Viewing posts tagged Blair


A flying ship has plunged into a tall public building, causing panic.

Outside 10 Downing St., the media have been sat around for hours with their cameras trained on the closed black door, waiting for someone official to come out and hand them their version of events... which will, of course, be repeated verbatim as The Story. 

Luckily for these relentless seekers after truth, a politician comes out to give them a press conference.

"Our inspectors have searched the skies," he tells the journalists, "and they have found massive weapons of destruction, capable of being deployed in 45 seconds.  We face extinction unless we strike first."  He goes on to beg the UN for "an emergency resolution" which will give them permission to launch this pre-emptive strike.  His words are relayed on the TV news without comment... except by the Doctor and the other people watching.

As satire, this isn't subtle.  It's like a sledgehammer to crack a nut... because that's what the WMD story always was: an easily cracked nut.  But in a world in which barely anyone in the global media is capable of cracking nuts even with a ...

The Third Way

There is, in some quarters, an assumption about alternatives.  There is fannish continuity obsession on the one hand and, on the other hand, there is 'the real story' which tends to be to do with families and relationships.  To an extent, this is a straw man... but it sometimes exists, implicitly, even where it is abjured.  And it's a false dichotomy.

There is a Third Way: the investigation of the relationship between the political implications of monster wars and the lives of ordinary people.

This is a Third Way that the classic series hardly ever engaged with.  In its own more ass-covery, fig-leafy way, this is something that the new series hardly ever engages with either.

Whereas the classic series concentrated on the monstrous, and then later upon the fan view of the monstrous, the new series tends to concentrate upon interpersonal relationships with monstrosity as a pretty backdrop.

The difference is that the classic series' logic was pragmatic (i.e. we are making a show about monsters) whereas the new series' logic is openly ideological (i.e. human family and romantic relationships are THE REAL STORY).  If you doubt that this is ideological ...

A Town Without Context

On 'A Town Called Mercy'

The ends can justify the means, but there needs to be something which justifies the ends.
 - Trotsky

Jex experiments on people in order to create a cyborg supersoldier.  His motive is to end a war which is killing his people.  But were his people the attackers or the attacked?  That this is ignored tells us a great deal about the writer/s but deprives us of the possibility of making moral sense of the story.  It is ignored, presumably because it is considered irrelevant.  Yet, the whole point of the story appears to be the question of whether Jex is a bad man or a good one... with the answer being, of course, "yes".  But I'd argue that the wider social context of Jex's actions (beyond just saying that 'it was war') is as important as it is obscure.

The notion - that war is, as Jex puts it, "a different world" in which normality shifts drastically and morality becomes fuzzy - is, for a start, a somewhat glib truism.  Like all such glib truisms, it can be pressed into service (i.e. "Yes, an invasion will ...

The Book of Pecksniff

All the extracts from Blair's book that I've been reading in the papers... they've reminded me of why I used to always refer to Blair as "Pecksniff". It was my special name for him, even back at the start (I'm proud to be able to say I never voted for him).

Pecksniff is described in Chuzzlewit as "a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there." That what Blair is. An utter hypocrite. A series of empty gestures towards morality, probity, mature realism, conviction, progressivism, etc. But you follow the gestures and see that they go absolutely nowhere. And then you turn back to the gesturer and, just for a second, you catch the smirk.

The unctuous self-righteousness that leaks from every pore even as he ruthlessly furthers himself with every word and deed; the pained sincerity with which he winces over the foolishness of those who are misguided enough to disagree with him or doubt his word; the Christian piety with which he carpet bombed population centres. And all of it fake. Even now, it's clear that his dominant emotion concerning the Iraq war, and the subsequent fall ...

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