the dark I can take. Gabrielle as punching bag is not what I watch XWP for. She has: killed, been raped, been impregnated, been forced to give up her child, traveled the distance of the known world to betray her best friend, led to believe her skills as a bard are less then adequate, killed said child, been dragged nearly to death across half of Greece by her alleged best friend, beaten at the hands of a teen Xena-wannabe, and ends up beating said teen to a bloody pulp. Bad, negative, teeth-gnashing images of a character I care about.

Enough already. Enough.

I tried to stick this whole rift thing out, since I was told to trust that it would work. I no longer can. I now must rely on others' reviews to decide if an episode is worth my time to watch, i.e. read that to mean, shows some respect for Gabrielle.

"Fool me twice, shame on me."


E-Mail Edition Versus The On-Line Edition

Sun, 1 Mar 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Regarding the replies to an article by a Mr. Guy (Responses To The Guy E-Mail Edition Article, Letters to the Editor, Issue 18), will the article in question be published in the web version of Whoosh? I am brimming with curiosity as to what was written to generate such strong responses.

Great job with the whole site. I read every issue from "cover to cover" and love everything about it!

Wing Chan

Editor Responded:
The receipt of the e-mail edition is a member thang. We wanted to reward the members for their support and hard work, so we decided that the e-mail edition would periodically have special editorials and articles. There are negotiations going on to post on-line the e-mail articles and added material after 6 months of the publishing in the e-mail edition. There are also negotiations about having Whoosh! host an area where the essays and articles from Xena Media Review may be featured. All these are up in the air at the moment and if they are ironed out, you will probably not see them until the late summer or Fall of 98.

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