Little Boxes (was Re: Women and B5)

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Wed Dec 18 06:09:16 EST 1996

Subject: Little Boxes (was Re: Women and B5)
 No. | DATE        |  FROM
s  1: Dec 15, 1996: kay.shapero at (Kay Shapero)
-  2: Dec 16, 1996: Oster <oster at>
-  3: Dec 16, 1996: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
+ 11: Dec 18, 1996: kay.shapero at (Kay Shapero)
* 12: Dec 18, 1996: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)


From: kay.shapero at (Kay Shapero)
Lines: 54

On <Dec 12 14:05>, schillin at (John Schilling) wrote;
References: <58puvu$7o7 at> 
..<58igeb$etp at><58n9ku$ph9 at> 
..<58ne88$e4u at><corteseE29v7y.BLF at>

 JS>You seem to be suggesting that a nervous breakdown is a luxury to 
 JS>which a person might be entitled, but which they can if necessary chose
  JS>to avoid or overcome by Trying Real Hard Because It's Important.  I 
 JS>don't know about the Minbari, but people don't work that way.  
 JS>Accumulated stress can, and sooner or later *will*, bring down 
 JS>*anyone*.  No matter their strength of will or character, no matter 
 JS>how important it is that they not fail.  

{and so on}

Well put.  "When all this is over I'm having a nervous breakdown.  I've 
earned it, I deserve it, and nothing is going to deprive me of it!" is a 
joke; real life isn't nearly that neat.

The rest of this is not directed to you, as I'd say you already know it.  
It's just something sparked by what you said, and by the conversation in 

All of which points out something I've noticed a lot of lately, and by no 
means only in here.  There's a tendancy to put things, be they characters 
or plotlines into neat little boxes and then get upset when they stray out 
of them.  For example, the "strong woman character" box.  Delenn's been a 
major target for awhile now.  First there was "Strong women don't have love 
lives so how dare she and Sheridan fall in love".  Then, after awhile when 
they get used to the idea it's "Ok, so strong women may fall in love but 
they stay dignified so how dare she flirt outrageously with Sheridan".  
Which, speaking from personal experience is horsehocky (heck, *I* flirt 
outrageously with my mate, and have for years. :->.  Call me a fluffhead 
and I've got plenty of references available to laugh themselves silly at 
the concept.)  That one's still going on, along with the one you point out.  
Sorry, strong women can have nervous breakdowns just like everybody else.  
Oh yeah, and strong women aren't supposed to have to get drunk to survive 
the night so how dare Ivanova do so.  Even though she manifestly keeps the 
station going just fine, thank you.  (Hmm... wonder if this is left over 
from the days of "strong woman = synthetic strong man" and therefore must 
meet the stereotypes of same.  Well, except for falling in love with a 
woman - oops, there goes Ivanova crawling out of that little box again. 

And then there's the plot - "The Vorlons are the Good Guys so how dare they 
start blowing up planets!"  Or "This is supposed to be about Good and Evil 
so how DARE JMS start mixing the categories"?  And so forth.

Thing is, if you think you know what's going on and then something else 
happens, it might be better to credit your expectations with being off than 
to castigate the author for writing his own story; not the one you 


From: kay.shapero at (Kay Shapero)
Lines: 16

On <Dec 16 12:43>, jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5) wrote;

 Ja>All of which is, of course, the irony in the situation...many 
 Ja>times, fans ask for shows with colors other than black and white, 
 Ja>shades of grey, changes in character...but when you start executing 
 Ja>those changes, showing more than one side, even contradictory sides 
 Ja>(as humans are masses of internal contradictions) often some of them 
 Ja>yell "HEY! STOP THAT!"  

 Ja>Which goes back to the moral: "Be careful what you ask for."

Hey, so far I'm enjoying the ride immensely....  I've never known anybody 
worth knowing who fit neatly into anybody's little boxes.  And the same 
goes for this show.


From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Lines: 13

"I know, that you've quit jobs before over this, and that gives me the
trust I need to keep watching, but I'm still a little nervous and I see no
reason not to say that.  Or to stop from analyzing Delenn's character any
more than I've done with anyone else on the show."

Couldn't agree more.  Never said or implied otherwise.


-*** B5JMS SUBSCRIBERS: Replies to messages in this list go to the list
-*** maintainer, <b5jms-owner at>.  If you want to reply
-*** elsewhere, adjust the "To" field.  The best way to reach JMS is to post
-*** to rastb5m, which can be done by sending email to <rastb5 at>.

More information about the B5JMS mailing list