To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters received by the editor are subject to publication and may be edited. Due to the volume received, some letters may not be answered individually or receipt acknowledged and may be published at the editor's discretion. Letters received may be reserved for a later issue.
Xena: Looking At The Six Years
A Year Later: Struck Out
Inside the Head of Amy Ray
Changes in the Landscape
A (Semi-) Defense Of Ulysses
The Kiss is Back!
What Good Is Paranoia If You Cannot Share It?
Xena: Looking At The Six Years
Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2002 6:50 PM
Subject: Your Questions about X:WP
Good article. Which is not to say I agree with all of it.
As a fan, may I be so bold as to answer two of your questions?
1.The crucifixions were done so often because [Robert] Tapert, and probably [R.J.] Stewart, thought they were emotionally moving to the audience;
2. As written, and portrayed, Gabrielle was-- to be frank --quite lovable.
A Year Later: Struck Out
Sent: Monday, July 01, 2002 12:06 PM
Subject: About an article
I'm writing concerning an article in the July 2002 edition of Whoosh called, "A YEAR LATER: STRUCK OUT" by G.Going. I just want to say thanks for posting it! You might be surprised at how many Xena fans feel exactly that way or maybe you wouldn't be surprised. Anyway, good on ya for posting the article.
Balderdash (in Xena fandom) Lynne (RL)
From: Dee Spencer
Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2002 8:14 AM
Subject: A Year Later: Struck Out-Reply
First when I read your article, frankly I thought you were mad because in truth people aren't supposed to speak the way they feel in this so called "verse". Then I thought hot d-mn someone let in a fresh breath of air in and now us ones who fear to speak because we'll be labeled conveniently as a "bad fans", can have a voice.
Yes, you better believe you'll be flamed and I expect most of the parties guilty of these crimes you pointed out will be lighting up the Whoosh box, see you let the secret out and now they're caught with their pants down. The fearful one's who are afraid to speak because they'll be bullied are probably lighting up yours (Mr. Going's box). Well buddy, this one is coming out to say Kudo's to you and bring the flames.
A few points you forgot... No one seems to have picked up on many things under-breath Mrs. Tapert says. Like she loved the fact Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons) had Lucy state, "I'm not Xena, I'm an actress, Lucy Lawless." You think maybe she might be upset that many liked her character more then her? Maybe that's why and in a few articles I read had little captions of odd facial expressions and the famous rolling of the eyes. Maybe this is why she dislikes her fandom? Let's not even mention how they painted the fandom in Celebrity DeathMatch on MTV.
Just on a list the other day I read where most were waiting to see when Lucy will go and see ROC in her play. The New Zealand Woman's Day just posted that Lucy missed her grand opening there of Spiderman because her latest child is more then a handful. By the pictures Lucy looked rather rough, tired, and I think the last thing she wants to do it travel anywhere, especially on a long flight as that one is with a new baby. Hello??????
I also disliked being grouped in any category, you didn't mention the fact if you liked the show you are automatically gay. This seems to be accepted not only by Lucy, but also Renee. There are men, and women fans of all religions, sexual preferences, and races. Why group?
[Creation Entertainment] is just a business and we all are guilty of giving into that. Enough said.
So in closing, keep your head up and thanks for letting some air in, it was starting to stink.
From: Nusi Dekker
Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 7:51 PM
Subject: It's the bottom of the ninth...
After reading the first truly honest fan assessment of the state of Xena: Warrior Princess fandom post-A FRIEND IN NEED, G. Going's passionate essay "A Year Later: Struck Out", I was able to get a more coherent understanding of why my own figurative rear end has not healed, but rather festered over the past year. As a provocative article, this one did its job in reopening these wounds, and now I must make the attempt to purge my own poisonous effluvia.
While I don't agree with every aspect of Mr. Going's excellent piece (which will be discussed later), his observations of the fandom hierarchy, and the Taperts' (especially Ms. Lawless) open disdain for the vast majority of XWP fans (except when we are solicited to make donations to their current charities), were things that have kept many of us former rabid and loyal fans from getting past the pain. The bullying tactics of those three or four alpha fans (Personal Friends of Mr. Tapert) who run the most popular of the remaining online Xena fora continue to pour salt in the wounds with their persistent, bombastic praise of A FRIEND IN NEED (and woe to those who disagree with their opinions). And rubbing the salt in is Sharon Delaney of Creation Entertainment, president of the Xena Fan Club, who as a business woman with conflicting interests, rigorously ignores any negative fan response, feeds both the remaining fans and the Taperts with only heavily scrutinized and censored information, and thus infusing the Xenaverse with the ambiguous sense of a healthy fandom. Why am I still here? Because I still have an interest in a good many of the actors who were part of XWP and the Xenaverse is still the best (and sometimes only) place to get information about them. But it certainly does nothing to assuage my pain.
Because the controversy that has accompanied A FRIEND IN NEED never was resolved, I have lost almost all interest in XWP, which is saying a lot, considering that I have in the past probably spent upwards of $10,000 on Xena-related items and conventions, the majority of which went into the coffers of Creation Entertainment. That they have adopted the attitude that the loss of my patronage means nothing to them is also a sore point for me, and leaves me with the impression that they don't really have any respect for any of the fans, they just use them for business purposes. Which is a bit icky, seeing that the Fan Club is a part of Creation.
A year after the fact, I still cannot watch A FRIEND IN NEED , and it isn't because of the party line touted by Creation that "Xena died and stayed dead and that Xena and Gabrielle were separated", nor because I was one of those "poor, lonely fans who had never known love before" and were glomming on tenaciously to the fictional Xena/Gabrielle relationship as a salve to their own miserable existence, as pointed out so eloquently by Ms. Lawless. No, I hated what Mr. Tapert, in his quest to show his borrowed "vision", did to destroy everything that was decent about the Xena character. In the course of ninety minutes, Tapert (with episode writer R.J. Stewart) made every other episode of XWP previously aired (with the exception of the UBER episodes THE XENA SCROLLS and WHEN FATES COLLIDE, and the very first episode SINS OF THE PAST), completely hypocritical and meaningless.
I would have been fine with Xena dying, if the purpose of her death had any kind of sense. The reasons given by TPTB: "Well, we're writing a Japanese ghost story, and since this show is called XWP, Xena has to be the ghost!" A bad plot device. Whatever. The story would have been just as interesting if Xena was the ghost hunter, no, better, because it would have been ORIGINAL. "Xena had to die because she was a war criminal." Isn't that being just a tad hypocritical, considering that Xena's own daughter Eve had wantonly slaughtered hundreds (a low estimate) of supposed followers of Eli, including women and children, not to mention entire villages of ordinary Romans (in case there were any Elites around), and almost completed the genocide of the entire Amazon nation, and was allowed to go on her way scot-free, because she was touched by a sunbeam?
Xena's mode of death gave us yet another insight into her unsavory true character. In SINS OF THE PAST we see her burying her weapons and armor, thus burying her life as she knew it and preparing for death. In A FRIEND IN NEED she does the same thing, burying her weapons and armor (but retaining her chakram only so that Gabrielle would find it later), but this time instead of retaining her leather tank top, she opts for a Japa-style bikini. And thus she completes the suicide that she first attempted in SINS OF THE PAST. What the? We find out in the next-to-last episode that Xena never believed what Gabrielle said about all that love and forgiveness stuff for six years, had planned to carry out her suicide all along, and just needed a feasable (to her) opportunity to finish it.
The reason that Xena gives for staying dead is the crowning touch to the duplicity of Xena's relationship with Gabrielle and the prime source of my hatred of the message that A FRIEND IN NEED delivers. What Gabrielle does during the course of A FRIEND IN NEED (getting a painful tattoo, retrieving the desecrated body, and detached head of the one she loved most in the world, then having to burn it and recover all the ash herself, then battle samurai and climb Mt. Fuji with the urn) to bring Xena back to life, is a monumental testament of love. And Gabrielle has the power to bring Xena back to the living. And yet, after all that, Xena blows Gabrielle off by saying that she has to stay dead because Akemi said that the souls that Xena released from the Soul-eater still need their revenge against Xena and the only way they get that is if she stays dead!
What the frick? First of all, Why would these souls seek revenge against Xena? Especially after she had done what she came to do and saved them from the clutches of Yodoshi. Did they want her to pay for accidently setting fire to their village resulting in the deaths of 40,000? She was being attacked, she fought back, she was drunk out of her mind, the attackers she set fire to started the fire themselves. Xena didn't have any desire to die from Callisto's want of revenge for Xena (through her army) burning Calli's village to the ground. And that would be greater grounds for revenge, I would think. Was it because she violated a village taboo by trying to give Akemi's urn an honorable burial? Was it because she executed Akemi before the villagers could put her on trial? If Yodoshi had been so bad (Akemi had told Xena that her father had killed every member of his family except her) why would the rest of the village feel that Akemi had sullied them by killing her father and would attack anyone who tried to do honor by her? And finally, did these souls think that Xena had anything to do with Yodoshi becoming a soul-eater? These souls seeking revenge against Xena makes no sense and forces me to conclude that Xena just used this as an excuse to satisfy her self-absorbed desire for death and not having to deal with any more of her past discretions. After all, she could have easily persuaded the ghosts that revenge is not sweet, but forgiveness and love is the right way. Shoot, she persuaded the Amazons to forgive Eve for destroying almost their entire nation in PATH OF VENGEANCE and persuaded the last remaining adult Centaur to not take vengeance on the son of her past consort Borias for his genocide of the Centaurs, in LAST OF THE CENTAURS.
There is, in fact, no reasonable explanation for Xena's wanting to stay dead. We see Xena in all her arrogant, egotistical, self-centered glory. The faithful Gabrielle, who we who we find actually meant very little to Xena, is left to take over the task of cleaning up Xena's messes if she lives long enough or has not gone mad. Yes, Xena taught Gabrielle all she knows, but Gabrielle does not have the stature or strength of Xena, and when the next Varia comes along, Gabrielle's toast (as demonstrated in PATH OF VENGENCE, aired just a few weeks before the first airing of A FREIND IN NEED).
And so, the romantic and intimate relationship of Xena and Gabrielle comes to a close (or was it ever there?) and there is nothing left. There is no closure, just the destruction of something that once had meaning. A cruel, carefully calculated effort by Mr. Tapert, for reasons that only he knows, and that we can only speculate upon.
I do have one bit of solace from all of this, and that is the wide variety of published lesbian romance novels that have sprung up from the ashes of XWP. While Mr. Going heaps scorn on the authors of these books as being sell-outs and trying to move up the fandom hierarchy. I welcome their contributions. Yes, the women in the novels have the physical attributes of Xena and Gabrielle, because the physical chemistry of these two women were what kept us glued to the TV screen, but they are NOT X and G in modern attire. So the publisher isn't Random House, they are still selling these books like hotcakes. The main publishing houses don't accept lesbian fiction so there isn't very much of it otherwise. I'm glad that these women are able to get their books in print. And like in any other genre, there are some authors whose writing style I just don't care for so I don't read their books, while others think they are the best (like those Danielle Steel fans). And the authors that I have enjoyed the most are not even close to the alpha fans on the fandom pyramid. I would say that this is the best thing to have come out of Xena fandom, hands down.
I am glad that Mr. Going had the courage to write his honest appraisal of the current state of fandom. No doubt he will receive some rather nasty responses by righteous Tapert-supporters, but they will only be exposing their own vulnerability. The Xena fandom is fractured and fighting for life. Addressing the problems is the first step to keeping it viable.
From: Shannon S.
Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2002 10:04 PM
Subject: A Year Later:Struck Out
I just want to let you know I am glad you printed the "Struck Out" article. I know you may get some heat from the Xena fandom for it, but beleive me there are many, many people who agree with some of the points brought up in that article. Unfortionately many of these people abandoned the show and the Xena Internet after A FRIEND IN NEED. They were just so hurt. I myself don't watch the show anymore but do keep up with what's being said on the Internet. More out of curiosity I guess and wanting to continue to follow the careers of some of the guest actress that were on the show who I still like. Anyway keep up the good work.
Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2002 3:31 PM
Subject: Re "A Year Later: Struck Out"
"A Year Later: Struck Out" by G. Going certainly puts forth an interesting perspective. I suspect the author echoes what many Xena fans have thought and felt for over a year now, but are reluctant to say publicly.
It would be so convenient to dismiss this piece as little more than a provocative rant, long on rhetoric and short on substance. Unfortunately, much of it is all too true. Robert Tapert's contempt for Xena: Warrior Princess fans as demonstrated by the series ending A FRIEND IN NEED, and portrayal of the faithful as loud-mouthed buffoons in SEND IN THE CLONES and SOUL POSSESSION (where Whoosh! received an "honorable?" mention) is stunning even by Hollywood's cynical there's-a-sucker-born-every-minute standards. I could be wrong about this, not being hip and sophisticated like Mr. Tapert, but spitting in the face of the folks who lay down the money and lavish the attention, is at best, a questionable career move. Do the math: fans = customers. Alienate too many of them, and you're out of a job.
Nor does the Xena fandom assault end with the series finale. Lucy Lawless, the other half of the Tapert tandem, continually marginalizes the show she starred in and the fans who loyally supported her, in almost every post-Xena interview she has given. Considering Ms. Lawless never bothered to watch the series that propelled her into stardom, this isn't surprising -- just painful. It seems that "the rift" has taken on a new meaning: Taperts vs. Xena fans.
As for equating fandom with freakdom, maybe she has a point. Who else but a bunch of "freaks" would contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities in the name of this incredible television show; who else would erect cyber-shrines across the Internet to pay homage to anyone who was in the slightest way associated with the series (MaryD's Australian Information Page is nearing 11.5 million hits - most websites would kill for that kind of response); who else would still frequent conventions after being given the finger by the very people who profit from them; and who else would pour their blood, sweat, and tears into gratis fan fiction works that rival those of professional writers?
Freaks or not, the Taperts wasted no time in distancing themselves from the people who made them rich and famous, and as Mr. Going points out, insisted the pests "cut the cord". This demand might have more credibility if they would have moved just as quickly to separate themselves from the fans' wallets. Renounce royalties from any remaining Xena: Warrior Princess broadcasts. Disband Creation Entertainment and let Sharon Delaney do PR work for politicians -- she's already had practice as a spin doctor for people who loath their constituents. And no more David-Panzer Xena merchandise catalogs in the mailbox. Want the cord cut? Then let both sides do it.
So where does this leave the Xenaverse? If the show's principals and Mr. Going are to be believed, fandom should be ashamed. Yes, shame on Xena fans for adoring the complex conqueror-warrior-hero that Lucy Lawless breathed life into. Xena's own passions were surpassed only by the fans' ardor for the Warrior. And shame on Xena: Warrior Princess devotees for falling so hopelessly in love with a show that made viewers cry, laugh, raise an occasional eyebrow, swear, spit, and finally, broke a lot of hearts. But most of all, shame on fandom for being so desperate for a follow-up to the A FRIEND IN NEED debacle that they would be willing to entrust this task to the same people who messed it up the first time, and then turned around and dis'ed the fans for having the audacity to question their "vision".
A year has elapsed since Xena: Warrior Princess' demise. What now? In many cultures the official time period for mourning the death of a loved one is a year. Although feelings do not come with expiration dates, it is time for fans to face up to Xena's death and the associated collateral damage, put the rancor about it behind them, and deal with this in a constructive manner. In spite of themselves, the Xena people created a show that has touched lives in ways they could not begin to imagine, and its spirit lives on in the hearts of the now dreaded fandom. Despite last ditch efforts to the contrary by Xena: Warrior Princess' creators, it is the fans who will determine the ultimate legacy of Xena: Warrior Princess. May it be a good one.
Editor-in-chief Kym Taborn responds generally:These are all the letters Whoosh.org received as letters to the editor on this article. We have not held any back or edited out portions of any of them.
Inside the Head of Amy Ray
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 8:11 PM
Just read "INSIDE THE HEAD OF AMY RAY" on Whoosh. I think you got inside her head just fine. Nice interview!
Changes in the Landscape
From: E. Morgan Hawke
Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 10:40 PM
Subject: Changes in the Landscape
I think that you are probably correct about the fact that another show like Xena, that touches so many chords in so many different people, may not soon come again. In as much as I feel angry at how the show was ended, I have to give Tapert and company credit for making a show with two strong woman as the main characters.
You said, "Until then, we have to decide whether we remove ourselves to the past and relive the Xena experience or move on, to that as yet undiscovered country." To this I say that we can have our cake and eat it too. Xena was a great show; it gave us fantasy, and mythology, and heroines, and fierce women who could fight for themselves and Athena knows what else. But it was TV and nothing lasts forever on TV (except maybe General Hospital). Yet as a result of Xena, new life has been breathed into the Lesbian publishing industry (if you can call it that). The lesbian fans who were inspired to write Uber, who were read voraciously by so many of us, chapter by chapter, are now being published and read by people who might not even realize the connection to the show. My corner Lesbian bookstore carries all the Uber novels. I think that they are read by a wider audience than just Xena fans. And for that I am grateful for many reasons, not the least of which is that my corner lesbian bookstore in a small residential town near Berkeley, CA, can stay in business despite the competition of the big chains.
I believe that in the end, Rob [Tapert] and Lucy [Lawless] were afraid that the show would become another Star Trek and that in their mind's eye they could envision a future filled with Saturday Night Live convention spoofs and books entitled, "I Am Not Xena". So they pulled the plug on it completely...and it worked. Many of us can't even bear to watch the show in reruns on the Oxygen channel. If you were Lucy, and you didn't want to be typecast, it's all going as orchestrated.
I love TV. I always have. In my circles when I admit that, people laugh and think I'm kidding. Whatever. But I can count on the proverbial one hand the shows that have captured me...Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Files (in the first years), and Xena. Something else will come along. Until then, I'm watching Witchblade, a show you didn't mention. It has at least a few elements that draw me...mythology, Joan of Arc, and a bright, strong, and androgynous woman.
Thank you for all your effort on Whoosh. If you think, in your solitary moments, that it was a waste, don't. It has been inspirational to many. Let it evolve from here. Maybe it will go in directions you never expected. It is a change in the landscape.
E. Morgan Hawke
Editor-in-chief Kym Taborn responds:I have to admit, I do agree with you. The Xena influence will live on and will mutate and that kernal of an idea of a strong independent woman will always pop up in the most unexpected places. And my bad about not mentioning Witchblade. I had already mentioned it in issue #69's editorial and I had somehow thought I had mentioned it again in #70. DUH! I need a vacation. NOW!
A (Semi-) Defense Of Ulysses
From: Dafydd ap Thomas
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 5:20 AM
Subject: letter to the Editor: Ulysses
ULYSSES is loathed precisely because of its air date.
In Season 1, it would have been merely a weak episode. Gabrielle playing a prostitute is demeaning. Xena out sings the sirens with la la la - we know Lucy [Lawless] can sing magnificently, but in this episode she didn't bother.
Anytime after FORGIVEN, it would have been just another Xena shags anyone and anything as long as it isn't Gabrielle episode and would have been lost in the morass.
During seasons 5 and 6, a weak episode among so many abysmal ones would have been such a blessed relief that it would have been voted a favourite.
But ULYSSES was Season 2 Episode 19.
Originally, the Subtext was just us fans seeing what we wanted to see. The Kiss in THE QUEST accepted Subtext as official. Yee Haugh! It was a famous victory. The Fans had taken on the studio bosses and won. ULYSSES' air date, after THE QUEST, made it the first Subtext denial episode and the birth of Eli.
The Kiss is Back
From: Paulie Rainbow
Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 11:01 AM
A while ago I was able to link to an item that I can no longer find. Could you tell me where I might find it? The item was:
I would so appreciate it. There's a thread on the Oxygen.com Xena board site where some folks are talking about images from FIN. I wanted to share this with them, then found that the link no longer reached the desired destination.
Thank you for all of your fine work there at Whoosh. It is very much appreciated.
Editor-in-chief Kym Taborn responds:The infamous Backward Kiss mov file from A FRIEND IN NEED was removed during January 2002's great deletion, however, it is NOW BACK! It is a mov file and it weighs in at around 1.5 mill. Click here if you still want to check it out: http://whoosh.org/archive/video/backwardskiss.mov Sadly, as of 08/10/03, the large files have been removed due to space considerations. If you wish to have a copy of this file, write me at Kym and I will send you a web address where you can download this file. I apologize for any inconvenience.
What Good Is Paranoia If You Cannot Share It?
From: Gonium Cumacea
Sent: Saturday, June 29, 2002 2:43 PM
There is something extremely wrong with every single person in this world. They seem to be part of a pointless simulation.
"The Matrix" has portrayed this idea somewhat, yet we watch it and go back to our daily lives. Yet in this very life, underneath the seeming diversity in people's opinions, values, talents, and interests, there is something that makes everyone the same. It is as though this planet is populated only by mindless fakes, objects that provide the appearance of intellect on the surface but are based on only mechanical reflexes and primitive thought patterns.
I don't really care if anything I say has been said before, if it was portrayed in movies, in books, or in the lyrics of some useless song. With 6 billion people covering the globe at any given time, thousands and thousands of years of written literature, probability dictates almost any combination of words has occurred numerous times. Yet there is clear evidence there was no action, so those words, just like the people who spoke them, must have been just more fakes. I am forced to use this language (also created by the fakes) because there is no alternative, so everything I write here could be misunderstood to make me sound like one of them, but it will be the action that I take and the dedication that will separate me from them.
In my estimation the fakes that occupy this planet don't make up 99%, but more like 99.9999999% of the population. I know this because I've searched, and in my search have so far only found one true ally (I have found him via the internet as well). But even with those numbers we would not give up because there is no logic in giving up.
The people on this planet are all fakes because the societies have made them this way. Ideas that populate people's minds have no logic or purpose. Concepts such as religion, god, morality, individualism, freedom, identity, happiness, love and billions of others are all just memes. Like parasites they infect the minds and spread from one person to the next. They have no point or purpose; they exist without any logical basis or foundation. The fakes are completely controlled by them, and they will never see beyond them. To not be controlled by them one must do more then just realize that they exist. One must resist any ideas that have no point, endlessly question, and never accept imperfection or compromise in any answer.
We (myself and my ally) are different though. While we have had the limitation of existing only in these societies, something has made it possible for us to resist being indoctrinated into becoming one of those fakes. We have no arbitrary wants, needs, desires, or preferences.
If this world continues to exist the way it is then nothing in it will ever have a point. It will always be just a product of random evolution, one with no importance or relevance. The only logical goal is to dedicate our lives to increasing our numbers, those that aren't fakes, so that in thousands of years our numbers may be such that the fakes would no longer be a threat to progress.
Those that join us must see every other person occupying this planet as the enemy, and us as their only allies. Like us they must have dedication only to taking the most logical action, and to nothing else.
To tell you more about us, we've posted some personal information about ourselves on a website. You'll also find past responses to us on that webpage.
Obviously anyone reading this email is most likely just another fake. Do not simply reply to this email, if you do your message will almost certainly be ignored. If you do wish to communicate, first demonstrate your interest by taking the effort to find us online, one of the ways to do that is described below.
Use a major search engine to search for every combination of any two words from the list below. The order of the words shouldn't matter as long as you do not search for them in quotes. Also when you pick the right combination you shouldn't need to look at more then the first matches.
There is no trick to this and this isn't meant to be quick, it should, however, be fairly clear if/when you find the right site. The following search engines were verified by us, please use any of them as other search engines may simply not list us correctly: MSN, Lycos, InfoSeek, LookSmart, HotBot, InfoSpace, Google, Ask.com, AllTheWeb, Teoma, WebCrawler, AltaVista, AOL Search, Netscape Search.perfect theory endless desire eternal logic driving perpetual vision logical infinite dream final best escape objective thought only ambition clue perfectionIf this can't be solved, or if you never reach us, there should be no reason for you to give up as we will never give up and thus there will always be some way to find us.
Ryan and Jacob
Editor-in-chief Kym Taborn responds:It was so kind of Ryan and Jacob to share this with us and millions of others. For those who like to cut to the chase, however, the goal websites are http://www.eternalambition.com and http://neverdream.com/truth.html. If you can't wait until Matrix II opens, this might help some of the withdrawal a tad. Or it might add to the psychosis. Whatever.
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