Whoosh! Issue 49 - October 2000


IN ILLO TEMPORE...
AN INTRODUCTION TO A MARXIST ANALYSIS
OF THE MAKING OF A POSTMODERN MYTHOLOGY
IN XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS


Page 5

NOTES



Gabrielle contemplates the new concept of 'last names'.

Gabrielle is an avid note taker.
From THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310)


Note 01
Translated by M. I. Finley.
Return to article

Note 02
Translation by A.T. Murray, available at the Perseus Project site.
Return to article

Note 03
Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectics of the Enlightnment, Portuguese translation, Dialética do Esclarecimento, Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Zahar Editor, 1986, Chapter II: "The cultural industry, or the Enlightenment as mass mystification"
Return to article

Note 04
Their Brazilian slang name is _patricinhas_, "little Patricias", from the middle-class American Christian name Patricia, and also from the Latin noun "patrician," with its overtones of notional nobility.
Return to article

Note 05
That is, those of us who accept the Lacanian notion of an imaginary reality made of arbitrary symbols that can articulate without any actual meaning whatsoever, as symbols come before things, and therefore can articulate among themselves in a most inconsistent fashion, something that would not happen were such symbols to exist because of things, as their representatives.
Return to article

Note 06
F. Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Boese, in Samtliche Werke, Kritschestudien Ausgabe, Band 5, Berlin /New York, DTV/De Gruyter, 1988, pgs. 21/22.
Return to article

Note 07
The example of the Zuni raindance comes, naturally, from Robert Merton. The Foucauldian Pauk Veyne, in his study on Roman erotic lyrics, develops this anti-functional notion thus:

"And Homer? Where one could see that he resumed Greek society and that, by reading him, children learnt the values of the Greek nation? Homer didn't teach the values of the Greek nation; he was himself a value, and one must learn him, or be taken as an ignoramus, that's all"
Paul Veyne, A Elegia Erótica Romana, São Paulo, Brasiliense, 1985, p. 190.

Return to article

Note 08
"There is some debate as to whether there is any natural female role behind the 'mask' and whether all roles that women perform are 'masquerades'."
Carolyn Skelton, "Xena and Gabrielle go camping: Artifice, Exaggeration, Parody and Masquerade", Whoosh! Online Edition, issue 35, August 1999, paragraph [11]
Return to article

Note 09
Marx, Grundrisse, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1981, p.110.
Return to article

Note 10
Skelton, "Xena and Gabrielle go camping", paragraph [03].
Return to article

Note 11
Philo (jraskin@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu, Re: "A Simple Plan", alt.politics. socialism.trotsky, 1999/07/11. I shall avoid to discuss whether XWP, from a Marxist viewpoint, is preferable or not to Buffy the Vampire Slayer...but see TGSCUNY, "Re: No Friend of Black People", alt.politics.socialism.trotsky, 07/25/1997.
Return to article



Karl Marx? St. Nick? You decide.

Karl Marx (1818-1883). The guy who started it all.
(He does look like he'd be a Buffy fan).


Note 12
The Marxist/diehard Stalinist British literary historian George Thomson thought otherwise, as he strived to prove during the 1930s and 40s that the Iliad was a history of the transition of Archaic Greek society from Primitive Communism to a fully developed class society: see, for instance, his The Prehistoric Aegean. But the fact is that Thomson's views are today regarded as little more than fantasies, even among Marxists; see, for instance, what is now the Marxist work about Ancient studies, the recently deceased's Geoffrey de Sainte Croix's The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World, London, Duckworth, 1983, p. 41. By the way, most of such Marxist historical fantasies about Primitive Communism are a mish-mash of Engels' Origins of Family, Private Property and the State with Bachoffen's notions about Mutterrecht, therefore considering Primitive Communism to be some kind of a matriarchal society. A view that eventually gave way to feminist/Lesbian fantasies like Mary Renault's novels. The end-result was narratives somewhat akin to XWP.
Return to article

Note 13
Herodotus, Histories, II, 120(trans. Aubrey de SÚlincourt, Penguin ed).
Return to article

Note 14
Ibid., Herodotus II, 116.
Return to article

Note 15
Ibid., Herodotus, II, 55.
Return to article

Note 16
Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, 1952, Vol. I, p.460.
Return to article

Note 17
Ibid., 450.
Return to article

Note 18
Xenophon, Memorabilia, IV, III, 13-16 (trans. E. C. Marchant, Perseus Project)
Return to article

Note 19
François Hartog, O Espelho de Heródoto, Belo Horizonte, Editora da UFMG, 1999, p. 196.
Return to article

Note 20
"The public cult ceremonies were a popular party in which one had a right to participate and one could avoid them without any consequencies" - Paul Veyne, "Humanitas: romanos e nao-romanos", in Andrea Giardina, ed., O Homem Romano, Lisbon, Presenša, 1992, p. 301.
Return to article

Note 21
Paul Veyne, referring to the prevailing attitude among the Roman ruling class towards mythology, says:

"Impossible that it was to believe in the old religion, one could not get rid of it; not because it was official and had a hold over the people, but because it contained a nucleus of truth... A learned man would say to himself more or less the following: 'There is a Providence, I must believe that; the core of the fables about the gods must be that. But is there other reality in Apollo, Venus? Are they names of the only deity? His emanations? The name of his virtues? An abstract but nonetheless living principle? Or nothing but vain fables?'"

"O Império Romano" in História da Vida Privada - I, Sao Paulo, Cia. das Letras, 1990, p. 209.

In the twilight of Antiquity, the later Neoplatonics would justify the cult addressed to the gods in the following manner: no limited being can, by itself, understand the Oneness of the One being from whence it comes (it is necessary that the One comes before the many, for contrariwise the multiples could not partake of common qualities). Therefore, contemplation of the one, by the many, requires the contemplation of the partial aspects of the One, and therefore the ever more sophisticate secret rites of later neoplatonism (teurgy) that aimed at propitiating the gods and took the place of the spiritual union with God proposed originally by Plotinus (cf. Rodolfo Mondolfo, El Pansamiento Antiguo, II, Buenos Aires, Losada, 1942, p. 265).
Return to article

Note 22
The Linear B tablets speak about ritual offerings to the various gods that could have a classificatory function, but the Mycenaean society was already not a tribal society.
Return to article



Don't try this at home.

Linear B has that "je ne sais quoì" look.


Note 23
Since Aristophanes' comedies concern to a great extent literary criticism, mythology formed also a great part of the Old Athenian Comedy.
Return to article

Note 24
Of course, there are Lèvy-Strauss's books, that make some of these mythologies interesting, but it is an interest attached to Strauss's theories, and not to the mythologies in themselves.
Return to article

Note 25
Aristotle, Politics, 1284a17. Translated by B.Jowett, Princeton University Press ed.
Return to article

Note 26
Herodotus, Histories, I,7.
Return to article

Note 27
Paul Veyne, A Elegia Erótica Romana, p.181.
Return to article

Note 28
"In the process [of producing XWP], history is mythologized by introducing some historical and geographical detail, but with a deliberate avoidance of complete accuracy"
Skelton, "Xena and Gabrielle go camping", paragraph [02].
Return to article

Note 29
Ibid., paragraph [73] and note [51].
Return to article

Note 30
In French Classical theatre, the landscape and buildings are contaminated by the main characters' mood: when Antiochus described his despair after Berenice's departure to Rome to meet Titus, he went thus:

"Rome vous vit, Madame, arriver avec lui
Dans l'Orient désert quel fut mon ennui!
Je demeurait longtemps errant dans Cesarè
Lieux charmants où mon coeur vous avait adorèe
Je vous redemendais à vos tristes Ètats..."

Erich Auerbach, Mimesis, São Paulo, Perspectiva, 1987, p.335.

In the 4th season-starter XWP episode ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE (69/401-70/402), where Xena sets to rescue Gabrielle from the Underworld,

"The trappings of Xena's outer world are gradually stripped away as her inner voice proclaims she is entering a dark world associated with her past. A darker horse replaces [the palomino mare] Argo, and Xena's normal clothes are stripped away as she enters a world closer to elemental nature[...] Xena's normal cartoon-costumed masquerade is replaced with that of animal skins"
Skelton, "Xena and Gabrielle go camping", paragraph 16.
Return to article

Note 31
Art and Revolution (collection of essays by Trotsky), Pathfinder, New York, 1992, p. 67.
Return to article

Note 32
Aristotle, for example, generally decried in Antiquity when compared to Plato, was practically unearthed as the philosopher by the Early Islam theologists, who handed such a view to Mediaeval Christendom through Thomas Aquinas.
Return to article

Note 33
"Who is impious" said a Christian Father in an homily, "because He worships no one".
Return to article

Note 34
M. I. Finley, The World of Odysseus, Penguin, 1982, pgs. 27-28.
Return to article

Note 35
Skelton, "Xena and Gabrielle go camping", paragraph [02]
Return to article



Xena...you're lying on my hair. Xena? Xena...?

Camping is always fun with Xena and Gabrielle.
From A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)


Note 36
For full lyrics and variants, see the site, "The Ballad of Joxer the Mighty"
Return to article

Note 37
"Muse, let's us hear of this man of many resources, the rover Far over land and sea... Many of the cities of men he discovered and the manners he noted Many the hardships he bore in his way over the Ocean...."
Return to article

Note 38
"Peu de gens deviendront combien il a fallu être triste pour ressuciter Carthage" Benjamin, Thesis on the Philosophy of History VIIth thesis. Portuguese translation by Flàvio Kothe, org., Walter Benjamin, Atica, São Paulo, 1985, p. 156.
Return to article

Note 39
Cf. Rebecca Littlehales, "Debunking the Myth of the Joxerphile", Whoosh! Online edition, Issue 35, August 1999, paragraph[14]
Return to article

Note 40
Interestingly enough, Joxer, although always described as pathetic, is not, as in similar comedic fictions, sexually incompetent. On the contrary; in the episode WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP, he is shown in a tavern, surrounded by adoring whores, all singing in choir the following ditty:

"Joxer the Mighty
Master of virility
Every woman wants him
He's so sexy, it's a sin
If you want a special tryst
He's the man you can't resist
By every measure he's a prize
Just check out his right shoe [sic]..."
But in our postmodern age, when love is based on narcissistic perfect identity, these priapic qualities do not make him cut much ice with his beloved Gabrielle. We are a far cry here from the obscene (and rhymed) Brazilian proverb that says that heterosexual love liaisons based on sex are most durable, since (I cannot reproduce the proverb without some censorship, and anyway shall translate it with some caution) amor de p*** é que bate e fica... ("love stays put only by means of a d***..."). But to explain the role of sex as a power-mediated-exchange and its role in the forming of a network of clientelistic relations in early Brazilian society, see the easily found classic by Gilberto Freyre, The Masters and the Slaves.

It only suffices me to say, to make my point, that my teacher Luìs Eduardo Soares, who made postdoctoral research recently in the U.S., under the guidance of Richard Rorty, recently made the involuntary Marxist point, when writing a syllabus that, precisely because Brazilian society had not its _robbinsonades_, it has remained until today almost entirely aloof from any kind of gender politics and gender literature, except in the most elementary form of women's rights taken as a particular form of general democratic rights.
Return to article

Note 41
Including, of course, Xena herself during her unregenerate days:

"If we don't give her all our crops and our wares, she kills everyone in sight..."
THE WARRIOR PRINCESS, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Act 3, Scene 1)
"Throughout WARRIOR PRINCESS, you get the distinct impression that Xena loves her job, whether it be hacking and slashing those in her way, bedding those whom she can manipulate, exploiting a perceived enemy's weakness, plotting a conquest, or anything else that would help her get her way."
Kym Masera Taborn, "The Annotated 'Warrior Princess'", paragraph [87], a commentary in seven sections.
Return to article

Note 42

"So that in the nature of man, we find three principal cases of quarell: First, Competition; Secondly, Diffidence; Thirdly, Glory. The first, maketh man invade for Gain; the second, for Safety; and the third, for Reputation"
Hobbes, Leviathan, I, 13, 61-62.

Of course, before such a Hobbesian character, the Lockean farmer preyed upon by Xena in the first episode can think about nothing other than a "monster".
Return to article



The meaning of life lies in understanding Hobbes' existence

The wrong Hobbes.


Note 43
Grundrisse, p.83.
Return to article

Note 44
In the episode THE DEBT
Return to article

Note 45
As in the Freudian sense of "drive". From Trieb.
Return to article

Note 46
The World of Odysseus, p.136.
Return to article

Note 47
Ibid., p.135.
Return to article

Note 48
Ibid., loc. cit.
Return to article

Note 49
Iliad (IV, 44-54).Trans. M. I. Finley, id., p. 140.
Return to article

Note 50
Ibid., p.138.
Return to article

Note 51
Ibid., p.135.
Return to article

Note 52
Jacques Lacan, O Seminário 17-O Avesso da Psicanálise, Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Zahar Editor, caps. VII e VIII.
Return to article

Note 53
In fact, still an episode of HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS.
Return to article

Note 54
Kym Masera Taborn, "The Annotated Warrior Princess," paragraph [57].
Return to article

Note 55
The "minor" Ajax, from Locria, being, by the way, a rapist and a blasphemer.
Return to article

Note 56
Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Pelican Marx Library, The Revolutions of 1848, 1978, p.88.
Return to article

Note 57
Paul Veyne, Acreditavam os Gregos em seus Mitos?, Sao Paulo, Brasiliense, 1984, p. 72.
Return to article

Note 58
Jean-Pierre Vernant & Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Mito e Tragédia na Grécia Antiga, Sao Paulo, Brasiliense, 1988, p. 48.
Return to article

Note 59
Ibid., pgs. 64/65.
Return to article

Note 60

"Willing as an activity does not have an aim that is distinct from it; if it can be said to aim at anything at all, that can only be its own continuation"
Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: life as literature, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1985, p. 79.
Return to article



]  He'd rather be fishing.

"God is dead"
--Nietzsche


Note 61

"[The achievement] is also the destruction of those whose achievement it is and whom it obliterates even as it creates and constitutes"
Nehamas, ibid., p.92.
Return to article

Note 62
The very same historical Boadicea having fought the Romans under the Emperor Claudius, a hundred years after Caesar.
Return to article

Note 63
Resurrection for the 5th season being already arranged, as far as I know.
Return to article

Note 64
"Where there exists a relationship, it exists for me; the animal does not 'relate' to anything, it does not 'relate' itself at all" Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1976, p. 49.
Return to article

Note 65

"At the same time [there exists] consciousness of nature, which first confronts men as a completely alien, all-powerful and unassailable force [...] by which men are overawed like beasts; it's thus a purely animal consciousness of nature (natural religion) [...] - on the other hand, it's man consciousness of the necessity of associating with the individuals around him, the beginning of the consciousness that he is living in society at all"
Marx and Engels, ibid., p.50.

The transition from a natural religion (totemic, merely classificatory) to a religion where men stand actively opposed to the gods, concerns, therefore, the existence of a developed class society.
Return to article

Note 66
Marx & Engels, ibid., p.51.
Return to article

Note 67
All life is meant to a particular death, said Freud.
Return to article

Note 68
Much to the deception of an English-speaking public, I shall leave aside the very particular case of Shakespeare.
Return to article

Note 69
Things that are fresh enough in everyone's memory to allow me to do a shorthand.
Return to article

Note 70
Georg Lukacs, The Destruction of Reason, London, the Merlin Press, 1980, p. 309.
Return to article

Note 71
"Imperialist" in the Leninist meaning of imperialism; that is, the predominance of Finance Capital over industry in the general determination of the accumulation process.
Return to article



Word up!

Lenin had a word for everything!


Note 72
That is, the intensification of international competition.
Return to article

Note 73
Generally about social rights, the Keynesian Welfare State, the protection of the environment, women and minorities rights, etc.
Return to article

Note 74
Such as in sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, and other former Soviet republics.
Return to article

Note 75
Such as life expectancy and the mortality rate.
Return to article

Note 76
Especially as custodians of the interests of private investors as a whole, to the detriment of the interests of Society, the emergence of formally democratic, capital-friendly and entirely subservient governments as Yeltsin's, Menem's and Cardoso's in the 3rd World, the empty posturing of post-modern Social-Democracy with its vacuous rhetorics about a "3rd Way".
Return to article

Note 77
Lukacs, p.394.
Return to article

Note 78
After the recent protests during the WTO 1999 summit in Seattle, the London Times (6 December 1999) published an article that went thus: "When Karl Marx suggested that capitalism would create its own grave-diggers it seems unlikely that he had in mind a motley collection of individuals dressed as turtles and butterflies, jigging around with giant inflatable dolphins to the beat of native drums, whose slogans ranged from 'Barbie kills' and 'Trust Jesus' to 'Free Tibet' and 'Go Vegan.' " Something that allowed my colleague in the Marxlist, Jim Craven, who was in Seattle, to write thus about the events: "In addition to some determined protest, progressive and enlightened consciousness raising and courage, there was also a whole lot of infantile narcissism, petit-bourgeois 'single-cause-ism', ultra-reductionism (my cause fuck everything else) robotic jingoism and just plain theater and carnival in the streets" ("Seattle," Marxism-digest V1#1582, 12/6/1999). Absolutely, say I, but I would also like to note that, for Marx and Engels, the Communist movement derived from the real state of things, not from some desired ideal level of political consciousness...
Return to article

Note 79
The Brazilian writer Guimaraes Rosa, famous by his allegoric and highly formalized novels, suopposedly said : "A child is born, and the world starts anew" (Nasce um menino, e o mundo comeša outra vez).But Rosa died in 1967.
Return to article

Note 80
Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: life as literature, p.7.
Return to article

Note 81
Isaac Deutscher, Trotski- el profeta armado, Mexico City, ERA editions, 1976, p. 63.
Return to article

Note 82
Arthur C. Danto, apud Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: life as literature, p. 52.
Return to article

Note 83
Alexander Nehamas, ibid., p. 58.
Return to article

Note 84
Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, Section 2, trans. Walter Kaufmann.
Return to article

Note 85
ibid., loc. cit.
Return to article

Note 86
W.H. Auden, "1st September 1939," IN Robin Skelton, ed., Poetry of the Thirties, Penguin, 1964, p.281.
Return to article

Note 87
Isaac Deutscher, Trotski- el profeta armado, p.59.
Return to article

Note 88
ibid., p. 60.
Return to article

Note 89
Zur Genealogie der Moral, Sämtliche Werke, Kritsche Studienausgabe 5, DTV/De Gruyter, Berlin/New York, 1993, p.263.
Return to article

Note 90
In order to keep alive, to lose the meaning of life.
—Juvenal
Return to article

Note 91
Pierre Aubenque, Le probleme de l'Etre chez Aristote, Paris, PUF, 1962, p.316.
Return to article



Smell my finger.

Xena and Gabrielle pondering their future together.
From CALLISTO (22/122)




Biography

Carlos Eduardo Rebello de Mendonca Carlos Eduardo Rebello de Mendonca
I am an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Rio de Janeiro State University since 1993. Received my Ph.D in 1996, at the Graduate Studies Institute of Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ) in 1996, with a thesis about the sociological relevance of J.M. Keynes' economic theory. Afterwards, I engaged in the writing of a (still unpublished) manuscript on Trotsky's writings. I have been increasingly concerned with the problem of the intellectual roots of postmodern thinking, especially in the field of mass culture. Having been, besides, an Ancient History buff since my teenage days, I eagerly seized the opportunity to write the work above, which I hope later to develop.
Favorite episode: That depends. THE PRICE and ONE AGAINST AN ARMY are good, but IDES OF MARCH attains truly tragic stature.
Favorite line: Xena to Gabrielle, in THE PRICE: "This is war! What did you expect—glamour?! There are no good choices—only lesser degrees of evil.
First episode seen:By some coincidence, SINS OF THE PAST, in 1998.
Least favorite episode:THE GIANT KILLER. The mix between XWP and Biblical narrative simply doesn't work.


Previous Section
Table of Contents
Return to Top Return to Index