Viewing posts tagged clara

Clara Who: The Impossible Narrator

I was not as entranced with Series Nine as I’d hoped, but that may well be due to events in my own life and the kind of work that’s been on my plate this fall. I realize I haven’t written nearly as much about the show as I have in years past. So, this is to kind of rectify that, somewhat, and to encapsulate my thoughts on the series as a whole, and particularly in the context of Clara’s overall arc in the show.

This is in large part inspired by a conversation on Tumblr the last day or two, where Caitlin (abossycontrolfreak) properly tore apart the problematic Claudia Boleyn’s objections to Clara in Series 7. Mind you, there are other dynamics in this interchange involving Claudia’s style of critique, which erases or belittles countering views, and this is really the least of my concerns; both Caitlin and Julia (tillthenexttimedoctor) have effectively addressed this already, imho. At the heart of the mistake, though, was the belief that Clara wasn't properly characterized in Series 7.  But I've seen this a lot.  It has more to do with the storytelling than the stories ...

The Veil ('Deep Breath' 3)

The veil.  A politically loaded symbol.  It carries all sorts of old semiotic baggage, of course.  Weddings.  Widowhood.  Ladies in Conan Doyle who want to hide their identities (thus it has a trajectory into the figure of Madame Vastra via Victoriana).  In genre TV these days, a woman wearing a veil is likely to be a tragic or vengeful figure, hiding a facial scar of some kind.  (See 'Silence in the Library' / 'Forest of the Dead'.)

The veil is thus something that implies a particular set of social situations for women.  The connection appears to be the concept of separation.  The veil is a boundary between the woman and society.  It creates a space in which she can hide her unsightliness, either disfiguring grief or grievous disfigurement, from those who don't want to have to see it.  The wedding veil is lifted as the woman is taken possession of in the marriage ceremony; thus it is there to emphasize her acceptability by temporarily putting it in doubt.  It is, of course, the symbolic tearing of the hymen.  The man takes possession and breaks through the barrier ...

The Perfect Companion

Yes, the female companions of the Moffat era are smart, strong, capable, multi-talented, capable, prone to saving the day, etc.

But this is just the job of the companion.  Even the worst of the classic series companions - Victoria, Dodo, etc - gets to be smart, strong, capable, etc when required.  They don't tend to save the day in the classic series, but they always do what is needed and expected of them.  It's a tautology: the companions do the companion things more or less successfully.  That's not something that's entirely untroubling, but - for good or ill - it's how this works.  In the revived series, a great deal more is expected of the companions.  It's actually worrying just how much is expected of Martha.  But the point is that they all step up because that's what they're in the text to do.  The ones that don't, fail to be companions (i.e. Adam).

You also have to look at what they do and what happens to them on top of their basic role as companion.  Rose rejects the roles of shop worker, daughter, girlfriend ...

Maybe some of us BELONG in the fields

A very good overview of the squalid pass to which Moffat has brought the show in its 50th anniversary year, with special attention paid to the issue of mysoginy, via River and Clara:

...we're not being encouraged to think there's something wrong with this person [River]: it's the show itself that comes across as jaded and withdrawn from empathy and decency to a psychopathic extent (and what a charming ethical copout to have the Doctor leave before he can witness the rest of the killing). Again, we have the depressingly widespread idea that a woman acting violently is empowering and a corrective to sexism and misogyny. When questioned about his ability with female characters during a Guardian interview Moffat replied:

River Song? Amy Pond? Hardly weak women. It's the exact opposite. You could accuse me of having a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people. That would be fair.
It would indeed. Unfortunately, a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people is no substitute for an interest in human beings.

http://richardhcooper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/steven-and-women-or-how-steven-moffat.html

I don't agree with every jot and tittle of this, but it ...

The Twitter Dilemma




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