For The Greater Good

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News Media Commentary
Title: For The Greater Good
Commentator: Amy 'Murphy' Wilson, Mary D. Brooks & L. A. Vess
Date(s): 03 May 2004
Fandom: Xena: Warrior Princess
External Links: For The Greater Good (Wayback)
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For The Greater Good is a 2004 article about Xena: Warrior Princess fandom and the generosity surrounding it.

For many people the word 'fan' conjures up images of half crazed, obsessed individuals who live and breathe for their obsessions. While the word 'fan' originates out of 'fanatics' there are many fans who give of themselves to help others. Most of the time these fans are not recognized for the work they do; it's the stalkers who get the attention, those who create the biggest noise to attract the attention of the star.

The article begins with an introduction to the fandom and Kym Taborn from Whoosh! describes what makes it special:

"[The] fandom and the creators/producers used the Internet to create a symbiotic relationship so intense and complex that it is very difficult to distinguish what the show introduced and then influenced fandom and what fandom produced and then influenced the show," says Taborn. By the time you had the final season of the show, it was almost all motivated by fan inspiration - using fan fiction writers to write episodes, having episodes parody fandom, mention a fan website in the show, emphasize the X&G relationship as a gift to the fans, etc."

Taborn also says that "one of the most visible results of this mass fandom created around the show is one of the largest and most prolific fan non-fiction bases outside of academia."

The article gives examples of Charity Auctions, quotes fan writers such as T. Novan and even TPTB comment on fan charity in Xena fandom:

"I've had people tell me how ridiculous it is for a fan of a TV show to pay thirty thousand dollars for a prop ‘Xena’ sword at a charity auction," adds Sears. "Then I ask them when was the last time THEY paid thirty thousand dollars to a charity for ANY reason."

The article mentions that "when a family was losing their daughter to brain cancer. “Xena” fans raised close to $12,000 to help ease the family's financial situation so they could focus on what was important, their child" and gives details on several other charity events that involved Xena fans.

One of the most well known [fans devoting large portions of their life to helping others] is Debbie Cassetta, who runs Sword and Staff, a fan-run organization of Xenites dedicated to working for the greater good. With the help of “Xena” fans worldwide, Sword & Staff has raised over $390,000 for charity, preserved 636 acres of rainforest and donated 89 pints of blood since 1997. Cassetta goes out of her way and even her pocket to make sure the charities get every dime with no cost to them. Cassetta has a full life, and yet she devotes every extra minute to manage Sword & Staff. She doesn't get paid; often doesn't get the publicity the organization deserves, but she does it anyway - for the greater good.

One of the charities that Sword & Staff earmarks contributions toward is the Starship Foundation. Starship is a comprehensive children’s hospital located in Auckland, New Zealand.