Viewing posts tagged aesthetics


The Doctor, Polly and Jamie have been condemned to the pits, to the 'Danger Gang', for the crime of proving to the Pilot that his world is run by secret things that constantly order him to not notice them. 

The trio are entering the pithead to begin their work as miners, mining the deadly gas that the Colony collects for its unseen masters.  One of the Colony's jolly little work ditties plays in the background.  A loud, insanely chipper voice sings lyrics about how happy everyone should be to work and serve the Colony.

The Doctor groans as if in terrible pain.

"What's the matter?" asks Polly.

"Ooooh, dreadful!" exclaims the Doctor, "Did you hear that rhyme? The man who wrote that ought to be sent to the Danger Gang, not us!"

Jamie laughs.

The Doctor's concern isn't for the danger of the mines.  It's for the ugly, crass, aesthetic banality of tyranny; for its kitsch horrors; for its lack of imagination.  This might seem like a failure of proper priorities... until you remember that such crassness is a symptom of the infection in the social wound, the same wound ...

Fearful Symmetry

There are several answers to the question "who originally created the Daleks?"  You could say "Davros" with geeky fidelity.  You could say "Terry Nation", as many people have (Trivial Pursuit used to also credit him with creating Doctor Who itself).  One could even start listing the people who actually constructed the props (wasn't the job outsourced to a company called Shawcross or something?).  As is usually the case, the most accurate answer is probably the most complex and contingent, i.e. "A consortium of people including, most prominently but to various degrees of importance, Terry Nation, Verity Lambert, David Whitaker, Raymond Cusick, Peter Hawkins, David Graham..." etc.  Without a doubt, however, the individual who did more than any other to make them a huge success was an in-house designer employed by the BBC called Raymond Cusick.  Cusick died a little while ago, widely recognised for his role by fans.

I'm a great advocate of 'ignoring the rat' or, as I prefer to put it, 'seeing past the bubblewrap', i.e. of giving weak aesthetics a pass if the story beneath them is interesting enough.  You shouldn't let the rubbishness of ...

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