Xena Warrior Podcast Episode 27 is about the episode “The Price,” one of the greatest of all time. Listen to the episode before reading this commentary. I am not trying to start a series of “The Hot Men of Xena,” it just keeps happening. And it’s super not my fault Tony Todd’s in the next episode.
I can’t remember if it’s this episode or #22 that has the Earth 2 shout-out, but YES. FANTASTIC SHOW.
There’s another relevant podcast featured here, The Social Dimension of Buddhist Practice by Gil Fronsdal, which, warning, kind of addresses the Manchester bombing.
I’m going to assume, if you’re listening to XWPodcast and reading this blog, you’re intimately familiar with the Xena canon. I’m not going to explain the karmic cycle/path that Xena and Gabrielle are on, I’m just making the assertion. Xena is further along her path to enlightenment than Gabrielle.
The main theme of “The Price” is racism. The quote below addresses the first fetter, belief in self, and how racism comes to be.
“The flip side of being excessively preoccupied with defining oneself, self-identity, making a self that’s distinct from others, is that it’s all too easy to be ‘othering’ other people…I make a very strong line between me here and you there. The more people are attached to self, the more that separation exists between self and others… many of us will cause trouble for other people. We have all kinds of ways of ‘othering’ others, and one of these…is racism. Closely connected to the interests of power…”
“There’s a challenge to come up with a term for people who are not white. Those other people have to contend with a category that the white people make… The one I saw most recently was ‘racialized.’ It points out that people are not part of a particular race… it’s a social construction… Who’s racializing?… It’s usually people in power… So this idea of ‘othering’… is a form of attachment… all forms of attachment are suffering.”
“The movement is to let go of the causes of our suffering… We let go of selfing and we let go of othering… If done well, we feel a greater connection to the world… We have more empathy.” – Gil Fronsdal
Beyond the broad strokes of Athenians vs. Horde, the XWPodcasters discuss Xena’s specific trauma-induced racism. This is an example of the third fetter, attachment to habits. Xena was deeply affected by her previous encounter with the Horde, and remembering that (being attached to that) causes both racism (expanding from ‘one’ to ‘all’) and suffering. Xena is suffering. We are going to put a pin in this connection between trauma and enlightenment until Maternal Instincts, but I’ll just toss out that Xena reverting to Evil!Xena is a coping mechanism. I mean, it always was, from the death of Lyceus onward.
Anyway, the show, Xena: Warrior Princess, is not about its eponymous hero. It’s about a village girl who leaves the cave. Gabrielle is just learning to suffer. She is learning about war. She is learning about attachment. In “The Price,” Gabrielle lives in a ridiculously black and white world where flayed men don’t matter, where people don’t do everything right and still die. She understands the physically sick but she has no concept of PTSD and no concept of how much she’ll lose.
As Gil Fronsdal says, “Avoiding suffering is the root of all suffering.” Gabrielle thinks giving water to dying Others will make all the bad things go away. In her future is A Good Day, Paradise Found, To Helicon and Back, and dare I say it, FIN. Here in “The Price” she reminds Xena that Xena’s life is about something more than war, and it works, but Gabrielle’s still naive and immature. We’ve gotten Destiny, but we haven’t gotten The Deliverer.
Gabrielle has a lot of growing up to do, and it’s going to lead to a lot of suffering.
The XWPodcasters also talk about how Gabrielle and Xena are on pedestals in each other’s eyes. They both do things in this episode that the other doesn’t like. Put a pin in that, too.
I made the shitty gifs. Use them however you like. No attribution needed.
I am Rysler and I do not know the hosts of this podcast.
There will be no bashing of fans, experts, TPTB, or source material. We are toxin-free zone. Anything spurious is intended in good humor. This show is over ten years old. C’mon, guys.
Heterosexuality will be tolerated here. :: puts a quarter in the jar::
Supposed Crimes is a publisher of gay fiction, including stuff with boys.