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.
DEALING WITH $31,000 SWORDS
FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE LADIES
DEVI EPISODE GUIDE
SICK OF CUTS
STILL THINKING ABOUT THAT CALENDAR
WHERE DID I SEE THEM BEFORE?
BRET'S EVIL TWIN
XENA AT TROY
THE JOXER CORNER
POST SANTA MONICA CONVENTION SUGGESTIONS
EPISODE GUIDE SUGGESTION
MORE ON THE GABDRAG
SOJOURN THROUGH XENADOM
MORE KUDOS FOR US!
DEALING WITH $31,000 SWORDSDate: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 18:14:45 -0500 (EST)
I hesitate to write this, because I don't want you to think I am being critical of [WHOOSH or the editor-in- chief] personally. I'm not. However as I read [the editor-in-chief's] editorial [last issue, #29 (February 1999), http://whoosh.org/issue29/editor29.html], I sort of got the feeling that you have read some of my posts made in the old Netforum. *Grin* I'm referring to the issue regarding the Xenite who bought the $31-thousand dollar prop sword at the auction.
Much of your editorial had me wondering about who you were referring to, but when you wrote: "In this case, it was to remind the fellow Puritans that they do not have enough money to buy much of anything for $31,000, let alone give it to charity", I had little doubt at that point. I have posted my thoughts on this subject and I have also posted my feelings that attending a Con has now become a luxury for the wealthiest fans.
Though I agree with you that fans have the right to do with their money as they wish; we too have a right to our opinions of the things we see going on around us. For those of us who are poorer and cannot afford the luxury of spending large quantities of cash on things, people should understand that it is very odd for many of us to see others spend what amounts to a small fortune (to many) on items which are not a necessity. Sure, it's nice to see someone donate to charity. But for many who wonder if they can pay the light bill this month, or buy food to put on the table, or clothes for their kids; is it so odd that we question such lavish spending?
I'll be honest here. I read about this purchase and I had to sit and scratch my head, wondering what its like to have that sort of money to toss around. I also wonder what its like to be able to spend a bundle on tickets and fly across the country, get a hotel room and purchase Gold Seating tickets to see the stars I love to watch on television every Friday evening at 7 and 8pm. You see, that's what it would take because Creation, in their infinite wisdom, has chosen not to put on a serious Con anywhere near the South.
I know I'm not alone in thinking this. It would be a dream weekend in itself for many of us. But then to hear about one Xenite who spends so much on a prop? A piece of steel that Lucy once touched? Regardless of where the money ends up, I can't imagine doing this.
The other night I heard a few Xenites in chatrooms talking about how this person was sitting right in front of them when she bid on that sword. I tellya, had this lady done that in front of me, I would probably have sat there looking at her like I had just seen an alien drop out of the sky and take a seat in front of me. For many people (many Xenites), money is something that is used to provide the necessities of food, clothing and shelter. To spend so much on something like this sword is very strange to many people.
So, although there is no excuse for being rude, many of us do wonder about people who will spend money like this lady did; especially when money is so precious to those of us who have very little. Yes, its her business and she can do as she likes. But at the same time she shouldn't be surprised when people question these matters. We just don't get it.
First, I am sorry but I have not read the NetForum in a couple of years. What prompted me to write my February editorial was the result of some conversations I had with other fans who were concerned about what was happening. They forwarded me representative posts from many of the current mailing lists, I was present during some private discussions, and I finally was moved to write the editorial after it began to be criticized on websites. So, it wasn't directed to any one person.
My statement about Puritans came up because I had been discussing Purtans with my fifth grade son recently (try explaining Puritans to a ten year old!) and that was the mindset that came to mind when I observed the behavior. It was really with no specific person or post in mind.
Second, I understand that there are many people who are struggling financially (including me!), but my question is if the people who have the money do not give, then who will? Obviously, it is not the people who are struggling. Yes, the sword is not a necessity. But if someone's necessities are met, then why is it so offensive to some people when someone decides to give a healthy sum of money to charity at a fan event? She could have given it privately, she didn't even have to give it at all. She could have bought a car, flew to New Zealand, etc. But she gave it to a fan event which would give the show not only appreciated publicity but also put the fans in a positive light. Heck, I think we just about beat the pants off of any other fan group, charity-wise. Heh heh.
FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE LADIESSubject: Whoosh Article 1/99 - Friendship
Date: Wednesday, January 27, 1999 1:00 PM
Thank you for your excellent article in the January 1999 edition of "Whoosh". I started watching "Xena: Warrior Princess" because it portrayed a strong woman, trying to control her destiny. I continue to watch because the humanity/friendship of Xena and Gabrielle is so compelling. Gabrielle is every bit as interesting these days as Xena.
CHRIS MANHEIMDate: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 11:35:24 -0500
Just a note to say I really enjoyed [Bret Rudnick's] interview with Chris Manheim. I just finished reading it. Have not read the next one yet. I really enjoy her writing and I also like "Here she comes Miss Amphipolis. If you let her know the response to the interview please let her know others liked the episode too!. I liked "Altared States" as well and "Quest" etc. Thanks again for the interviews, I enjoy all of them.
MILITARY TECHNOLOGYDate: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 20:39:45 -0500
Subject: Letter to the Editor: Xena and MilTech
I'd like to comment on one bit of Ross Mallett's "THE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY OF XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS" (IAXS project #033).
" Xena normally carries her sword on her back. This is done because carrying it to one side, either on her belt or in a scabbard directly attached to Argo's saddlery, would unbalance Argo's load. To balance the load would require a counterweight on the other side, such as a shield or a carry bag as in THE DEBT (52,53/306,307)."
This is incorrect. Based on historical examples, Xena's class of sword weighs 2.5 +/- 0.5 pounds (1.1 +/- 0.2 kilograms). When compared to the weight of a fully- equipped Xena (say 160 pounds/72 kilograms) and Argo's equipment and saddlebags (totaling another 50 pounds/23 kilos) ... Argo (at 750 pounds/350 kilos) won't notice the sword.
As proof, I offer the practice of cavalry of the Napoleonic era (who carried their swords side-mounted...
"In this, Xena resembles the horsemen of the Australian Light Horse who carried their rifles on their backs."
... and of the U. S. Army cavalry on the western frontier, who not only carried their swords on the side, but their holstered rifles strapped lengthwise to the horse's side.
It is rather more likely Xena carries her sword on the shoulder because she finds it easier to draw. Traditional waist-draw mounts, designed for men, often have problems when used by women.
RESPONSE FROM ROSS MALLETT:
Mr. Huff wrote:
"This is incorrect. Based on historical examples, Xena's class of sword weighs 2.5 +/- 0.5 pounds (1.1 +/- 0.2 kilograms)."
There's also the weight of the scabbard to consider, which brings us to about 4 lbs.
"When compared to the weight of a fully-equipped Xena (say 160 pounds/72 kilograms) and Argo's equipment and saddlebags (totaling another 50 pounds/23 kilos) ... Argo (at 750 pounds/350 kilos) won't notice the sword."
The British and Australian Armies were of contrary belief. In 1916, there was considerable correspondence concerning the reduction of the load by 7 lbs (equalising by removing the rifle buckets). Source: BGGS Eastern Force dated 29 November 1916 AWM45 11/18; GOC DesCol dated 9 December 1916 AWM45 11/18
"It is rather more likely Xena carries her sword on the shoulder because she finds it easier to draw. Traditional waist-draw mounts, designed for men, often have problems when used by women."
We've tried this and the sword on the back is much harder to draw, as there is a tendency to pull forward too soon. You need an exaggerated and practiced movement. You can see Xena struggling with this in a number of episodes; she normally draws with one smooth movement; when she draws in two, she has had problems. The over-the-shoulder draw requires practice and a carefully fitted scabbard. The sword on the hip is much easier to draw, for both men and women, although it is admittedly easier for men.
It's not so much a matter of being easier to draw as easier to carry. Slinging a sword at the waist or hip was definitely not designed for anyone who *has* hips. It develops an awkward (and silly-looking) swing when you walk but if you carry it high enough to avoid that, the pommel ends up digging into the ribs or gouging under the boobs. So it appears that there just isn't any way to avoid problems with a hip carry if you've got any hip-to- waist difference worth mentioning. (Narrow-hipped women can manage fine, of course, with a build more similar to men in that regard.)
Carrying the sword strapped to the back is likely to be much more practical and comfortable for most women, and especially so for anyone who is doing a lot of walking. That last is true even for men, actually, since the sword is out of the way and doesn't throw off your balance or walking rhythm.
I would like to thank Lisa Williams (email@example.com), in responding to this letter.
DEVI EPISODE GUIDE
Subject: the devi synopsis... some comments
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 06:26:37 EST
I generally find [Bluesong's] synopses to be accurate... there was just one part that bothered me this time [in DEVI], though. [Bluesong] mentioned that when the assistant returns in dismembered parts, "Gabrielle laughs at this". Now, I don't know if this were an accidental omission, but the dismembered parts were clearly plastic! At first, it looked real, but the second glance and it's obvious it's plastic-- that's why Gabrielle and Xena giggled! Now, please, before Gabrielle fans start getting pissy about this, do you think you can somehow squeeze in a line like: the assistant's dismembered parts (that were obviously plastic -- but i think is supposed to be wood or whatever they made puppets out of in those days--) fell from the sky...?
Also, you referred to Tataka as a "blonde-haired goddess" but Eli keeps referring to her as a demon... in fact, throughout the show, they refer to her as a demon, never a goddess... oh, yeah, and you can't forget that Gabrielle was given pearls by someone, and then when she bumped into Xena she was quite upset about scattering her pearls... I only mention this because when Xena saw Tataka's picture and saw the pearls, she said, 'pearls" and immediately drew the connection of blonde Gab with pearls + blonde demon in picture with pearls.
Okay, I'm a Xena freak and I worry about things like this at 3:00 in the morning... but I really am only trying to be helpful because I usually enjoy and trust your synopses.
Thanks for writing. I will forward this message to Kym, the Whoosh! editor.
However, let me point out that I do this synopsis after one viewing at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. I cannot and never have attempted to capture every nuance and sentence in the show. As long as most people get a general idea of what they will see, I don't worry about the rest too much. If the viewing public can't figure it out after they see the show there isn't much I can do about it.
With that in mind, as to the dismembered parts, it's clear the woman is all together later. Besides, do you really think plastic body parts belong in ancient Greece?
My references to Gabrielle as the blond-haired goddess means I used something called a literary license and maybe even my Roget's. I have a personal aversion to the word "demon."
I'm pleased you enjoy the synopses, and I appreciate your suggestions.
The episode guide started out as a fun thing to do every now and then and has turned into a incredibly massive project. The guide is only as successful as it it is through volunteers such as Bluesong (just go through the guide and see how many people have contributed their time and energy towards commentaries, synopses, observations, short essays, etc). I wish I had more time to devote to it to make it more "perfect". I usually have two choices contributions: (1) find time to edit it and then post it; or (2) post it and hope to find to edit it later. As a rule, I normally choose #2. I know that allows non- standardization of character names, place names, faulty descriptions, etc., but the accuracy is usually more than adequate and the important thing is the info goes public as soon as possible. We all make mistakes and although the episode guide is fundamentally an encyclopedia of mistakes, but it is also fundamentally a clearinghouse of information which I know if I was not posting it, it would be something I would be happy to read, warts and all.
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 01:23:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Letters to the Editor
Regarding Beth Gaynor's talk with Diane Silver on fighting techniques in Devi (in the WHOOSH episode guide). Diane had some pretty harsh criticism regarding Renee O'Connor's fighting skills, and more importantly acting skills, using words like weak and inept. I think Renee did a fantastic and very convincing fight scene in Devi. She has worked very hard with kick boxing, etc. on her own so she could be in this position today to improve in her fighting skills, and this person tore her up, in her comments. As far as the acting comments, it's just her opinion. I think ROC is wonderful. I think a few more positive opinions from other people , who enjoy Roc's work would have turned a negative article into a more positive one.
SICK OF CUTSSubject: Letters to the editor
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999
I thought I'd let you know that "In Sickness and in Hell" has just aired on cable in the UK. Naturally I read the entry in Whoosh straight afterwards, and found that there had been a big cut in the episode as shown here. The scene where Gabrielle had the mad rabbit at her throat cut straight to the scene of her eating stew. Her fight with the rabbit (which many of your reviewers reckon was the best thing in the episode) was cut. I've written to complain about this sort of thing before but it never seems to do any good. However, I notice that the re-runs on channel 5 seem to be the full version, so I will have to wait until that is shown.
STILL THINKING ABOUT THAT CALENDARDate: Tue, 26 Jan 1999
Subject: Your Calendar
We LOVED your "Grrl Friends Of Xena Calendar!!" [WHOOSH #28 (01/99)]. We were cracking up through the whole thing. Such a great wit!! Thank you for sharing your talents us. We'll be checking in on your page from time to time, looking forward to more LOL.
WHERE DID I SEE THEM BEFORE?Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999
Subject: enjoy your websight
I am an avid reader of your webpage and would like to take this time to complement you and your staff. I enjoy reading your detailed critics of each weeks episodes and I have actually learned quite a few things about the show that you normally wouldn't find in any other publications.
In reading your page you always find a way of letting your readers know who the supporting actors are and what other projects they've worked on. I don't know if you have Direct TV or not but I have been watching this program on the encore channel called WAM and several of the actors on the program William Tell (by Cloud Nine Productions) have also come out on both Xena and Hercules. Ex. the actress that came out on the EP. Daughter of Pomira as Vanessa is a regular on this show as a princess.
Another interesting note is this program (William Tell) is also filmed in New Zealand. If you ever have a chance to watch it, I'm sure you will find it both interesting and informative.
Once again, thanks for the inside info and a howdy from Texas (read that [Editor-in-Chief, Kym Taborn will] be moving to Dallas. We'll almost be neighbors. I'm from El Paso, Tx.
BRET'S EVIL TWINDate:
Subject: WHOOSH interviews
I've been reading [Bret Rudnick's] latest WHOOSH interviews - thanks for yet another series of excellent articles.
I am, however, curious about one minor point. I notice that sometimes [Bret's] articles are listed as being by "Bret Ryan Rudnick" and sometimes as by "Bret Rudnick". Is there any particular reason or is it down to how you felt at the time? :)
Personally I think Bret Ryan is your evil/good twin *grin*
BRET RUDNICK RESPONDS:
You are too kind. I'm blushing. (:
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I wrote an article for WHOOSH! using only my first and last name. Subsequent to that, I used my full name, which I have tended to do for awhile now because I think it sounds better. But I suspect with the "cut and paste" effect, both versions have hung about. Not that it matters, but I tend to favour the full name usage. I just don't complain much. (:
>"Personally I think Bret Ryan is your evil/good twin *grin*"
My general rule of thumb is that if he owes money, it's the evil twin, and if he's due money, he's the good twin. (:
Thanks again for the kind words about the work -- much appreciated.
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