Whoosh! Issue 42 - March 2000

IAXS project #749
By andjamgeo@yahoo.com
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
2789 words

Joxer And Asperger Syndrome (01-04)
People With Asperger Syndrome And Their Sex Lives (05)
     Tim Fischer (06-09)
     Albert Einstein (10-12)
     Bill Gates (13-15)
Fictional Characters With Asperger Syndrome (16-17)
     Jar Jar Binks (18-20)
     Dilbert (21-23)
What Are Their Choices For Sex? (24-27)
What Are Joxer's Choices? (28-35)
My Two Dinars (36-37)

Joxer and Asperger Syndrome

Joxer And Asperger Syndrome

Ow!  That *hurt*!

Hagar, an alternate-Xenaverse Joxer, has problems relating to Gabrielle in MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS.

[1] Many aspects of Joxer's character suggest that he has Asperger Syndrome. Its symptoms include poor dexterity and below average verbal and social skills. People with Asperger Syndrome can be very intelligent. It just does not seem that way at times. Virginia Carper's article "Joxer from a disability perspective" [Whoosh! #09, June 1997, http://whoosh.org/issue9/carper4.html] is recommended reading as it shows that Joxer is most likely in this minority group, and this places Joxerphobia in a new light.

[2] Joxer is possibly the only character who has more than one potential love interest. Gabrielle could be another, but she is currently written as someone seduced by or even fought over by other characters, rather than having interests and needs of her own. Xena is depicted as being primarily interested in Gabrielle.

[3] This article explores Joxer being interested in Meg and Gabrielle. It is, therefore, by no means exhaustive. An exhaustive discussion would be a Herculean task as it is possible to choose at random virtually any two characters from the show and find someone who will say that they are definite soulmates, or someone who has written erotic fan fiction involving these two characters.

[4] In WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP (55/309), Joxer seemed quite the "studmuffin". I thought I was being a bit silly trying to interpret this from an Asperger Syndrome perspective. Virginia Carper replied that I was not, as some people write off those with Asperger Syndrome as asexual.

People With Asperger Syndrome And Their Sex Lives

[5] To illustrate my point, I will discuss a number of public figures and fictional characters that may have Asperger Syndrome.

Tim Fischer

[6] Until recently, Tim Fischer was Minister of Trade, head of the National Party Australia and deputy Prime Minister, the highest position a member of the National Party can aspire to. He recently became a backbencher for family reasons. One of his children is mildly autistic. Moreover, his heavy task load meant he became a "one-day daddy". He is best remembered for resisting the advance of Pauline Hanson, also known as "Xenophobe: Worrier Princess", in the 1998 election, who was particularly strong in his rural constituency. Interestingly enough, the name of the character who portrayed Xena in Gabrielle's play "A Message of Peace" [THE PLAY'S THE THING(85/417)] is named Paulina.

[7] Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome: Tim Fischer has been described as a mangler of the English language and a whacko. He is either "one of the sharpest minds in politics... or a mirror image of Chance the gardener, the Peter Sellers idiot character in 'Being There'". This is reminiscent of some Joxerites arguing that Joxer is brighter than he seems. Tim was bullied at boarding school and his opponents have ridiculed him. Wearing an Akubra (tm) hat indoors, as he did, could be seen as failing to understand social norms. The Akubra hat is as much Tim Fischer's trademark as Joxer's helmet is for Joxer. Sadly, no politicians, as of yet, have donned the pasta strainer.

[8] He said in a radio interview that he has realized since going to the backbench that he had a mild degree of autism. He was known as the wombat, a creature not noted for its intelligence but which is very persistent, and he took up the nickname with pride.

[9] Sexual History: Fischer married Judy Brewster, also a National Party member, fairly late in life. Considering his conservatism and his devout but quiet Catholicism, this probably means that he was not sexually active earlier on [Note 01].

Albert Einstein

[10] Albert Einstein contributed to quantum mechanics, discovered the theory of relativity (possibly with unacknowledged help from his first wife) and spent his final years searching for a grand unified theory. He spoke out against Nazi Germany, encouraged the formation of the Manhattan Project, and was offered presidency of Israel.

[11] Symptoms: He was physically clumsy and was slow in learning to speak. He faced bullying, often motivated by anti-Semitism. However, people with Asperger Syndrome, and others that identify with Joxer, often face bullying.

[12] Sexual history: Einstein's first marriage was to Mileva Maric, a fellow student. His second marriage was to his cousin Elsa Lowenthal. He cheated on both wives and had escorts during his second marriage. After the death of his second wife, Elsa's daughter and his secretary cared for him [Note 02].

Bill Gates

[13] Bill is a multi billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, currently under investigation for the methods he took on his path to becoming a very high functioning autistic.

[14] Symptoms: Time Magazine noted similarities between the New Yorker's article on autism "An Anthropologist on Mars" and an article in the following edition called "E-mail from Bill". Those with an anti-Gates agenda and people interested in autism have promoted the idea.

[15] Sexual history: He wrote a class scheduling program rigged so that he would be the only male in one of his classes. It is widely believed that Bill Gates was into prostitutes before his marriage to Microsoft employee Melinda French [Note 03].

Fictional Characters With Asperger Syndrome

[16] The portrayal of people with Asperger Syndrome is remarkably accurate, especially considering that the creators of characters probably have not heard of it. George Lucas could have fended off accusations of racism (at least with Jar Jar) much more easily if he had told his critics to look up Asperger Syndrome. Furthermore, the Xena: Warrior Princess "powers that be" (TPTB) have rarely, if ever, mentioned Asperger Syndrome. Some of my understanding of Asperger Syndrome has come from fiction, and I have used fictional characters as well as real people to describe Asperger Syndrome to others.

[17] The problems with portrayal of people with Asperger Syndrome are not to do with accuracy at all. One problem is tokenism. People with Asperger Syndrome are portrayed more often than people with other disabilities, probably because we are "interesting". Also linked to the issue of tokenism is that there are few characters with Asperger Syndrome where it does not become a central issue. Much of the blame for this is on fans who are intolerant of those who are different and those who find such hatred acceptable. Another issue is the tendencies for such characters to be "comic relief" sidekicks. Producers must not forget that these people have real feelings worth exploring, and so far TPTB have not neglected this with Joxer.

Jar Jar Binks

Meesa be new Joxerian, hokey-day?

An otherworldly Joxer?

[18] Jar Jar is a Gungan, outcast for clumsiness, who facilitated the contact between the Jedi knights and the Gungans. Jar Jar is the Joxer of STAR WARS. He is just as controversial, and Yahoo! has an entire category of Jar Jar hate sites. There is little chance of doing anything about this, considering that they also have a category of white supremacist sites.

[19] Symptoms: His speech is mangled. This is one of the most memorable aspects of Jar Jar, with a web site that converts web pages into his way of saying things [Note 04], and both fans and enemies of Jar Jar speak like him at times. He dresses unusually, with a homophobic anti-Jar Jar web site claiming Jar Jar is gay because he wears a sleeveless vest. He is clumsy, and sometimes ignores social norms.

[20] Sexual history: Apart from the homophobic web site, few fans seem to regard him as sexually active. The only signs of him being seen as sexual are that a fundamentalist church warned that blow-up Jar Jar dolls were being used as masturbation toys, and a Pizza Hut ad where Jar Jar is seen by some girls as the next Leonardo DiCaprio.

Dilbert (TV series version)

[21] Dilbert is an engineer working for Path-e- Tech Corporation.

[22] Symptoms: He has actually been diagnosed as having "the knack", after pulling apart some household appliances and building a radio. When his mother asked whether he would lead a normal life, she was informed that he would not, but that Dilbert would become an engineer. He applies technological solutions where it is not appropriate and often speaks out about situations where more "sensible" people would keep quiet.

[23] Sexual history : His father was so determined to see if an "all-you-can-eat" buffet was for real that he has spent the past 20 years in there, assumingly without having sex. The only females in Dilbert's life are his coworker Alice and his mother. Dogbert cited an instance of claiming that women are attracted to Dilbert as an example of lying to Dilbert in the first episode and combining the notion of Dilbert and sex permanently scarred Alice. "Lena: Warrior Engineer" used him to further her own goals. His boss may be interested in him, wishing that Dilbert were his wife and based on his reaction to getting mouth-to-mouth from Dilbert.

What Are Their Choices For Sex?

Joxer and Gabrielle lock braces, until Gabrielle remebers she has no braces

Joxer ain't sayin' no to Gabrielle in MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS.

[24] Why coworkers? Many people with Asperger Syndrome obsess on some things to the Nth degree. Many of them work in their field of obsession, or become obsessed in their work, leaving them less time for a social life outside work. A non-Joxer-related example in the show of work getting in the way of a love life was Gabrielle's remarks in DEATH IN CHAINS (09/109) about having difficulty finding love. Subtexters no doubt were eating this with a spoon.

[25] People with Asperger Syndrome may also lack the inclination or ability to make friends outside work, with the exception perhaps of dedicated communities such as the Linux community and fandoms of shows like Xena: Warrior Princess. They are likely to find coworkers with similar personalities, and if they are interested in their work too, then they share a common interest there.

[26] Why asexual? For some people with Asperger Syndrome, getting a significant other is not worth it, not possible, or a combination of the two. Even when people put sexual relationships on the backburner, it does not mean they do not have sexual needs, just that they are not being met: presumably Einstein needed to eat, but he paid so little attention to it that his wives/caregivers had to remind him to eat.

[27] Why prostitutes? It is easy to say that as they cannot "get laid" easily without paying, people with Asperger Syndrome may have to resort to a "business transaction", but this is not the full story. Not being too concerned about social norms is another point. People with Asperger Syndrome may also feel an affinity with prostitutes and other outsiders as they are outsiders themselves and would not obey the social norms, which would otherwise discourage treating them with respect. Joxer's warning to Autolycus in KEY TO THE KINGDOM (78/410) to lay off Meg is a strong example of that.

What Are Joxer's Choices?

[28] Coworker: Both of the people Joxer offered his services to in CALLISTO (22/122) were female. A sexual relationship between Joxer and Xena or Callisto has been explored in fan fiction, but does not appear to be in the cards except possibly in a Xena-Joxer- Gabrielle union.

[29] The strongest pairing amongst Joxer fandom (at least in "heterosexual Joxer" fandom) is for Gabrielle and Joxer. The strongest pairing in "mainstream" Xena fandom is for Xena and Gabrielle. This has caused a fair amount of grief in the Xenaverse, though some support a three-way relationship.

[30] However, whilst this collision course has meant many an email has been fired in anger, it is a master stroke by TPTB to keep the unresolved sexual tension unresolved. Just as two contradictory rumors leave the fandom intrigued but no wiser, the suspense created by two competing romances is more effective than the uncertainty over subtext. Of course, every individual in fandom knows which rumor is right. They just do not agree among themselves about which one it is.

[31] With the subtext increasing in the fourth season, and Joxer expressing his feelings to Gabrielle in the fifth, TPTB have given themselves a challenge only matched by the "Gab drag" and the third and fourth season cliffhangers. This is not a good track record.

[32] Prostitute: An escape from this love triangle may have been created before the Gabrielle-Joxer possibility was. WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206) predated FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) and A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222). Most of the hostility to the Meg-Joxer pairing in TRAMP is probably due to the context of the suggestion that Joxer was really pursuing Xena rather than the pairing of Meg and Joxer itself. As an analogy, I originally thought the idea of Xena and Gabrielle being lovers was cooked up by sexist pigs insecure at the idea of two successful women being able to live independently.

[33] Similarly with Joxer and Meg, the pairing is often put up by those who think Gabrielle is "too good for Joxer". Not only Joxer fans but also Meg fans should be offended by this, as there is a strong message that Meg is second rate. However, Joxerphobes sometimes hate Meg as well because, like Joxer, she is often comic relief, though both characters can gain pathos at the end of episodes, and Meg is as much a threat to Radical Separatist Feminism as Joxer.

[34] If TPTB pursue a Joxer-Meg relationship (possible), and respect Joxer and Meg (less likely), then it has to be seen as more than a default once they want Xena and Gabrielle together.

[35] Asexual: So much for what the fans want, asexual is likely to be what they get. But look on the bright side: they will not just do it to Joxer but to everyone else as well.

My Two Dinars

[36] No domestic violence please! If TPTB are going to pursue a Xena-Gabrielle relationship, I hope they do something about the "Gab drag". They could have Xena apologize more fully, without Gabrielle having to apologize, as the responsibility for abuse should go to the abuser, not the abused. Or they could have a three-way relationship between Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer. The latter would prevent Xena from abusing Gabrielle without any witnesses. Argo refused to participate in the "Gab drag", and there will not be an anonymous horse to take Gabrielle away from Joxer next time. Similarly, if there were to be a Joxer-Gabrielle relationship, they would have to have Gabrielle refraining from beating up Joxer.

I can tell if it's Meg 'cause Meg snores!

Xena or Meg? Sometimes hard to tell.

[37] I am supportive of both a Gabrielle-Joxer pairing and a Joxer-Meg pairing, unless the latter is suggested in a Joxerphobic or anti-Gabrielle-Joxer context. I like both characters, and I want Joxer respected by TPTB, and that includes Joxer "getting laid". I would also support a Joxer-Gabrielle-Meg three-way relationship, as it would contain the above relationships plus a safe Gabrielle- "surrogate Xena" relationship. The only problem with that is with whom would Xena be, if anyone?


Note 01:
Tim Fischer revealed he was mildly autistic and was bullied in the series "On the Brink: Ten Prominent Australians looking back on their teenage years" within "Life Matters", on Monday, December 13 1999 on ABC radio. Another reference was in the Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, June 19 1999 page 45
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Note 02:
Also based upon personal correspondence with Virginia Carper, whose Physics Professor knew Einstein professionally.
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Note 03:
Bill Gates and autism: Time Magazine, January 24 1994.
"Rigging a timetable program" from the Sydney Morning Herald, January 15 2000
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Note 04:
The Jar-Jargonizer: http://www.hit-n-run.com/jarjar.html
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andjamgeo@yahoo.com andjamgeo@yahoo.com
As I am a Joxerite, I cannot reveal my identity. However, as I am not a dentist, I can reveal my face. I am the Spokes-entity for Gungan and Ancient Greek Raving Loonies for the Sydney University Monster Raving Loony Party. When not writing letters to the editor or articles for the student media, I study science.

I also run the mailing list distexters (http://www.onelist.com/community/distexters), a mailing list formed for discussing Asperger Syndrome and other disabilities in Xena: Warrior Princess.

Favorite episode: WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP (30/206)
Favorite line: Meg: "I need your sword in my service right now!" WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206)
First episode seen: THE WARRIOR PRINCESS (H09/109)
Least favorite episode: Anything without Joxer. :P

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