Whoosh! Issue 72 - September 2002
Letters to the Editor

To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to letters@whoosh.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.

Gabrielle: The Forgotten Hero
How To Write A Typical Uber
Beached Celebs
Inside Heads and Stuff
A Year Later: Struck Out
Getting Jack Back - Well, Kinda
Why It Is Important That Xena Died
The Kindness of Strangers

Letters To The Editor

Gabrielle: The Forgotten Hero

Subject: whoosh article outstanding

Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2002 22:18:16 -0500

From: invidere

I just finished reading ["Gabrielle: The Forgotten Hero"], and I was simply blown away by your insight into the series and the character of Gabrielle. You hit every point that I had found dissatisfying with the show; I never realized how much Gabrielle's character figured in to my enjoyment of the show. After reading your article and thinking about it, yeah, that's exactly what I felt throughout the 6 seasons! After reading the article, I've grown a greater respect for the character and Renee O'Connor and at the same time lost a bit for TPTB for their treatment of such a dynamic character and actress. Thanks for writing this, you did a spectacular job.

Subject: Whoosh! Article
Date: Fri, 02 Aug 2002 10:48:57 -0500

From: Cathy Duszynski

I just completed [the] "Gabrielle: The Forgotten Hero" article in the August edition of Whoosh!. A nicely crafted piece; thoughtfully written and well-supported with examples from the episodes. I couldn't agree more with your assertions, particularly the last paragraph, which is a brilliant summation/well-deserved testimonial. Renee O'Connor could act anyone on Xena: Warrior Princess off the screen, including the show's star. TPTB realized this and, in my opinion, it is a major reason why the character of Gabrielle was continually marginalized - can't have the "sidekick" outshining "the star". After all, Xena was 'all Lucy, all the time', and no one was allowed to horn in on that. I'm a little surprised they never took the step of subtitling the series The Lucy Show.

Besides Renee's wonderful acting abilities and consummate professionalism, it's also become apparent since the series ended last year that she is now Xena's lone grace note, especially in light of Kevin Smith's passing earlier this year. I believe both actors actually respected the fans who so loyally supported the show. A welcome departure from the behavior of Robert Tapert who basically flipped off the fans in A FRIEND IN NEED, and Mrs. Tapert, who's had nothing good to say about the show or its fans since it ended.

Thanks for a great, insightful article.

From: I. Horwood
Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2002 7:39 AM
Subject: letter

Thanks for printing Andrew Shaughnessy's excellent article. It's always a good time to be reminded that XWP had two stars, even though this was never going to be officially recognised, for obvious reasons, and that Gabrielle was in fact the richer character. Despite being deliberately subverted and marginalised, Gabrielle remained vital to the show. I for one only went on watching to the end because one thing always made it worthwhile: Renee O'Connor's performance of whomever or whatever the show's prime directive (which can be summed up as "It's called Xena") required plot-device Gabrielle to become that particular week.

Whatever the official party line, certain things will always remain true about the show. One is that Gabrielle was the essential ingredient which made Xena: Warrior Princess as popular as it became in its first and second seasons, when the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle was so powerfully appealing. It humanised the ex-warlord, became the plausible reason for believing in her potential for redemption, and thereby gave the show its heart. Another is that the decision to carry out the policy of undermining Gabrielle's moral, emotional and dramatic authority coincided with the show's wretched decline into artistic, narrative and moral confusion.

However, while TPTB may have forgotten Gabrielle was also a hero, I am confident many fans will not. After all, it's a superficial definition of heroism which sees it merely as an ability to be a butcher of brilliance - which is what Xena's many skills basically added up to. If one sets Xena's frequent and tedious gravity-defying feats of super-human strength to one side, and looks for acts of real heroism instead (and Xena was capable of this too, though in later seasons we saw too little of this side of her), the two most impressive are arguably Gabrielle's.

In SACRIFICE, no longer blinded by her maternal instincts, she recognises that the responsibilities of motherhood do not exist in isolation from the greater good, and acts selflessly on that realisation. In similar circumstances, Xena cannot accept that responsibility. Without divine intervention, her inaction would have resulted in someone possibly far more monstrous than Hope being left free to continue to slaughter innocents unchecked.

And in FRIEND IN NEED, Gabrielle again performs the single unambiguous act of true heroism in sight in that disastrous episode. While her physical courage is admirable (and heartbreaking, since just as Xena has arbitrarily required it, so she will arbitrarily deny it success) it is her moral courage which is far more remarkable. Though the one thing she must want is for Xena to return to life, Gabrielle's commitment to her partner means that she refuses to impose her will on a woman who has (with little apparent sign of distress) decided that death and peace are preferable to a life with her.

Xena's actions in the finale are inescapably tainted. For example, they are driven by guilt and her need to assuage it. They endorse revenge, and they appear to spring from manipulation by a woman who is as devious, dishonest and vengeful as Gabrielle is loyal, loving, and strong enough to turn away from revenge. Yet Xena appears to trust this earlier, inferior soulmate more than she does her tried and true companion of six years. Finally, they are motivated by the selfish desire to stop having to seek for a redemption Xena believes she can never achieve (and here, paradoxically, she chooses to disbelieve Akemi rather than accept her declaration that they are now all in fact redeemed), and despite the fact that she knows how deeply Gabrielle will be hurt, since she will end up paying the price for this evasion on her behalf.

Gabrielle's actions, on the other hand, are inspired as ever by her total devotion to Xena and conclude in her putting her own needs second - a selfless act in which she accepts the decision of the woman she loves without passing judgment on either it or the person who makes it. In effect she lays down her own life (as a poet and partner - for in future Gabrielle must always be a warrior, and alone, as the final image of the series shows us) so that Xena can find peace by submitting to a doom she has chosen not to defy. Fans of the show's early days, with their empowering and optimistic message of redemption through love and forgiveness, may well feel cheated by the brutal nihilism of X:WP's finale, but Gabrielle's last act at least can be interpreted as truly heroic.

How To Write A Typical Uber

From: andrew.shaughnessy@talk21.com
Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2002 2:33 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Congratulations to Invidere on her hilarious article "How to Write a Typical Über". After the emotionally charged pieces in the two previous issues a little light relief was called for. Invidere supplied this with her satirical look at all the really bad über fiction out there. The irony is that the recipe for bad über (or any fanfic for that matter) is very similar to that for the good stuff. It's all a question of degree.

I loved Invidere's section on gratuitous detail, and the reference to "impossibly cute eyebrows" made it clear I was reading about Über-G. The list of special abilities was also very funny, my personal favourite being "Character rules the world (or is, at least, very powerful)". As for the storyline, a lot of bad fanfic is just an excuse to get Xena and Gabrielle (or Über-X and Über-G) in the sack together, so who needs a plot? Avoid the excesses described in this article, and you're in with a chance of writing a decent über story.

If you have time (or even if you don't), check out Invidere's website at http://xenaverse.sphosting.com - it's well worth the visit!

Beached Celebs

From Warren Serkin
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 7:24 AM
Subject: Beached Celebs

Why didn't someone tell me about this. I was in the USVI on business and could have taken the ferry over to Tortola to assist in a rescue effort

Alex Poindexter replies
Dear Warren,

The best thing you can do for a beached celeb is offer him or her a fresh margarita.


Inside Heads and Stuff

From: carly
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2002 5:00 PM
Subject: interviewing fanfic authors

I enjoy reading your [In the Head of] interviews with fanfic authors. Do you ever interview shipper or general fanfic authors? There are quite a few with a really big following - LadyKate, Lexxie, Nancy Lorenz all come to mind. I'd really enjoy reading an interview with them!

Amy Murphy replies
Thanks for your feedback. If you send me their e-mail addy's I would gladly give it a shot.

A Year Later: Struck Out

From: cr
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 4:41 AM
Subject: Bashing TPTB

Among the generally readable articles in July's Whoosh were a couple of items that would have been good for a laugh if they weren't so vicious. I mean of course G. Going's article and Valerie Foster's letter. I find it hard to credit how anyone can be so vindictive and malicious towards people they have almost certainly never met.

On the whole, I prefer Mr Going's article simply because his hatred appears to have expanded to include the entire Xenaverse, TPTB, Creation, fanfic writers, and most of the fans themselves. I still have a sneaking suspicion that it was written by one of Whoosh's regular writers as a lampoon of the 'evil Tapert' school of thought that ended up just a little too realistic. It's almost but not quite a masterpiece of the genre, all it needs is a fraction more hyperbole and paranoia to put it right over the edge.

I won't waste my time pointing out the distortions and absurdities in either item, anyone who's been around for very long can do that for themselves. I'll just quote the one nearly credible line from Mr Going's article: "Sad thing is, Xena fans all over are known as jokes from the land of misfits or worse." I wonder how outsiders could ever get that impression?

Getting Jack Back - Well, Kinda

From: Soheel Hussein
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 11:55 AM
Subject: Can you send everyone this message on your site

My name is Soheel Hussein and I created this petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?JOAT1801 to get Jack of all Trades DVD's Made. Those who are interested, please sign.

Why It Is Important That Xena Died

From: Fiona Morton
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 11:27 PM
Subject: Why it was important that Xena died.

Yesterday I watched the final of Xena: Warrior Princess. It was finally aired by channel 10 in Australia. I hadn't read any of the spoilers but two people had told me that Xena dies forever and she has her head cut off. I wasn't sure that i was looking forward to it. I must say I think the way Xena ended was important to what the show stood for. The show showed many things that other shows wouldn't have dared it got a lesbian following and played with it it didn't deny or accept the many attempts to point out xena and gabrielles relationship as lesbian. I think this show has done more for this society by the way it was structure than any other. As a lesbian I continually try to get my friends to understand that it isn't the sex, the kiss or the act but the relationship. You can quite freely f**k or kiss somebody without any meaning. However you can't be a soul mate, a friend or a lover with anyone. So why are the subtext fans still waiting for conformation about their relationship. Why then does a physicall act confirm why it an emotional conection for me? We know that xena and gabrielle loved each other we know they would die for each other isn't this love? Dosen't this make them lovers not if they kiss each other? I think what the director did was very cleaver. All these TV programmes these days tell people what to think, this is the bad guy this is the good guy these people are in love they confirm this throught images and tell us the whole story. If xena was told with calisto as the hero the audience would be told that xena was evil and we would beleve this. What the director had done has said well it could be a relationship it could be a friendship. Now it is up to us as individual to decide from all the evidence. We weren't spoonfed this time!! So I am sure they were lovers, I don't need a director to tell me this from what they did for each other it is beyond question as to weather they were lovers or not.

So why is it important that xena died? Well these days telivsion tell us everything. I teaches us how to ask somebody out (watch soaps) It shows us what is considered good and evil it show us what society expects of us marriage, straigt relationships, killing or hurting is not aceptable unless your life is in danger etc. It show us how we should raise our kids all this but it never deals with death as it is in the real world. Death dosen't come with a six week warning that our loved one is going to die. Once somebody is dead, they wont comeback, their dead. We wont see them on another seiries seamingly resurected. Death isn't pretty and rarely do we get a happy ending. Death is part of life. Tell me if xena and gabrielle had walked off into the sunset do you think that when they were in their 80's and xena died in her sleep next to gabrielle. That gabrielle wouldn't have still felt pain when she awoke and found xena dead next to her? In fact it may have cause her more pain gabrielle would never have had the chance to say goodbye and she would never have know if xena had althought it was her life mission redeemed herself and gone to heaven or whatever. Also she might ask why, why did xena die? Where as in the way xena died gabrielle may not have liked it hey I didn't but at least she can understand it. This episode showed that death is part of life. No matter how much you love someone, how long you know them how much you don't want them to die eventually and maybe unfortunatly soon you or your loved ones will die. You can't stop this from happening, human have been trying to do this for ever escape death. Is this really what we want? I don't want to weird people out but do you want to live forever? Is this the answer for eternal hapiness? Are you sure? I don't want to live forever damn i don't want to get old. We human want to control our wold too much when will we see we can only control our actions? Think of it this way you have three cans of paint in front of you one blue one yellow and one red. If you were to pick up the blue and the yellow one and mix them toghether it would make green. You didn't make it make green chemical reactions caused it to change to make what the human eye colour picks up as green. What you did control was that you picked up the yellow one and the blue one and mixed them you might have done this because they were closer because you liked the colours more. But then again you might never have mixed them together this dosen't stop the fact that if you mix red and blue you get purple. Just because you didn't do it dosen't mean that it wouldn't happen. The only thing we can control in these lives is what we do! We can anticipate the remiforcations of our actions but we don't control them. So can we control death? Xena got a knoble death one that didn't leave questions about why she died etc.

The bit of the episode i din't like was at the end. In the previous episode xena said if I only had 30 second to live i would want it to be here like this staring into your eyes. When the sun went down xena and gabrielle seamed detatched they weren't looking into each others eyes. The convition as soul mates was lost here as although i know that gabrielle would have understood xena's motives in the end her desperation for her love would have made gabrielle frantic to spend those last moment to gether holding on to each other. Grief is important so to any of those people out there who say it is silly to mourn a fictional character be silent. At least those who have mourned will have had practise for when this affects them in real life.

The Kindness of Strangers

From: MsCaptK@cs.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 12:05 AM

i am a new xena fan :-) i remember catching glimpses of the show while aired, but i thought it was for kids, but am now finding out that there was alot of deep issues/relationships hidden in the fight scenes

i love songvids, and have been reading some stories - i found your episode guide wonderful, and helpful - BUT, i am in desperate need of episodes, i have none. i am housebound with very little extra income, but i can afford to pay for tapes and postage, if some kind soul would make copies? there is absolutely no way i can buy any commericial tapes, if that is the only way to watch, i will have to give up any hope of ever seeing this show.

i hope very much that you can point me in the right direction - any help is greatly appreciated and much needed!!!!

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