To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor". All letters with the subject "Letter to 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.
Velasca: Evil Chick
Still Dissing Dahak
Can't Get Enough Foreshadowing
The Joxer Corner
More Recovery Over The Third Season
The Price He's Willing To Pay
Meeting Renee O'connor
New Book Out
Love That Third Season
Xenites Love Those Crowds
Those Wacky Gals!
Subtext Makes The Show Unique
Seventh Heaven Connection
Grrlfriend CalendarDate: Tue, 5 Jan 1999
Subject: Xena's Girrlsfriends calendar
Just a little note to congratulate the WHOOSH! Staff for such a great job. I love the calendar! And I love my birthday posted there in October 29th. One thing, if you girls work in a future calendar or project involving more girls, I would like to suggest my favorite amazon to be included: Cyane! The dead amazon queen in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE. She is gorgeous. Don't you think?
Again, congratulations and thank you for the new girls calendar.
From the editor-in-chief:
Cyane did not make the cut in this year's calendar because no one knew she existed at the time of the voting.
Calendar InterviewsDate: Fri, 01 Jan 1999
Subject: Calendar Interviews
Your Calendar grrls interview is hilarious [WHOOSH! #28, January 1999)! I especially loved Gabrielle's interview; that was incredibly well written. Remember the old argument of how many angels could dance around the head of a pin? That's nothing compared to your ability to dance around lesbian subtext!
Ephiny's comments on her broken arm were very insightful. Why didn't they have an episode where Xena slaps one of those "Lao Ma" massages on her arm to fix it? (Answer: Writers were having too much fun writing about stuff like "zug-zug" to worry about trivial loose ends like that.)
Ms. May M'Lila: The odd thing is, her name on the show's official Closed Captioning is "Malayla". Was this an early script version, or is this how it really is supposed to be? I think the name "M'lila" got started in fan fiction.
I like the trivia on Boadicea that she had never met Iolaus. For fans who don't get this, the actress who plays her is Michael Hurst's wife.
A disturbing theme of this calendar seems to be that Xena is romantically linked to every woman on it except Minya. How to resolve this? Answer: Begin filming of A Day in the Life II.
I was wondering why the calendar did not include such women as Cyane or Glaphyra. Then the answer hit me like a Chakram: There are not enough months of the year to cover all the women in Xena's life!
Great job, and what a wonderful start for Whoosh into 1999!
From the editor-in-chief:
The spelling for the name M'Lila was taken from a copy of the script for DESTINY. Cyane did not make the cut because no one knew she existed at the time of the voting. Glaphyra was ranked 22nd in a tie with Pandora in our membership wide election.
Date: Fri, 01 Jan 1999
Subject: RE: Interviews with the Calendar 1999 Women of Xena
Thank you for the thoughtful questions and appropriate answers from each of the winners of the 1999 Women of Xena Calendar [WHOOSH! #28, January 1999]. Each personality was easily recognizable. I didn't stop laughing the whole time I was reading it. Seems Xena is quite the popular girl...
And whoever wrote the captions to the accompanying pictures should do it for a living, some of them are hysterical.
What a wonderful way to start the New Year!
Congrats to [Shelley] and Kym for both the calendar and the interviews.
From the editor-in-chief:
The captions and alt tags are done as a collaborative effort between Bret Rudnick, Marian Pappaceno, and me, Kym Taborn. For this specific project, I did the captions and Marian did the alt tags. We do so many of them, that it is easy to lose track of who did what. Bret tends to do the lion's share with Marian and me and doing backup.
Calendar Boo-BooDate: Mon, 04 Jan 1999
Subject: Xena Grrlfriends
I loved your calendar and the comments attached to each grrl's month [WHOOSH #28, January 1999]. However, sorry to be such a nit-picker, but the picture of Meg in August is actually Diana - the first Xena look-alike barring Leila the centaur's wife in HTLJ. The photo is from Warrior - Princess which aired in the first season and depicts Diana's first glimpse of the Warrior Princess.
As usual, your issue this month was fantastic. Keep up the good work and have a wonderful 1999.
Ariadne de la Montagne
From the editor-in-chief:
Ooops. What can we say but, boy do those gals look alike!
Kathryn MorrisDate: Wed, 02 Dec 1998
Subject: Re: Kathryn Morris
First let me say I enjoyed [Bret Rudnick's interview of Kathryn Morris]. That said (and please don't take offense at this) while you and Ms. Morris laugh about how all Najara's followers are men, I was thinking about what Xena said to Najara as they battled for the third and final time in the cave, that is, (and I'm paraphrasing) how it didn't matter if one of Najara's men died--oooh no, they went to the light, but Gabrielle was in danger now that was different story.
Gabrielle was someone (like a lover, or a family member) that neither Xena NOR Najara would dare part with for the sake of a lofty ideal. Xena triumph's over Najara because her character on whatever level is able to acknowledge that both women have "the same weakness" i.e., Gabrielle. My point being, just once, I would like to hear an actor other than Lucy or Renee, who I think have done their level best (although they are waxing conservative these days) address the subtext issue with less than a dismissive answer (yes, I know I'm being sensitive, but it is only reciprocal to it's how often it is treated this way), and maybe (but this would be too much to hope for) even show some reverence for an attitude that a relationship which so vital and important as X and G's is might be elevated by adding this perspective into the character's personna.
Actually, now that I think of it, Hudson is the one I'd give a five star rating to... Anyway, as much as I appreciate Ms. Morris' answer, I wish you as an interviewer (I know, you didn't want to offend her) might have politely fished a bit deeper.
From Editor Bret Rudnick:
Thank you for your note of 2 December regarding the Kathryn Morris interview.
Of course I'm not offended. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. Your views and opinions are very important to you, and I very much respect that.
In response to your note, let me see if I can address your points to some degree of sufficiency. It may not be the comment you're looking for, but I certainly don't want you to think I believe them to be unimportant.
In virtually every interview I do, I make an effort to bring up the subtext issue. I do that because I know it's an important item to some fans. I don't pretend to be a journalist because I'm not -- I'm just a fan like anyone else. But I also try to keep in mind those issues that people have expressed an interest in, if not to me directly, what I've heard in one forum or another.
You made reference to the general "subtext" section, specifically the end of paragraph 28, which concludes with a notation that both Ms. Morris and I laughed following an explanation she gave as to her interpretation of the motives of Najara as regards Gabrielle. She was explaining that she felt Najara's character was attracted to Gabrielle in a more spiritual way than anything else, and when she made the point about her army being otherwise comprised of all males (so we saw), that seemed amusing, so I laughed as well. It would be difficult not to laugh at various points, because Ms. Morris was such a pleasant and accommodating interviewee.
Having said that, of course I understand this particular issue is very important to you. Please don't construe that one item to mean that she or I don't respect the views of others as to interpretation. As she herself said, people can interpret the relationship as they like. She was explaining how *she* interpreted the part of the character she played, and how she herself put no deliberate subtextual effort into her performance. Remember, she previously acknowledged that indeed some people *can* interpret things that way.
Personally, I can see quite easily how some people can view the feelings of Gabrielle and Xena, or indeed Najara and Gabrielle, as more intimate than others. I can also see how people would just as easily interpret it as a sisterly or family relationship. I don't think there's a "wrong" answer here.
Like I said, I pretty much always ask subtext questions. Sometimes I get very detailed and thoughtful answers, and sometimes I don't get any at all, and usually it's somewhere in between. So far no one has been hostile about it in any way. Personally, I've been rather pleasantly surprised that so many think positively of it.
You thought perhaps I should have "fished a bit deeper" as regards this issue. If I get the sense that an interviewee has any more to say on a topic, I do pursue it. If it seems like the interviewee has no more to say about it, I'll go on to the next item. In Ms. Morris' case, it had nothing to do with just being polite (though I am always polite in my interviews), it just seemed to me that she had no more to say on the subject. After one speaks with someone awhile, one gets a pretty good sense for this sort of thing. I have, on more than one occasion when I felt it was warranted, pressed an issue with a preface like "I don't mean to offend you or anything, but...".
This may not allay any misgivings you might have as regards the subject in general or the interview in particular, but offhand, it's the best response I can give you. Thanks very much for writing and sharing your thoughts. Feedback is always important to me, and I always factor it in to subsequent efforts.
Velasca: Evil ChickSubject: Your Callisto/Velasca article
Date: Fri, 1 Jan 1999
I just wanted to drop you a line saying I enjoyed [Ms. Ratkowski's] article in WHOOSH! looking into the minds of two of Xena's scarier bad girls. I found it interesting to read a view of Velasca that was like mine. So many people seem to see her as this egomaniacal blowhard. When I saw The Quest, I thought, "D*mn, this chick is Evil." I still consider her one of the more frightening villains ever to come out of the Xenaverse.
Her inquisition scene with Autolycus is, in my opinion, one of the most graphic scenes I've ever watched on this show. That's not a complaint, just an observation. It wasn't as bloody as, say, the infamous Gabdrag from the Bitter Suite, but in its own way it's just as disturbing. I think what gave that scene its edge, its ugliness, was the addition of the sexual undercurrents. If she'd just been knocking him around, that would have been one thing, but they started it off with the shot of Velasca forcing a kiss on Autolycus. And there was the fact that she'd partially undressed him before the brutalizing began. It was subtle, but it was a difference that made the scene that much more uncomfortable. It almost made you wonder how far it would have gone if Velasca hadn't gone off to get her Magic Jell-O.
Cripes, this turned into a longer rant than I'd intended. My point was to compliment [Ms. Ratkowski] on [her] article. There's not much said about Velasca on the net, and I think she doesn't get her due as a villain. People write her off as loud and annoying (which, granted, she became by the end of A Necessary Evil) and I think there's a lot more to the character. She's not a likable villain, like Callisto or Ares, but she's fascinating, in the way a car wreck is fascinating. Something terrible and ugly you can't look away from.
Disgruntled IntervieweeDate: Tue, 19 Jan 1999
Dear Editor Person,
A friend with a few special skills (no, I won't say who, she doesn't want to upset the guy who thinks he's her boyfriend) just got me a copy of your grrlfriends time keeping thing. Why am I not at the very beginning? I'm not an afterthought, you know! I have powerful friends! That little blond grrl put you up to this, didn't she? I told your minion when I talked to her that I was number #1 and I expected to be treated that way. I'm a Queen, Editor, not a tail-end Cleo!
And I was mis-quoted. Or not quoted. What I said was that anyone who kissed blondie was doomed. It's like the Kiss of Death or something. Xena's not an idiot, she knows she's safer with me. I can be the Only Friend. Well, except for maybe a few walking corpses from the past, but it's not like Xena doesn't have a couple of those kicking around.
I want to be moved to the top. Consider it a Decree. And never send that minion again...I don't like her.
We Are Not Amused.
[e-mail address withheld on request]
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