In response to ‘Day of the Moon’
So… the Doctor is now turned on by talking about shooting people and is happy to shake hands with a genocidal mass murderer. Meanwhile, he hypnotises the entire human race into becoming unthinking, automatic killers in order to wipe out a race who stand around in corners doing nothing.
Of course, we know they’re evil (and thus deserve it) because they’re ugly. And say generic evil things. And killed a lady in a toilet once for no reason at all.
I can handle the Doctor having a different morality. Shaking hands with Nixon (who was, by the way, as fascinating and complex as he was despicable… not that you’d know it from watching this) and utilising him as an ally…. yeah, okay. The Doc’s an alien. He’s not Noam Chomsky (not that one should need to be).
The trouble is that Moffat evidently has no awareness of any kind of the queasiness (to put it mildly) inherent in a largely neutral portrayal (some digs about tapes and being “tricky” aside) of a man who conspired to sabotage peace talks in order to get elected and dropped tonnes of bombs (not to mention flaming glue) on a nation of poor peasants.
I mean, Moffat gets that Nixon was a bit right-wing… but this is expressed in a scene where his eyes boggle at the idea of an FBI officer having a boyfriend. In other words, it’s a cultural problem. The mass murder is not on the radar.
“There are no monsters in the Oval office” said Nixon in that prologue thing. Even I thought that just HAD to be intended as ironic or double edged in some way. That it just HAD to be leading to some kind of criticism of the man. What a fool I was.
I’m not going to launch a rant about US Imperialism… but America is, and was then, an empire.
Moffat fails to notice this. Okay, maybe that’s not what the story is about… except that the story isn’t just about ‘America’ as a culture or a nation of people. (In fact, the American people barely figure at all.) It’s focused on the American President. The American Government. The American military-industrial complex. The American federal law-enforcement service. And so on. They all feature. Much more than ANY other aspect of America.
Moffat even mentions Rome. An empire. Is a parallel drawn? Even obliquely? Nope. It ain’t even on the radar. In a story in which the Doctor explicitly (and fatuously) talks about “leading a revolution” against “the Romans”, the Doctor ends up shaking hands with Nixon.
Do I want Doctor Who to be left-wing propaganda for kids? No, of course not. That isn’t what I’m saying. But pardon me if I can’t resist remarking on the sheer mindless complacency of what I just saw. The writer’s sheer unawareness of even the vaguest of issues raised by the semiotics that he’s playing with.
To move beyond the more predictable (for me) political whinges…
It’s quite an achievement… to fill 45 minutes with the breezy, showoffish, tricksy manipulation of plot images and motifs, and to:
a) create not one of them… that’s NOT ONE… that was vaguely original, that hadn’t been seen or done somewhere else before,
b) to include not one… that’s NOT ONE… actual, distinct, discernible IDEA.…