Viewing posts tagged religion

10

"We waited here in the dark space," booms the Dalek Emperor, "damaged but rebuilding. Centuries passed, and we quietly infiltrated the systems of Earth, harvesting the waste of humanity. The prisoners, the refugees, the dispossessed. They all came to us. The bodies were filtered, pulped, sifted. The seed of the human race is perverted. Only one cell in a billion was fit to be nurtured."

So, In Russell's rewrite of 'Revelation of the Daleks' (which would be a better title for this story than it was for Saward's script), the Daleks are no longer harvesting the elite.  Brought to the brink of extinction, they have been forced to resurrect themselves from the 'dregs'... which seems to be synonymous with the contestants who lose game shows.  The Daleks take the people who get knocked out before the finale.  Because the Daleks have become TV producers.  They've become the people who run Big Brother and Trinny & Susannah and The Weakest Link.  They've become the bosses of reality TV.  They've become Simon Cowell.  (Which is kind of an insult to the Daleks, if you ask me.)

Big Brother, in our ...

15

"What if there's no one out there?" asks the Doctor.  He's inside the Brannigans' floating car, stuck in gridlock.

What if the world ended when you weren't looking?

"Someone's got to ask, because you might not talk about it, but it's there in your eyes. What if the traffic jam never stops?"

"There's a whole city above us," says Brannigan, "The mighty city state of New New York. They wouldn't just leave us."

"In that case, where are they?" counters the Doctor.  "What if there's no help coming, not ever? What if there's nothing? Just the motorway, with the cars going round and round and round and round, never stopping. Forever."

What if the whole system is an utterly insane roundalay, going nowhere, getting noplace, just leaving everyone stranded, doing nothing but belching out endless clouds of toxic smoke?  What if the crisis is permanent.  What if normality is the crisis?  What if everyday life is the end of the world?

Walter Benjamin said that history was a train crash, and revolution was when the passengers pulled the communication cord.  The people of New New ...

39

The sacred mountain of the Sarns is being engulfed.  Turlough tries to persuade Timanov and the faithful to flee.

"Leave us alone," says Timanov, "We wish to die with our settlement."

You have to wonder if some of the others are truly eager to die needlessly, or whether they are just still under the spell of Timanov's authority.  This is a man who has condemned people to burn many times.

A silver figure walks into the room.

"Logar!" cries Timanov, thinking he is seeing his god.

"On your feet!" shouts the figure.  He is offended by bended knees, yet he is hectoring in his command.  He removes his helmet.  It is Amyand, 'leader' of the unbelievers, wearing a heat-proof suit.  (The Sarn religion is a 'cargo cult', but we'll complain about that - and everything that goes with it - some other time.)

"A deception," says Timanov quietly, a bitter laugh in his voice, "Another deception.  And from a heretic."

Amyand holds out his hand.  There is a way out.

"You will never understand, Amyand," says Timanov quietly, "Logar is everywhere.  He cares for the faithful."

But perhaps it's Timanov ...

That Isn't Right

It occurs to me that this post (in which I had a go at 'The Reign of Terror' for giving us a thoroughly reactionary and misleading picture of the French Revolution) should've been called 'That Isn't Right'. So I've given that title to this post instead, which is also about all manner of wrongness in the representation of history.

I wasn't going out on much a limb dissing 'The Reign of Terror' (the acronym of which is TROT, amusingly enough); nobody is terribly attached to it.  'The Aztecs', by contrast, is one of those stories that fan opinion tends to think of as irreducibly Good.  It isn't that everybody likes it, but anyone trying to say that it's Bad definitely has the burden of proof upon them.

I'm not actually going to say that it's bad, as such.  On the whole, it's very well made.  But....


Black and White and Red All Over

"Tell me, Aged Servant of Yetaxa...
do you approve of interracial marriage?"
Firstly, the Aztecs are played by white people.  It's not easy to tell for sure, but it looks like at ...

The Moment Has (Almost Certainly) Been Prepared For...

It's the end of an era.  He's quit and they'll have to find a replacement. 

Of course, the show will go on.  Eras end.  New ones begin.  The way they can just change the guy in the role every few years is key to the long-running success of the whole thing. 

Shame it's always a white guy.  Why not try a woman or a black person next?  Just once. 

I know some people have a problem with that notion, saying they'd be unable to relate to the character if he changed gender or skin colour... but I think that's just sexism or racism in disguise. 

If the role can be played by a completely different guy every few years - with a different height, different accent, etc. - then why can't he also have different naughty bits or epidermal pigmentation?  This last guy was much younger than the last one, for instance! 

I think it's silly to insist on such arbitrary notions of continuity when all the underlying notions are so fantastical and absurd.  Part of the appeal of the thing ...

Getting into a Lava

Posting this for something to do.  It's a tweaked version of something I originally wrote for Shockeye's Kitchen.  It's been rewritten to be more politically correct.


Several of the characters in 'Planet of Fire' are orphans (either literally or figuratively). Turlough and Malkon are literal orphans. You can look at the Sarns as the orphans of the vanished Trion colony. Peri also seems like an orphan in some ways. Her father is absent (dead?). She tells her stepfather Howard of her plan to travel to Morocco but doesn’t appear to have any plans to tell her mother about it. She goes to Howard for support and money, not to her mother. But Howard is too close to Peri’s age to properly serve as a father figure. Moreover, Peri seems attracted to him; she flirts with him by talking about "the God of love and fertility" and obliquely refers to the fact that he goes around displaying his washboard. Her decision to bunk off to North Africa with a couple of guys she’s just met is obviously a bid for Howard’s attention. Feverish after her brush with death, Peri has an intense ...

Give Us This Day

One of the first materialisations of the commodity was prayer.

Monasteries were the producers and vendors.  The monks were poor and humble, hence godly, hence their prayers were valuable, hence they became rich... and yet the prayers retained their exchange value after being emptied of their supposed theological use value, which was composed in the specious poverty of their producers.

The commodity has always been a fetish, its exchange value always immaterial, its use value always dependent partly on our subjectivities.  The idea of damnation made prayer a commodity, just as the reality of cold made wood a commodity.

And the putative virtue of the monastery foreshadows the self-asserted ethics of the corporation.

This is not idealism.  This is real materialism.


Just saying.

Abide With Me 2.0

This is an edited and partly-rewritten version of something I posted at the old site.



In a world in which 99% of all TV is 99% predictable 99% of the time, ‘Gridlock’ seems like an impertinent rejoinder to everything else on the screen, as though the Doctor Who production team are blowing contemptuous raspberries at the people who churn out all the beige wallpaper that constitutes most modern telly. ‘Gridlock' hammers every bit of mass-produced, by-the-numbers, formulaic drama that clogs up the channels. Then, just for good measure, it laughingly refuses to play by the rules of Doctor Who, old or new.

There is no invasion and no tyranny to topple; there are no corridors and no captures (well, there’s one… sort of) and no escapes; there are no fascist guards, no rebels, no evil masterminds; there is no ticking time-bomb, no race against time, no evil plot for the Doctor to foil. Other writers might have made the story about the Doctor trying to stop everyone dying because of the BLISS patches. In ‘Gridlock’, RTD has the Doctor arrive when this is all over and almost everyone is long dead. Imagine what ‘The Ark in Space’ would’ve ...

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