Whoosh! Issue 57 - June 2001
Letters to the Editor

Page Four

The Thread That Refuses to Die

From: Michaela Richards
Subject: In the words of Borias "Your insane"
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001

I have just read with interest the letter from Dafydd Thomas..........Is he mental? well is he? I have no idea what on earth he was rabbiting on about, but I didn't like it. I know this much. Speaking as a bisexual woman I find the whole thing very offensive. In two respects. One how dare he criticize lucy's choice for the name of her child: 1) I don't think it is any of his business 2) Surely Julius is a strong and confident name and 3) how rude can you be!

I am sure that Lucy, Rob and the rest of the gang would probably be amused by all the fuss that this little person seems to be making over something that really is not worth fussing over at all.

Now lets get things straight and this is by far the popular opinion held by Xenites over the globe. Gabrielle is not gay, however she did have a crush on Xena when she first met her, xena however is in love with Gabrielle, but she does not want Gabrielle to know this for fear of losing her. Look at the way the two woman behave. Xena has never had a convincing relationship with a male interest but Gabrielle has.

When Xena is faced with losing gabrielle she just can't handle it, normally I wouldn't site the episodes but for Mr Dafydd Thomas I will
Doctor in the house
One against an army
Adventures in sin trade
The crusader
She behaves in an obsessive manner.

I think it is wrong to get so fired up about this whole lesbian issue when to be honest with you I don't see that there is an issue there to get fired up about. Why can't you just enjoy the program for what it is and stop coming up with offensive remarks about fellow xenites and the people involved in the program.

I think Mr Dafydd Thomas would benefit, from watching some of the behind the scenes footage and look at the lover from everyone that goes into creating this show for us to ENJOY!!! If it offends you switch it off and stop moaning about it and offending the rest of us!!!

From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2001
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Having read Dafydd ap Thomas's hate-filled and almost incoherent diatribe in last month's issue, I feel several points need to be addressed:

To begin with, they call me MISTER Shaughnessy! Where was he when good manners were being handed out? Bram Reichbaum and I may have disagreed with Anna Dooland and Suzett Perry, but we were never deliberately offensive. Just for the record, LeedsBard is a WOMAN, and has made this clear on several occasions - ironic, is it not, that Mr. Thomas castigates all and sundry for "crucifying lesbians", then does so himself? I can hardly wait to see her reply...

Mr. Thomas states that "Shaughnessy writes of "sub-text heavy season 4". What? When? The man sees gays everywhere!" Firstly, I wrote that Season 4 was RELATIVELY subtext-heavy. In relation to Season 5, this is true of ALL the preceding seasons from late Season 1. Secondly, the very pro-subtext Valerie Foster writes in her 50th Issue article "NO, ROB, SUBTEXT DID NOT RUIN Xena" that on watching Season 4 she was struck by "just how much innuendo the writers, the directors, and even Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor had bestowed upon us." She continues, "I found elements of subtext/lesbian innuendo in nineteen of the twenty-two episodes of the fourth season, more than in any of the previous seasons." Yet Dafydd ap Thomas accuses ME of seeing gays everywhere!

He goes on to assert that Seasons 4-6 promoted male homosexuality. Excuse me? I have yet to see Season 6, but I remember Season 5 all too well and do not recall any homosexual, or even sexually ambiguous, males apart from Jace. I must have been out of the room during all those scenes where Eli and Ares cast lustful looks in Joxer's direction. Reading his comment "Everybody has to have the regulation gay skinhead hairdo", I can only conclude that Eli has totally redefined the term "skinhead"! Tell me again, please, just WHO is seeing gays everywhere?

As for the lack of subtext in Season 5 being attributable to funding from the Vatican Bank, what next - Renaissance Pictures and the Papal Curia being implicated in JFK's assassination? Mr. Thomas makes this claim despite his earlier assertion that XWP shows male homosexuality in a positive light. Since when has the Vatican been so tolerant of male homosexuality? He apparently has some kind of personal issue with the Roman Catholic Church. Many people do, but WHOOSH! is hardly an appropriate forum in which to pursue a private vendetta. I might also add that some Christians, regardless of denomination, may find the pseudo-Christianity presented in XWP just as offensive as many Hindus found the India Arc.

Moving on to his contemptible remark about Robert Tapert and Lucy Lawless's choice of name for their son... On second thought, I will not even dignify it with a response.

In short, Dafydd ap Thomas's tirade was to reasonable debate what an open sewer is to public health. What I find particularly disturbing about the spate of abusive letters appearing in WHOOSH! recently is that the "attitude of tolerance" surrounding XWP, to which LeedsBard referred last month, seems to extend only to those who toe the pro-subtext line. Some subtexters, who are surely NOT representative of the group as a whole, apparently feel that those fans who do not accept Xena and Gabrielle as lovers are saying that they have never loved, or even liked, each other. This is a gross misrepresentation of the truth, as the love shared by Xena and Gabrielle has always been a central theme of the show for me. I agree completely that their relationship suffered some cruel blows during Season 5. A key element was the departure of Steven L. Sears, who rightly saw Gabrielle as a pivotal character, and the increasing influence of R. J. Stewart, who appears to regard her merely as a "glorified extra" for Xena to rescue, abuse or even kill to suit the storyline. To blame the breakdown in the relationship purely on homophobia, therefore, seems an oversimplification. For some fans to vent their frustration at the loss of subtext on others who simply do not share their point of view is a grave injustice. Those who wish to be shown tolerance would do well to show it themselves.

From: Andjam
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Can people stop using "prostitute" as a term of abuse? Dafydd Thomas seems to be doing it not only in "TPTB don't even object to Lesbian sex as long as it is acted out by prostitutes" but also in http://whoosh.org/issue53/letter53a.html#eli "Why does Eli's plan require Xena prostitute princess?".

Dafydd isn't the only one. Thomas Robertson in http://whoosh.org/issue49/letter49.html#imagery talks about Xena being "no better than a common prostitute" after doing a "very cruel" trick.

I'm still skeptical about Dafydd's claim that the Catholic Church is the sole perpetrator of homophobia "The Bible does not condemn Lesbian Love. The Roman Catholics use one obscure verse ...", as most other versions of Christianity are homophobic as well. However, I am interested in her material on how the Catholic Church is behind the decline of Xena. Maybe in the next letter Dafydd could fill me in on the role Freemasons play in Xena's decline.

From: LeedsBard
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2001
Subject: Letter to the editor

Yes, Dafydd ap Thomas, this time it's personal.

The gloves are off.

I've tried to sit back, be patient, be tolerant, chill out and not get wound up, be polite and respectful and treat others as I would wish to be treated myself, not resort to name calling, make reasoned arguments in defense of my opinions, and allow other people to exercise their democratic right to freedom of speech.....


It seems others can't do this in return, so I've decided it's time to KICK SOME *SS!!!!

I've listened and watched as the mood of writing has become ever more bigoted, personal, vicious and downright below the belt and I'M NOT TAKING IT ANY MORE!

Let me start by saying HOW DARE YOU be so vicious about the naming of Lucy and Rob's baby!!! And HOW DARE YOU presume to speak so on behalf of the whole Xenaverse!!! Straight off I want to go on the record as saying that this is utterly despicable behavior, and that there is NO WAY you are speaking for me on this one. In common with most of the rest of the Xenaverse (apart from you, clearly) I was delighted when Lucy and Rob had a son, and overjoyed when they named him after Lucy's mother. I wish them all the best of luck for the future and hope that they will all be very happy for many years to come.

It just shows how weak your whole argument is if you feel the need to attack a BABY.

And as an aside: Kym, last year you published a lengthy editorial slating Lucy for not wanting personal contact with fans or fan-run organizations such as Sword and Staff, and for choosing to have all contact go through Sharon Delaney (who you were also not impressed with, as I remember....) Well, all I can say is "Is it any wonder, when you publish trash like this?" I know I wouldn't want anything to do with anyone who'd made and/or published vicious personal remarks about my family. I don't blame Lucy one iota for retreating behind Sharon and Creation - I'd do just the same. I just hope she doesn't think that all her (so-called) fans are like that - the rest of us aren't. We know that XWP wouldn't be half the show it is without her. She's made it her own and we love her for it. She's inspired so many of us to do bigger and better things with our lives, and we think she's wonderful. So just shut up and leave her alone.

Now, to return to my main target, MR Thomas. ...

Somehow I feel obscurely complimented that you thought I was a "rich, middle-class, gay man". You so could not be more wrong! But I have to admit that part of my joy at that is knowing that you clearly don't see yourself as MY defender - phew! - what a narrow escape - 'cos if you're the defense force I sure would hate to see the attacking one! (What was that about crucifying lesbians again......?) But how reassuring to know that you're there to tell me all about the realities of my lesbian existence - gosh, I wonder how I got through the last fifteen years without you!

For the record (again) I never said I was anti-subtext, just that I believe there are a multitude of ways to define the Xena/Gabrielle relationship, each of which is radical and empowering. To deny any of these in favor of just one would be to deny ourselves the intrinsic richness of the pairing, and once again the world becomes a small, dull, shabby place to live. I have always seen the relationship as absolutely central to the show and I see no reason for this to change. Also for the record, Season 4 has been my favorite to date, precisely because I see the relationship as absolutely central to the whole season, from Xena desperately searching for a 'dead' Gabrielle in Adventures in The Sin Trade, to her reception by Gabby's parents in A Family Affair, the knowledge that Xena and Gabrielle's karma is "inextricably linked" in Between the Lines, and the eventual crucifixion of Ides of March....I could go on.....

I could say so much more - about your obsession with the Catholic church and with alleged censorship, about your total misrepresentation of some elements of the show (Eli as "regulation gay skinhead"? - that's a new one on me! - evil Xena on Hercules as "honorable"? - try telling Iolaus that one!) - but I won't. I'll simply end with this:

You've repeatedly said that you don't like the actors, the stories, the writers or the producers, and you clearly don't like the other fans - so why are you still watching? (Especially when, if I remember correctly, you told us "goodbye for ever" over a year ago....)

So why don't you just go away and leave the show (and its actors, stories, writers and producers - and its other fans) to the rest of us who still love it, who've been there since the beginning and are still hanging on in there, and who couldn't stop loving it if we tried.

Sue B

For the record, my editorial addressed Lucy Lawless' representatives and took them to task for their neglect in properly promoting Ms. Lawless in what I felt was a no-brainer way. Furthermore, Sharon Delaney was not specifically named in it at all.

Kym Taborn

Date: Tue, 15 May 2001
From: Jennifer Rock
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Re: Dafydd ap Thomas's letter in the May issue. Ms. ap Thomas makes many ridiculous statements in her letter that I just feel have to be refuted.

"March issue, letters from Shaughnessy, Bram Reichbaum and Leedsbard say "It doesn't matter." They say it over and over again, "It doesn't matter." Chanting it like a mantra, imploring us, exhorting us, screaming and stamping their little feet, just as if they actually cared."
They're right. It doesn't matter. Would the love that Xena and Gabrielle obviously feel for one another be any less important if it could be proven that they'd never slept together? Their sexuality is not the whole point of the show. It is left open to interpretation by the viewers and what's wrong with that? Why do you seem to think their relationship only has merit if they confirm that they are lesbians?
"the ratings have plummeted with the Roman Catholic story arc. TV execs aim to maximize profits. Often profits derive from ratings, but when profits flow directly from the Vatican Bank Advertising Department then that saves wasting money on producing entertaining shows."
The "Eli" story arc was NOT Roman Catholic by any means. It was a few elements of Christianity thrown into the structure and mythology of the show. Many of the so-called Christian elements were highly inaccurate or downright false. For example, in "Fallen Angel," Xena became an archangel and then a demon. Angels and demons are separate orders of being and humans do not become either when they die. The actions of Michael in many of the episodes, particularly the Caligula one were ridiculous. An archangel would never act in such an evil manner and God would not need Xena to kill the Greek gods for Him. The "Christian" arc was a put-off for many of us who are Christian and watch the show just as the India episodes offended some Hindus. It's one thing to play around with Greek mythology, quite another to play around with the beliefs of a billion people. And the thought that Eli resembled Jesus in any way is just laughable. He had no knowledge of the "Way" before he met Xena and Gabrielle, he was not crucified, he was not resurrected, and(although I'm aware that continuity is next to nothing on Xena)his first appearance in "Devi" aired only two years after "A Solstice Carol," where Gabrielle gave her donkey to what was obviously supposed to be Joseph and a very pregnant Mary. Eli is just a prophet. Nothing more.
"Leeds bard was a victim of queer-bashing but_ says how vitally important it is to crucify Lesbians and send them to Hell even while he insists that XG were never lovers or even friends or even aware of each others' existence."
I'm sure Leedsbard can defend herself but I would like to point out that I'm fairly sure she's a she and she said nothing even close to any of these ridiculous statements in her letter.
"In the midst of all the Dyke-bashing of seasons 4-6, male homosexuality is promoted in a positive light. Jett, Michael and Eli are portrayed as heroic figures. Everybody has to have the regulation gay skinhead hairdo."
What specifically counted as "dyke-bashing" in seasons 4-6? Was it because there were less double entendres and ambiguous statements then before? And what about all the relationships with men in the first three seasons -- Perdicus, Marcus, Ulysses, Borias in flashbacks-wouldn't that count as "anti-subtext?" Or is the fact that one or both of the heroines might be straight or bi-sexual disgust you because it would mean they were attracted to(gasp!shudder!)men, whom you seem to despise as a whole.

And none of the male characters named are portrayed as gay. So you can tell who's gay by their haircut? Doesn't that sound like the kind of thing homophobes say, i.e. "He looks so gay?"

"(Lucy's baby should have been an occasion of joy for the whole Xenaverse but TPTB turned that jubilation into ashes in our mouths, by naming the baby Julius Caesar and making him Damien 2.) In Roman Catholicism, the unforgivable sin is when Lesbian sex is mixed up with love and joy and loyalty and laughs and tears and all the pinko commie stuff that made me a hard-core nut-ball Xena fan in the first place."
While I agree that the baby should not have been made a butcher like her mother(notice the "her," do you just automatically assign a male gender to anyone you dislike?), the last part of that statement is just nonsense and indicative of your bigotry towards Christians in general and Catholics in particular.
"Censoring the subtext is precisely why the story-lines are crap."
I don't think the subtext was "censored." The characters were going in a different direction after the Dahak arc. They were drifting apart although there was still love there, it was a more tempered love. Relationships change and grow and so do people. There has been a lot more subtext in season 6 as they grow closer together again after the effects of the third season drove them apart. The incongruities with past seasons was not done to "rip apart" subtext but was the result of lazy writing and the lack of continuity that has frustrated some fans since the beginning of the series.

It may be wrong to say that Xena and Gabby can't be lesbians but it's just as wrong to insist that they HAVE to be lesbians and that anyone who disagrees with you is automatically homophobic.

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