Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lego Movie, It Follows

By rights, Moffat should have left. Sure, he’d done a season less than Davies, but it was clearly time. Each of his three seasons had been a step down from the one before, with Series Seven being an openly miserable experience. The Day of the Doctor and Matt Smith’s departure provided an occasion where he could leave on a high. His style had become exceedingly recognizable and recognized, which is the phase right before utter stagnation. It was time to go, and if he didn’t he risked—indeed, given the tenacity of his critics, essentially ensured—that there would be accusations that he stayed too long. But, of course, he didn’t. He retrenched, got a new star and executive producer, and went back to try again. This is the story of how that went, and of what may be Doctor Who’s most unexpected golden age.

But to understand that unexpectedness we must first understand the landscape that Doctor Who was returning into. Because the problem wasn’t just that Moffat’s tenure looked long in the tooth on its own merits. It was that outside Doctor Who’s window, the world was catching up. In one sense this was not a surprise. Doctor Who was ...

A Rather Large Announcement

We do psychochronography here, and so recognize that any significant piece of information has a vast root structure of paths leading up to it and an equally vast structure of implications and consequences, both of which exist in stubborn defiance of any attempt to simply present it. When this information doubles as an event such that the moment of its revelation splits time into discrete “before” and “after” periods, the complexity of these structures only becomes more important. Stripping all of this away to formulate an Announcement, then, is a desperately theatrical and artificial act.

Nevertheless, I’ll frame this simply in terms of site business: the content previously published under the name Philip Sandifer will, going forward, be published under the name Elizabeth Sandifer.

There. Now we exist in a world of implications, which open up and branch outwards instead of leading portentiously towards the singular. For the sake of clarity, first a restatement: I am a transgender woman using female (she/her) pronouns. Now for things that follow from this.

In terms of this site going forward, basically nothing will change. I’ll still be starting TARDIS Erudtorum on Monday, I’m still publishing Volume 7 this year, I’m still getting ...

Pandorica Opens Commentary

Hello everyone.  This week it's audio time.  Again.

Firstly, here's a commentary I recorded with our esteemed site editor on 'The Pandorica Opens'. Yes, we finally did it.

We had a lot of fun recording this, and I'm sure you'll enjoy listening to it.

If things go according to plan, our commentary on 'The Big Bang' will be dropping next week. In true Moffatian tradition, our resolution to our own cliffhanger will entail a narrative substitution.

Then I'll be back to my ruminations on Ron Paul, the Austrian School, Murray Rothbard, libertarianism, and the alt-Right.  People who give me as little as a dollar a month on Patreon can get instant and exclusive advance access to the next five posts in this series.  Also, I will be finishing my trilogy of posts about 'Last Jedi' at some point - promise.  My Patreon sponsors will probably get advance access to that as well.

In other audio news, Wrong With Authority has produced two new podcast episodes I haven't yet told you about here.

There was this commentary that Kit, Daniel, and I recorded on original Ghostbusters (a real giggle, this one ...

Outside the Government: His Last Vow

It’s January 12th, 2014. Pharrell Williams is happily at number one, with Beyonce, Eminem, Ellie Goulding, and Pitbull also charting. In news, a cold snap in the US has all fifty states with at least somewhere below freezing, and a chemical leak in West Virginia leaves 300,000 without clean water. In the UK, the death of Mark Duggan, which kicked off riots in the summer of 2011, is ruled to have been lawful, while Keith Wallis pleads guilty for falsely claiming to have heard Andrew Mitchell call some police officers “plebs.” 

On television, meanwhile, the shooting star that is Sherlock Series Three finishes its arc across the firmament with the Moffat script. His Last Vow is an odd thing. There are days on which I think it might be Moffat’s greatest ever script. But I mean “great” in its most complexly troubled sense. Moffat has been open about the fact that Series Seven of Doctor Who and The Day of the Doctor were miserable experiences. If the latter was him hauling himself back into fighting shape, then, this is the script with which he means to take back the mantle of being one of the most essential ...

The Ron Paul Revolution (Part 1)

In my opinion, any account of the rise of the alt-right, especially one which emphasizes the role of libertarianism, and thus the distal causal role of the Austrian School of economics, must begin with Ron Paul.

In his essay ‘On Social Sadism’, published in the journal Salvage, China Miéville recounts an occasion when

[a]t a debate between Republican candidates in September 2011, Wolf Blitzer, the chair, mooted the case of a hypothetical thirty-year-old uninsured man who becomes sick. ‘[C]ongressman,’ Blitzer asks Ron Paul, ‘are you saying that society should just let him die?’

‘Yeah!’ comes a shout from the audience. A smattering of applause. The shout is repeated, and again, and the applause grows.

Paul retired from politics in 2013, but his shadow is long on the libertarian Right.  After the above exchange, Paul – a former medical doctor and a fervent libertarian, indeed a ‘paleolibertarian’, a follower of the syncresis of libertarianism and far-right conservatism invented by Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell – suggested that the hypothetical man in the question should have a private medical plan.  "We've given up on this concept that we might assume responsibility for ...

The Proverbs of Hell 39/39: The Wrath of the Lamb

THE WRATH OF THE LAMB: Reframing the title scheme for the back half of the season away from “Blake paintings” and towards “lines from Revelation,” and not entirely honestly. The title drop in the proceeding episode forces single vision, such that it can only refer to Will’s vengeance against Hannibal, although it’s not as though it would have been long on ambiguity without that.

I complained on Twitter a while back that there are no good instances of the deceptive edit, in which information is withheld from the audience purely by selectively editing around it so as to obscure it. The general problem with this is that it depends on selectively and covertly breaking the basic narrative codes of the medium, which state that editing is for communicating information, not for casual lying without any hints to this effect. Hannibal likely comes closer than most to being able to get away with it by the simple virtue of its editing never really suggesting a directly communicated reality in the first place. But the real reason it just about gets away with having an unseen cadaver in the room for this entire scene is just that the deception is mercifully ...

The Proverbs of Hell 38/39: The Number of the Beast is 666

THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST IS 666: Last and in most ways least, it is to “The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea” what “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun” is to “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun”—a drabber and less chilling counterpart. The dragon is in an awkward pose that serves to expose the limitations of Blake’s anatomy, his face flattened in profile in such a way as to lose all animalistic grandeur. It is the one of the paintings to arguably look better when Fuller and company recreate it in “And the Woman Clothed in Sun.” Its one interesting element is the lamb-like figure behind the Beast from the Sea, a point of contrast and dissonance that enlivens the whole.

BEDELIA DU MAURIER: It's hard to predict when brittle materials will break. Hannibal gave you three years to build a family and a life, confident he'd find a way to take them from you.

WILL GRAHAM: And he has.

The blunt fatalism of this admission surprises, and doesn’t really seem to follow from any of Will and Molly’s interactions last episode. Nor is ...

Outside the Government: The Sign of Three

We continue to count down towards the TARDIS Eruditorum relaunch on March 19th with revised versions of some old blog posts on SherlockProverbs of Hell will run its final two installments on Tuesday and Thursday this week.

It’s January 5th, 2014. Pitbull and Kesha are at number one with “Timber,” and while the rest of the charts are pretty similar to four days ago, we’ve got Avicii, Jason Derulo, Martin Garrix, and OneRepublic as artists we didn’t actually mention last week. News is about as sleepy as you’d expect for four days at the beginning of the year, although there’s some flooding in Wales, Scotland, and the west of England. On television, meanwhile, the third season of Sherlock continues its twelve day blitz with The Sign of Three.

Let’s talk about what Sherlock is. Although its main character is a detective, it is not quite a detective show, in that the solving of mysteries is not its main narrative engine. One suspects that had it been comprised of six hourlong episodes a season it would have been, as it would have had several filler episodes each run that would have ended up being case of the ...

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