Viewing posts tagged power of kroll

28

Having devoured Harg, giant green squid monster Kroll is off to the settlement of the People of the Lakes, known to Harg's compatriots by the derogatory name of 'Swampies'. 

Constructed from tropes and white liberal guilt, these green space Indians are still better than the blue ones in Avatar.  They don't get their world back in the end (neither did the Cherokee) and don't get a white man as a leader.

"The Swampies most certainly do have some problems," chuckles Thawn - Company man, racist and boss of the Refinery.

"You know," muses his second-in-command Fenner, a cynical and cowardly man, "I don't particularly like the Swampies... but I can't say that I really hate them."  He is just decent enough to be faintly disturbed by Thawn's open callousness.

Suddenly serious, Thawn says "Oh, I don't hate them Fenner.  I just want them permanently removed.  I spent many years persuading the Company to back this project, and now that we're on the verge of success I'm not going to be stopped by lily-livered sentimentalists wailing about the fate of a few primitive savages."

Thawn is lying, of ...

Great Disguiser

It's been bad lately.  Loads of great actors have passed away.  Freddy Treves, Peter Halliday, Dennis Chinnery.  In non-Who-actor news, Nicol Williamson.

And now... Philip Madoc.

This is genuinely hard for me to take in.

Philip Madoc was a great actor.  An actor who could bend his whole shape into the character he was playing.  An actor who could move like an entirely different person from role to role... and watch the way he moves.  Solon moves in an entirely different manner to Fenner, who moves in an entirely different manner to the War Lord.  And he was a great vocal actor, able to give every character his own vocal rhythm and tone.

His performance as Solon in 'The Brain of Morbius' is burned into my memories of childhood.  I imagine that's true of many of us Who fans who grew up in the VHS years.

And there's the slimey, posh, ruthless spiv Brockley in the film version of Dalek Invasion.

Later, of course, (later for me, I mean) there was the War Lord.  A totally different entity to Solon.

Solon is flamboyant, jittery, vain, pompous, self-consciously machiavellian (to his own immature delight) and deeply ...

Going Native

Avatar is progressive in many ways.  It represents racism towards native people as stemming from imperialism.  It notices that imperialism is about capital accumulation, indicting a corporation along the way.  It shows an 'economy' in which spines can be repaired, but only if you have the dosh.  It metaphorically revisits the violent imperialist foundations of America - and any such settler colonial state - in a forthrightly disapproving way.  It supports the right of native people to violently resist conquest, even when Americans are doing the conquering.

Fair enough.

However, it is also deeply patronising towards native people.  To quote David Brooks' article in the New York Times:

It rests on the stereotype that white people are rationalist and technocratic while colonial victims are spiritual and athletic. It rests on the assumption that nonwhites need the White Messiah to lead their crusades. It rests on the assumption that illiteracy is the path to grace. It also creates a sort of two-edged cultural imperialism. Natives can either have their history shaped by cruel imperialists or benevolent ones, but either way, they are going to be supporting actors in our journey to self-admiration.

And, even better, here's ...

Economic Miracles

This is my Timelash II stuff on the subject of Graham Williams' tenure as producer... it's a bit thin because I've either posted about several stories from this era elsewhere or because I'm planning to.  Also, to be honest, some of the stories simply don't yield much grist for my mill.  That isn't to knock the Williams era, which contains some of the most politically interesting Who stories ever made (which is partly why they needed - or need - posts all to themselves).  Notice, for instance, how the stories glanced at below seem obsessed with fuel, economics and questions of prosperity vs. austerity... s'what comes of making Doctor Who in the context of the late 70s I guess...


I've written about 'Horror of Fang Rock' here and 'Image of the Fendahl' here.


'The Sun Makers'

This is from elsewhere on this blog, but it's part of a wider article.  I thought it could tolerate repeating... especially since 'Sun Makers' is a favourite of mine, for reasons which should be obvious.  I don't think, by the way, that this story has ever been more relevant than it is ...

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