Whoosh! Issue 63 - December 2001

SERENDIPITY AND META- SUBTEXT:
CONTEMPLATION FROM UNDER THE LAKE

By Edward Mazzeri
Content copyright © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition copyright © 2001 held by Whoosh!
14314 words

Page Six



Notes

Note 01:
Bret Ryan Rudnick, "An Interview With Robert Tapert" Whoosh 52 (January 2001)
http://whoosh.org/issue52/itapert1.html
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Note 02:
Sue Williams, "Living the Laugh of Riley", The Sun-Herald [Sydney], Tempo, 28 January 2001, pp. 6-7.
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Note 03:
Gabrielle's line in DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (90/422), about poisoning her karma and coming back as a tele-evangelist, took on extra meaning locally as that episode was followed by a tele-evangelist hour.
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Note 04:
Bill Warren, Keep Watching The Skies! Vol. 1 (McFarland, 1982), p. 375
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Note 05:
Robert Morris, "Send in the clones", TV Zone, Issue 134 (Jan 2001), pp. 56-59, noting that Buffy: The Vampire Slayer is truer to the Kolchak: The Night Stalker inheritance than The X-Files in the sense of not becoming mired in a single-thread (in this case, the UFO conspiracy quicksand).
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Note 06:
Ibid.
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Note 07:
Ibid.
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Note 08:
The Official Xena: Warrior Princess Magazine, vol 1, issue 14 (December 2000), p. 7, "Disappointed with Fishsticks"
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Note 09:
Nancy Cartwright, My Life as a 10-Year Old Boy (Bloomsbury 2000) p56
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Note 10:
Judith Barad with Ed Robertson, The Ethics of Star Trek (HarperCollins 2000), p123.
If Picard, for example, had left Wesley behind to be sentenced to death for stepping on a flower, instead of intervening to rescue him, that would have pleased a few fans (and made a short episode), but it would have tainted the captainship at the core and negated the unspoken premise of finding family underlying all the series.
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Note 11:
Ibid., p. 128
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Note 12:
Ibid., pp. 128-9
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Note 13:
Ibid., pp. 131-2
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Note 14:
Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics (trans Arthur Rackham 1934) Book 8 1159a 1
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Aristot.+Nic.+Eth.+1159a+1
This links, via a search on the word "friendship", to what sounds like an interesting book by a serendipitously named author: Gabriel Herman, Ritualised Friendship and the Greek City (To track this item down, go to http://www.perseus.tufts.edu, "a continuously evolving digital library", and search for "Herman").
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Note 15:
"Well, what is a mountain, but just-- a-- a bunch of boulders-- right? And, and-- what is a-- a rock-- but a large grain of sand? And what is a large grain of sand? Y-- you see my theory, here?"
Gabrielle, THE DELIVERER (304)
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Note 16:
Robert Jarvis, quoted by Ted Anthony (3 September 1996) in Gilligan's gang goes to law school
http://www.canoe.ca/TelevisionShowsG/gilligan.html
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Note 17:
No, I do not mean by falling off a horse.
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Note 18:
See, for example, the web pages titled Gilligan's Island Episode Guide (http://lavender.fortunecity.com/pimlico/45/gilligan.htm), and Detailed Episode Guide (http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/GilligansHut/episodeguide2.html).
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Note 19:
Note the classical allusion crossing over into theatre and theatrics in the surname: Hecuba, as in, "It will all end in tears!"
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Note 20:
See the article, "Gilligan's Island: Exiled in Paradise" on the web page titled Gilligan's Island
http://www.transparencynow.com/gilligan.htm
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Note 21:
From a fan bio at the page titled Mary Ann Summers.
http://www.gilligansisle.com/mary.html
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Note 22:
Lewis Napper, Here On The Island.
http://www.bserver.com/bunker/gilligan.html
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Note 23:
Same source as Note 21: Mary Ann Summers.
http://www.gilligansisle.com/mary.html
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Note 24:
Same source as Note 21: Mary Ann Summers.
http://www.gilligansisle.com/mary.html
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Note 25:
Same source as Note 22, Here On The Island.
http://www.bserver.com/bunker/gilligan.html
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Note 26:
From a fan bio, at the page titled Ginger Grant
http://www.gilligansisle.com/ginger.html
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Note 27:
Interestingly, Sherwood Schwartz says that Dawn Wells and Tina Louise, when they were selected to take over the roles of Mary Ann and Ginger, "were as carefully 'matched' for complementary heights, hair colorings, etc., as their characters were matched for complementary personalities". (Inside Gilligan's Island (1988), St Martins Press 1994, p. 61)
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Note 28:
An Andy Griffith page
http://www.transparencynow.com/andy.htm
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Note 29:
Another Andy Griffith page
http://www.transparencynow.com/andyim.htm
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Note 30:
Encyclopedia of Women, under "Oakley"
http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/womenenc/oakley.html
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Note 31:
Encyclopedia of Women, under "Oakley", second article
http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/womenenc/oakley2.html
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Note 32:
See the Cowgirls link
http://www.cowgirls.com/dream/cowgals/oakley.htm
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Note 33:
This suggests that an essay on "Skilled women at historical cusps" would reveal that Xena: Warrior Princess' revisionist history might not be so revisionist after all, merely restoring the balance of what had been (conveniently) forgotten.
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Note 34:
The probably unintended emphasis on the meta-image that it is the women (Xena, Gabrielle, Ephiny, the late Callisto) who are doing the cleaning up of the riff-raff from the world while the males are cause of most of the mess (even on Olympus) is aching to be counter-balanced by more back-story for the female Olympians: Artemis and the Amazons, many-skilled Athena's weavings of the tapestries of fate, and so on. Ares' persistent reliance on Xena evokes a meta-image of a boy with his toy (or a scriptwriter with his character). Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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Note 35:
Hercules, in the episode (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys 305) NOT FADE AWAY
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Note 36:
Adam Roberts, Science Fiction (2000) [Routledge]
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Note 37:
Ibid., p.165
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Note 38:
Highlighting what the Barretts call the "contradiction" of "a profoundly progressive and intelligent dream of an egalitarian future, but one that is now part of an immense financial empire that owns and controls what is known in the trade as 'The Franchise'" (Michele Barrett and Duncan Barrett, Star Trek: The Human Frontier (2001) [Polity] p. vii), Denise Crosby's remark, while reminiscing in Trekkies (1998) about her first audition for Next Generation, that "I was becoming part of something much larger than just a TV series", points to where the collective subconscious may have derived the seed image of the Borg.
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Note 39:
"I feel like my muse has a bullhorn and a sleep disorder, and I don't know how to stop, " says Buffy-creator Joss Whedon, quoted in SFX, number 80 (July 2001), p36. As Xena: Warrior Princess has drawn to a close, an increase in creative energy has become noticeable in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, as if the muse is concentrating more of her illumination through this particular lens. A cross-over influence in the soundtrack is noticeable: whenever Buffy encounters the First Slayer, or her Spirit Guide, there is a LoDuca influence in the background music, almost like a recurring prehistory-motif that can express itself in no other way than the depths first drawn on by Xena. Another parallel is each series now has dead heroes. A third parallel is the use of multiple-meaning dialogue in both series, where a phrase can have simultaneously opposite yet equally valid meanings.

In Buffy, the "Death is your gift" answer of the Spirit Guide to Buffy is interpreted by her to mean that she is no more than, and can never be more than, a loveless killing machine. That is true in a sense. Later, across several episodes, she understands that she is not loveless at all (and, in a comedic moment, not a machine either), and that in the end death is, indeed, her gift. In Xena, the Warrior Princess says to the ailing Gabrielle, "Even in death I will not leave you." At the time, it sounded like a promise that if Gabrielle died, she would not be left without a companion in the afterlife. Whether Elsyian Fields or Tartarus, Xena would be there with her. In the final episode of the series, that promise was still valid and redeemable, except that Gabrielle was now skillful enough to avoid early death by misadventure. True to her word, Xena kept her promise. Gabrielle's wish of becoming more like Xena (not a clone or copy of her, but more like her) also came true.
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Note 40:
"What? Huh. There's actually something interesting about this place, Xena? Hello-- this is like every other village we've ever been in. You know, for once, you think somebody would try something new-- line the road with birch trees or--"
Gabrielle, A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
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Note 41:
You could say that our local announcers were stunned when THE BITTER SUITE (58/312) arrived on our shores. Opera! On Xena! What is going on? Where is the breast-dagger and boot kicking? Yet, when The Simpsons did their musical episode a few weeks later on the same channel, it was no big deal and even mildly entertaining. There is a psychology at work here.
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Note 42:
Roberts, p. 182
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Note 43:
Gwyneth Jones, Deconstructing the Starships (1999), cited in Roberts p. 181.
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Note 44:
Roberts, p. 183
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Note 45:
Ibid., p. 184
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Note 46:
Valery Leith, Everien: Book Two - The Riddled Night (Bantam 2000), "A Good Sword", p. 209
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Note 47:
E. C. Krupp, Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings: Astronomy and the archaeology of power (1997) [Wiley] p. 6
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Note 48:
Ibid., p. 248
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Note 49:
Perhaps not. The idea of the royal punishment of beheading might have been in the pipeline for a long time. In the mail today there arrived the samizdat script of WHO'S GURKHAN? (116/604). In it, Virgil describes wife/slave Xena as

a choice specimen
That delicious morsel
the blue-eyed beauty
and the Auctioneer stresses her practical and aesthetic qualities
useful day and night
a blue-eyed goddess
this pleasurable creature
This must have been a hard episode to film, with directions like this in Scene 19:
The women sit around looking beautiful.
or with lines like Sonata's command to Lana:
Don't open that pretty little mouth again
until it's time to pleasure your
lord and master.
Did that line really make it into the episode?

But it is Gurkhan's prophetic remark in Scene 27 that catches the reader's eye:

It would be a shame to sever such a beautiful head from such an exquisite body.

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Note 50:
A possible fan version of Fraoch (DESTINY, DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN), expressing the fisherfolks' joy at being homeward bound: the distance to heart and hearth is decreasing as familiar landmarks pass by.
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Note 51:
Dorothy Allison, "Myths and Images" (March 1985), in Skin: Talking about sex, class & literature [Harper/Collins 1994, p. 199]
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Note 52:
Tom Absher, Men and the Goddess: Feminine archetypes in Western literature (1990) [ParkStreet Press, p145]
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Note 53:
From the blurb for E. M. Dadlez, What's Hecuba to Him? Fictional Events and Actual Emotions
The original link http://www.psu.edu/psupress/titles/Fall_97_books/dadlez_hecuba.html is now obsolete. Penn State U Press has moved to http://www.psupress.org/books/book_main.html, and their search page is still under construction. However, the Dadlez book is available at http://www.Amazon.com.
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Note 54:
Besides Shakespeare, the nearest real-world equivalent of Xena both in style and substance, is something like the story of Jonah (and his big fish adventure), where "realistic events and miraculous incidents are accorded equal space", and "its arguments are highly nuanced and sophisticated and can accommodate many interpretations at the same time". (Jack Sasson, Jonah: A New Translation with Introduction, Commentary and Interpretation [Doubleday 1990], Anchor Bible volume 24B, pp x-xi.)

Sasson has, like Xena, difficulty in seeing much value in pinning the hero down to a particular time period. And, of course, Xena and Jonah have such a synchrony in story telling and imagery and, ultimately, lesson of the power and depth of love, that it could be worthwhile exploring their parallels. But here we are getting back into underwater escapades and FISHSTICKS territory. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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Articles

Edward Mazzeri, "Chakram Levels" Whoosh! #41 (February 2000)
http://whoosh.org/issue41/mazzeri2.html

Edward Mazzeri, "Mirror of Virtue, The" Whoosh! #43 (April 2000)
http://whoosh.org/issue43/mazzeri1.html

Edward Mazzeri, "Word Count and Meaning in Xena: Warrior Princess" Whoosh! #47 (August 2000)
http://whoosh.org/issue47/mazzeri3.html

Mazzeri, Edward. "How Has Xena: Warrior Princess Changed the World?" Whoosh! #50 (November 2000)
http://whoosh.org/issue50/mazzeri5.html

Mazzeri, Edward. "Word Count and Meaning in Xena: Warrior Princess: Season Two". Whoosh! #51 (2000/12)
http://whoosh.org/issue51/mazzeri4.html



Biography

--- Edward Mazzeri

Other than purchasing Black Wolf memorabilia and collecting books with Xena-inspired covers, and swapping dried hamadryad bones in my spare time, and making heavy going reading through Carter's quantum textbook, On Wormhole Physics, I am fortunate enough to be serendipitously living in an age where, on the one hand, there are still more sheep than people on a group of islands in the Pacific where Scot and Maori traditions have merged and intertwined and, on the other hand, there are more than a million six-year-olds in the US whose younger siblings have just this year come online (so to speak) to annoy them into changing their viewing patterns and, on a parallel-universe hand, there are less than 100,000 market-insignificant lesbians but whose enthusiasm, vigor, delight and joy in discovering Xena translated itself into a living Web much bigger and longer lasting than any sterile advertising campaign would have been, and that there are (or were) such a creative bunch of people who got together to make the show in the first place. Truly a labor of love.
First-ever glimpse of Xena: a promo with a chatty sidekick saying to a dagger-confiscating warrior-type: "As if your breasts aren't dangerous enough!"
Favorite screen-capture on the news://alt.binaries.multimedia.xena-herc newsgroup: the love sprinkles falling on Gabrielle in YOU ARE THERE, perfectly timed for Valentine's day.
Best wishes for name changes over the series: LL to LT, ROC to RM. That is real serendipity. Imagine an uber story where two actresses met on a faraway island to film a series about a pair of strong and friendly women in the distant past, and a family came out of it for each of them.
Favorite flash and click: By the photographer during Gabrielle's speech to Meleager in the cave in THE EXECUTIONER. Renee's professionalism was inspiring to behold. She did not blink. DVD sound and picture are so crystal clear.
Most serendipitously named Sydney-to-Southport 2001 yacht race winner: Xena. Actually, that is not serendipitous at all. Xena has a good crew. It is no surprise she won.
Favorite use for MWF: Do I like MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS? Would I ask the Story Fates to snip the plot thread of this episode, so I could use it as a fishing line to capture dream-ballads about selkies ("shining ones" of the sea, beings from Celtic folklore, often mistaken for seals by humans)? This episode almost became one about how a Xena/Gabrielle story would be told at third-hand and therefore would tend to become garbled in the process. Yes, General, you can sit at the table now and reposition those figures. My strategy is better.
Favorite actor: Next to our Mycenaean dynamic duo (incidentally, the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder had costumes and capes in a familiar color scheme), I like Lisa Chappell in anything, as Anne Cooper in Desperate Remedies (1984), as recurring characters Melissa and Dirce in various Hercules episodes, and, currently, as a cowpoke in the television cattle ranch saga McLeod's Daughters (2001). I do not know why. (McLeod's Daughters is about "horses and girls in Akubras", says TV critic Ruth Ritchie, The night Aussies ruled the box, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 August 2001, p44.)


Dudettes for hire

Anyone want to help run a cow ranch? Akubra desirable.







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