From: Michael Roussel
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2000
Subject: Re: Reaction to the reaction...(Whoosh, Feb. 2000)
Hello Betsy. I've just read your February Whoosh! commentary [Betsy Book's REACTION TO THE REACTION TO TOM'S XENA PAGE'S SEMI-RETIREMENT, WHOOSH #41, February 2000], and I'd like to address a few of the points you brought up. I mean these as observations, not judgments. Please, forgive me if I cross the line. First, I personally will miss Tom. Though a lurker, I found his web site informative, amusing, enlightening. I will continue to visit it as long as it is up. But, I don't believe that the vehement reaction to Tom's withdrawal would have occured had he not left with the words "The show sucks". For many, myself included, the series certainly does NOT suck, bite, hurl, or any other derogatory adverb he might consider. It has changed, yes, but that change has been perceived by many to be positive, not negative. Tom's perceptions of the shows broadcast-worthiness carried a lot of weight. As a web master, he should have chosen his words with more care. That's not to say he can't have a dissenting opinion, but when he said what he said in the way he said it, it was taken by some as a direct comment on the state of their intelligence. 'The show sucks, ergo those that watch it, suck'. This perceived attack is what the more militant viewers responded to, not the simple fact that Tom was leaving.
Second, you yourself describe growth and change as a good thing. I agree. However, Tom as much as said that, as far as he was concerned, such things were verboten for Xena. Again, that rankled many people who looked up to him as a strong, knowledgeable expert on all things Xena; almost a hero of the Xenaverse in his own right ( I find it necessary to point out that you folks at Whoosh!, as well as Mary D and friends of the Australian Xena Information Page are probably seen in the same light). As he began expressing his overall dissatisfaction with the program when others could find little fault with it, they felt betrayed. This is a common event in many, if not most, long term relationships, and yes, it WAS a relationship of sorts, to some.
Thirdly. The reason web sites like Whoosh!, Tom's Xena Page, and The Australian Xena Information Page enjoy so much popularity, is because 90% of the people who visit them are either incapable, or perceive themselves incapable, of producing such an involved and seemingly complex venture. Be it ability, time, resources, or whatever, most folks lack the 'knack' for such things. When they come across one that matches their interests, they lock onto it like a drowning swimmer onto a piece of driftwood, and bask in its glory. Suddenly, their life has a little more meaning. There are others out there like them! People, being the social creatures we are, love cliques. It's human nature at work. Pointing out the complexities of running a web site and daring the afore-mentioned people to do the same, when you and they KNOW that they can't, is the most sure way to invite attack that I can think of. I don't blame you for taking up for your husband, and anyone worth their salt would do the same for their loved one, however, there are better ways to address the less capable than taunting them. I know anger fueled your statements, but you've only opened yourself, and Whoosh!, up to the same inane and derisive attacks Tom has had to contend with (never mind what happened with Kyms' editorial). Admittedly, you can't stop everyone from responding with vitriol no matter HOW diplomatic you are, but choosing your words with care can sure keep it to a minimum.
I'd like to wrap up by saying I WILL miss Tom. I hope his new interests are able to instill in him the same passion Xena once did. I think some people harshly judged him; he's his own man with his own likes and dislikes, and it is wrong of people to expect him to be just like them. Eventually, the furor will die down, the insults end, and life go on as normal. Here's hoping that you both come away from this 'Internet Road Rage' experience with a new found respect for the myriad Xena fandom. Without diversity, this world would be a VERY boring place! I wish you both the best. See ya around the Xenaverse!
Take care. :~)
Michael a.k.a. Xena Freak
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2000
Subject: Hi ! Editorial
"I"d hate to end such a wonderful experience on a bad note".
This sentence really caught me and I thought I would share my thoughts with you. I was one of the people who thought they were really disgruntled with Tom's decision . I wrote a long letter at first. I was angry and that anger showed through. It was not put out on the web, luckily XAC used their common sense and wrote me with a suggestion that I took. I am still taking it. (smile) Then I ended up sending your husband a one line statement , not criticizing his decision, but expressing my disappointment in how he" delivered" it. I have read some of the letters you talk of and I agree with almost everything you say. Maybe it is everything. I am not sure. Many of those who are / were disgruntled were simply letting off steam but what many said was totally unfair. No one can deny the love,devotion and all the hard work he put into the site. I think most of those people know this. I know it. Your husbands Xena site was the first I had ever been too. It remained one of my favorites, along with Whoosh which has been The Favorite.
At any rate, as people calm down , a thread seems to be hanging that I feel should be noticed. Its your above statement. I think alot of people became "unthinkingly excited ". I don't think many put their finger on what really upset them and why. Obviously they were hurt but what I'm putting forth is, that for all the expressions of anger they showered him with, they never figured out what was really going on inside themselves in the " hurt" department. I dont think they would have attacked him if he had said exactly the same thing but in a more tactful and respectful way. It did have a feel to it that he himself was reacting and wanting to let off steam about his own disappointments in the show. Exactly what the disappointed fans were doing with him.
I think I am one of thee most vocal fans of pleading for , politeness, respect, and tact on all forms of internet communications. I have been slammed hard for suggesting people use more tact in their communications. Tact seems to be a bad word these days. I have talked to kids who dont even know what it is.
I was a bit nervous about writing this truthfully. You seemed a bit defensive in your editorial , this is not to say you should not have been. You had more than enough reason. I am just concerned because again it seems like no one realizes a need to bring back tact. Without it , misunderstandings will flourish ,peoples feelings will be stepped on , and all fan websites and their message boards will be affected. People should be able to share their thoughts and feelings honestly. I dont think that should preclude tact and maybe even an ear toward gentleness might be in order for something that we know so many people are passionate about. Tom could have said he lost his passion and love for the show and done so in a way that wouldnt have made so many feel betrayed. Most people recognize his right s to his opinions. I hope anyway! ( Ive been on the boards , I know some people will never see it that way.) Some do and still cant admit any fault. however. Thats where I felt Tom may have let people down. Tom himself sounded disgruntled, angry and he seemed to be letting off steam. That is what I think most people were responding too , with a sense of defense for the series, similar to what you feel I think in coming to Toms defense.
It seems to me that maybe the old saying..." If one cant say something nice dont say anything at all might have applied here to a possibly disgruntled Tom and the disgruntled fans. The subject just gets too volitile to do it any other way . I have quite a few shows i dropped because they began to bore me. I dont think I blame the shows totally. I have never put the Trek shows down , and they are on the boring list. It may be me and not them however.
After we get used to things, some of the excitement is bound to wear off. It happens to us all in something, TV, songs, cars, even mates unfortunatly. You just fall out of love even though it was the real thing in the beginning.. Doesnt always have to be anybodys or anythings fault and even if their is fault, sometimes its better to withhold the need to vent no matter how honest one is being. Sometimes honesty can be quite detrimental in some situations. People who dont care for the series and complain about not getting the stories and shows they want or they wont watch, do not ofton seem to realze that in effect they are saying " I wont watch this thing anymore because tptb wont remove" your" shows so I can have more of mine. Its not really a respectful thing to say or reply. though it is done in the Xenaverse frequently, even harkening back to the Rift. People always tack on the " I have a right to my opinion ",clause and then sometimes a few do apologise with a big But at the end . Not many seem to grasp that they can have an opinion, have their personal taste but still have grace and tact in the process. It is becoming a lost art.
I also took note of when Tom's announcement came...right on the heels of all the defensiveness over Lyre, Lyre. Very bad timing. Lots of passions already heightened.(smile)
I suppose I feel Tom could have been more gracious with his honesty and it might have garnered more respect . Maybe thats really what those irate people wanted. Does Tom owe them this? No, I dont think he does. I just think he could have chose to be more gracious, knowing how much the show meant still to others. People felt they had a bond with him through his site and they lost that , And were in shock. He was looked up too like you point out.,a kind of star personality. I appreciate it made him uncomfortable however. It was also a choice to just say good bye quietly . Whatever choices he had, do you believe that was the only way he could have voiced his feelings? I feel people, all involved ,would benefit if they all thought about what they said and how it may have been said nicer. I do think the show is trying to satisfy, and yes may be stretching itself out to far to accomadate all the fans. I have never seen a show try to do that as hard as this one does and i think the writers are trying, but maybe all the good ideas have been done already. I suppose some would have been happy to recycle the first season. Maybe to some, this may be the best season. How would tptb choose which fan base to support and which to drop?
Do you understand? I am not attacking Tom. I just really feel this all could have been avoided'. I dont think it would hurt any of us if we define our goals a little better when it comes to sharing our opinions. Would it really hurt?
I really do appreciate all the work Tom did. I Love the show but I dont have a site up. I just cant imagine the time involved. I dont think anyones words can fully describe it either. Oh and tell Tom I dont particularly care for Relic Hunter But I think Farscape is Grand ! It seems to be having an effect on me similar to what Xena did. That "I got a new boyfriend feeling" you get in high school! Ha-ha A new obsession? Quite possibly ! I can handle two I'm sure. Especially since I was a fan of Hercules also and it is gone. Good Luck to both of you in all endeavers! Enjoy Life !
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2000
Subject: Your Whoosh Editorial
BRAVO! BRAVO! I think your editorial is wonderfully written and I identify completely with what you said. As one of the webmasters that helps to run the Ultimate Xena Fan Fiction Directory, I understand how hard it is to maintain such a website. I personally think Tom's site is great -- I always have, and will. I also support Tom's decision to pursue other interests.
Best of Luck to you both! It's great people like you that make this world just a little bit easier to live in.
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2000
Subject: RE Tom Leaving....
Just a short note. My objection was not about Tom leaving the site. That is understandable. He certainly has put a lot of time, effort, knowledge, into that site, for which I do command him. It was definitely a super job.
My objection was towards the tone of his letter which I considered downright rude and brutal. He has used very strong disrespectful tone and words, I was sorry to see that. I would not expect something like that from a dedicated person who for four years has given us a super site. And to have a turnaround like that is a shame. He should have been more diplomatic. I do respect his decision to quit, and yes the last couple of seasons we did see some not so good episodes, but I would not say that everything is going downhill.That is a very harsh statement. And that is no excuse to dump on it so arrogantly.
And if he feels like that, that is ok. Everyone is allowed to have they opinion. But a man in his position - he is a big figure and respected (until now) - in the Xenaverse should have been more diplomatic and objective.
I'm sure this will get to Rob, Lucy, Renée, I would find that letter downright insulting to these wonderful people, who have been given us so much fun with they hard work and dedication.They don't deserve this kind of an attitude.
I'm not trying to insult anyone, but I do find an insulting note in your editorial which surprised me. I know you people don't have to do what you're doing but since you are doing it, and you too have a big audience, should be a little bit more careful with your words. Re: you can reach me at betsy@kissmy........... we are arrogant aren't we?! Have some consideration and respect towards your fans! After all people who visit your sites are in a way your fans too.
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000
From: Orville Eastland
Subject: The editorial...a different slant...
Is it just me, or were there more letters to the editor about the recent editorial than there were about "'The Rift" controversy" and "'The Way' Controversy" put together? Or, am I just judging this by the number of letters published?
Orville Eastland III
PS This message is not intended to mock or belittle anyone...on both sides of the issue.
Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor
I just read the Letters to the Editor section for this month. I just wanted to say that I support your editorial and your right to write it. I don't know much about the organization in question. It does seem that it would be a good idea for Lucy Lawless to contribute to a charity group organized by the fans for her specific show. But, I don't know what is going on with Ms. Lawless either.
From what I've read of her, Lucy Lawless seems to be a very nice and generous person. But, for goodness' sake, people, she isn't the Second Coming! While some might have disagreed with your opinion in your editorial, I don't feel that you deserved all the venom that came your way.
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000
Subject: letter to the editor
Dear Kym: Whoa! I just spent a fair amount of time slogging through the many responses to your editorial of last month. I recall, after reading said piece, thinking, "What's the deal, Lucille?" and immediately thought that my icon was merely 'out-of-touch' regarding that particular charity. I *never* attached any significance to the fact that she *wouldn't* donate to S&S, just that she hadn't, as yet, decided or was advised to do so. You posed a fair question; it's just unfortunate that so many unfairly slammed you for asking what i, personally, had no knowledge of to begin with. That's what i love about your site: youse guys keep us *all* abreast in matters Xena! You and your staff are a wonder and a blessing! Here's a wet raspberry to all them there detractors!
With warm regards,
Betsy from Texas (:
Table of Contents