Viewing posts tagged feudalism

18

Everyone is down a mine.

(Incidentally, it's funny how often Doctor Who in the 70s and 80s keeps coming back to mines.  I'm sure it's nothing to do with the fact that coal mining was a key industry in British economic life during these decades, miners were among the most powerful unionised workers in the 70s, and the 80s saw the calculated destruction of the miners' unions and their industry by the Tory government.  Oh ho no.)

Anyway.  As I say, everyone - the Doctor, Romana, K9, Adrasta, Organon and a giant green blob called Erato - is down a mine.  And things are coming to a head.  (Head.  Pit-head.  Geddit?  Never mind.  It doesn't really work anyway.)

Yes, so anyway...  Erato is, as I say, a giant green blob.

"Erato came here fifteen years ago to propose a trading agreement," says the Doctor, while everyone else still reels from the revelation that the blob has a name, a mind and the ability to talk. "Tythonus is a planet rich in metallic ores and minerals...."

There's an interlude here where the Doctor and Adrasta have a little ...

30

"My goodness..." says the Doctor as yet more fine fare is brought to the Tharils already-laden table, "You live like kings."

"We are kings," says Biroc impassively.  He merely states it as a fact.  He is both part of this feast and an observer of it.  He was at it, and now he returns later in his personal timeline.  He can travel along his own trajectory.  He sits at a table he once sat at long ago, in the same seat.  He acknowledges this past life and does not disown it, yet he does not embrace it either.  His tone is neutral.  Truthful.


Meanwhile, at the same table many years later, after history has revolved, men - who make their living capturing, chaining and shipping creatures like Biroc for sale and industrial use - are sitting down for their lunch break.  They pass round sandwiches, pickles, thermos flasks.

Their boss, Rorvik, regards them with the wary contempt that only a truly stupid person can feel for those slightly more stupid than he is.  He has so little success trying to make them listen to his inanities that he has to wave his ...

43

In an opulent throne room, the Doctor and Romana are being entertained by Zargo and Camilla, two of the Three Who Rule.  Plates are loaded with meat.  Glasses are filled with dark red wine.  The Lords are draped in fine fabrics and smeared in make-up to mask their strangely pallid faces.

"Well, you certainly do very well for yourselves here," observes the Doctor.

"We struggle to retain some remnants of civilisation," says Zargo, who evidently considers himself civilised.

"Well, you do better than the peasants," remarks the Doctor.  He and Romana have recently been in a peasant hovel, where the half-starved, over-worked, rag-clad people reacted in terror at their aristocratic confidence.

"The peasants are simple folk," observes Camilla drily, "Richer fare would only distress them."

"Quite right," says the Doctor.  (His pronunciation makes it sound more like 'Quite trite.')  "Probably give them indigestion," he continues, "There's nothing worse than a peasant with indigestion. Makes them quite rebellious. I hear you've been having trouble that way."

"There are always a few ungrateful ones who do not appreciate all that we do for them," agrees Camilla, without a trace of irony.

"And what do ...

Skulltopus 11: Changing States

Before the Skulltopus series moves on to the Baker years (and beyond), I feel the need to settle accounts with the Pertwee era, particularly with Peladon.  Also, I need to clarify something about the way capitalism is portrayed and perceived in - and by - Doctor Who.


The maggots in 'The Green Death' are the Pertwee era's last gasp of the Weirdesque.  'Green Death' is also the last Pertwee story to properly notice capitalism.

Admittedly, there is some riffing on 'greed' in 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs'; and 'Monster of Peladon' regurgitates (in a reduced form) the political semiotics of its parent story.  However, in these stories, while class is in evidence... class struggle even!... there is no tracing it back to anything recognisable as capitalist social relations.

I'll get to this, but first I want to loop back to address something about 'Carnival of Monsters' that I should've mentioned previously: Vorg as an entrepreneur and how this relates to the society in which he finds himself.  Firstly, Inter-Minor isn't recognisably capitalist.  The latent revolution in 'Carnival' - the imminent revolt of the Functionaries that President Zarb (the panicky social democrat) is trying to placate and Kalik (the fascist ...

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