Whoosh! Issue 42 - March 2000
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 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.




KUDOS!
JOAN OF ARC AND GABRIELLE
FEBRUARY EDITORIALS
FEBRUARY LETTERS
TODAY IN THE XENAVERSE
THE LAO MA DEBATE CONTINUES
TOO MANY FOREVERS
WHERE HAVE ALL THE COMMENTARIES GONE?
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
DISSECTING GABRIELLE
HOMOPHOBIA
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WHAT?
JOXER CORNER
XENA IN ISRAEL
REINCARNATION IN CHRISTIANITY
AUTOGRAPHS FOR ANIMALS
TRYING TO LOCATE A XENITE



Letters To The Editor



KUDOS!

From: Idryth
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000
Subject: Just a note of thanks...

...for all of the work you and any others put into your page. That you update it all the time and not just new episodes but commentary on old ones etc is great.

I had been a fan of Xena from the first season but it lost me for a little while last year. I watched the show but didn't make the all out effort as I had in the past. When this year started I watched with a critical eye and then got to Lyre Lyre where I laughed so much that I couldn't help remember why the show is so great.

I jumped right back in with both feet and went looking on the web to get any information and tidbits that I'd missed. I hadn't really used the web before to get information on Xena and was amazed at the number of sites but just a few really stuck out in my mind. Yours is one of the two that I find myself going to daily now to see what's been updated and see what I do and don't disagree with.

Reading the various commentaries on the episodes last year was the best thing I could've done. I realized that the show had lost me for various reasons, including the fact that in both season 3 and 4 Gabrielle had gone places that *I* didn't think she should go and I wasn't thrilled with the whole India thing. When I looked at things again, read commentaries and various other bits of information I realized that I was really being unfair to a show that had given so many so much.

Some of the episodes that I found hard to watch had the best acting in them and were hard to watch partly because of what was going on. I started looking back at some older shows and went forward through any I could find through the seasons and simply had to mentally applaud. That I couldn't see the development and vision was my problem, not theirs. That I found it hard to watch was because of what a great show it is, not because they did anything wrong. Dare I say it? Battle on, Xena, for a long time to come - please and I hope this website keeps right along with it.

Thank you.




From: Patricia Willenborg
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000
Subject: a quick note

I was very glad to have stumbled upon Whoosh! in my great Xena link hunts of old. I had some old tapes that my friend gave me two years ago, and the episodes weren't listed by title. I had been wondering if I would ever be able to get them sorted out, and the episode guide helped immensely. Along with Tom's Xena Page, Whoosh has been the site I've visited the most. Thank you for your efforts.

Sincerely,
Patricia Willenborg

PS. I like to let people know they're doing a good job. I know how time consuming it can be, and that's just by working on my own personal site. The great sites that I find are sites that I like to see continue. People's dedication and creativity astounds me more over time.




From: Rohan
Subject: Whoosh
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000

I faithfully read Whoosh every day, (and no, I am not from 'Cult Times') and just wanted to drop you and your staff a line, er, gram, uh, email, yeah that's it, thanking you for a job well done. From the story synopsis to the small print about a certain 'B' person not being scary, I laughed, I cried, I bought the book, (oops, sorry, got carried away there, that was Tropical Storm I bought. Just some Good humor there.) Seriously, I do enjoy the time and effort put into this website and actually do read every word whether I agree or disagree with certain topics, reviews or editorials. Currently, I am racking my brain trying to think of something I can contribute to IAXs but nothing I can think of can compare with the humor, thoughtfulness and resourcefulness of your already established contributors. So I shall remain simply a reader. Thanks again!

Rohan The Thunder Chick





JOAN OF ARC AND GABRIELLE

Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000
From: MK Piatkowski
Subject: Letter to the Editor

RE: Whoosh article on Joan D'Arc

I have to comment on some comments made in this article. I recently directed Shaw's Saint Joan, and did extensive research, as well as coming to my own conclusions. I would recommend reading Regine Pernoud, who is considered the modern expert on Joan.

There is no conclusion evidence either way on Joan's ability as a military commander. Her companions said nothing during their depositions for her rehabilitation.

In her statements about her recantation, she resumes her dress because promises were not kept to her regarding attending mass, receiving communion, and being placed in the hands of the church. There is no reason to believe that she was sexually assaulted.

You say that we assume that she did not hear the voices of the saints. I don't. A lot of people I ran into in connection with the show didn't. There is a substantial group of people outside of Hollywood who believe she was in communion with God, therefore the statement is in error.

Joan reputation is in fact at a higher level than most of the time that has past since her death. Joan only became truly popular in France when the lower classes assumed control of society during the French revolution. In Shakespeare's time, she was still considered a witch. The opinion of Europe only began to change when Schiller wrote his play The Maid of Orleans - an overly romanticized version of Joan's life which led to a reconsideration of her written in (I believe) the mid-eighteenth century.

I felt the need to clear things up.

MK Piatkowski
theatre director

AUTHOR MICHAEL KLOSSNER RESPONDS

I included Regine Pernoud's book in my bibliography. I hope my article and this letter will inspire some people to read more about Joan of Arc.





FEBRUARY EDITORIALS

Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2000
From: Michael Roussel
Subject: Night of the Evil... & Two Cents...(Whoosh Feb. 2000)

Hi Beth & Bret. I've just read your commentaries [Bret Rudnick's THE NIGHT OF THE EVIL EDITORIAL AND THE CONTEMPLATIVE CONVENTION and Beth Gaynor's TWO CENTS ON A DEAD HORSE, editorials WHOOSH #41, February 2000], and I'd like to weigh in on same. Some of what I have to say I've not seen addressed by Kym, you, Mary D., or anyone else for that matter. Since you've seen fit to defend Kym's January editorial, I think you need to think further about a couple of things.

Did you know that it's possible to give to charities under a pseudonym? Some celebrities do that, rather than have their name(s) trumpeted all over creation. For these people, donating is a very personal thing, and they're not looking to have accolades showered upon them for it. It is also possible that Lucy & Rob do not consider any of the Xena related charities as worthy as other causes they do/may donate to. That's their choice. If it was Kym's intent to embarrass Lucy and Rob into donating via pressure from fandom, the attempt was misplaced, pure and simple. Intended or not, the editorial read that way, seemingly by design.

I know that charities need to zealously seek donations just as lawyers need to zealously defend their clients, but focusing on a private individual and deriding them because of their lack of support crosses a line that shouldn't be crossed. As a private citizen, I sure-in-hell wouldn't want MY name broadcast in a charity popularity contest. If folks choose not to donate to charities; that is their choice, their right. They have their own, private reasons for this stance. NO one person or group has the right to deride them for it. The same should apply to Lucy and Rob. Privately, we may question their motives, but publicly, no. Like it or not, they and other celebrities are entitled to the same privacy and anonymity as regular folks; they are NOT politicians who, by their very nature, are open to ALL forms of examination, ridicule included. It's expected. (It's also stretching the credulity of the U.S. Constitution, BUUUUUT...) If they can't take it, they shouldn't seek office.

It is not my intent to deride Kym. She's obviously enthusiastic, and from what I've read, a great asset to Sword & Staff. She's also a fellow HCNB! She made a mistake, intended or not. What's done is done. I hope she uses better judgment in the future. If not, she should expect more of the same reaction she got with her Jan. editorial. That won't help Sword & Staff, only hinder it. I hope to donate to Sword & Staff m'self during Y2K1, assuming it's still around then.

Thank you for your time.
Xena Freak

BRET RUDNICK RESPONDS:

Dear "Xena Freak" (Sorry, but that's the only name I have to go by since that's how you signed your e-mail),

You sent your note to Beth and me, and what follows are my thoughts and mine alone regarding your response.

In a message dated 5/2/0 3:29:34, you wrote:

"Since you've seen fit to defend Kym's January editorial, I think you need to think further about a couple of things."

Actually, what I defended was Kym's right to an opinion. I think I stated in my own editorial that I did not necessarily agree with all of what Kym had to say, but I certainly believe in her right to express her opinion. That's what editorials are for. I do sympathise with her opinion on several levels, however, and will expand on that in the paragraphs ahead.

"Did you know that it's possible to give to charities under a pseudonym?"

Of course I do. But that's not the point of Kym's editorial. Kym did not say that Lucy Lawless does not give to charity, and she certainly did not say that Ms. Lawless gives no time or money to charity. Anyone who reads the papers knows Lucy Lawless does give time and money to charity.

The point of the editorial had to do with the fact that of all the names on Sword and Staff's contribution list, Lucy Lawless' name did not appear. The notion that Lucy Lawless might give anonymously to Sword and Staff defeats the purpose of what Sword and Staff does.

As I understand it, Sword and Staff raises money for charities by providing items for auction and then making sure the charity in question receives the entire amount raised by that auction. Sword and Staff is not in and of itself a charity, but rather a "clearing house" for certain charities. People do not give cash directly to Sword and Staff but to the charity Sword and Staff is working with. Sword and Staff organises auctions of charity items. The value of these items comes not from the cash value of the item itself (a picture, a magazine, an item of clothing or prop, for example) but from the fact that a particular celebrity is associated with the item. A picture of Lucy Lawless or Xena autographed by Lucy Lawless can raise hundreds of dollars for charity. A picture of Lucy Lawless or Xena with no autograph or signed by "J. Schmuckatelli" has a value of a couple of bucks -- the value of the photo itself.

So in summary: it's not about cash. It's about an autograph or two.

Kym implied in her editorial (or so was my interpretation) that if a star such as Ms. Lawless could sign many photographs for sale by a for-profit corporation, why not toss a couple to Sword and Staff, a fan-run charity organisation that has raised more money for charity than any for-profit corporation. It's not as if these corporations, one of which purports to be in communication with Ms. Lawless, are ignorant of Sword and Staff or what they do. It is also my understanding that Sword and Staff have requested such items in a polite way, through official channels, and received no reply. So the question Kym asks is, to my way of looking at it, a legitimate one. It makes the absence of Lucy Lawless' name from the S&S charity list a little ominous. That one question that Kym asks raises a number of other questions.

"Some celebrities do that, rather than have their name(s) trumpeted all over creation. For these people, donating is a very personal thing, and they're not looking to have accolades showered upon them for it. It is also possible that Lucy & Rob do not consider any of the Xena related charities as worthy as other causes they do/may donate to. That's their choice."

You bet it is. But like I said, the issue is not whether someone donates to charity, anonymously or not, in general. It is a specific issue regarding a specific organisation.

"If it was Kym's intent to embarrass Lucy and Rob into donating via pressure from fandom, the attempt was misplaced, pure and simple."

That is your opinion, and you certainly have the right to express that opinion. Personally, I disagree with that opinion. And I don't believe Rob Tapert was mentioned at all, and therefore mentioning him unfairly includes him in the discussion and does him a disservice.

"Intended or not, the editorial read that way, seemingly by design."

Personally, I read it more as a "wake up" call to those around Ms. Lawless than directed at Ms. Lawless herself. Someone as perpetually busy as Ms. Lawless can't be expected to know much, if anything, about what goes on in fandom other than what those around her tell her. But then again, that's only *my* interpretation. Frankly, if Lucy Lawless didn't give her fans any more thought than "thanks for tuning in" I wouldn't think ill of her.

Judging from the responses I read, not everyone interpreted it the way you did.

"I know that charities need to zealously seek donations just as lawyers need to zealously defend their clients, but focusing on a private individual and deriding them because of their lack of support crosses a line that shouldn't be crossed."

Public figures are not private citizens. Even the law makes this distinction. What a public figure does or says, or does not do or say, carries far more weight than the same things from a private citizen with absolutely no notoriety. Sure there is common courtesy and such that would apply to anyone -- I'd hold a door or brake at a crosswalk for a celeb or private citizen equally -- but many people tend to expect more from public figures than they do private citizens. Just look at the tabloids and newspapers. Is it right? Perhaps not. But that is the reality of the world we live in.

And again, I don't interpret Kym's editorial as harshly as you do. I would not use words such as "deride" to descibe the tone of what she wrote. That, to me, is much too harsh an interpretation.

"Like it or not, they and other celebrities are entitled to the same privacy and anonymity as regular folks; they are NOT politicians who, by their very nature, are open to ALL forms of examination, ridicule included."

Unfortunately, that is simply not true. The status of "public figure" is not limited to politicians. More people know who a certain actor, sports figure, or singer is than they know who their congressional representative is.

"If they can't take it, they shouldn't seek office."

And if a public figure can't take a certain measure of criticism, perceived or actual, perhaps (s)he should rethink the desire to obtain notoriety. Whether celebrities like it or not, what they do and say is noted by others. Sports figures can deny being role models all they like but kids will still look up to them because of what they achieve. Stars may get irritated if people ask them for an autograph (and doing such things in a restroom, for example, is crossing a line I would hope most people wouldn't dream of crossing, but we know this happens a lot), but that is part of the price of fame. Sure they can choose not to do a lot of things, for charity or otherwise, but it would be unrealistic to think that those actions (or lack thereof) will not be commented upon by a number of people commensurate with the fame of the person in question.

"It is not my intent to deride Kym."

Really? Your tone above suggests otherwise to me. (: But I'll take your word for it. (:

"She's obviously enthusiastic, and from what I've read, a great asset to Sword & Staff. She's also a fellow HCNB!"

Not to mention just a nice, all-around good person. I say this from personal experience. By the way, my personal experience with Lucy Lawless suggests the same of her as well.

"She made a mistake, intended or not. What's done is done. I hope she uses better judgment in the future. If not, she should expect more of the same reaction she got with her Jan. editorial. That won't help Sword & Staff, only hinder it."

I respect your opinion, though I disagree with it. It's been my experience that in her more controversial editorials, Kym asks questions that many fans have whispered but few have stated publicly. For that, I greatly respect her. I don't always agree with her, but I always respect her.

"I hope to donate to Sword & Staff m'self during Y2K1, assuming it's still around then."

It would be my hope, regardless of the year, that you or anyone else would give some time or effort to any charity you deem worthwhile. Such things tend to make us more aware of our community and where we fit in the world with others. Personally, I view that as a good thing.

Best regards,
Bret Rudnick



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