Whoosh! Issue Nine - June 1997

Letters to the Editor

To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about WHOOSH, send an e- mail to ktaborn@lightspeed.net and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor".




Date: Sun, 11 May 1997

From: ssinaga@ix.netcom.com (SHERILYN SINAGA)
Subject: Re: Chakram

I just discovered WHOOSH! a week ago. Interesting reading. It certainly got me to look at historical and cultural factors that influence and impact the XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS series as well as the impact that it is having globally. Keep up the great work!

Very interesting article [see WHOOSH! #08 (May 1997), "What the Heck is Chakram, Anyway?" by Bret Rudnick (brudnick@head-cfa.har vard.edu)]. Thanks for researching and sharing.

Some questions came to mind as I was reading your article:

1. Vishnu? What does this god represent?

2. In relation to Vishnu's representation as a particular god, does the Chakram symbolize anything in connection to Vishnu's deity?

Thanks again for the great article.



Thank *you* very kindly for noticing [my research and sharing].

Re: Vishnu

This is not a question that can be answered in a short space. Vishnu is one of two major Hindu deities (the other being Shiva) and blends together a number of "lesser" heroes, cult figures, etc. During the Vedic period of history (between roughly 1400 and 1000 BC) he was not a major figure but evolved over time to become a manifestation of a number of beliefs/powers. He is generally associated with fighting evil, and to do so will manifest himself as one of many possible "avatars" or incarnations.

Re: Chakram's symbolism

Since I am not a scholar of Indian religion, I can only guess at the potential symbolism. In art, Vishnu is generally depicted as holding, in each of four arms, the chakram, the conch, the club, and the lotus. Each, of course, symbolises different things, but an exact interpretation is difficult since there is so much literature on the subject. Hindu deities often combine what seem to be contradictory qualities, and the same can be said of the symbolism regarding each deity in question.

The chakram we know Xena to carry is not only a weapon, but the same word (and roughly same symbolism) describes the various "energy centres" of the body.

[It was] My pleasure [researching and writing the article]. I would encourage anyone with even a remote interest to investigate Indian history, religion, music, and culture. It is a fascinating place, and one could spend several lifetimes immersed in all it has to offer.

From: BPWxenafan@aol.com
Date: Thu, 22 May 1997
Subject: What the heck.....

I enjoyed your article very much. It was well researched and organized. The use of scans from actual research material were a great addition. I hope you enjoyed doing all that work as much as I enjoyed reading it!

Date: Thu, 01 May 1997
From: Martin J Hooper (m.hooper@uclan.ac.uk)
Subject: Whoosh Article

Interesting article about the chakram... Well done.


Date: Thu, 22 May 1997
From: John Calhoun (jcalhoun@ccnet.com)
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Like Twisted Sisters in their letter [to the editor, WHOOSH #08 ], I must take issue with the statement that Xena is the first strong woman character on TV who is not defined by her job, profession, man, family, etc. Although she has no job, Xena is defined by her chosen profession just as surely as Dr. Quinn, and more so than Mrs. Peel, who had no job or profession (she was a "talented amateur").

Xena's profession is that of knight errant: a proven warrior, owing fealty to no sovereign or liege lord, who travels the earth righting wrongs, defending the helpless, and generally seeking out deeds worthy of the doing. Gabrielle, by contrast, has a job, that of esquire: the apprentice to, and servant of, a knight. Very often in story, and also in reality, knight and esquire become much closer than the master/apprentice relationship would imply, due to the closeness of comrades in battle, who depend upon each other for their very lives. This is especially true of the knight errant; having no home, army, castle or country, knight and esquire have only each other.

Just as Dr. Quinn gets involved in story lines derived from medicine, and Mrs. Peel from espionage, so Xena stories involve finding and righting wrongs, finding and defending the helpless. Of course there is much more: character insights and growth, love interests, comradeship, et, endless and interesting, cetera. But Xena stories always feature an itinerant warrior fighting in the defense of right, the hallmark of her profession.

A better argument might be that Mrs. Peel, being second banana to Steed, was to some extent defined by her relationship to him. She could, however, function quite well without him, and did on many occasions.

I would like to suggest an even earlier candidate: Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. (According to TV Guide, there was an even earlier series about Annie Oakley, but I do not remember ever having seen it.) I was very young at the time, but I remember Sheena was always rescuing everyone, including her idiot sidekick. He was definitely second banana, and existed only to provide someone to rescue. I understand they were just friends, although I was not noticing such things at that time. About all I really remember is the feeling, "Gosh! She can do anything Tarzan can do. Maybe girls really are people". A good lesson for any little boy -- or girl.


Date: Thu, 15 May 1997
From: R.J. Stewart

I love WHOOSH! It's by far the best thing on the net concerning Xena. I now can make that comparison because of your excellent letter explaining how to find everything. Thanks to you and all your partners in crime for giving Xena such sincere and enthusiastic attention. I find the articles to be witty, interesting, well written and at times down right profound. I can't describe how much it pleases me that we have such a responsive audience among college students. Don't hesitate to send me any news about your wonderful magazine or any other Xena activity out there in Netland.


From: gelana@cats.ucsc.edu
Date: Thursday, May 01, 1997
Subject: mortality rate of significant others (Xena)


Your article [see WHOOSH #07 (April 1997), "XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and the Mortality Rate of Significant Others" by Tricia Murphy (panthera@ix.net) was clever and entertaining but considering the entendres in the show very hetero-biased. What of Gabby the significant other? She is still alive, though she did almost die in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (#24) One can not just completely ignore the big time sexual tension that lies between Xena and Gab.


Thank you for your input regarding my article in WHOOSH #7.

Yes, it was very hetero biased as it did address the many hetero-type encounters our heroines have had. The relationship between Xena and Gabrielle spans the entire series, just as the chemistry between Callisto and Xena spans several episodes. These issues will be addressed in Part 2 which will cover the rest of the series to date and those reoccurring relationships.


Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997
From: Tammy Dasti (t.dasti@hwcn.org)
Subject: Re: http ://www.thirdstory.com/whoosh/issue7/rudnick4.html

You may have written your Xena article in fun [WHOOSH! #07 (April) "Xena: A Demigod?" By Bret Rudnick (brudnick@cfa.harvard.edu)], but that does not mean that it was any less worthwhile! A friend of mine did a formal presentation on "Elvis as a post-colonial trope" for one of our classes, and even though it too was meant as a kind of joke (and indeed, everyone killed themselves laughing) it was still well done and very thoughtful. I did one myself, on "Jonson's Epocine as forerunner to Bugs Bunny", which dealt with camp, drag, mismatched marriages, etc. It was done in fun too, but it was also serious in some ways!

I sometimes think that the best papers, essays, etc are the ones that you actually have fun writing. They are certainly the least stressful!

Yours, Tammy Dasti

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997
From: Nancy Ayotte (nayotte@dns.cape.net)
Subject: Xena as demigod

Thanks for your thoughtful analysis of Xena as a demigod. I agree she must have some blood of the gods and that Poseidon is a likely candidate. Too bad in more recent episodes the originators didn't leave a little more room for that. I look forward to your analysis of the chakram.

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 07:31:24 -0700
From: Norman Ruffell (Julie)
(norman_ruffell@bc.sy mpatico.ca)
Subject: WHOOSH report in #7

I just read WHOOSH #7, (I know, I am behind). Anyway, I read your report, "Xena: A Demigod?" Under Xena look-a-likes, you put Meg and Diana from Xena, but you forgot the Amazon Lieutenant Lysia and Deric the centaur's bride, Lyla from Hercules! (All LL roles!) Did you forget them, or just decide not to use them? BATTLE ON XENA!



I remembered them, but did not use them, because they were really on that "other" show (HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS). Also in that time frame, it was really "B.X." (Before Xena). I just drew the line arbitrarily, really, but thanks for pointing those examples out.


I am butting in here because I recently dealt with this issue in my in-progress "Annotated Guide to WARRIOR... PRINCESS" which should be appearing in either WHOOSH! #10 or #11. I will reproduce a draft version of the section dealing with the Xena look-alike phenomena:

Where Will this Madness Stop?

Princess Diana appears and lo and behold...she looks exactly like Xena. Isn't this AMAZING? Also, isn't it amazing that Lyla, who ran off with that ex-juvenile delinquent centaur Deric and had a cute as the dickens widdle centaur baby named Kiefer, looks just like Xena too? Heck, even the Hercules and Iolaus noted that in THE OUTCAST (HTLJ #18)? And what about that Amazon lieutenant Lysia who bedded Zeus in HERCULES AND THE AMAZON WOMEN? Hercules had to reverse time in order to save yet another woman who would die because she fell in love with him, so maybe that's why he has never discussed the similarity between Lysia and Xena. Then in WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP, a new look- a-like is introduced named Meg.

Okay, Lysia has not been recognized in the Herca- Xenaverse yet as being a Xena lookalike, but three have: Lyla, Princess Diana, and Meg. Should we blame Xena's errant father? Maybe he got around more than anyone else suspected. I am sure Cyrene would have an opinion about this!


Date: Thu, 01 May 1997
From: Martin J Hooper (m.hooper@uclan.ac.uk)
Subject: New Graphics

I like the new graphics on WHOOSH!...They look a lot nicer than the old ones! Keep up the good work.

Martin Hooper

From: "kathleef fox" (kefox@hotmail.com)
Subject: WHOOSH!
Date: Fri, 02 May 1997

I like the new layout except for the light blue circles with the writing in them. It is very difficult to read any writing when it is white against light blue. Plus, I really really really hate light blue. It is wimpy. Besides that, I love the new set-up for WHOOSH! It also boots up much faster.

Date: Fri, 02 May 1997
From: Mary Draganis (kira@zip.com.au)
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I really LOVE the new look. Very well done and as usual the issue is fantastic.

Great work.

From: DJMHB@aol.com
Date: Sun, 4 May 1997

Subject: Letter to the Editor

Re: The New WHOOSH! Design

Just a few humble opinions and comments:


No offense intended toward Tom Simpson's work, BUT I liked the old design much better. Liked the yellow screen, instead of the new beigy look. Liked the old buttons MUCH BETTER, they looked more cyber-like; these new buttons are flat and non-descript, and last but not least, don't like the new WHOOSH! logo, looks like someone wrote it with cake icing.

Thanks for listening, and I'm sure I'll get used to the "new look" in time, if you think it's better!



Subject: WHOOSH! #8
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 97
From: Zig Zichterman (ziggr@best.com)

Wow! I was just reading through back issues this afternoon. I come back this evening to rummage around the back issue bin, and VOILA! A shiny new issue eight!

Congrats on another issue out of the gates!

By the way, I did not read the April Fool's edition until mid-April. My April Fool's defenses were down by the time I saw it. I fell for it completely. The Joxer stuff looked real enough (I think Ted Raimi's doing a fine job with the character he's given), but the Perdicas stuff was just too much. I thought the IAXS staff had gone completely out of their minds! "I sing the song of Perdicas" indeed!


Date: Mon, 5 May 1997
From: RocMailer@aol.com
Subject: ROC's AOL Chat Answer

Sorry to take so long to get back to you on the "unanswered subtext question" from last week's AOL Chat. Rocweb was a little busy this weekend with our "real life" and am just now getting caught up. I am sending the same basic answer to several others who wrote to Rocweb with concern over the same unanswered question, so please don't be offended if your response looks the same as everyone's.

We spoke with Sandra (Momma ROC), who presented the general concerns to Renee' regarding the unanswered subtext question, (as she was just recently in Austin spending some time recharging her batteries a bit with mom). The short answer is: there was no particular reason why she skipped the question, it was rather unintentional. She was formulating a response to the specific question, and frankly just "timed out" on getting the answer from the tip of her tongue to the keyboard before the moderator moved on to the next question not realizing the potential importance that some would place on the answer.

In articulating an actual "post chat" answer from Renee'- let's reexamine the question:

Q - "I'm curious about some of the lesbian undertones the show has taken during a couple of recent episodes. Is that going to be a trend, or was that a misinterpretation by the viewing audience?" Renee', as well as the rest of the Xena staff, are well aware of the possible interpretive nature of the Xena/Gabrielle relationship. As a result, there is an intentional effort by all to try and stay somewhat neutral on the specific nature of the relationship, because frankly ambiguous is more fun, and potentially creates more character dynamic for Renee' and Lucy to work with.

What may be considered an obvious lesbian undertone to some adults, may not necessarily be shared by others. From another perspective, to a child, the close friendship portrayed by Xena and Gabrielle is hopefully reinforcing and/or planting the notion that women can be strong, brave *and* loving. The show X:WP is unique in it's portrayal of a strong friendship between two woman, and this is what Renee' attempts to portray. So for ROC to *specifically* answer the above question regarding "a possible misinterpretation", is to imply that one or more interpretations of the X/G relationship is incorrect. Consequently Renee' considered this to be sort of a loaded question - the way it was phrased - and one that was a bit difficult to answer just "off the cuff".

Regarding the secondary point - the "trends", if any, are actually created by the writers and directors. Renee's job is to interpret the character each week, not really to create or forecast "trends". She is quite simply ecstatic that the show is doing so well, and enjoys bringing the character Gabrielle to life - the interpretations of her portrayal, and speculations on future relationship trends are purposely left to the audience to contemplate and discuss.

Hope this helps to clear the air. Have a good week!!



Had this response been available at the time WHOOSH! went to press, we would have included it. Indeed, I would have insisted upon it. In the interest of fairness and balance, I lobbied for the inclusion of the text from a radio interview that took place shortly after the AOL on-line chat, in which a subtext question was addressed. But the above statement was not made available until several days after WHOOSH! went to press.

It should also be noted that, as the article shows, a direct statement from one of the two moderators of the chat was "She chose not to answer the question", not "She was thinking about it but ran out of time". The issue was made more ominous, I think, because it was the only question with no response whatever, and a lot of people wondered about that. More importantly, I wanted to include reaction from the person who asked the question. I was interested in his motivation and opinions. Based on all the information available, we printed what we had, and I am glad her people did release a statement regarding her point of view.


WHOOSH! stands by its articles and its investigative reporting. If and when we feel a mistake has been made or inadvertent misrepresentations have somehow gotten past our screening process, we will print retractions and apologies where necessary. In this specific case, however, we stand by the article as it was written.


Date: Fri, 23 May 1997
From: [requested name withheld]
Subject: WHOOSH!

Hello. I just started looking at the Whoosh web site. At this time, I am not a member. (Boy, and I thought economists are tough! Publish or perish...perhaps a piece on the effect of Xena's killing on the labor force and therefore on the local economy...) Your journal sounds in some ways a lot like the Journal of Irreproducible Results, except that yours is about Xena.

From what I saw, your group and magazine are very good. It seems to be the only thing in fandom that does not kiss up to cast and production team -- no "hero worship" here. If something is bad, you guys say that it is bad. I have never seen anything in fandom that admits that the clip episodes usually stink and are excuses so everyone can go on vacation a few days early! Good for you guys!

I think it is important to tell people when they are doing a good job, and for other people to see it. Again, besides the magazine quality, I am impressed with how honest you guys are, without being nasty. I'll bet any interviews you have with cast or production people are not the usual puff pieces where the writer lets someone shamelessly plug his or her latest thing and just gushes. Does anyone think that the movie "Kull the Conqueror" is going to be good? While I don't want to be mean to Kevin Sorbo, I don't need to read him telling me how this movie will change my life! And, I am sure that Xena people have done some lame show jobs, too, to make ends meet. We all do.

Did anyone else wonder why the episode of Xena that Michael Hurst directed is one of the ones with the most bloopers, especially since he is an experienced director? Was everyone asleep? Everyone makes mistakes, but I hope that we do not see that kind of sloppiness again! (I didn't notice most of them, but I saw them on your page, so someone noticed them.) And, I am a fan of his but that doesn't mean that if he sometimes does a poor job that we are not supposed to notice. Michael Levine is a good director; he did some nice work on Forever Knight. I used to watch Forever Knight, and I have seen a few names among your contributors that I recognize from that list!

Episode Guide FAQ Air Dates Encyclopedia Xenaica Membership Submission Back Issues