Viewing posts tagged fans

Powerlessness Corrupts

More curated tumblr jottings, which some people seemed to like.  Rewritten and expanded.


There is, in fandom, an impulse to denounce which is very congruent with a similar impulse that exists in some iterations of right-on politics.  It comes from a similar place: helplessness.  We’re always told that power corrupts, and it certainly does.  But powerlessness corrupts too.  People in fandom get accustomed to worshipping that which is handed down to them.  They can then discover the opposite but equal pleasure of execrating that which is handed down to them.  What both have in common is the idea of passively accepting what you’re given.  And yes, hating on something is a form of passivity quite distinct from the activity of criticism.  Passive acceptance of texts is, contrary to myth (a myth largely put around by fans, amazingly enough) far more common within fandom/s than in the general television viewing public. 

Jane Q Citizen puts Doctor Who (or whatever) on her telly, doesn’t like it, and so switches over to hunt for something she does like… or she likes it (having no long-cherished internal needs that she ...

Love & People

This paving slab thing really seems to bother some people. 

Some of it seems to be just good, old-fashioned prudery.  Personally, I don't have a problem with kids hearing an oblique fellatio joke.  Think about the dreadful things we're happy for them to watch (they were still watching Hannah Montana when 'Love & Monsters' aired, for example).  By contrast, a mild joke about consensual sex between people who love each other seems quite nice.  Besides, we turn off the TV in disgust because there's a joke about sex and then the kids go to school and spend all day giggling about bottoms and willies.  I know I did.

If she really is stuck in the slab (and we can't be sure of this, given that Elton is an unreliable narrator and we never see Ursula's slab-embedded face from the POV of his video camera), there's no reason to suppose that the Doctor didn't ask her if it was what she wanted.  Why assume that he'd force it on her?

There is something potentially disturbing about a woman being so utterly in a man's power ...

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 ...

Nerd Evidence

Canon and continuity are not the point.  Why not go ahead without precedents?  After all, a foolish hobgoblin is the consistency of someone with a dictionary of quotations.

All the same...


The Way We Live Now

Capaldi.  Wow.  I'd have put money on it being some new variation on the Tenant/Smith entity.  A young relative unknown with male model looks (one reason Moffat says he hired Smith is that he looked like someone who got photographed wearing pants for a living).  I admit, I'm astonished.  Capaldi is a genuinely great choice (if only I could believe he's likely to get decent scripts to work with).

Of course, the Doctor is STILL not a woman or a person of colour... but I'm not 'disappointed' because I never expected that to happen.  Either written by Moffat would've been likely to end up as a blood-curdling, shaming disaster.  As one bizarre online comment has it, Moffat's idea of a woman Doctor wouldn't have pleased "internet anti-equality feminists" (whatever the bloody hell an 'anti-equality feminist' might be).

So it's probably just as well that Moffat has - completely out of left-field - cast an older, male, white Scotsman. 

On the subject of online comment...  Facebook and Twitter are now plastered in remarks and memes in which fans sneer at all the (supposedly) weepy young ...

The Dr Speaks

Against my better judgement, I allowed myself to get dragged into the latest "is 'Talons' racist?" debate at Gallifrey Base. (You'd think, wouldn't you, that this one would've been settled long ago and been filed away in the same drawer with "is the world a sphere?" and "is the Tomorrow People reboot bound to be shit?" but nope, apparently not.)

I won't rehearse it here, since everyone likely to read this blog is likely to be able to imagine exactly what has been (and remains to be) said. 

I just wanted to post this...




...which occured during my (increasingly and pointlessly irate) involvement.  Click to make it bigger.

You know, I disagree with Phil Sandifer about a lot... but the above just made me want to hug him.

Shabby Efforts

I'm sometimes rather startled to realise just how much Doctor Who I've missed.

I mean, chronologially, the last actual TV episode I saw was 'Night Terrors'.  I watched that ages after transmission, as part of a foolhardy attempt to catch up with the series (which I finally gave up watching upon transmission roundabout the time of 'A Christmas Carol', which I liked about as much as I like Ian Duncan Smith).  I was hoping that I'd either get my mind changed by the catch-up session - i.e. become persuaded that Who under Moffat isn't just empty, bombastic, cynical, reactionary, sexist, culty drivel - or, alternatively, that my justified hatred of what I was seeing would give me something to furiously blog about.

As it turns out, my undignified little scrape with 'Night Terrors' (see here) put me off the project again.  Initially inclined to be soft on it, despite some nitpicks, I was soon convinced by commenters that it's actually the story where the Doctor becomes David Cameron, lecturing the clueless working schlubs on how to solve their problems by being better parents.  Dispirited, I quit again.  So, I've not ...

Cruel and Cowardly

Trigger Warning.


So, Jimmy Savile and all that.  The hidden well of suppurating pus beneath the now-picked scab of BBC light entertainment.

It would seem that vast amounts of Doctor Who were made by an organisation that, in its widespread branches and ascending echelons, actively colluded in facilitating and covering-up the abuse and rape of children.  Lots of children.

By itself, this observation is irrelevant to the wider scandal, and to dwell on it from the fan standpoint would surely amount to morally myopic solipsism of the first degree.  What matters isn't how we feel about it, or how it changes our viewing of contemporaneous episodes.  On the list of things that matter, that's so far down that it's in an appendix, in small print.  Yet it surely demands some thought from those of us steeped in the show, in the history of it and the watching of it.

Most of us fans have - via the videos and DVDs and toys and... ahem... websites - given unreasonable amounts of our time and loyalty and extra money to the BBC.  The same organisation that cosetted and enabled a man who, beyond being a ...

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