LIN’n’DA has allowed ‘Mr Kennedy’ into their little circle of friends. His determination to find the Doctor is the opposite of their desire to socialise & laugh while sharing their ideas & obsessions & histories. Even if much of what we know about LIN’n’DA is just Elton’s garbled wish-fulfillment, it’s still a nice story. Until Kennedy arrives. It’s never the same again. Hierarchy is introduced, along with work schedules & targets & orders & timetables & a drive for objective ‘results’.
“Though we had to admit,” recalls Elton, “he was right. His methods were much more rigorous. It felt like we were getting closer & closer to the Doctor.”
As if that had ever been the point.
“Umm, Mr Kennedy?” says Elton cautiously, raising his hand as though he’s a kid at school trying to attract the attention of his teacher… & actually, LI’n’DA’s headquarters now looks like a school room. The friends are sat at desks, toilng away individually & silently at private work. Mr Kennedy is every inch the teacher. He sits at the head of the room, behind a desk, surrounded by the paraphernalia of pedagogy.
“We were wondering…” Elton continues, “…no sign of Bliss. Do you know where she is?”
“Yes,” replies Kennedy irritibly, “didn’t she tell you? She’s getting married. She left a message. It’ll never last, stupid girl. Come on, back to work.”
Yes, back to work kids…
Thing is though, LI’n’DA doesn’t just look like a school room now. It also looks like an open plan office, or a call centre. The friends are now workers, arriving on time & working on projects according to the dictats of their new boss. He watches to make sure they don’t slack. He assesses their results. He expects to profit from their work. That’s what he’s in this for. LI’n’DA has become a Doctor-finding factory. LI’n’DA has been enclosed. Accumulation by dispossession. The relentless absorbtion of everything into itself: the essence of neoliberalism.
It’s no coincidence that the school room also looks like the workplace. The school system in capitalism is a way of training the future workforce to arrive on time five days a week, to savour the weekend, to obey orders, to work towards output targets, to have your work judged & tracked, & discipline oneself for a lifetime of showing up.
Kennedy is many things (teacher, boss, repressed misanthrope, caricature of the uber-fan…), but among them he is a summation of something the Doctor has found himself facing many times before: he’s capital as a monster.
He’s a ruthless, pin-striped posho… but it goes deeper than that. Like the Cybermen, he’s a user & utiliser, an employer, an encloser of hopes & dreams & friendship… & even flesh. Like so many monsters from the Wirrn to the Krynoids, he absorbs people into himself, first figuratively then literally. He encloses even the bodies of the workers in his factory, adapting them to his purposes, feeding off them & monopolising all life – just like a vampire, that gothic monster of capital. The Doctor has faced many vampires. Like one of them, Axos, Kennedy is unstable & protean.
The really scary thing is… if LI’n’DA is a group of Doctor Who fans, & Doctor Who is a commodity that absorbs their time & energy & money… doesn’t that also make Kennedy into Doctor Who itself? One form of commodity fetishism is over-investment in the commodities we love. This blog is evidence of that.
November 16, 2013 @ 2:28 pm
Yes, but you can recognise that, and that's your saving grace. Self-awareness is one of the things that makes you likeable.
November 16, 2013 @ 6:12 pm
November 16, 2013 @ 9:42 pm
Kennedy is New Who itself, latching onto something that was pure and sweet (classic Who/LINDA) and existed solely for pleasure and fun, and turning it into a soulless business operation.
November 16, 2013 @ 10:04 pm
Wow. Someone even grumpier than me. 😉