Viewing posts tagged the slow death of western civilisation

The No Man

Well, I watched 'The Snowmen'.

It started badly, with the loner as unhealthy future villain. Watch out for the loners everybody - they're scary.

It briefly picked up with a rather good new title sequence.

Then we got into the mystery section, which was okay. I have serious issues with the idea that the Doctor is now mates with a Silurian and a Sontaran. Both races should hate his guts, the Silurians with good reason.  He's repeatedly failed to do anything but posture some platitudes for these Palestinians of the Who-world.  And then either sit by while his mates kill them, or kill them himself.  And the Sontarans don't work as comedy pratts.  I remember when they were satirical deconstructions of literal-mindedness and militarism, compared archly to medieval chivalric hypocrisy.  Now they're straight men.

But some of the jokes were funnyish, even if they did rely on the idea that it's okay to mock people for being short, looking odd, etc.

The spiral staircase was nice.

But then... Look, it's now clear that this show has no ambition to be anything more than put-down comedy and sentimentality, interspersed with stuff ...

A Role Model

In an age when the suffocating omnipresence of the imperatives of neoliberalism has penetrated every single corner of culture - aggressively colonizing even the formely overlooked, underpoliced nooks and crannies where eccentricity and offbeatitude used to be free to spring up like hardy weed - and even the supposedly nerdy heroes have to be marketably thin, sexy and dressed in geek chic, it might do us all good to remember...

My.  Fucking.  Hero.

Maybe some of us BELONG in the fields

A very good overview of the squalid pass to which Moffat has brought the show in its 50th anniversary year, with special attention paid to the issue of mysoginy, via River and Clara:

...we're not being encouraged to think there's something wrong with this person [River]: it's the show itself that comes across as jaded and withdrawn from empathy and decency to a psychopathic extent (and what a charming ethical copout to have the Doctor leave before he can witness the rest of the killing). Again, we have the depressingly widespread idea that a woman acting violently is empowering and a corrective to sexism and misogyny. When questioned about his ability with female characters during a Guardian interview Moffat replied:

River Song? Amy Pond? Hardly weak women. It's the exact opposite. You could accuse me of having a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people. That would be fair.
It would indeed. Unfortunately, a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people is no substitute for an interest in human beings.

I don't agree with every jot and tittle of this, but it ...

Not With A Bang

Some assumptions 'Closing Time' relies upon: a man being rubbish at looking after a baby is richly hilarious; James Corden has talent of some kind; it's still amusing when someone wrongly thinks two men are a couple.  All very questionable.

And, as ever, (heteronormative) love conquers all.  It kills Cybermen because emotions 'n' stuff, yeah?  Okay, they did something like that in 'The Invasion', but at least there it was any emotion, and it made the Cybermen go bonkers instead of just conveniently dying of endoftheepisodeitis.  Notice the utterly pedestrian, idea-free logic here.  You kill the loveless things with love.  That's like saying you kill poor people with money.  I know the gold thing was stupid, but at least that suggested the logic of using a magical metallic talisman against the zombies.  And at least, when the Cybermen got killed by gold or gravity or radiation, they were simply defeated and chased off rather than being negated or solved.  Kill a Cyberman with radiation and you simply defeat his physical presence.  Kill him with love and you solve him.  You explain him away.  You fill the ...

Tygers & Horses

"The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction" said William Blake in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and on lots of European walls in the 60s, and under the cover of an Eighth Doctor Adventure by Kate Orman.

I disagree.  I think you need the horses of instruction just as much as you need the tygers of wrath.  The thing about the tygers is that they chase you.  The thing about the horses is that you have to chase them.  If you've got a horse ahead of you and a tyger behind... well, that's not comfortable, but it's the better way round.  It gives you both a strong impetus and a goal.

Of course, horses can be wild and tygers can be calm.

I'll stop there.  All analogies can be pushed to breaking point.  Even the ones invented by geniuses.

In the DNA

Happy birthday Douglas Noel Adams.  Shame about you dying, but still.

I hear there's a new TV series based on Dirk Gently.  I haven't watched it.  With is odd.  If someone had told me, even ten years ago, that there would one day be a Dirk Gently TV show and I wouldn't watch it, I'd have thought they were insane.

But look at this.

That's Dirk, apparently.

Funny.  It reminds me of something.

Oh yeah.

In the novels, Dirk is described as fat, ugly and toadlike with a wildly mismatched clothes, a long leather coat and a ludicrous red hat.

Still, that wouldn't make good telly, would it?

Adams was, in his way, as concerned with entropy as Bidmead.  He even has Skagra mention it in 'Shada'.  Entropy, of course, is the shuffling of everything into predictability.  The ultimate terminus of increasing entropy is the reduction of all things to homogeneous porridge.

Just saying.

Adams himself was very concerned with the corporate crapization of everything into synthetic banality.  It's a running concern of the Hitch Hikers books, from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to Infinidim ...

Trouble & Strife

Just brought myself to watch the Neil Gaiman one. 


Bunch of tricks.  Everything, from the mail-cube to the supposedly scary goings-on in the TARDIS corridors turned out to be a trick of some kind.

In line with Gaiman's usual style, it was a load of cynical and calculated pandering to his market's baser instincts (fanwank) while also patronising them. 

The makeshift lashup junk-TARDIS was like the writer was patting the old show on the head and going "awww, bless". 

Such condescension would be obnoxious but justifiable if Gaiman's episode had expanded and fulfilled and outclassed the best of the old show.  But it didn't.  It was meaningless and equivocal as a compliment.  It was like someone who claimed to love me giving me a Jeffrey Archer paperback as a birthday gift. However warm the inscription, it'd be obvious that the gift-giver didn't really know or care about me at all.

It was vacuous and superficial, which was all the worse because it toyed listlessly and disinterestedly with concepts (rejectamenta, reclamation, reconstruction) which are potentially oneiric, semiotically rich and thematically charged.  Gaiman used them as ...

Spot the Difference (Hint: There Isn't One)

Practically indistinguishable, aren't they?

Two utterly generic, handsome-in-a-slightly-unusual-but-not-too-unusual-way blokes, both with hairdos that were carefully shaped to look messy, both in geek chic costumes, both playing dreary 'modern' versions of fictional protagonists who have now become brands and nothing more, both as bland as fuck.

How telling that the RT can deliberately put them both on the same cover... without realising that, in so doing, they're demonstrating the paralysing homogeneity to which two great characters have now been brought by a cavalcade of cynical, philistine, cultural vandals.

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