Viewing posts tagged christianity

Out of Eden

From the October 2011 issue of Panic Moon.  As ever, lightly edited and titivated... 'cos I just can't help tinkering.


When Doctor Who talks about evolution, it doesn’t usually bother getting the facts right.  'Evolution of the Daleks', for instance, seems to think species change when genes mutate morally because of lightning bolts.  Such ideas go right back to 'The Daleks', in which the two races on Skaro have changed totally in mere “hundreds of years” of mutation, with the warrior Thals becoming natural pacifists in the process.  (Incidentally, it’s ironic that this supposedly anti-Nazi parable speaks of blonde, blue-eyed, athletic specimens as “refined” and “perfect”.)

Real evolution does involve mutations, but they’re not sudden and drastic as depicted in, to pick another example, 'The Mutants'.  Instead we’re talking about tiny replication errors in genetic code which are preserved or rejected by natural selection, leading to big changes over very long periods.  This creates staggering variety on our planet alone.  However, most aliens in the Doctor Who universe look like British actors, which (accidentally) implies that the humanoid shape is a universal pinnacle or goal of evolution.  ...

Gonzo Marx

Ruminations on alienation, commodity fetishism, myth, etc.  Don't mind me.


Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Human beings have always made stuff.  Broadly, that's what humans are: the apes that make stuff.  Even before Darwin, Benjamin Franklin called man "the tool-making animal", a description apparently vindicated by our discoveries about early humanity, which seem to show the rise of the 'big brain' driven by the needs of the hand.

The flint tools and decorative beads of the hunter-gatherers.  The pyramids and ziggurats of the great slave empires.  The water wheels and ploughs of medieval Europe.

But the rise of capitalism brought the factory system.  The division of labour.  Specialisation without expertise.  Organisation of time.  The creation of new kinds of cities that worked as battery farms for thousands of corralled workers.  Mass production.  Heavy industry.  Conveyor belts.  Fordism.  Mechanisation.  Computer-run facilities. 

The ape that makes things started to make things faster than ever before, in greater numbers than ever before. And the things started to confront the thingmaker as alien, autonomous, controlling, dominating.  When you have to watch a clock ...

Three Act Tragedy

And so it came to pass that Series 3 ended with a trilogy.  And Jack looked upon the trilogy.  And Jack saw that it was... umm... er...


'Utopia'

Good stuff; the Master's return at the end is the least of it.  We have to put up with some of the obligatory "gee, aren't humans just neat?!" stuff from the Doctor, but it passes soon enough. Yana is a touching, melancholic figure. Chantho is one of my favourite characters in all Who. The scene where the Doctor and Jack finally discuss Jack's immortality is beautifully scripted and acted. The desolated conglomeration is beautiful.

The whole set up is pregnant with intricate, sombre, uncomfortable implications. At the end of everything, with even the galaxies disappearing... amidst a wasteland, haunted by a dead city and one lone survivor (who still clings to her obsolete cultural norms)... amidst all these things, there are two groups of humans... the unreasoningly fierce and cruel "futurekind", with their gnashing sharp teeth, their flaming torches and their mindless desire to destroy... and the refugees who huddle together for warmth; who value family and friendship; who have created structure and purpose out of ...

Darkness in the Garden 2.0

To celebrate the DVD release of 'Kinda' (alongside its sequel 'Snakedance') here is a guest post by Rob, also known at Gallifrey Base as vgrattidge-1.

ADDITIONAL: The text below is different from that originally posted, having been revised and expanded by the author.  25/4/11.



‘Kinda’ raises a lot of questions and embraces an unusually (for Doctor Who) complex approach to its subject matter. It’s a rich script by Christopher Bailey – one that looks at invidualism vs collectivism in two (very different) societies; colonialism; propaganda; History; male aggression, and madness, while drawing on Freudian theory, Christian imagery and Buddhist concepts in order to explore these ideas in multiple ways. A stylized theatrical piece, if one inflatable snake and a pot plant jungle gets in the way of some of the most interesting writing (not to mention performance, music and direction) of the classic series, then that’s to lose sight of one of its greatest, most thoughtful and arresting serials ever.

‘Kinda’ is about many things. It’s about the power of the community over individuals (in this case men, reversing a convention but avoiding the ‘Planet of Women’ trope), so as to prevent aggressive, warlike behaviour ...

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