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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.

5 Comments

  1. Bright Coat and Bravado
    July 10, 2014 @ 11:16 am

    Thanks for the plug, Jack! Fun fact: MY NAME IS ALSO JACK!

    Reply

  2. liminalD
    July 10, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    Well put. I quite liked the CMP when I was younger, I liked the epic grand narrative of it all, but as I have aged I find I like it less and less. Like you, I much prefer a Doctor who is awakened by interaction with the universe, who becomes great because of his exploration of the universe and its denizens, rather than a Doctor who is a saviour because of his inherent greatness as an exceptional part of a privileged, ruling elite.

    Reply

  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 14, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

    I wonder how much of this is hindsight, though. Which is to say, I think it's easy to miss the ways in which the Other is totally weird and unlike anything the series would do today, much like it's easy to miss all the ways that the Hartnell and Troughton eras in no way act like the Doctor is a Time Lord.

    One thing that strikes me about the Other is that I'm utterly unable to recall what the hell he actually did. He was basically Rassilon's conscience, yes? Did they ever establish anything else about what he did? You have all the War of the Pythia stuff, but through all of it he's just sort of the thorn in Rassilon's side that he can't just get rid of like he did Omega.

    So for the Doctor to be the Other reincarnated doesn't actually put him in a position of power. Indeed, he's specifically, from the very name, put on the outsides and the margins of Time Lord culture. I think it's wholly fitting that the Other barely scrapes through school – a huge part of the Other mythos is that he's a quite minor figure in the official histories of the Time Lords.

    It's very much not "Luke I am your father" epic stuff. It's much more "Luke I am your vagrant uncle that nobody in your family ever really talked to you about but who showed up drunk to your fifth birthday party and gave you a bicycle with some other kid's name painted on it."

    In hindsight, because Davies went in the direction of the big, epic Last of the Time Lords, the Other looks like a prototypical "Doctor as big mythic figure" thing, but to my mind it's wildly less epic than, say, "the Doctor is the person that the White Guardian entrusts the Key to Time to," or "the Doctor becomes Lord President of Gallifrey," or even "the Doctor saves the Time Lords from their greatest crisis." It's very much "the Doctor is the bit of grit in the machine that never goes away, no matter how much the official histories try to erase him." The Doctor becomes the spectre that haunts the Time Lord vision of history.

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  4. encyclops
    July 16, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

    Jack, I couldn't agree with you more, and I love the way you put it here.

    To Philip's point: I feel like even a legendary speck of grit in the machine is still legendary. To position him as part of a trinity with Rassilon and Omega — even the "humble outsider" part — and then to have him reincarnate with pretty much the same function is still to give him an epic destiny that sticks in my craw.

    Reply

  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 18, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

    But he's pointedly not part of the Trinity. His holiday is an obscure afterthought. The Other is part of a legendary trinity in the same way George Clymer is a founding father of the United States, which is to say, it's technically true, but nobody who uses the term is actively thinking of him.

    I don't think what's important about the Doctor-as-grit is that he's legendary grit. I think it's that he's eternal grit. He's what the grand system of the Time Lords can never quite erase, no matter how much they marginalize it and him.

    Reply

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