Online scholarship

"I've read the internet, and it's rubbish" - a comedian on a BBC Radio 4 show.

In this essay, I will diagram exactly how this happened, but also include some speculation as to how things could have turned out differently, though it is no way intended as a work of "fan fiction". By highlighting how The Kiss served as a vortex of conflicting desires (as I interpret them) between all parties connected with the show -- Robert Tapert and the cast and crew at Renaissance Pictures (hereafter "TPTB"), the proverbial "suits" at Universal/Studios USA, advertisers and TV stations, and fandom (especially internet-connected) in all its many factions -- I hope to show that The Kiss, for all its heart-stopping beauty and wonder, created a sensational collision of expectations, that all but guaranteed the crippling of narrative-consistency for the remaining four years of the series.

This essay should be conclusive proof of two things: 1) Serious scholarship, particularly narrative analysis can be found on the internet. 2) Serious scholarship, and narrative analysis, can be done regardless of the 'sanctioned' worthiness of the subject. Most serious scholars already knew that but in light of recent misguided criticisms of Wikipedia, it never hurts reminding ourselves of axiomatic truths.

The author of the essay cited this as one of their favorite lines from the show:

The "Quest Kiss" And Its Aftermath: How Xena: Warrior Princess' Greatest Scene Damaged The Show (March 2004 - #87)
Gabrielle, courtesy of Xena, courtesy of Sappho [link added for comparison]:

"There's a moment when I look at you,
And no speech is left in me.
My tongue breaks,
Then fire races under my skin.
And I tremble and grow pale
For I am dying of such love,
Or so it seems to me."


I have only seen a few episodes of Xena but I have defended Buffy, or recently Veronica Mars, as truly great narratives. Comparing (what I've seen of) Xena to them is slightly unfair but quite obviously the recipient of the narrative plays a significant role in its greatness. I believe that some 'objective' criteria can be applied to quality judgements regarding narratives but the nature of such criteria is much more fluid than that of quality judgments applied to say the 'grammaticality of a sentence' which of course is much more fluid than a quality judgement applied to a scientific hypothesis or even mathematical proof which in turn are probably much more fluid than their justificatory narratives imply. However, no matter how good or bad the narrative, it has the power to trigger cathartic states in all of us if we are appropriately atuned. Again, the nature of this "atunement" is very unclear (conceptual blending probably comes into it at some point).