Whoosh! Issue 49 - October 2000
Letters to the Editor




History and Stuff

From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Whilst doing a little research in September, I unearthed some information which other Xenites may find interesting. Both Amphipolis and Poteidaia saw their share of action during the Peloponnesian War in the fifth century BC. One of the conflict's earliest clashes was the siege of Poteidaia, a Corinthian colony on the western coast of Macedonia’s Chalcidic Peninsula. Athenian forces besieged the town in 432 BC, but succeeded in taking it only after a two-year blockade. Amphipolis was a colony in Thrace, founded in about 437 BC by Pericles of Athens. In 424 BC the Spartans, under the brilliant general Brasidas, attacked and captured the city. The next year, or possibly the year after that (sources conflict), another battle took place outside Amphipolis. Again the Spartans were victorious, but at the cost of Brasidas’ own life.

In the following century both towns were pawns in the political machinations of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Philip became king in 359 BC, and two years later he occupied Amphipolis. This secured Macedon’s economic and political future by allowing Philip to control the approach to the gold mines of Mount Pangaeus. The following year (356 BC) he secretly offered Amphipolis to the Athenians in return for the valuable port of Pydna. When they agreed, Philip seized both Pydna and Poteidaia, without relinquishing control of Amphipolis. He then presented Poteidaia to Olynthus, leading city of the Chalcidic Confederacy, but in 349 BC he destroyed Olynthus and took control of the Confederacy.

These events show what a checkered history many Greek cities had. It also proves that Vidalus, seen in BLIND FAITH, knew his dialects. He identified Gabrielle as Thracian or Macedonian by her accent, adding the comment "backwoods is backwards". Neither Thracians nor Macedonians were regarded as fully civilized by "true" Greeks. In addition, the townsman who said "Athena's always protected us" in AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE was correct. As an Athenian colony, Amphipolis would have regarded Athena as its patron and protector.





Joxer Corner

From: Lola Strickland
Subject: Letter to the editor Joxer
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000

Hi! From what I'm reading there's some question as to "what Joxer means" to Xena. Does it matter? I like him. He's one of my favorite characters. I don't get why some people like Ares--to me he's just gruff and resembles way too much that guy from Days of Our Lives. But that's okay--that's just me. We all have our preferences and I would certainly never question why anyone likes or doesn't like a certain character.

Lola






Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2000
From: JaimeBlue
Subject: Musings of a Xenaverse Slasher

Hello. My name is JaimeBlue, and I am a slasher.

Yes, I do spend hours poring over my Nightmare on Elm Street tapes, but that isn't what I'm talking about. No, I am addicted to reading and writing m/m fan fiction. Furthermore, I have committed an even greater sin than being a slasher. I am also a Joxerphile.

In my first year at university, I lost most of the naivete that remained after my high school years. I learnt about the usual things: alcohol and sex. However, one thing always seemed to confuse me. For some reason, all the boys were fascinated by the idea of lesbians. I had absolutely no idea why that was, particularly since many of them were quite homophobic.

Within the last year, I have begun searching online for ways to quench my thirst for all things Joxer. I tried reading fan fiction on many sites, but so many were focused on the Joxer/Gabrielle dynamic, which never really appealed to me. However, somehow I found my way to the Joxerotica Archives and read the "Moments of Transition" series by Sidewinder, my first introduction to slash fiction. Sidewinder's "Moments of Transition" series, as well as many other excellent pieces of fan fiction, can be found at the Joxerotica Archives (must be 18+ to enter) at http://www.sockiipress.org/joxerotica.

I was hooked from the start. The stories I began reading were so different from everything I'd read before. They were so unlike the romance novels I'd grown up reading. Furthermore, the stories reached out to something inside me I had never known was there. From that moment on, I understood why the boys I knew in university were fascinated by lesbians.

Being a Joxerphile is like being gay; with all the controversy, God knows why anyone would choose to be either. You may stay in the closet for a while, denying it to all the `phobes, yet in the end you are what you are. I can't quite remember the first time I saw Joxer on the television screen. I first started watching Xena: Warrior Princess in university with my male friends, who watched the show for the cleavage and the lesbian subtext. Somehow, my attention was diverted from the heroic more- than-perfect superwomen to the bumbling, clumsy wannabe warrior who followed them on many of their adventures.

Finally, somebody on television had created a character I could relate to. Everyone in Real Life that I know who watch Xena likes Joxer. He's us: the ones who may not look or act as perfectly as others do, yet keep trying to accomplish our dreams despite the odds against us. And like many of us, it sometimes seemed that both on-screen and in fandom, it was Joxer against the world.

University was quite the turning point for me. Not only did I discover a fascination with homosexual relationships of members of the opposite sex, and Joxer the Mighty, but I also found myself attracted to another female for the first time. No, I'm not a lesbian, and I'm not straight either. I'm bisexual. It took me a long time to come to terms with my own sexuality, in fact I still am, and strangely enough it was through fandom that I was able to make the first steps.

The more I read about Joxer, a character I could truly identify with, having relationships with members of both sexes, the more it was okay for me to have the same feelings. I could read about Joxer with someone like Ares, dark and dangerous, or someone like Autolycus, handsome and charming, and completely understand the attraction to these types of men, yet I could also read about him with Xena, passionate and powerful, or Aphrodite, soft and sensuous, and also understand the attraction to these types of women. By exploring Joxer's sexuality, reading and eventually writing slash fiction allowed me to explore mine.

It wasn't enough that I've found myself to be an outsider in just about every arena of my life, from school to family. It wasn't enough that I found myself to be bisexual, a lifestyle both liked and disliked by both gays and straights. No, I also had to find myself to be part of one of the most controversial fandoms I've ever known.

First of all, there's the fact that I like Joxer at all. I am sometimes shocked when I hear horror stories about encounters between Joxerphiles and Joxerphobes. Secondly, I enjoy reading and writing slash fiction. I was shocked when I realized how divided the Joxer fandom itself could be.

Luckily, that division is beginning to change, and I am proud to have a small part in the breaking down of those walls. I am also extremely lucky, for in my travels online through the Joxerverse, I have made many friends that I wouldn't trade for the world. There are the slashers that send me tons of positive feedback when I post my stories. There are the Gabrielle/Joxer relationshippers who may not share my point of view but welcome me with open arms. And there are those from each camp who, like me, are trying to make sense of this world and themselves through their love of one warrior wannabe.

What's the point of all this, you may ask. Well, there are many of us out here who enjoy our favourite television shows and characters (even when they are killed off _ yes, I'm still bitter and am currently making reservations for a trip down de Nial). I'm but one of many. Yet, each point of view matters. Each argument has a point.

I'm one of the lucky ones who's been able to use the fandom to learn more about myself. Or maybe it's the fandom that's been using me. But as long as the muses keep whispering to me and as long as I keep Joxer alive in my heart, I'll keep my sanity yet another day. Though a little insanity never hurt anyone.

JaimeBlue
Fanfic author and Creator of the Society for the Unification of Joxer Enthusiasts (SUJE). SUJE can be found online at http://jaimeblue.arjika.com/suje.htm and at Egroups at http://www.egroups.com/group/SUJE. You can find the author's fiction at JaimeBlue's Kremlin -- http://jaimeblue.arjika.com -- and at various other Joxer fiction archives such as Joxerotica -- http://www.sockiipress.org/joxerotica -- and the Joxerites Fan Fiction Guild (JFFG) -_ http://www.jffg.org





Lighten Up!

From: Freya2000
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I was reading the recent edition of Letters to the Editor, and was astonished at the amount of pessimism that has been flying back and forth. Whatever happened to the wonderful fan base of just a couple years ago, or even last year? There has been nothing but accusations and insults traded amongst ourselves, especially as regards the Joxer issue, and it sickens me to see it. Sure, I was disappointed with season five, and even a bit of the fourth season was hard to swallow (Key to the Kingdom, anyone?). But I have never seen such a level of negativity over any issue. My best friend hunts, and while I am firmly opposed to the idea, we still have more respect for each other's feelings than any of the alledged "fans" I have seen, who have engaged in such petty bickering. I for one am thrilled Missy Good has signed on for those two episodes, and am looking forward to Rob Tapert's promises of the smaller, more character-driven episodes he has in store.

I am not flaming anyone, or placing blame (the gods know there's been enough). I am simply trying to point out the level to which fans have sunk. Xena is supposed to be about friendship, working for the Greater Good, and rising above your beliefs for the betterment of others. I have seen no evidence of this in the fan community, just a lot of name-calling and finger-pointing. I see no call for that. Remember, above all, it's just a TV show. A very good TV show, far better than anything else out there, but a TV show nontheless. The sun does not rise and set on Xena. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan. I have every single episode on tape, and I love to re-watch them, and analyze them, often with friends (Xenawatches are the best!). But you don't take it seriously. I think everyone simply needs to lighten up, and share what we all had the beginning: A genuine love for the dark warrior, her loyal sidekick and (if you like) the gallant goofus. As it is so aptly put in the disclaimer of The Dirty Half-Dozen, "Can't we all just get along?"

Freya Lorelei





Oz Needs Help!

From: Gary Mason
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2000

All of Australia is in desperate need of your help. You may be aware that Xena has been taken off television over here and no matter how many complaints we have made, channel ten refuses to put it back on stating that it isn't popular enough! If any Xenites out there can help us in any way we would greatly appreciate it!

from a grateful Aussie Xenite!





The Sexually Dysfunctional Gabrielle

From: Paully A
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2000
Subject: Gabrielle's Sexual Dysfunction and season 5

Before I begin, let me just say that I love WHOOSH! I've not missed an issue since I discovered it last year. The articles always give me something to think about, and the captions are ROTFLOL!

But, after reading August's issue, I find myself taking exception with the article about Gabrielle. I don't see Gabrielle and Joxer's relationship in the same light.

Let me say right now, that I am not a G&J fan! Joxer is lovable, but not the right person for Gabrielle. But after watching Season 5, I have to say that I find the idea of X&G less credible, mostly due to Xena's actions.

On one hand, we have Joxer: lovable but an idoit. However, I believe he would never knowingly hurt Gabrielle; this man would do anything for her. On the other hand, we have Xena: full of passion. However, during season five I found myself using the B* word for Xena, especially in moments with G&X together. Here is a small list of moments that had me scratching my head and wondering if Xena really loved Gabrielle:

1)Anytime Gabrielle told Xena that she loved her baby as her own. It just seemed to me that Xena did not really believe her, belittled her comments.

2) When Gabrielle tried to comfort her after they saw the monsterous actions of Livia. She knocked Gabrielle's hand off her shoulder.

3) MOTHERHOOD. Don't want to talk about it. Just watch it.

This is no way a complete list. For the past few years, I've been a strong X&G (as lovers) supporter. But now, I have to ask myself "Why does Gabrielle stick around?"

So, Gabrielle has two people who love her dearly, both have qualities that she admires, and both of whom she loves dearly. But who will get her? And more importantly, who deserves her? It is not about sexual dysfunction, at least not IMHO. In fact if anyone has shown any sexual dysfunction, it has to be Xena. Anthony and Ares? At least Gabrielle has shown some taste.

I wish that season 6 will tell us season five was just a nightmare, it really didn't happen, i.e. Dallas. But we know that won't be the case, so hopefully TPTB will deal with this split.

Paully Adams





Soulmates

From: Trish Shields
Subject: The Perfect Match?
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000

It's been argued in some quarters that the relationship our heroines enjoy is that of an abusive one. One cannot deny that their relationship has been violent in some cases and most loving in others. There is no question of the love these two characters feel for each other, and that even death itself would not deter their devotion in any way. How many times has Xena put her life on the line to save the bard and how many times as the blonde done the same? Too numerous to count.

The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines a soulmate as a persons ideally suited to each other. Wordsmyth states that it is a person of the opposite sex with whom one has a strong intimate attachment based on shared interests, values, etc.

The writers of XWP have defined their characters as being soulmates. But is Xena right for Gabrielle? Life is just a matter of choices...those given, those taken. I suppose one could choose to address that question from two points of view:

1. People choose their own way regardless of what social/economic/ethical mores are, seeing what others don't, even when all of their needs aren't particularly met.

2. Knowing, without a shred of doubt, that it IS the path they should walk, regardless of the pitfalls along the way, thereby having that choice not truly theirs to make.

From the first perspective, one can see that Gabrielle certainly used the ex-warlord as a means of escape. She wasn't happy living the life of a village girl and used Xena as her ticket out of her dreary life and even more lack-lustre future.

Xena was resistant to the young woman's presence, seeing her as nothing more than a ball-and-chain. She was trouble, this little Poteideian, and the warrior used any excuse to ditch the kid whenever possible, not seeing her as an equal but only as something to put up with.

While never quite spelled out in the series, it seems that both characters go from place to place trying to earn whatever dinars they can by way of donation and/or fees from bardly skills. This would certainly be wearing after a very short while. Why give up financial security of a farmer's wife, such as it was in those times, and go off with someone that just screams 'trouble'?

Not only was the woman a warrior, which probably wasn't that common (Callisto and the Amazons aside) for the local Grecian population, but she had a fierce reputation for being a cold blooded warlord and a psychopathic killer. Why bother getting involved with all that? Gabrielle would have to know that she'd be painted with the same 'trouble' tar brush as Xena: Warrior Princess if she chose to stay with her. Ah, but the bard decided that there was something beneath that cold indifferent exterior and chose to show Greece that the warlord was indeed reformed. Regardless of just how small, weak and ineffectual looking the bard was in the beginning, she had the heart of a lion and chose to befriend someone who certainly marched to a different drummer.

Like herself. Yes, Gabrielle was different. She and Lila talked about it, the bard stating that she just never felt as if she belonged in the life she had been handed, apparent even as a child. By reaching out and choosing the path she'd walk, she grew up.

Somewhere along the way the bard realized that life was certainly not the fantasy she thought it would be...righting wrongs, singing songs, etc. Hard cold ground, the cold brutality of life on the road, seeing misery in almost even fashion imaginable, and facing death at almost every turn was not a life for the faint of heart.

Why stay? Both characters have said they'd learned so much from each other. They state that they wouldn't be the people they are if their paths had never crossed. At one point Gabrielle asks the warrior if she was the person she was meant to be or if Xena made her that way. I don't suppose it matters because it seems their paths *were* destined to cross regardless. Whether we believe it was destiny or not is a moot point simply because we are the sum of our experiences. *We* choose who we want to be, regardless of the external pressures surrounding us. The fact is, she chose to follow Xena and therefore was given the chance to grow and learn via the many lessons handed her along the way.

Are her needs being met? Well, I suppose in a perfect world, one could suppose and expect that to happen. However, perfect worlds don't exist. Making choices and learning lessons is pretty much what we are here for, IMO. If you are in a relationship that fulfils most but not all of your needs, then you adapt/accept or you leave. She chose to stay, even though Xena gave her ample opportunity to throw up her hands and leave. In fact, one could say that until recently, the warrior was treating the bard as that young child that took up with her back in Season One. She didn't give the bard a choice, she took it from her. No one wants to be seen as an unequal, as something far less than they are, and as nothing more than a dependant/victim, least of all someone who is stretching and growing with all the lessons this very person has been handing her...subconsciously or not.

When they made that jump from being 'best friends' to 'soulmates' that's when things ceased being just a possible subtextual love affair and blossomed into something that fell under the subject of Karmic Lessons Learned. This was something pre-ordained. If someone shows you that throughout time you will be with that person in one shape or another to fight evil where ever you find it, two parts of the same whole, you pretty much have to figure the path you chose is the right one. But was there ever a choice to begin with?

What if that other half of that whole is dark? Both characters have both qualities in them; albeit Gab fights very hard at denying that part within her that strove to be like her hero, Xena, and all that it entailed. Xena in turn seems always at odds with the intense emotions within her battling to get out. Having some little town wench actually be the catalyst to destroying the Destroyer of Nations must have been a shock, a definite concern, and a somewhat humbling experience. Xena's fought giants, she's fought bacchae, faced down public opinion, a horrible reputation, a very sordid past all while holding her own sense of honour up as a shield, and is brought low by a sickly waif of a woman in a loft in Thessaly? Xena was willing to throw away the very thing that had kept her from becoming a total monster for a friend; turn her back on what she knew to be good...the greater good...because someone she cared for...no, loved...was going to die.

Imagine it: all she had to do was let that little baby die back when she was a warlord and she'd still be leading Darphus and the rest of the rabble over all of the known world. She was an unstoppable force who thought nothing of razing a village/town to the ground, taking anything she deemed of any importance, conscription the unwary and unwilling; death was just a means to an end. Why stop? With Ares by her side, feeding her need for conquest, control, power and glory, why just fork it over to save a small child who might die the next year from a cold? Because THAT was her lesson: 'Push me so far but no farther.' Xena had more light within her than she could have ever imagined.

It was almost as if the true warrior was being hidden beneath layers of pain, suffering and violence. If Xena didn't face her true vulnerability, then she didn't have to deal with the death of a beloved brother, the loss of a childhood, or even the destruction of a future that may have been quite different than the violent one foisted upon her. But like the layers of an onion, Xena discovered via relationships with important people throughout her life, that she was indeed worthy of redemption, self-love, and happiness. Lao Ma showed her that she could let go of the violence; Mila taught her selflessness; Borias offered love and passion, and; Gabrielle showed the warrior that she was not only capable of unconditional love but deserving of it, too. And what of Ares? Whether he was her father in reality is really besides the point, for he offered her direction, praise, and glory.

Both women have had choices along the way. While their needs as individuals might not be seen as being met and fulfilled, they must be on one level or another. They compliment each other; they have the missing pieces the other needs. I've always maintained that Xena needs Gabrielle far more than vice versa. That was up to and including season three. However, I see a need in the bard...a desire to know the darkness within, to accept it and to incorporate it into who and what she is. Who better to help her with than someone who needs to find and nurture the light within?

I'm not convinced that the two have been intimate at this point. If they haven't, then they are still trying to find that common ground by which they can take their relationship a step farther. There has always been a question of trust between them. Both have failed on that account at least once. But they've grown as individuals and passed the tests given. They continue to grow; sometimes with baby steps, other times by leaps and bounds. What better proving ground to apply the lessons learned than in their relationship as soulmates?

If they are sexually intimate then they are still stretching the relationship, seeing what areas are too confining, and what areas need redefining. They have differences, they face them...albeit somewhat slowly, thanks to the uneven writing...and react accordingly. If you are in an abusive relationship, you have a choice: leave or find a way to fix the problem. They have chosen to stay and work on things. Just because you have a soulmate, it doesn't mean that person will be perfect for you. Why bother if all you have to do is hook up with them? If all you do is wander through life just looking for that other side of you to be totally fulfilled then why the lessons learned? If you have no chance to apply them, it becomes redundant. By finding that person, should you be blessed enough to do so, you both have to grow together, fitting where pieces are missing, modifying other pieces that should fit but don't quite yet, and fine tuning the final product. How long does that take? How long is a millennium? Merely a blink of an eye in the scheme of the greater good.

Trish





Xena/Ares Stuff

Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2000
Subject: Letter to WHOOSH editor: Coming Home correcting "damage"?
From: Erica E Li

In general, I really really appreciate WHOOSH. However, I found the following a little bit disturbing:

"09-02-00. It looks like there will be three key episodes in the 6th season that will attempt to undo the damage left by the 5th season: COMING HOME (Xena's latest attack on Gabrielle, Xena honoring Ares so much"
This is just my opinion, but Xena "honors" Ares too much? I absolutely cannot agree!!!! He did so much for her at the end of Looking Death in the Eye and MOTHERHOOD, and after all her refusal to even gain a little insight to his character and inner conflict, all she could say was a "thank you". Why is it that the "love" between Xena and Gabrielle, which consists mostly words anyway, valued so much, whereas Ares' love towards Xena is so devalued? Yes, it's more complex. It's not as pure, but we have to take consideration in who it is that's loving. Ares' love is genuine and it comes from and unlikely source. Ares obvsiouly admires and respects her (more than I ever would, anyway!). Just because he isn't some sanctimonious, hypocritical, pretentious, affected SOB who goes around preaching cliches, does not mean that he cannot love. Just because he feels contempt and spite towards most mortals doesn't mean he cannot love. Just because he is capable of dire atrocities, just because he is wily and cunning and charming does not make him incapable of love. THAT is precisely why his character is so complex and intricate and interesting. Some fans seem to reduce him to just a plain-old boring villain who goes out with all these women. THat is not what Ares is about. THat is not what Kevin Smith is interested in portraying.

I'm glad that it at least looked like that Xena meant her "thank you", but the show HAS to end with the girls playing with a spider and leaving Ares all alone after all he's done. No, Ares is no angel, but the fact that he never claims moral superiority over anybody makes him more respectable than the lead characters. Xena's finally showing some gratitude and expected human-side is considered a "damage" to the show? If there is ANY damage, it would be Xena's LACK of acknowledgement of Ares. She doesn't have to kiss him or hug him (yyyyuck). She should at least try to UNDERSTAND him and gain insights to his conflicts. If anything, Xena's "thank you" is one of the FEW redemptive qualities of her entire character after the third season. She was so mean throughout the whole season.

I hope Missy does something good. I certainly cannot bear to see Xena just turning her back like a heartless b**** on someone who gave up everything for her. (Well, being the intelligent guy Ares is, he's kind of stupid to do all those things for Xena, but he did it because of what he thought as love and it was a great sacrifice and that's admirable.)

It is NOT Xena who honors Ares too much. It is Ares who's ignorant enough to honor Xena so much and think so highly of her. Xena has not done NEARLY her part in acknowledging and understanding Ares. All she does is think that she is morally superior to him. Ares should realize that Xena and Gabrielle can never understand his character and his complexity. They will always rub in moral superiority over him.

Okay, I'm done my defense for Ares, who I believe is so much more than a stud in leather.

Erica










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