Viewing posts tagged oppression

Which?

In response to watching the silly TV show Salem, I’ve been cursorily boning-up on the actual history of the Salem witch trials. 

The first three accused people were:

1. a black slave,

2. a beggar woman, and

3. a woman who married her former indentured servant, possibly for financial reasons.

It’s almost too perfect. 

A proto-capitalist, patriarchal, colonial society.  What do they fear?  Women who make independent sexual choices, or why try to control money.  The breaching of class boundaries.  The poor and dispossessed.  Black slaves.

The initial accusations were made by young women or girls who were thoroughly indoctrinated and submerged within the ideological thoughtworld of their high-status parents, and their society. 

They went for suspects they knew would be believable to others.  They went for the stigmatised and mistrusted.

What you have there is the refracted terror of the ruling class towards their own oppressed groups.

3

"Not so much of that oatmeal, girl," says Meg to one of the kitchen drudges, "It's only pikemen we're feeding, not horses."

They're in Irongron's castle, somewhere in the century or so following the Norman Conquest.  Sarah is undercover, cooking Irongron's stew.

"Don't the guards on the gate get stew?" she asks, wanting to know in which pots to drop the Doctor's knock-out potion.

"What, meat for those common creatures? I should say not. They'll have oatmeal the same as the rest of us, and lusty enough they are on that. So you watch yourself if ever you take out that skillet."

So class is, perhaps, a more fundamental division than gender, but gender oppression brings its own particular problems.

"I'm not afraid of men. They don't own the world."

Well, they kind-of do... but Sarah isn't discussing actual property relations.  She's talking about the way the world should work, with no one group 'owning' it.

"Why should women always have to cook and carry for them?" she demands.

"What else should we do?" asks Meg.

"Stand up for ourselves. Tell the men you're tired ...

8

"Is there anything the servants can get you Doctor?" asks Edward Grove over the deep, low tolling of the clock.  "It is such fun giving them little chores to do!" he chortles, using the voice of the butler, Mr Shaughnessy.

"No thank you," says the Doctor icily.

"Very well," says Edward, vocally turning to the servants, "You may leave, all of you.  Return to your duties.  I shall chime if I need anything."

The clock is central to the organisation of time in capitalist society.  It regulates work.  Since work is life, it regulates life.  The chiming of the clock, like the jangling of the bell, is a summons to the servant, just as the factory worker must clock in and clock out at the right times.  The industrial revolution fundamentally changed how people perceived time, not only by drastically changing how long it took to do certain things, but also by subjecting the workforce to new schedules.  The organisation of labour in capitalist production centres also made time seem repetitious, on a permanent loop.  The same set tasks, over and over again, for hour after hour.  The clock is ...

12

There's so much I love about 'Planet of the Ood'.  Picking a moment will be hard.

I love some of the things other people hate.

Unlike Lawrence Miles, I love that Donna ticks the Doctor off for his "Who do you think made your clothes?" crack.  Why the hell should Donna put up with smuggery like that from a guy wearing Converse trainers?  Who makes your clothes, Doctor?  (Apart from anything else, one answer is probably 'women'.)  Okay, he apologises for making her feel uncomfortable, which is problematic... but it isn't as if the episode lets the matter rest there.

Unlike many people, I love that the Ood thank DoctorDonna for, essentially, doing nothing.  I love that they free themselves without any help from the Doctor.  I like him better as an ally than as a messiah.  The Ood don't suffer the fate of the N'avi: they don't get Whitey leading them to freedom.  The DoctorDonna doesn't interfere.  DoctorDonna renounces any claim they might think they have to judge the oppressed, to moralise when the oppressed free themselves by any means necessary.

I love ...

Vixens and Saxons


Some disjointed thoughts about 'The Time Warrior'.  Is it sexist?  Is Linx really a girl?  And what is the correct Socialist attitude to Irongron?


1.  Men Are From Earth, Sontarans Are From... umm... Saturn?  No, couldn't be.  'Saturn' is an anagram of 'Rutans' for a start...

'The Time Warrior' is the chronicle of a failed romance.  Irongron and Linx.  The odd couple.

Made for each other.
The initial attraction. The slowly dawning mutual realisation that they have much in common. They take turns helping each other out. Terms of affection pass between them: Linx is Irongron's "brother" and will be his "general". Physical intimacy follows, as Linx allows Irongron to see his face then almost takes his arm as they leave to deal with the android knight. Irongron gives Linx a familiar nickname (albeit a rather unkind one).  Then ...

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