CW: rape, sexual assault, violence against women, transphobia, and homophobia. This chapter contains multiple NSFW images.
Previously in The Last War in Albion: Yeah, it's been a bit. Maybe you just want to read the chapter. If not, it was mostly an analysis of Rorschach's role in the narrative.
There is, however, another important sense in which Rorschach represents a myopia within Watchmen and, more broadly, Moore’s larger artistic vision. As mentioned, a crucial part of Rorschach’s psychology is his tortured relationship with sexuality. Sex is a major theme of both Watchmen and Moore’s career, and one that he has much of value to say about, but there is something unseemly about the directness with which Rorschach’s disgust with sex is pathologized, not least because it’s a character trait inherited from his underlying relationship with the apparently asexual Steve Ditko. More broadly, there is something oversimplified and unsatisfying in Moore’s approach to sexuality—a flaw intimately connected to his persistent inadequacy on the subject of sexual assault. This would be a relatively minor issue were it not for the awkward fact that the relationship between superheroes and sexuality is one of the comic’s major themes.
The theme of ...
I'm pleased to announce that, just in time for the holiday season, the third volume of TARDIS Eruditorum is officially back in print. Covering every story of the Jon Pertwee era and then some, the book is the most comprehensive take on early 70s UK culture ever to use the words "Gel Guards," "Venusian Akido," and "Pertwee death pose." And it includes my mildly legendary essay "This Point of Singularity (The Three Doctors)," a pataphoric Blakean odyssey that Paul Cornell once read out loud at a convention to an audience including what I can only assume was a deeply puzzled and slightly alarmed Terrence Dicks.
Speaking of Paul Cornell, the book has been spruced up with a new essay on Paul Cornell's Third Doctor comics for Titans, a way better name on the cover, and some minor improvements to the typesetting (as well as the removal of a line about making Doctor Who great again that had... not aged well). It's the perfect gift for the most glam Doctor Who fan in your life. And if you don't have a glam Doctor Who fan in your life you can read it on public transport until someone with ...
The folks at Mad Norwegian Press were kind enough to send me their preposterously monumental 4th edition of Ahistory. This now three-volume set, which began as Lance Parkin's A History of the Universe for Virgin twenty-two years ago and has been periodically and extensively revised with help from Mad Norwegian publisher Lars Pearson is... completely insane. I mean, I'm the author of a six volume and counting history of Britain through the lens of Doctor Who, but I look at these things with a mixture of trepidation and awe. They are sublimely, gloriously useless, and I absolutely adore them and recommend them to anyone for whom the admittedly considerable price tag of three large paperback volumes is not prohibitive.
What Ahistory sets out to do is simple: provide a complete in-universe chronology of every Doctor Who story. But by "every Doctor Who story" I do not mean some relatively easy and straightforward task like all of the television episodes. I mean all of it. Every television episode through Twice Upon a Time is in here along with the televised spinoffs, the Virgin and BBC Books lines, Big Finish, the comics... all of it. This is a book series ...
So, contrary to those who feel it's become 'too PC' (a misprision that is interesting by itself), Doctor Who these days looks increasingly like it is taking a reactionary turn - albeit one of a complex kind - as it seems to drift from being an "accidental critique of milquetoast liberalism" (as Kit Power put it) into an outright accomodation with the systems it has found itself unable to effectively struggle against. This makes Chibnall's show, in its own way, a mirror to Moffat's, which was also deeply concerned with the limits of resistance to systems.
This is a space for analysing the political attitude found in the content. But there is also reason to look at what the form tells us, what it assumes, what it permits, etc. As we've already talked about elsewhere, the form and content are actually inextricable.
Let's take a detour into Brechtian 'Epic Theatre'.
Brecht’s theatre ...
For the last of our Series 11 podcasts, I'm joined by Niki Haringsma, author of the forthcoming Black Archive book on Love and Monsters. Have a gander here.
So this is the Chibnall era. A season of such bland mediocrity that an episode that in any of the previous four seasons would have come in around level with the Gatiss episode comes in third in my final rankings; where the five episodes by the showrunner all add up to nothing and go nowhere; where the politics are so bad we got a pro-Amazon episode; where there’s no sense whatsoever of who or what this show is for other than being the BBC’s attempt at filling an hour on the Sunday night schedule. The only tangible advantage Chibnall has over Nicholas Briggs is that he cast a female Doctor. It’s soulless, pointless, and worst of all, it’s fucking boring.
And I mean, none of that is new to, wait, let me check the spelling again, The Battle of Ranskoor av Kolos. Which, incidentally, did not contain a battle. But at least while things were rumbling blandly along there was always some vague hope that it might, if not make good, at least go somewhere or have one moment somewhere that seemed to at least have something to say. But no. Instead we get Revenge of the Stenza, a villain ...
Nice new bit of audio content for you today, mainly on the subject of guys called Orson.
From the Wrong With Authority stable, a commentary track for Orson Welles' undervalued late masterpiece F for Fake, featuring myself and Daniel Harper. Download or listen HERE.
This commentary is basically a spin-off from an episode of They Must Be Destroyed on Sight in which I guested to chat about the same film - here. TMBDOS also recently did an episode on Welles' finally-completed final film, The Other Side of the Wind, here.
Plus, we recently released a podcast in which Daniel and Kit chatted about Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, and somehow managed to find new angles on it, despite it being one of the most discussed texts on the internet. Download or listen HERE.
Also, if you haven't listened to the Wrong With Authority's third 'Trumpism' episode, recorded after the mid-terms, but feel like subjecting yourself to five hours of our self-therapy, that's here.
On the subject of Wrong With Authority, we still have two great new episodes in the can, being edited, and slated to be released soon (hopefully). ...
I'm joined this week by Rachael Stott, artist on Titan Comics' Thirteenth Doctor comic, for a wide-ranging conversation that centers on It Takes You Away. Thanks so much to Rachael for agreeing to stop by our weird little show. Have a listen here.