Whoosh! Issue 79 - July 2003
Letters to the Editor

Last update: 07/13/2003

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.

Topics Covered: Taking Another Look At Xena; About Fan Fiction; The Hero Inside Me; Let Us Call It What It was: Exploitation; Uber Question; Subtext Question; Name That Episode; Inside the Head Of...; Kudos; Upcoming Convention; Shopping in London; New Show on VH1 Looking for Xena Fans; BACK IN THE BOTTLE Question; writer Looking for Feedback; Jacqueline Kim Promotion; Get Xena Off Oxygen NOW!

Letters To The Editor

Taking Another Look At Xena

From: S. Solomon
Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2003 10:24 PM
Subject: Taking Another Look at Xena

Xiomara Suro has written another thoughtful essay (Taking Another Look at Xena) that explains why I'm still watching my tapes and enjoying Xena: Warrior Princess after, what's it now ?, two-three years. Thanks.

About Fan Fiction

From: Angharad Governal
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2003 6:12 AM
Subject: Re:"About Fan Fiction" article by Fran Bergman

I know this is rather an unusual sort of "letter to the editor" than the ones you at Whoosh! receive, but I hope that you'll indulge me as such.

Raptum in Verbum (Rape in Words)

"It finally occurred to me that it is because the characters of Xena and Gabrielle, and, in essence, the persons of Lucy Lawless and Renee O' Connor, were being raped in words."
-- Fran Bergman, "About Fan Fiction", Whoosh!, Issue 78, June 2003.

The mutinous words, cacophony in your head
You wish to purge , to change instead
To the niceties of flowers and dread.
Lest they disturb, offend, harass, provoke,
Incite, transgress,
violate, molest.
And so with unctuous words you so invoke,
"Do as I say and you'll have success
For Xena fan fiction is a bloody mess!"

Those grubby words you so despise,
Their grubby thoughts, their grubby lives.
You hold that they should sanitize
Censor such scenes, for they court lies
And thus malign characters of fiction
You write in lines filled with conniption.
They suffer not the conflagration
Of flesh and love, a loathed contagion
That naught a human being was taken, ever
Xena, Gabrielle feel lust? Oh, never!

Abhorred act - to write, to feel
To declare that love you wish concealed.
To chain our thoughts, imprison our minds
Freedom enslaved, you seem to pine.
Art is dead. Only the good survive.
Destroy them all and Purity shall thrive.

Your views so sure, beliefs so right,
Pontificate with all your might.
They'll shrink in horror, their eyes screwed tight,
Their bodies writhe, their sweat, their strain,
They'll moan forever in exquisite pain
As your light penetrates their polluted brain.

Passion purged, lust lost, desire destroyed,
That is what you ask, my dear, so coy.
Our higher selves, our better mien,
Derisive words must be stripped clean
You state in the article you wrote.
Then all shall bow to masters true:
Holding hands, knife to the throat.
You'll forgive me if I retch on cue.
I speak for many when I say, "F--K YOU."

Sincerely from a grubby, word raping "bard",
angharad governal

From: Katrina Blau
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2003 12:05 PM
Subject: About Fan Fiction - A response

You know, I look back and there were so many "reasons," that I "quit" writing fan fiction consistently. Among them was the lunacy factor... the dread of never being read because Xena and Gabrielle strayed from the one true only path... and trying to write like Missy Good.

I suck at writing like Missy Good. It fact it tends to make me quit writing for say.. oh... 2 or 3 years... when I try.

I finally realized I had to write what I wrote and not what other people wanted me to write.

Censor, n. An officer of certain governments, employed to suppress the works of genius. Among the Romans the censor was an inspector of public morals, but the public morals of modern nations will not bear inspection.
-- Ambrose Bierce, The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary, 1967

I look at what Fran has written in her essay and I think about all the letters I got (and the few I still get), when I first published Warlord Daze. I had fans effusively thanking me. It filled something in people that I didn't even know was missing. I was just writing a birthday present for a friend. But I was slammed with letters at chapter 4 saying.. go on. Don't stop. So 87 chapters later I finally put that thing to rest. Then I started writing something else.

And I don't think there was any rape in there, no coercion of characters to act or speak differently than they would within that story. I gave them free will to go where they wanted. I tend to do that... which appalls most writers... because you know... my characters stray so far from outlines. I try to hold them back. I do. They win.

So... rape... that is such a strong word. Thus, I personally reserve it for when it actually, genuinely physically happens. And rape implies non-consent.

There are reasons for disclaimers. They are not nebulous artifacts to be swiftly rejected. They are there as a courtesy. Most literature and writing provide NO disclaimers at all. It is reader beware.

Reading past a disclaimer and discounting it is the reader's flaw. Not the writer's. And there is no call to go boo-hooing it later if the reader keeps on reading. If the reader does not take a caution seriously that is sad, but it's certainly not the writer's fault. The reader has complete control over what they will and will not feed their brain.

I too have feasted on words too depraved for me.

Did I accuse the author? No. I simply stopped reading.

And then I wrote my own stuff.

Each reader must make their own judgment call anyway. There is a reason that censorship sucks.

We don't know what will emotionally or intellectually fill a person when they read. We don't know what good we will influence through our writing.

All we can do is offer it. I must, therefore, reject the notion that there is one perfect rule to writing fan fiction. Or that "Xena" wouldn't approve, in any of her forms.

This isn't to say that there isn't ugly fiction out there. Or words that we would rather not encounter. But... writing those words AND encountering those words are part of the process of growing up and living. There is a reason for Voltaire's or Beatrice Hall's speech. (Turns out Voltaire *wasn't* the one to say it. But I am sure he would have approved.)

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
-- Beatrice Hall, The Friends of Voltaire, 1906

Now I tend to believe in the multiverse. I worry about characters who get hangnails. That also stymies me in writing. I hate writing characters into deploring situations. I worry that I, as an author, may be affecting some live person "...out there in the multiverse..." in a negative or adverse way when I "put" them in certain situations.



The cusp of creativity is the interaction of the scenario, the characters and the authors, in writing a story. The interesting part is often not how the author describes the scenario (unless your name is Tolkien) - that can be painted rather sparsely, though it's lovely when it's detailed -, but rather it is in how the characters respond to the situation they are in. You never know how that is going to be.

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
-- Gustave Flaubert

Missy Good writes lovely scenarios. She writes Parental Guidance types of stories in wonderful ways. I'm glad her fiction reaches the masses so well. But just because she writes PG text wonderfully, doesn't mean that other authors and readers should have to dandle the same baby on their knee.

Some of us actually enjoy, and not just from a prurient sense - though that is fun too, the lush detail that can be found in modern romance and adventure. This is true whether one is gay or straight. The romance industry would fall apart if all they had to rely on was Louisa May Alcott style writing. There is a reason that bodice rippers sale so well. Sex and love and adventure is fun and gratifying to read about.

I once had a friend joke to me that I was always satisfied after a good orgasm, whether it was mine or someone else's. It's true. I enjoy reading about the spiraling heights. I enjoy more, the success of love in the end.

And true, some folks just are not artful in the details when it come to erotica. That has been the case since the days of Pompeii where they still find lewd scrawls upon the wall, but we've also had wonderful writers speak frankly, and sometimes shockingly, of love and sex. Erotica has a place, both as tradition and as modern experience.

Sappho, Shakespeare, Solomon, Walt Whitman, D.H. Lawrence, Anne Rice

We would not know them if they'd chosen to write only as someone who only read "x" type of books might approve or not at all. Thank the gods for variety. (Even though I sometimes think, as a writer, we are sorely lacking in alternative vocabulary. Obviously we must invent new words...)

That, of course, is part of the fun. I too love art in words. I love to play with the words that evoke and convey meaning. Not being able to do that is a legitimate writer's flaw, but it is only overcome by more writing and allowing instructional criticism. The reader, meanwhile, is still free to go.

I personally have no idea what Lucy [Lawless] and Renee [O'Connor] think. I'm not much for reading fan fiction that involves representations of their "persons," because they are not the ones that interest me - cute as they are. But I do have a clue as to what Xena and Gabrielle might think - given their very messy and human and sometimes explicit lives - at the very least.

They'd say, "Write On!!" Or paint or... whatever turns you on creatively. The whole point is... after all.. being creatively expressive.

I say "Write on!!" too. Even if the going is slow. This is what I recommend to the veteran and new author alike who plunges into the great challenges of writing fan fiction Write on! Write Now!! Especially before it all gets loaded down with rules and traditions. And what if you should lose your fingers! Oh my gosh, Write while you can! While you still breathe!!

Write on! And Write what you write. Not what Missy or your favorite author writes. Missy is Missy. Your favorite author is just themselves. You are you. Enjoy the process and try not to feel too bleak when you hit a block. You *will* write again.

Write. Write more. Write often. Write badly. Write baldly. Until you Write better. And it does get better. Write what comes to you and where you are at that moment.

The RP I write today is scores above what I was writing as a fan fiction author. The fan fiction I write tomorrow will be scores above what I wrote in the 1990's. It's all good.

Which brings me to this. I can sympathize with Fran. Sometimes I can't find the type of fiction I like either. Thus I say, the only true cure I can see for Fran's dilemma is that she needs to write the story she seeks herself.

But she will have to live with this irony.

She still won't write a Missy Good book.

It will be her book.

But maybe, just maybe, it will meet some other person's need and be exactly what they were looking for.

From: Fran Bergman
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 10:27 PM
Subject: fanfiction

It seems that my article was misunderstood because it was so drastically edited. Let me clarify. I do not think that Melissa Good is the end all and be all of fanfiction. I am not a "Merwolf", and I idolize no one. My article was not intended to immortalize Ms. Good, nor to suggest that others should write Good-esque fanfiction too. I know that there are plenty of writers out there who are very talented, and have their own styles. I'm not an idiot. My question was simply, "Why the smut?" If a man were to write that kind of stuff about any of us we'd think he was a pig.

I wrote that article in August of last year, and it has finally just now gotten posted. But I've been over it for months. I've moved on to other things since then. But one last point I would like to make before I leave this subject. Since it is okay for the fanfic writers out there to take the characters of Xena & Gabrielle who are (or were?) actually the property of Robert Tapert [editor's note: The character of xena and Gabrielle are actually owned by Universal], and put them into any kind of situation they so please, then, to me, it is very unfair of any of those same who might have berated or expressed outrage at Robert Tapert (and even Lucy [Lawless]) for what he did with his own property in the series finale. That would be hypocritical, wouldn't it?

From: Angharad Governal

Sent: Friday, July 04, 2003 10:53 AM

Subject: an open letter to people who read this blog via my website(s) and to Xena fandom at large

If you've recently visited any and/or all the website that I run, save the Xena: Warrior Princess weblogs, you may have noticed that I have posted links and excerpts from several sites that revolve around the issue of free speech / freedom of expression. This action was due mainly to this recent Whoosh article (http://whoosh.org/issue78/bergman1.html) and the resultant events that has happened when I wrote a letter to the editor (http://whoosh.org/issue79/letter79.html) in response to that article. As of the time and date of the posting of this blog entry, I have received one letter in response to my letter to the editor. The letter in question and the subsequent exchange of emails regarding it, which I have posted on my blog under a "friendslock" setting that prohibits those entries from being viewed by the general public, but can only be viewed by a select group of people whom I choose, fully details the circumstances in which I felt the need to post links and excerpts regarding the issues of free speech and free expression.

Those who are privy to the friendslocked content can judge for themselves whether I handled the situation which arose from my posting of the letter to the editor rightly or wrongly. The letters themselves have been purged of header information that would give away the email addresses/identities of the initial sender of the letter and others whom the sender had sent copies of the subsequent correspondences. The content of the letters remain fully intact.

I have, to my great surprise, found myself in the middle of a situation where I have had to defend my rights of free expression and "artistic" intergity. I have, like many people, taken for granted the basic human right to free expression, thought, and opinion that I enjoy and that many around the world struggle for with their lives. Growing up in the United States and having the parents that I have, I was never prohibited from voicing my opinions, nor was I hindered access to any sort of information that I wished. I was free to read any book even at a young age. Having gone through the situation which has recently transpired, I now have an even greater appreciation for the freedom in which I had grown up in as well as the freedoms that I have taken for granted.

There are many things that are admirable in Xena: Warrior Princess fandom -- the collective fandom's ability to rally around its members when in personal difficulty, its generosity towards charitable institutions, the kindness and humanity of individual fans when other members of the Xena fandom are in need of such goodness. However, there are aspects of Xena fandom, like any other fandom, that are not to be admired -- infighting, oneupmanship, but that is a norm for many fandoms and communities. One of the things that I had admired about Xena fandom was its tolerance, particularly its tolerance of the right of its members to freely express themselves in a creative medium, whether that be writing, art, etc., without fear of censorship. The issue of censorship has touched Xena fandom before: protests arose from the airing of the Xena episode THE WAY and subsequent actions to the airing of that tv episode saw Xena fandom rallying around the issues of censorship. It is that event which I now look back in irony as I find myself writing this entry/note. Censorship is a particularly sensitive subject in the Xena community. It was a rallying cry of sorts that united many fans together -- banners made, letters written, petitions signed. In the end, the fandom won: the episode was brought back to television and that decision was hailed throughout the Xena community as a victory against censorship.

It is with humor, sadness, and irony that I look back at that time and reflect upon my present circumstances. However poorly written, however badly done, the purpose, content, and intent of my "letter to the editor" to Whoosh was a critique of the concept of censorship, of the wrongness of censorship. It WAS NOT, as was alleged and stated by the sender of the email I had received in response to my poem, a vindictive, mean-spirited personal attack on the article writer, Fran Bergman. Irregardless of my personal feelings concerning this specific situation in which I find myself in, it is the larger issue, the greater and more important issue of censorship, of the right of all people to free expression, thought and opinion, that is, and should be the focus of this any other discussion and debate that arises. I point you to relevant excerpts from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/rights/50/decla.htm) that was adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948:

Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation's informational website on censorship and the internet (http://www.eff.org/Censorship/):
Intellectual freedom (including freedoms to think, believe, read, speak, write, publish, perform, create art, produce software, and protest, among many others) is one of the most fundamental of basic human rights, and is protected by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as national and state constitutions, amendments, and caselaw in democratic parts of the world. Unfortunately, it is also the most frequently attacked of those rights. Censorship comes in many forms, and from many sources, ranging from governments and corporations, to educational institutions and reactionary individuals. EFF opposes imposition of censorship laws and policies, and believes that the full democratic and empowering potential of the Internet can only be realized in a true marketplace of ideas and expression.
Thank you and Happy 4th of July,
angharad governal

From: Fran Bergman
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2003 6:25 PM
Subject: response to governal

In regards to Angharad Governal's letter about censorship. As I stated in a previous letter, my article was drastically edited. Nowhere in my article did I advocate censorship. Nowhere in my article did I mean for others to write the way Melissa Good does. If you were able to read the original article, you might get a better understanding of what I was really trying to say. My article was intended to be a conscience pricker, and NOT a call for censorship.

The issue here is NOT censorship. I can't stress that enough. The issue is more about a personal conscious decision. Everyone has the right and freedom of expression, in whatever form of media they pursue. I was merely attempting to raise an awareness in whomever it might as why that person is writing such stories. What is the motivation? Is it because I am truly sincere about expressing myself, and who I am in my work? Or is it because I want to be popular in the Xenaverse? Or because I want an excuse to write smut, and then I'll throw a weak plot around it? Is it because everyone else does it, so I will too, and jump on the Xena fanfic bandwagon? My big question to each individual is "Why?" That is all. And if my article can help just one individual to sort out their own motibations, and come to a realization of who they really are and how they really want to express themselves in their stories, then my work here is done.

If you realize that you are uncomfortable writing such stories, and were only doing it for the wrong reasons, then don't write them anymore. If you write those stories because it is truly you, and an expression of who you are, then knock yourself out. That's all I'm saying.

If anyone is interested in reading the original article in it's entirety, go to the link below.


From: Cathy Young
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2003 10:07 PM
Subject: The fanfiction debate

As a reader and writer of NC-17 fanfic, I read Fran Bergman's piece and the responses to it with considerable interest.

First of all, while I disagreed with Ms. Bergman's piece (see more below), I certainly don't think she deserves to be personally attacked. Freedom of expression is a paramount value, but surely Fran Bergman has a right to express HER opinion about sexually graphic fanfic -- particularly since, as far as I could tell, she was NOT calling for censorship of any kind (except perhaps a certain kind of voluntary self-censorship, motivated not by fear of reprisals but by respect for the characters and the actors)

On to the substance of the debate. I was surprised to see that none of the responses (including Katrina Blau's excellent and very thoughtful letter) touched on two major weaknesses in Ms. Bergman's argument.

1. The actors are not the characters, and vice versa. Ms. Bergman writes:

You are in the workplace, in school, or busy doing whatever it is that you spend the majority of your time doing. There are straight men that eye you, maybe even leer at you. Then they decide, under the guise of being a "bard" that they will write sex stories about you, and place them on the Internet for all to see. ... They could put "disclaimers" at the head of the stories, and even slightly alter your name. Nevertheless, the physical description, and everything about the character is you, and you are completely at their sexual whim.
Well, there's the rub. It is just not true that "everything about the character" of Xena is Lucy Lawless, or "everything about the character" of Gabrielle is Renee O'Connor. Their names aren't "slightly altered." They portray entirely different characters in a fantasy world, characters who are nothing like them in real life. The physical likeness is there, but that's it.

I've come across a couple of fanfics that portrayed the actors and not the characters in sexual situations, and I felt that it was completely outrageous. Most fanfiction sites, as far as I know, do not accept such stories. Nor should they.

I don't know how Lucy and Renee feel about sexually graphic X:WP fanfics. But when you are an actor you understand that your image is public property. And when you appear on a show like X:WP you surely know that you are going to figure in some people's erotic fantasies.

2. Does sexually explicit fanfic disrespect the characters? I think it depends. Surely not all sexually explicit literature is "grubby." Yes, I've read X:WP-based smut (both alt and het) in which the "characters" were nothing more than stick figures with genitals. I've also read excellent stories which featured graphic sex but were in no way "grubby" and conveyed a deep love between the characters -- e.g. "Conquered" by Leslie Ann Miller (Xena/Gabrielle) or "Skin Tight" by Juxian Tang (Xena/Ares). To some extent, of course, the difference between "smut" and sexually graphic fiction is subjective. I'm sure that some of the fanfics I love would offend some people, either because of the sexual explicitness or because of the pairing.

Respect for the characters is a real issue. I've read fanfic which I felt was disrespectful to the characters. As readers, we should be free to criticize it, as long as we don't call for censorship.

Finally, a word to Fran Bergman: if you are looking for PG-13 rated subtext (alt) fanfic, there is plenty of it out there. Check out Temora, Kamouraskan, Lariel, Sais2Cool, Xena's Little Bitch, Mark Annetts (to name just a few). The Xenaverse is full of excellent bards.

Cathy Young (a.k.a. LadyKate)

From: Amy Murphy
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2003 2:19 PM
Subject: reply to article About Fan Fiction

Here I promised not to write anymore or open my big mouth and yet, here we go again. LOL! Well, at least this is a different subject.

When I first read Fran Bergman’s article (though Fran says it was heavily edited) I wasn't angry. I didn't identify with the usage of rape or grungy bards, since I'm not one nor do I know any bard who is.

No where did I ever read that Fran was trying to censor anything. She was just wondering why there was so much cheesy sex. Plain and simple, period. So instead of writing a harsh reply to the editor, instead I wrote Fran herself. I tried to show her the real side of fan fiction, sent her URL’s for other stories, other bards and did not get into a p----- match with her. I admit I was bothered that it seemed that she put Ms. Good on a pedestal, or implied that other writers had to write that way. There are tons of writers out there that fade to black or don't get explicit. But when Fran only mentioned Missy, it made me think she was the template we were all to follow. No Fran, you are far from dumb and very nice I might add, but maybe a little naive on this one subject.

I also got upset with one of the replies to Fran’s article because it seemed to certify Fran’s assumptions instead of proving her wrong. To point out that someone is better then you doesn’t solve anything, regardless of fancy wording or quotes from the government.

So this is to you Fran, and it's only my insight and feelings. Not that they’ re right or wrong.

Just as the show had writers with their ideas on episodes: Gabrielle raped, tortured, you name it the show had it, it was up to a viewer to watch or not.

Like with fan fiction. The writer has an idea to tell a story they wanted or make one better then the show. Sometimes, as in life it's not nice. There is murder, rape, violence, etc. It's up the reader on whether they want to read it or not. As a great bard told me when I asked her about the sex in writing. She said that to one person it might be crude or even rape but to another it might be erotica. And who are any of us to judge? It's all in the eye of the beholder.

Pure and simple. If you're not strong enough to get past the sex, read on or move on. There are thousands upon thousands of stories out there, and hopefully they are disclaimered clearly for you. Click the X and move on to another.

I myself go past some sex scenes if they are too cheesy and sometimes read on to find one hell of a story. But we are all our different persons and that's far from a bad thing.

As far as Lucy [Lawless] and Renee [O'Connor] and Rob [Tapert]? Well they are all aware of fan fiction and Rob has been extremely supportive in letting people learn and create with his characters when others have censored. And more than half the time, I find that a bard’s story can be an episode of the show or that they made one so much better.

And yes, Rob had a right to do whatever he wished with his characters, but the manner he did it, and the reasons he did it, are why many were angry about the ending of the show.

You spoke of fan fiction and it's writers, and yeah they'll be protective of their work. And to many this is a form of work or education. Many went on to sell books and many others learned they have writing in their souls. God bless each and ever bard out there and thanks for the entertainment and keeping characters I loved alive.

All I can say, is that it is not for any of us to judge. Read more before you do, and maybe don’t read it at all. Just my two cents.

From: Valerie A. Foster
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2003 2:45 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Regarding the article, "About Fan Fiction" by Fran Bergman; two things:

One, "Xena" and "Gabrielle" are fictional characters. Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor are real people. "Xena", the character, was described by Esquire magazine a few years ago as a "homeless, bisexual murderer". I think that that description fits "Xena" quite well. Lawless is a married mother-of-three. "Gabrielle", the character, has been described by various sources as "Xena's" blond sidekick. Whatever. O'Connor is a married mother-of-one. Lucy was born in 1968; Renee in 1971. "Xena" and "Gabrielle" were never born because they're fictional characters. Therefore, when fanfic writers write about "Xena" and "Gabrielle", the fictional characters, they're writing about "Xena" and "Gabrielle", the fictional characters. They are not writing about a couple of married, thirtysomething, future soccer moms.

Two, once upon a time in the movie industry, the Hayes Code operated to moralize films and filmakers. One huge rule that reined until Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte came along was that interracial couples could not be seen in any kind of sexual situation. The idea of black people (interpretation - men) and white people (interpretation - women) getting it on with each other was considered unnatural and immoral.

Who was it who said that gays are the "blacks" of the millennium?

Conclusion: One, "Xena" and "Gabrielle" are not Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. I think that those two women would be the first to agree. Therefore, fanfic that portrays "Xena" and "Gabrielle" as doin'-the-nasty has absolutely nothing to do with Lucy or Renee. Two, in adult fanfic, lesbian sex should not be regarded as any more unnatural or immoral than interracial sex. Three, if you don't like it, don't read it.

From: Mil Toro
Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2003 8:19 AM
Subject: Whoosh! Letter to the Editor

In her article entitled "About Fan Fiction", Fran Bergman wrote,

"It took me awhile to figure out why I felt so uncomfortable reading these graphic lesbian scenes given that I, myself, am a lesbian. It finally occurred to me that it is because the characters of Xena and Gabrielle, and, in essence, the persons of Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, were being raped in words. In my opinion, it is the equivalent of molestation and sexual harassment."
As one of those fanfiction writers of erotica, I take exception to the idea that I am "raping" Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor "with words". Fanfiction writers like myself are writing fictional situations (whether erotic or not) about Xena and Gabrielle, two fictional characters, and that is not the same as writing about Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, two real live human beings. I can easily see the difference even if Fran Bergman cannot. Bergman claims that Lucy and/or Renee would be offended if they read the prolific erotic fanfic on the Internet. I'm not sure I agree. A few years ago, both Lucy and Renee approved some artistic renderings of Xena and Gabrielle in an embrace in the nude. If they approved the sale of those drawings, they couldn't have been offended by them much. However, I can't imagine that they would be more offended by erotic fictional stories than those nude drawings. In fact, the nude drawings should have been more offensive since they were an erotic graphic representation of Xena and Gabrielle, and being that they were nude, they looked exactly like Lucy and Renee as well. I think it's Bergman who has the problem with erotic issues and makes the assumption that Lucy and Renee must also.

Fran Bergman further states,

"But, imagine for a moment this scenario, if you will. Imagine the tables turned. You are in the workplace, or school, or wherever it is you spend the majority of your time. There are straight men who eye you, maybe even leer at you. Then they decide, under the guise of being a "bard", that they will write sex stories about you, and place them on the internet for all to see. In these stories, they have you performing oral sex on them, and even their buddies. In their stories, they take you anally, share you, and have you performing every kinky sex act they can think of. They could put "disclaimers" at the head of the stories, and even slightly alter your name. But, the physical description, and everything about the character is you, and you are completely at their sexual whim. Then other guys who read them begin looking at you in a whole new light. Personally, I would not like it one bit. I would feel violated. I might suggest that the next time any of you "bards" experience sexual harassment in any form, think about it a minute before you complain. It is the same thing you do to X&G/LL&ROC in your stories. Tell me one legitimate reason why it is any different."
Here's a legitimate reason and the only one worth mentioning. The difference would be that erotic fanfic writers are not writing about any one we know personally. We are writing about Xena and Gabrielle, two fictional characters, not two women we work with day in and day out. If Fran wants to confuse Lucy and Renee, two real people, with this scenario, well, fanfic writers don't work with them either. The only fanfic writer that I'm aware of who has worked with Lucy and Renee is Missy Good. But should Renee and Lucy be offended because Missy writes Xena and Gabrielle as lovers? There may not be explicit sex in her stories, but Missy's Xena and Gabrielle are married ("joined" by the Amazons) and as a married couple, they have sex regularly even if it's not explicitly depicted. Lucy and Renee could choose to be offended by that scenario are well. Where does one draw the line? However, the fact remains, very few erotic fanfic stories (less than 1%) depict Lucy and Renee in sexual situations, the fanfiction in the Xenaverse is almost entirely made up of Xena and Gabrielle or their "Uber" counterparts. These are fictional characters, not real life people. It is the difference between real life and fantasy.

Fran Bergman also states,

"The charm of Ms. Good's stories is that she allows them their privacy. Lucy and Renee gave us a beautiful love story between two women in that show. The kind of friendship and love relationship that many of us can only dream about. But, some "bards" out there have decided to turn it into a "lust" story. A smut-fest. You have robbed them of their privacy, and even their dignity."
Robbing Renee or Lucy of their "privacy" or "dignity" would be writing erotic fiction based who they are as actresses or who they are as mothers and wives. Does Lucy have a murderous past we don't know anything about? Has Renee murdered two people to defend the people she loved? I fail to see how writing about fictional characters they portrayed has anything to do with who they are in real life. If you want to talk about the robbing of someone's dignity, how about robbing Xena's dignity by having her commit suicide and then have her captors strip her naked, chop off her head and leave her hanging from a tree for Gabrielle to find her. Furthermore, Tapert had Xena choose the indignity of staying dead for no discernable reason rather than choosing to live with her partner of the previous six years. I find that far more offensive than fanfic writers portraying fictional characters in explicitly sexual situations. And besides, erotic fanfiction won't go any further than the Internet, whereas the obscene violence of the series ender was beamed into our households under the guise of "entertainment" with a warning of violent content.

From her letter to the editor, Fran Bergen states,

"Since it is okay for the fanfic writers out there to take the characters of Xena & Gabrielle who are (or were?) actually the property of Robert Tapert [editor's note: The character of Xena and Gabrielle are actually owned by Universal], and put them into any kind of situation they so please, then, to me, it is very unfair of any of those same who might have berated or expressed outrage at Robert Tapert (and even Lucy [Lawless]) for what he did with his own property in the series finale. That would be hypocritical, wouldn't it?"
No, it wouldn't be. I was one of those fans who was outraged by the way Tapert chose to end this series. The difference is, and this is highly significant, is that Lucy and Renee were required by contract to perform that incoherent and atrocious script known as FRIEND IN NEED. They lived and breathed that dreadful story during 17 or more days of filming. And it is clear from the FRIEND IN NEED DVD commentary and "The Making Of" fan club video, that both actresses had trouble with the script and didn't agree with major parts of it. However, my erotic stories or any other erotic story on the Internet, does not require Lucy and Renee to perform them. And I have never chopped off Xena's head, had her strung up from a tree, headless, bloody and naked, for Gabrielle to find. If someone finds erotic fanfic of two adults enjoying sex more offensive than those violently nauseating scenes in FRIEND IN NEED that Lucy and Renee were required by contract to film, then I really feel sorry for them. People are free to choose to read Xena erotica or not, and that includes Lucy and Renee. There are always disclaimers stating that there is explicit sexual content, and if a reader is not inclined to read such material, I'm sure the "back" button on their computer is working just fine. That's what the Internet is all about, freedom of information.

Many people have asked me why I write erotic fanfiction (back when I was still writing). My answer is simple. I can get Missy Good-type PG material on my TV set. As fans, we got 134 episodes of it. The Internet offers a lot more freedom than broadcast television could ever approach. It provides avenues that lets our imaginations run wild. Yes, I've read some badly written erotic fiction that, IMO, didn't fit the characters. But I've read that with generic PG fanfic as well. Personally, I would rather read a badly written erotic story than a well-written PG story. If I wanted to enjoy a PG story, I can turn on my TV set and watch Xena reruns, or break out my old Xena videos or new DVDs any old time. Reading erotic fanfic is for the Internet and watching PG stories are for my TV. But that's just my own personal preference and thanks to the Internet, I have a choice.

My Xena Stories

The Hero Inside of Me

From: Shirley
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2003 9:43 PM
Subject: Whoosh

I just ready "The Hero Inside Me" and was very moved by some of the things that you said and I just wanted you to know that & thank you. Much of what you said, is much of what I too feel.

I have purchased the Series Finale/directors cut & I can't bring myself to watch it because I don't want to see Xena die. LOL

I also bought the newly released Season One DVD pak. THOSE, I'm watching. Anyway, great writing! I'll be back

Let Us Call It What It Was: Exploitation

From: Lee Reams
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 7:30 PM
Subject: M. Tanner Article

I must confess to a mixed reaction to reading Melinda Tanner's article. On the one hand, I greatly enjoyed reading it and found it to be one of the better articles that has recently appeared. Her comments in particular on the series finale were as on target as Xena's chakram. On the other hand, I disagreed with most of the article, seeing it as much too conspiratorial in its approach, especially regarding the origins of the subtext. The subtext arose in Xena: Warrior Princess in the very first episode--Gabrielle plainly had a crush on Xena. Indeed, it was apparently Renee O'Connor who coined the term "subtext" in the first place, doing so in an interview in which she noted that a lesbian element was present within the show, "but only as a subtext." [Editor's note: The use of the word subtext to mean the lesbian implications in the show was actually coined by a Hawaiian fan on the Xenaverse mailing list in January 1996; from there the word and concept caught on like wildfire and O'Connor had picked it up from the fandom] Xena's lack of interest in having any sexual activity with men threw additional fuel on the fire. Think of the usual action show in which you have two men, a hero and his sidekick; both of them have to be shown as definitely heterosexual and strongly interested in women. For example, on The Wild Wild West you couldn't have any implication that Jim West and Artemus Gordon were up to something untoward aboard that private train they shared, especially not in the 1870s (or the 1960s, for that matter!) On Xena: Warrior Princess, however, you not only had a sidekick with a bad case of the hots for the heroine, you also had a heroine who reacted violently whenever a man dared to touch any part of her person. The implication of those two elements is hard to miss.

Where Ms. Tanner was on the right track, however, was her observation that the subtext was designed to particularly appeal to males, not lesbians. Where she goes wrong is the suggestion that young males find lesbianism an erotic fantasy. It is not lesbianism per se that so many men find arousing--it is the fantasy of female bisexuality. Two 100-hundred-percent lesbians, such as one finds in the real world, are quite a different matter.

Finally, the part of the article that most irritated me was the dismissal of Lucy Lawless' acting abilities. Many people believe that Renee O'Connor was the better actress of the two stars, as Ms. Tanner does. I am not one of them. Such people should ask themselves two questions. First, try to imagine Renee standing before the Athenian soldiers in THE PRICE and shouting, "Do? We're gonna kill them all!" There is no way that O'Connor could have delivered that line without arousing laughter; whereas when Lucy does it the result is shocking and even terrifying. Second, try to imagine O'Connor playing three different characters as Lucy did in WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP, one of which has a speech impediment, and then playing those characters pretending to be one of the other characters. That should be more than enough to close the case. Renee O'Connor is a fine actress, better than most who have appeared in TV shows, but she has a more limited range, especially vocally, than Lucy Lawless.

From: Jason Kreitzer
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 11:15 AM
Subject: Melinda Tanner's Rant

Melinda Tanner's rant about Xena: Warrior Princess's "exploitation" of women was the most hostile thing I have ever read about the show. It sounds clichéd, but I feel compelled to ask Ms. Tanner: "If you were so infuriated and upset by the show, why did you keep watching it?" Did she watch it only to fuel her contempt, because no one who read her rant could imagine that she ever enjoyed it. Around the time the show's demise was reported, the word was that the show was too expensive to produce. With the stunt people, special effects, etc., that is understandable. To say that heterosexual males, of which I am one, were drawn to the show only by the subtext is incorrect. I began watching because I was intrigued, and did not find out about the subtext until later.

Thank you very much.

From: Amy 'Murphy' Wilson
Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2003 3:34 PM
Subject: Letter to Editor/Let Us Call It What It Was: Exploitation! By: Melinda Tanner

This will be probably the last letter I'm doing for Whoosh because it feels like all I am doing is repeating myself again.

I agree with a lot of what is written in this article by Melinda Tanner, such as the way the community was portrayed in the show. Who can forget the couple of butches demanding and hopping around, or the computer geek s--t.


The idea is that just because some of the fandom is gay and got mad, they crushed Rob [Tapert] and Lucy [Lawless]. Well, this gets to me. I hate the fact that when I say I'm a fan and loved this show I have to say after that, no, I'm not gay. You'd think we'd all be tired of stereotyping. There are just as many straight fans out there, and some of them are men. Even this is redundant. This shouldn't be about sexuality, we're all fans.

I was raised and live in the Bible belt, and so I came to the Xenaverse with a lot of assumptions. I was taught that gays are never in a truly committed relationship and other clichés. In my youthful ignorance I didn't understand why if you're a lesbian and are supposed to celebrate your womanhood, that so many acted worse than men? Couldn't they look like a girl and be a lesbian? Then I got to meet some people, and yeah, some went right with the stereotyping, but others opened my eyes. I got to know people, like the couple who've been together for over twenty years and raised a daughter. Surprises, surprise, I even know some lesbians who actually look like girls. Fan-fiction showed me that there is nothing wrong in love. I'd rather have that then the world filled with more loneliness and hate. So can we throw all the sexuality s--t out the door? And talk about fans? Pure and simple fans?

Yes, many were angry at the ending of the show. Others loved it and thought it was just. And in this Xenaverse it seems their voice counts while the others are marginalized. The one article that Ms. Tanner mentioned (in UpBeat Magazine) where Lucy might be catching on was out of date. The interview in Metro was also after she said some nice things in Chakram and yet she went right into Metro and blasted worse then ever. Confused? I Am. I'm not sure anymore if she likes or hates her fandom. I'm not sure she even knows or cares. Cagney and Lacy were pulled off the air and fans got them back, the voice was heard. From people, not the sexuality. Fans do have power, if they can use it wisely.

The biggest problem I had with Metro article was that it grouped all the fans into one big slop jar where so-called higher ups had to send letters of love from the supposed 'good fans'. Even one webmistress, who usually stays neutral, went off on a tangent pointing fingers. This bothered me. I considered myself to be a good fan. I gave just as much as anyone and tried to support the show, its charities and actors. But I was angry about the ending and I should be able to voice that. So I did write to Mr. Tapert, as it was the only way for my voice to be heard. Over the so-called 'good fans'. I don't hate Rob in the least. Or Lucy. In fact, Mr. Tapert's reply to my letter made me have more respect for him. I'm very sure he doesn't want only smoke and mirrors. As far as Lucy, I don't believe the hype anymore, there's too much bouncing around. But I do hope all the best for her.

Yes, Renee O'Connor and a few other came right out in plain language that most of the subtext was for ratings. The oblivious ones choose to ignore it. And there are those who think that Lucy s--ts flowers. I know for a fact that if Lucy said 'I hate you all', this group would smile and say, 'we love you too, Lucy'. I wonder if that bothers her? I really didn't know about subtext until I got this computer. Never did and still don't think of the characters as being gay. Lucy said what she did on the Conan O'Brien show because of the uproar from the few who at that time had already seen some of the ending. There were many who had not and once again the company needed ratings. So she went on and outed them. It was like the lambs to the slaughter. I read through the lists and watched how most of the outraged ones went, 'Oh my, Lucy just said they were gayyyyyy. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!'

Oh, brother!

It all makes the gay community look very desperate for any kind of icon. Good or bad.

Now there are some who are truly fans, who keep their heads on their shoulders. They have no underhanded motives, no hopes for a job or to hang with a person so that they can get them a job or to meet one of the actors. They are few and it's sad they have to be grouped in with all the crap. Sad that the few bad apples ruin it for us all.

Another thing that gets to me is the 'brainless jiggle show' comment. For a show to encourage people to feel, to start their dreams, to help them to overcome things they never thought they could makes it far more than a brainless jiggle show. No, Xena would never win an Oscar, but it was d--n nice to see a couple of women living by their own rules without having a man show them the way. Look at Lifetime TV- the Woman's Station. I see either big-busted twits who sleep with anything, or the woman as the constant victim, or she-just-can't-make-it-without-her-man bulls--t! Just what we need: more stereotyping in this stereotypical world. What made the show richer was that Renee and Lucy had acting chemistry. I haven't seen or felt that since Cagney and Lacy with Tyne Daily or Sharon Gless. I hope that maybe in my lifetime we, as a society, will teach our daughters to rely on themselves. That they are worth something, and can be anything they want to be if they work for it.

Also in my letter to Mr. Tapert I did apologize for what they went through. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone on this planet would send death threats or want to harm one of their kids. If that was true do you know how utterly stupid that is? I can understand being mad, but to the point of threatening over a show, well, for that both Lucy and Rob deserved an apology. From all the fans, not just the ones chosen to be 'good'.

But Lucy's Metro article was plainly wrong and just because she is a celebrity she should not get away with it. Sure she should be upset with the ones who sent the stupid death threats, but grouping everyone and only saying good things in Chakram that she'd later retract is wrong. I would die of shock if she ever said anything nice about the fandom in a big publication.

Still some Lucy militants don't get this. "What is Lucy supposed to praise to make you happy?" they ask. If Lucy says a nice thing, occasionally in a fan club newsletter where only fans will see it, then turns right around in a huge publication and blasts where the whole world can see it, what does the world see? It sure as h--l isn't anything good!

Look at all the stupid interviews she's done. (Her manager needs to be fired) She get poked at about her fans, "The women really like you too." God!!!!!!! Give me a break! Another minor point, no pun intended. OK, so her nipple popped out long ago! So frick'n what? Find new questions to ask her! She's a bit more then battle cries, nipples and gays-Oh my! Or the Jay Leno fall.

As far as not messing with the fandom because of the gay aspect, that is bull too. If Lucy and Rob got to see anything it was from all fans and it sure as h--l wasn't about sexuality. You are stereotyping Ms. Tanner. It's hard for any actor today to get work, it's worse if you come off a TV show for years and God help you if it's a Sci-Fi one. George Clooney said he's getting into directing because with all actors, you get to an age where the parts are less to nil. We are a youth oriented society and that p----s me off. Watching a great actress like Sally Field reduced to playing on ER because she is too old is just sick and doesn't say much about America. Lucy and Renee, or any of the actors will have a hard time, but if they keep plugging along and fighting, they can do it. Look at John Travolta. I do agree that Renee O'Connor is the better actor; she blew me away with her Shakespeare. Not once did I see Gabrielle, Renee became a whole different person. I watched Lucy do a few shows and to me she looked and sounded like Xena, even had the same facial expressions. Lucy I guess just needs to find her click. Did this teach Lucy or Rob a lesson? No. Will it hurt them? No. Life will go on.

A brainless jiggle show? It must have meant something to you for you to be this angry. Just my opinion.

Huge PS: To the person who sent a flaming letter to the editor stating he couldn't believe that they would publish Ms. Tanner's article and maybe they'll stop reading Whoosh. Well, you are dead wrong for saying that. The one thing of many I admire about Whoosh and its staff is they believe in true freedom of speech. Everyone has a voice, no one is labeled or censored just because it might make some people uncomfortable. The Xenaverse already has enough favoritism and censoring. Whoosh has articles that make you outraged into thinking and maybe even open your minds. The day that Whoosh starts to censor is the day I stop reading. [THE REST IS CENSORED BY THE EDITOR - just kidding!] Keep up the good work Whoosh and thank you for letting me and others have a voice.

Uber Question

From: Lynne Underhill
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2003 7:50 AM
Subject: Uber

I am rather new to the wonderful world of Xena fan fiction and I have found the word, "Uber" and I am writing to find out what it means. I've read a little bit about it-but so far-have not been able to find out exactly what it is or more to the point-what does the word mean? From what I can tell-Uber promises to be a whole new concept for great stories. There certainly are some very good writers out there and the offerings appear to be endless-thankfully as I have now become another obsessed Xena fan! I would very much appreciate hearing from you regarding the term and concept of Uber.

Some articles about the history of Uber at the Whoosh site are (there are more, just go to the search engine for Uber and something to isolate the search more:

History of Xena Fan Fiction on the Internet
@ paragraph 14 & note 6

A Chronological Survey Of The Fiction Of Bongo Bear
@ paragraph 9 & notes 4-7

What Is This Über?

Über Schmüber: Answers To Questions You Were Afraid To Ask

Subtext Question

From: Melissa Meister
Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2003 2:13 PM
Subject: more annoying questions :)

I started watching Xena in Season 2, which was well, very subtext-laden with episodes such as THE QUEST and A DAY IN THE LIFE. However, going back and watching Season 1, I have a hard time finding the unintentional subtext (some in SINS OF THE PAST, zippo in HOOVES AND HARLOTS and THE RECKONING). I know that ALTARED STATES has subtext, but I also know that was intentional, so...I guess my question is this...were people reading the subtext into the show prior to ALTARED STATES? or was it simply something that Xena people decided to toss in and then couldn't get back out of (in the 1st season...the 2nd season onwards are a different story)? I have read many articles on your site in an attempt to research the question myself and have also read through a trove of interviews with Ms. Lawless, Ms. O'Connor, Mr. Stewart, and Mr. Tapert, but they seem to be all over the map as far as any definitive answers (although Ms. O'Connor seems to be the most straight forward, which is pretty refreshing). I have a feeling that, well, like most things, it's an organic dynamic that can't be pinned down. So, as any good lawyer knows, I'm taking advantage of an excellent resource here in you as opposed to spending many more hours attempting to find the answer. In other news...that was quite the strong article written by Ms. Tanner this week...I had no idea that some people were that ticked off at the show and the ending. I wonder if all shows spark this sort of anger and thought in their viewers, or perhaps just sci-fi/fantasy ones. Points to ponder on a Sunday.

To answer your question, although Altared States was the first episode where the producers of Xena overtly made fun of the fan's obsession with the lesbian subtext of the show, it was not even close to the first show where the fans overwhelmingly noticed lesbian subtext. Although there were stalwarts that saw something going on in the first few episodes, the episode where it exploded into the internet fan mainstream was HOOVES AND HARLOTS (before then you could easily see Gabrielle's obsession with Xena especially in SINS OF THE PAST, episode number 1, and CHARIOTS OF WAR, episode number 2, and Xena's obsession with Gabrielle in DREAMWORKER, episode number 3, but you could see them as more as a hero worship/guardian type of relationship than heading for sapphic territory). HOOVES AND HARLOTS, although not centered specifically between Xena and Gabrielle's subtext, the scene where Ephiny checks out Xena's behind as she walks by caused a heated discussion about which team the Amazons, and Xea, were playing for.

The subtext jokes in ALTARED STATES was an overt reaction to the on-line discussion about the subtext in the show. There would have been no overt references to subtext in ALTARED STATES without it being already old hat on the internet,.

The term "subtext" as used for the nature of the X/G relationship was coined by a Hawaiian fan in January of 1996 on the original Xenaverse mailing list. This was after the episode BLACK WOLF had aired. There were many discussions questioning Xena's relationship with a past "friend", not to mention the use of "friend" by Xena to describe past lovers, and then Salmoneous' reaction to Gabrielle being a "friend" of Xena's.

DREAMWORKER and CRADLE OF HOPE started the real roots of subtext debate. PROMETHEUS and HOOVES AND HARLOTS basically convinced thousands of people that Xena was probably gay or at least bi-sexual. PROMETHEUS, DREAMWORKER, and CRADLE OF HOPE demonstrated how close Xena felt towards Gabrielle, and CHARIOTS OF WAR, SINS OF THE PAST, and THE RECKONING showed how rabid Gabrielle's affections for Xena were.

Those episodes were the kindling. HOOVES AND HARLOTS was the spark that lit the kindling and the subtext debate has been raging since then.

Name That Episode!

From: skyekyle
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 8:03 PM
Subject: xena episode

Does anyone know which episode told about early amazons and included a modern girl from i believe LA. I remember she was dancing around the fire with them at one point and showing them some interesting dance moves. I cant remember how exactly but they brought her to them while looking for someone to help them, I believe. I'm not sure but I believe it was the fourth or fifth season.

I have been trying to figure out the name of the ep and what season it was. I dont have Oxygen so I havent seen Xena in a while.

It was called LIFEBLOOD. Infamous as being the only episode aired only once during the original airing of Xena: Warrior Princess.

Synopsis of LIFEBLOOD can be found at http://www.whoosh.org/epguide/lifeblood.html

The episode used clips from the failed pilot called "Amazon High". A synopsis of "Amazon High" can be found at http://www.whoosh.org/epguide/ahigh.html

From: Melissa Meister
Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2003 2:32 PM
Subject: question for y'all

I have a question for you Xena episode masters, as I have been unable to find this information on the web...I have seen a few Xena music montages on the web and a few of them include a scene that looks downright racy involving Xena, Gabrielle, candlelight, few clothes (okay, well, this is pretty much the every day state of things), and some pretty erotic touching...can't tell if there's a kiss or not, though there is a face caress...there also appears to be some clavicle-caressing as well. I assume this is Season 4, 5, or 6 since Gabrielle's hair is short. Do you guys have any idea what episode this might be?

Most likely HEART OF DARKNESS, season six, but the description is ambiguous enough to be other scenes.

From: Lynn
Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2003 9:05 PM

Can you tell me which episode from which season the photograph of Xena (black leather top/black leather pants) on a black horse is from. I think it involved Alti trying to kill Gabrielle.


Inside the Head Of...

From: Kris in Atlanta
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 9:45 AM
Subject: From:Whoosh! reader

Will Amy's "Inside the Head Of" series still be published monthly? If so, which week, or do you know yet?

I lost my laptop, my iMac, and my back-up at the beginning of the year. I was not able to recover all the inside the Heads that I was worknig on and had collected. I asked Amy if she had copies, but she had lost her data as well. I have some of them and as soon as I have some time, I am going to see if any of the data I have recovered can be put back together into files and articles. Currently the Whoosh journal and website is being ran by me, Cynthia Cooper (who codes for me), and a couple of editors (who edit for me). Basically I am chief cook, waiter, and bottle washer. This past year has been very busy for me in my day job, in my family life, and in my community life (yeah, whine, whine, whine). I am determined to keep this site open and to be a repository for people's ideas and thoughts, but I am frustrated by not having the time to really give anything the time it deserves. "In the Head of..." will survive. When? When I get my act together, which I hope is sooner than later.


From: Alex Bowman
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 3:08 PM
Subject: fan mail

Thanks for keeping the Whoosh! site alive and active. New fans of grrl fiction keep it alive because of your efforts!

You might want to visit http://www.afterellen.com to see some new Xena and female action-hero tributes.

Upcoming Convention

From: Philippa
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 11:47 AM
Subject: Convention announcement

A Hercules and Xena MINI charity convention
12 - 14th March 2004, Thistle Hotel, Bristol

Scheduled guests
PAUL NORELL (Falafel, amongst other roles)
IRENE DRAKE (casting on Hercules and Xena)
WALLY GREEN (wagon driver)
KEITH R. A. CANDIDO (novelist)
GLEN SHADIX (Typhon the Giant)
IAN EDGINGTON (comic book writer)
Check the website for updates!

ONLY £40 for the weekend
There may be price rises, dates t.b.a.

Join our dedicated discussion group at: Kumaracon@yahoogroups.com or online at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Kumaracon

CONVENTION WEBSITE: http://www.kumara.org.uk

Shopping in London

From: Magnus Asterbring
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 1:54 AM
Subject: from a Xena fan

Hi, I wonder if you know about any shops in London there I can buy Xena collectibles.

Forbidden Planet at the top of New Oxford Street near Tottenham Court Road tube station. It's just a two minute walk up past Centre Point, next door to Jessops. Excellent shop for SF books too as well as assorted merchandise.
Forbidden Planet, New Oxford Street. W1
Cinema Store, Upper St Martin's Lane WC2
The Who Shop, E6

New Show on VH1 Looking for Xena Fans

From: Manny Bosgang
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 11:55 AM
Subject: NEW VH1 show...

I am working on a new show for VH1 profiling passionate fans of pop culture and in search of the ultimate Xena fan. If you or maybe someone you know might be right for the show, you can reach me at Broadway Video (212) 603-1845.


From: Pan
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 11:14 AM
Subject: Question about a comment

I tried to get in touch with John Wignall to ask him a question about the comment he wrote for BACK IN THE BOTTLE, but his email address does not appear to be valid anymore (at least the one given on your BACK IN THE BOTTLE page). So I'm folding back on you guys to maybe get answer... here we go...

John ends his BACK IN THE BOTTLE comment like this:

"This is where I have a problem. Renpic is saying that censorship can work. All you have to do is kill 'em all!! If someone has an idea, or knowledge that you don't want getting out, just kill them! For gods sake, never let the Taperts find out if you've got a videotape with the headbutt scene from The Way. Well, let me tell you all something. I've got a bit of knowledge, an idea, a thought, that parts of my society find objectionable, that my government doesn't like. It's called ohIG:OIUJPouihyfg]"
Now, it's the "It's called ohIG:OIUJPouihyfg]" part I don't get... this might be obvious, but since english is not my native language, can you clarify this for me?

I'm looking foward to get enlightened... ;-)


It's me, John Wignall, with the honest truth about "ohIG:OIUJPouihyfg]"

Y'see there's this secret society, where we all dress as lamas and ... you're not buying it are you? [grin]

Alright, what happened there is that you got the setup of the joke, but for some reason the punchline didn't show up on Whoosh. I don't know if I did something silly when I sent it, or if the fine folks running the site didn't get it, but here's how that comment originally ended:

> This is where I have a problem. Renpic is saying that
> censorship can work. All you have to do is kill 'em all!! 
> If someone has an idea, or knowledge that you don't want
> getting out, just kill them! For gods sake, never let the
> Taperts find out if you've got a videotape with the headbutt
> scene from The Way. Well, let me tell you all something. 
> I've got a bit of knowledge, an idea, a thought, that parts
> of my society find objectionable, that my government doesn't
> like. It's called ohIG:OIUJPouihyfg]
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
> This is Constable Morrow, of
> the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service. We regret
> that this review will not be completed. CSIS would like to
> assure all readers, both domestic and foreign that there
> will be a Crown investigation into the circumstances
> surrounding this incident. END TRANSMISSION 

I was going for a gag on government censorship, and the "ohIG:OIUJPouihyfg]" was just me banging on my poor abused keyboard in a clumsy attempt to simulate line noise. (You younguns probably don't even know what line noise can do to your net connection these days.) ;-) p>Incidentally, just as a point of trivia. I chose the name "Morrow" because that happened to be the last name of the friend of mine who came by to visit at just about that moment.

I hope that clears things up, and I'm glad to see that people are still reading my stuff from back then. I hope it gave you a chuckle.

Writer Looking for Feedback

From: David Richards
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 10:57 AM
Subject: Uber stories and stories in which women who kick b--t.

I've written to you before at Whoosh about a year ago and I mentioned at the time that I write stories featuring strong female characters. I wonder if some of my science-fiction stories might be Uber stories. I've had a look at the various descriptions and I don't think any of my characters fit the true/reincarnated Xena/Gabrielle roles. But there are some similarities. My site is at http://www.booksandstories.com and you can check out my writing abilities/Uber possibilities all at the same time.

Jacqueline Kim Promotion

From: Bernard Yin
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 4:52 PM

I am involved with a grassroots online promotion for a cool film that features a Xena alum' - Jacqueline Kim.

Although her current role in Charlotte sometimes has no resemblance to her role as Lao Ma, I still see a lot of support within the community for the various talents that have been part of Xena.

I am hoping that you'd be so kind as to make mention fo this film and welcome your posting this link: http://www.buzztone.com/cs/buzz.asp?ori=5 and pulling any resources that you need from here: http://visionboxpictures.com/charlotte/

I have included more information at the end of this email and welcome any questions!


In addition to being nominated for two 2003 Spirit awards: BEST PICTURE/JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD and BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS for Jacqueline Kim, CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES has been awarded the AUDIENCE AWARD at SXSW, THE BEST PICTURE AWARD at San Diego Asian Film Festival and the SPECIAL JURY PRIZE at the Florida Film Festival. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times raves: "Uncannily realistic, fascinating and illuminating... a relationship picture that plays like an emotional thriller!" Ain't it Cool News calls it: "A resounding success! A well constructed, engaging piece of finely wrought emotion, in the tradition of Ozu, Zhang Yimou and Ang Lee."

The Story: Michael (MICHAEL IDEMOTO) is a Japanese American auto mechanic torn between a restrictive traditional upbringing and his own potent dreams and desires. Secretly in love with the girlishly sexy, Chinese American Lori (EUGENIA YUAN, recent winner of the Hong Kong Academy Award for Best New Performer), Michael represses his longing (and growing resentment) to maintain their cherished friendship. When he encounters the mysterious Darcy (JACQUELINE KIM) at the local nightspot, Michael is forced to choose between a daring tryst with an alluring stranger, and the habitual comfort of his bittersweet obsession.

Adding to this unique cultural mix is the "voice" of the film: rising African-American singer-songwriter star CODY CHESNUTT ("The Headphone Masterpieces", Rolling Stones "Top 10 Newcomers").

HAWAII: Opens 7/11/03 - Wallace Restaurant Row in Honolulu

Get Xena Off Oxygen NOW!

From: Warren
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 12:55 PM
Subject: Xena Air Time

Oxygen just isn't cutting it. They only slot times when most people are at work/school or asleep. They are too busy showing women having babies or cosmetic surgery. Please give Xena to a station that will air the shows on the weekends/ evenings when we can watch! Thanks.

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