Whoosh! Issue 33 - 
June 1999
Letters to the Editor

L'Morte de Caesar

From: Rachel Belloma
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999
Subject: Caesar-holic

Divide And Conquer- The confessions of a Caesar addict

Hello, My name is Rachel and I'm a Caesar-holic. It all started when I saw the episode DESTINY. Caesar, played by Karl Urban, immediately caught my attention. I didn't pay an ounce of attention to Xena, M'Lila, or even Gabrielle during the entire episode. I had my eyes fixed on him, Caesar, Julius Caesar.

I became truly obsessed with him. I recorded the episode and would spend hours on end, just watching it over and over. My friends would give me weird looks because I had pasted his pictures onto my French books. I used his quotes in a normal conversation. "Divide and Conquer", "Caesar, Julius Caesar," and, "There are no accidents, only destiny", were all commonplace in my daily conversations.

Soon enough, I saw the episode THE DELIVERER and rejoiced. While other Xenites shunned this, you know...clapping wildly while Gabrielle was in real trauma, I couldn't care less. Simply seeing Caesar's face again brought real joy to my life and I was really, truly happy for the next couple weeks or so. At this point, my friends were persuaded I needed to see a psychiatrist.

My obsession was indeed getting stronger, I was at the point of insanity. I taped THE BITTER SUITE simply because Caesar made a four-second cameo. I could link ANYTHING to Caesar and I was really starting to scare everyone around me...even myself.

Whenever I saw WHEN IN ROME, I feel into a daze. I started making up little Caesar songs and singing them in my own little version of THE BITTER SUITE. And then it hit me, Caesar was eventually going to die. Such an enemy to Xena just had to die, right? Well, I went into a state of shock but one phrase kept popping up..."BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!"

One night, I ventured onto a Xena page and read a rumor about the cliffhanger for the fourth season, it was called IDES OF MARCH. Now everyone knows this is not such a great day on Caesar calendar. "My boy is going to die!" I would say spontaneously.

D-day was just around the corner, that night IDES OF MARCH would air. I laid out an all black outfit although it was supposed to go into the eighties the next day. I set up my VCR and at midnight, I turned on my TV. I watched in horror as "my boy" was stabbed mercilessly. I didn't even care that my two heroines were being crucified. I knew they would be back, but Caesar...he wouldn't. That night I cried until two o'clock in the morning.

Well, now you know all about me and my sad and at times scary little obsession. Please feel free to comment...or give me any ideas on how to overcome to loss of Caesar, Julius Caesar.

Communism Lives!

Subject: Re: Is Gabrielle a Marxist?
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999
From: Orville Eastland

First off, let me say that this letter is being written April 30, so it was written before the article was published (May 1)...

The "Is Gabrielle a Marxist?" article was very well written, but it had one semi-factual error. The article asked, "[D]oes Gabrielle have the capacity to advocate a revolt of the masses, as any self-respecting Marxist would do?" The answer lies in "Armageddon Now, part II" (H73/414), and it is a resounding yes. In that episode, Gabrielle led a revolution against the tyrannical rule of Xena. Unfortunately, it failed. Fortunately, it was in an alternate universe.

Again, congratulations on a well-written article!

Orville Eastland
Greenville, SC

Date: Wed, 19 May 1999
Subject: Request for reprint
From: Robert Boesch

Dear Mrs. Taborn, as the editor of Whoosh!, I like to tell you that the article in Issue 32, 'Is Gabrielle a Marxist?', shows a pitiable lack of understanding of Marx's critical theory and the author obviously has not the slightest idea of actual discussions about this theory. Some sentences are simply involuntary funny, like the one with the true Marxist, the marketplace and the surplus value - not to mention that the given definition of surplus value is pure nonsense.

What I like to point out is the fact, that the way Mr. Allison reduces a complex theory makes him unable to see that there could be found an 'esoteric' content in the theory of Marx; like for Marx there was an 'esoteric' content in the thoughts of Adam Smith (that's why Smith can not be understood simply as the 'Anti-Marx'). This means, that there is a theoretical essence in Marx, which is not grasped in the common understanding of his theory as the ideology of working class movement. Instead it is a theory of modern capitalist society as a contradictory totality.

As such, the theory of Marx is a theory of developing contradictions, and therefore the logic of this contradictions can not be grasped in the simple dualism of 'good working class' versus 'evil bourgeoisie'. On the contrary, the shift from dualism to ambivalence is the central idea in Marx's theory - as well as it is in 'Xena, warrior princess' (at least in season one and two). In this broader sense, there could be found a relation between Marx and Xena & Gabrielle (as genuine 'modern individuals'). To me, who likes to watch 'Xena, warrior princess' (not as much as I used to do in season one and two) and reads 'big boring books' like 'The Capital', such articles causes great pain, because Mr. Allison treats Marx like Darfus has treated the poor villagers. So please, have mercy, and do not publish any further articles in this quality related to this subject.

Deja Vu'ed

Date: Sat, 22 May 1999
From: Kate Maynard
Subject: Letter to the Editor


I've been giving a good deal of thought as to why I am offended by these faux kissing scenes between Xena and Gabrielle -- i.e., those supposedly romantic kisses that can only be traded by Xena and Gabrielle's souls when Xena takes the physical form of a man. [Re: "The Quest", and "Deja Vu All Over Again"]

To those who would deny that the idea behind these images is, at its core, homophobic, I would offer the following analogy:

Let us, for the moment, say that the two leads in this series were a heterosexual male and female, only one was white and the other black. Now imagine that the producers of this show had milked a popular, "subtextual" romantic relationship between these two leads, only to repeatedly make public statements to the press that any presumed relationship between the characters was just a joke, that the relationship was "too profound" to be physical, or was "beyond sex".

Let us take that a step further, and say that the producers of the show decided to tease their audience with an affirmation (in the form of a kiss) of the romantic love between these two characters, but in order to do so, they felt the black character had to first be transformed into a Caucasian in order to qualify as "family fare"!

Think back to this quote by Renee O'Connor, from Who Weekly (Australia) 31 August 1998: "It was unintentional to begin with," says O'Connor. "But the more lesbians started watching, and the more feedback we received from them, our characters started to develop a little more intimately. We have to keep it a family show, but the subtext is there."

Are we then to presume that on a show rife with images of murder, mutilation, rape, crucifixion, torture and infanticide -- a show in which the titular heroic character is a former mass-murderer -- the one image not fit for families would be a simple kiss shared between two people of the same gender? Substitute the word "African Americans" or "Jews" or "Hispanics" for the word "lesbians" in the above quote and it certainly does put a different spin on things, doesn't it? Would these same fans who deny any reading of homophobia in the "Deja Vu" kiss also deny that this alternative scenario smacked of racism? Would anyone expect that the black community would be laughing at Xenastaff's little joke if this happened over and over? This "gag" has become little more than the cruel taunting of an already oppressed minority.

What if the only character ever assumed to be black had to first be desexualized in order to be acceptable (i.e., non-threatening), as Vidalis (from "Blind Faith") was when he was described in Weisbrot's Official Guide to the Xenaverse not as a gay man, but as a eunuch?

I must say that I am totally perplexed by those who would continue to rationalize the homophobic messages Xenastaff chooses to present via X:WP. I don't give a whit if some of Xenastaff's best friends are gay, or even some of their employees. I DO give a damn when they choose to beam cowardly (they might say coy), homophobic messages into the living rooms of millions of people around the world, while laughing all the way to the bank. Their cluelessness is no longer excusable, not when many from among the gay community have expressed their heartfelt dismay and concerns, ones which have either been summarily ignored or met with mocking disdain.

To quote Ms Lawless, "Sometimes we went a little overboard because it made us laugh and we thought it was a good gag." [Australian Rolling Stone, October 1998] Well you know what? I'm not laughing at their little joke anymore. I'm insulted, disgusted and angry that this show continues to taunt and exploit the gay community, all the while commending us for our lap-dog loyalty -- a one-sided loyalty, I might add.

From: pam86
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999
Subject: Re: Deja Vu comments

I realize that many fans are going to love this (Raimi as Xena - ROC as Gab.) kiss at the end of the episode Deja Vu All Over Again BUT in all honesty I personally (and this is JMO ) find this kiss scene the Ultimate Homophobic Insult cast by RenPics at the subtext/gay fans !!!!

Subtext fans have been waiting forever to see the girls share a simple, honest and heartfelt kiss on the lips - only to be told by Sears that "they are beyond sex" - and by Lawless that "the subtext is a joke."

Well the message this Deja Vu ep. projects for me is that two souls, no matter that they are each others "other half"/compliment and share a love that extends beyond death, through out time - can ONLY be shown to display physical affection when they are in bodies that reflect a Heterosexual Pairing - be it Xena in Auto's. body or Henry's -- Xena wastes no time kissing the bard full on the lips when she is in a male body.

Sears assertions that the girls being beyond physical displays of affection ring hallow when its O.K. for the writers to have these two souls/soulmates kiss when Xena is in a mans body - but NOT when she is in her own body!!

I'm sorry but I do NOT find this an affirmation of X & G's love for each other-- The only thing I see here are homophobic writers/producers who can't show us X & G kissing, unless X is male -

And given the subtext fans vocal dislike for Joxer/Raimi - the PTB seem to have stuck it to the fans by having Raimi (playing Xena) kiss Gab. (played by ROC).

Tapert has repeatedly told the gay/subtext friendly community that he would "milk them for some if not all their worth" - Lawless has stated in the most read American magazine, TV Guide, that the subtext is a Joke.

Well the writers have now proven it - Xena and Gab can kiss/show physical affection - as long as Xena is a man.....Tartarus even a joke/Joxer of a man will do.

But if she and Gab are both in woman's bodies "they are beyond" physical displays of affection - even when facing death! As the girls spoke their last words to each other in a jail cell ( Ides of March), knowing they would be crucified - they were only allowed a peck on the forehead NOT a kiss on the lips.

What a homophobic bunch of centaur poop! What a lousy message to be sending on a show that has made its name/fame from its lesbian overtones!

According to Donna Freydkin, CNN "Getting to know you: Sitcoms field gay characters" May 17, 1999, "Issues of homosexuality have arrived in commercial television, and often as enduring, central and serious elements of their shows' stories". There are now 25 openly gay characters in major roles in prime time. This May sweeps has seen multiple gay/lesbian storylines - including a lesbian arch of stories that featured a kiss between Julia (Neve Campbell) and another woman and according to Ultimate TV these episodes resulted in "strong ratings" for "Party of Five". Will and Grace is the frosh comedy hit of the year - recently promoted to a better time slot. "Chicago Hope," "ER," "Spin City", "The Simpsons", "Suddenly Susan", and "Mad About You" all "featured gay, lesbian and/or transgender [lost transmission]

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