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Jack Graham

Jack Graham wrote about Doctor Who and Marxism, often at the same time. These days he co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper.Support Jack on Patreon.

10 Comments

  1. David Brain
    December 8, 2015 @ 2:36 pm

    I must admit that I am willing to give a bit of respect to the Horrible Histories tv shows which do sometimes go out of their way to admit that most people who make it to the “top” are generally not nice, although admittedly it’s usually only for the purposes of a joke. It’s generally quite a good joke though.

    And I find it hard to blame the BBC for taking a pro- establishment line; after all, that’s what they have always done, regardless of the political persuasion of the government of the day. (And yet they are still able to run some moderately challenging reportage from time-to-time, albeit in narrower and narrower spaces.)

    And the other part of the problem is the one of fake patriotism. The notion that suggesting that one’s own country (whether now or at some time in the past) may not be perfect has become equated in some minds with being a de facto traitor – which makes it difficult to debate the issue openly. As a result, you get people who are presenting themselves as potential leaders of their country making statements that focus all the pressure outwards (or, if inwards, on very specific targets) so that they cannot be portrayed as traitors to their country, regardless of what effect this might have.

    Reply

    • flash
      December 9, 2015 @ 2:23 pm

      I’ll second that re: Horrible Histories 🙂

      If the BBC taking a pro-establishment line had no side effects then it wouldn’t be much of an issue. But, as one of the major organisations ‘informing’ the public, they have a good deal of influence over public opinion. If the BBC really presented an impartial view, the government would find it a lot harder to go to war or dismantle the NHS.

      Reply

  2. Max Curtis
    December 8, 2015 @ 7:46 pm

    Nixon works for me because he’s literally trotted out as a hollow symbol of the age and of his office. They could’ve done more to show what a despicable, undemocratic monster he is. I mean, the guy derailed Vietnam’s peace talks to save his campaign. But I think Moffat did an adequate job of portraying Nixon as a problematic figure without going into a list of his crimes. Had the same been done with Churchill, I probably would’ve been satisfied.

    Reply

  3. Citizen_Alan
    December 8, 2015 @ 8:12 pm

    The whole point of Victory of the Daleks was to do theme park Britain. The money shot was the absurdity image of jolly RAF lads in Spitfires flying into outer space to fight the Daleks. Once the decision was made to place Winston Churchill in that milieu, he was always going to be a patriotic icon rather than a recognizable human being. Viewed that way, the white-washing of his character is no more objectionable than the rest of that silly episode (one of my least favorite of the Matt Smith era). And in any case, I can hardly say too much in complaint, what with all the $5 bills in my wallet which all depict the face of Andrew Jackson, America’s original genocidal madman.

    Reply

    • sptrashcan
      December 8, 2015 @ 8:46 pm

      Jackson is on the $20. Lincoln is on the $5.

      Reply

      • ianmcin
        December 9, 2015 @ 9:36 am

        sptrashcan: Shhh, don’t tip him off!

        Alan: I don’t suppose I could trade you a ten for two of those “fives”?

        Reply

      • Jarl
        December 9, 2015 @ 11:48 pm

        Also, he was hardly the original.

        Reply

  4. theoncominghurricane
    December 9, 2015 @ 2:05 am

    I’m deeply uncomfortable with Victory’s representation of Churchill and particularly the Doctor being friends with him, but have come up with a headcanon that the Doctor has spent so much time around Britain that he’s inherited our biases and blind spots in terms of history, and literally does not know the problems with him.

    Nixon…that’s an interesting revision from your previous position of the Doctor being chums with him, which is at least an improvement. But if the plot of the episode dictates that he has to work with Nixon, how much queasiness can be shown without derailing the episode? As it is, The Doctor puts on a performance of amiability, but dislikes what he’s done (Vietnam War mentioned in particular) enough that he sets him up for Watergate for shits and giggles.

    As for the BBC correspondent, while I agree with pretty much everything here, is he speaking in personal or professional capacity? It makes a slight difference as to whether or not his point is ‘we’d never censor history for our kids’. Not much, though, and the two may be inextricably linked.

    Reply

    • John
      December 9, 2015 @ 10:59 am

      Is there any prominent Briton of the year 1941 that the Doctor could be friends with who would not have some horribly compromising association with horrific events?

      Are we picking on Churchill, in particular, or is it basically just “the British Empire was bad, and we shouldn’t celebrate anyone associated with it?”

      And why should the Doctor’s friendship with Churchill be in any way surprising? He was good friends with the Brigadier, who attempted to commit genocide against an entire species. Obviously, the Brig is fictitious while Churchill was a real person, but doesn’t that make it worse?

      Reply

  5. Jarl
    December 9, 2015 @ 11:52 pm

    Meanwhile, in America, our biggest state (the one that drives much of the education standard for the middle of the country) puts out history books with no mention of slavery and, for that matter, no mention of Thomas Jefferson. After all, slavery was bad, and if the founding fathers owned slaves, wouldn’t that make America bad? We can’t have that sort of existential nationalist crisis going on in our children’s minds! They’re not advanced enough to learn what Cognitive Dissonance is! Best to just leave ’em out. The constitution was handed down by god to St. George Washington, on the occasion of him slaying the great British dragon.

    Reply

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