The Way We Live Now
Capaldi. Wow. I’d have put money on it being some new variation on the Tenant/Smith entity. A young relative unknown with male model looks (one reason Moffat says he hired Smith is that he looked like someone who got photographed wearing pants for a living). I admit, I’m astonished. Capaldi is a genuinely great choice (if only I could believe he’s likely to get decent scripts to work with).
Of course, the Doctor is STILL not a woman or a person of colour… but I’m not ‘disappointed’ because I never expected that to happen. Either written by Moffat would’ve been likely to end up as a blood-curdling, shaming disaster. As one bizarre online comment has it, Moffat’s idea of a woman Doctor wouldn’t have pleased “internet anti-equality feminists” (whatever the bloody hell an ‘anti-equality feminist’ might be).
So it’s probably just as well that Moffat has – completely out of left-field – cast an older, male, white Scotsman.
On the subject of online comment… Facebook and Twitter are now plastered in remarks and memes in which fans sneer at all the (supposedly) weepy young fangirls who’re unimpressed with Capaldi because he’s not young and hot.
There’s a bit of me that sympathises with the derision, if I’m honest. These young whippersnappers are annoying (largely because they’re young and happy and I’m neither)… but the comment on this has immediately become venomously contemptuous and sneeringly sexist. Because the focus is clearly on the silly, hormonal young wimmenz.
|Yeah, ‘cos that’s just what the Fourth Doctor symbolises: sneering at young women.|
There’s also a YouTube video doing the rounds of a young woman, possibly a teenager (I can’t tell anymore; anyone under thirty looks like a foetus to me nowadays) reacting unhappily to the announcement that the new Doc will be an older, craggy fella. Take a look at the comments below it. I shouldn’t need to quote them. They’re all too predictable.
As I say: misogynistic society + internet anonymity = ugly honesty.
Apart from anything else, this is rank hypocrisy. Just imagine the tantrums from the legions of sad, middle-aged fanboys if the new companion were an older, craggy actress rather than some perky young ingenue that they’d like to daydream about tupping.
Still, that’s sexism for you. The sense of entitlement on the part of the privileged is so ingrained that it isn’t even noticed, and any challenge to it as perceived as persecution or silliness.
On a related issue (well, it’s the same issue really), it seems Moffat took the opportunity of the Capaldi announcement to sneer at the idea of a woman Doctor. He says, sarcastically, that he wants a man to play the Queen.
Well doesn’t that just say it all?
Firstly, Moff, why do you always, instinctively run to establishment authority figures? You creep.
Secondly… OH YEAH ‘COS NO MEN HAVE EVER PLAYED WOMEN HAVE THEY!?!?!?!?! I MEAN, IT’S NOT AS IF CROSS-DRESSING AND DRAG ARE INBUILT, AGE-OLD ASPECTS OF THE BRITISH THEATRICAL AND TELEVISUAL TRADITION!!!!! IT’S NOT LIKE MALE ACTORS, MALE WRITERS AND MALE PRODUCERS HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATING FEMALE CHARACTERS AND EXPERIENCES FOR, LITERALLY, CENTURIES, IS IT!?!?!?
Of course, that’s not even the point. Indeed, Moffat’s glib deflection is a paradigmatic example of entitled fanboy tactical point-missing. But we’ll let it pass. I’m not here going to rehearse, yet again, the same rhetorical questions about why an alien who changes his entire body periodically can’t spend some time having a fanny instead of a willy.
Oh dear, look, I just rehearsed it.
The real point here is that the Doctor is a cultural marker who punches well above his weight. And he is currently an exclusionary marker masquerading as an inclusive one. Still, as I say, that’s the norm… and any challenge to it is perceived as persecution or silliness.
August 6, 2013 @ 10:21 am
I'm really happy with Capaldi being cast. I thought it was just the bookies picking up on fan speculation and was amazed that it turned out to be true. He should be excellent.
I've never seen fandom so united.
Good how you commented on how the companion has to be the "dolly bird". I hate the double standard whereby old, plain men appear on TV but nearly all the women are identikit blonde, pretty, thin but busty twentysomethings. They sacked Arlene Phillips from Strictly but Bruce is still there. It's utterly disgusting too that vile people are threatening sexual violence against Mary Beard, a knowledgeable and entertaining presenter, because a woman has the nerve to speak in public without being hot.
I am in the why shouldn't the Doctor change reproductive organs or skin tone if he changes everything else too.
I saw a comment on the Philip Sandifer blog that Capaldi could play Moffat. I thought myself that this has a vibe of JN-T making the Sixth Doctor in his own image. Twelve could be an idealised author self-insert character. I would hope though that an experienced actor like Capaldi plays it exactly how he wants.
August 6, 2013 @ 10:30 am
This is great, what a celebration. Even Jack "Alien 3 was too upbeat" Graham* is happy about the brillaint choice of Peter Capaldi.
Shame it couldn't last long eh Jack? Before the rest of the world's prejudice and privledged attitudes rained on the parade. Now you've made me sad too. (sigh) I'll put Terminus on for a laugh,
My hope is that having worked with the likes of Stephen Frears, Bill Forsyth and Ken Russell, having sought out genuinely challenging roles in things like Prime Suspect 3 and having won an Oscar, Capaldi will have more of a say over things and steer it in an interesting direction.
The man knows quality, has some clout and above all takes risks
PS Sorry you don't like Kinda anymore
August 6, 2013 @ 5:00 pm
If you thought the fanbase reaction to the fangirls' reaction was misogynistic, imagine what the reaction would've been if the new Doctor had a vagina.
Which would be nothing compared to the reaction if the new Doctor had been black.
Which itself would pale in comparison to the reaction if the new Doctor had been… American.
August 6, 2013 @ 5:34 pm
That settles it. We need Whoopi.
August 6, 2013 @ 10:46 pm
I'm glad you picked up on Moffat's snide fucking Queen comment as well. My dearly beloved but entrenchedly misogynistic father thought it was brilliantly witty – I thought it was a glib and meaningless deflection of Moffat's own, awful sensibilities. Here's the fundamental reason why it's different: the Queen is a real life cis woman who has so far not made any indication that she'd like to be a man. The Doctor is a FICTIONAL FUCKING CHARACTER who changes his body every couple of years. It's a typical bit of straw-man defence set up as a joke, and I got really angry when Moffat said it.
August 8, 2013 @ 8:23 am
I, sir, am outraged by your outrage to the outrage to the outrage to the casting announcement.
August 8, 2013 @ 10:00 am
Sure, why not Whoopi? She has, after all, an enviable sci-fi pedigree.
I do have to ask though, in the entire history of the show, in or out of 'canon,' where do we find a case of a Time Lord changing race or gender when regenerating? Where's the precedent? Given the "OMG, he's white and male, AGAIN!" reaction, one would think I slept through a lost season between Graham and JNT when David Bowie played Romana III, or that there's a series of Big Finish audios in which the Rani is male.
Ironic, isn't it, that the only time the Doctor was played by a woman and the Master had breasts was in an episode written by Steven Moffat…
(PS – His quip about the Queen WAS pretty fucking stupid.)
August 8, 2013 @ 10:49 am
I don't think a precedent is needed, but there is one. Of sorts. 'Destiny of the Daleks', episode 1. Romana briefly tries on the body of a person with metallic blue skin. In SF terms, that's a change of species… but I reckon it'll do.
August 8, 2013 @ 10:50 am
Actually, thinking about it, Princess Astra is from Atrios not Gallifrey, so when Romana adopts her appearance that's also a SF change of species.
August 8, 2013 @ 1:03 pm
Crossing to another franchise, I get really uncomfortable with the use of the phrase 'near human' in Star Wars lore. Some of the 'species' that come under this heading are no more different to 'proper' humans than real world racial variations in homo sapiens here on Earth. Pygmies would probably be classed as 'near human' if they were in the Star Wars galaxy, which is a frightening thought.
August 9, 2013 @ 7:19 am
If people want a series about a Time Lady, they should first listen to the radio plays featuring Romana (about twenty plays in the Gallifrey series) or those featuring Iris Wildthyme. Those are very enjoyable, and I highly recommend them.
August 10, 2013 @ 10:59 am
I think he was referring to Quentin Crisp, who really did play the Queen in the adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando.
Still rooting for the Swinton Doctor.
September 5, 2013 @ 11:02 am
I might be the only person here (or anywhere) who holds all of these ideas in their head at once….
a) the Doctor should be played by the best actor for the role regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, ancestry, or "able"ness…
b) that it's high time they cast a woman as the Doctor, or at least a non-white person…
c) that while Moffat perhaps gets too much stick for being sexist, and while a lot of the "evidence" against him seems to be based on a quote that was taken out of context by a Scottish tabloid nine years ago… yeah, he really needs to be more careful with how he treats his female characters, and isn't it interesting how no women have written for the show in five years, and Clara's a bit of a "manic pixie dreamgirl" isn't she, and…
d) I have no problem whatsoever with his "a man should play the Queen" joke.
Because it was a joke.
That he directed towards Helen Mirren.
Not all women. Helen Mirren.
Who played the Queen.
And won an Oscar for it.
That's why he said it.
And yes, it's true that the Doctor doesn't have to be male, being a shape changing alien whose race can change gender (a fact that was established in an episode script edited by Russell T. Da- whoops, no, sorry, it was an episode script edited by that Evil Ol' Woman Hater Moffat…). So the joke doesn't quite hold up. And it certainly came across as offensive to many – and this is what I mean when I say he needs to be more careful…
…but, no, I have no problem with a rich-and-famous writer-of-privilege teasing a rich-and-famous actress-of-privilege about a role that won her universal acclaim and an Oscar and stuff. I think Helen Mirren's tough enough to handle it.
And – yes – she'd make an awesome Doctor. Though not as awesome as Tilda Swinton.
October 29, 2013 @ 2:17 pm
Yeah, the gender of a fictional character on a shitty TV show is a real important issue, clearly Moffat and other shitty writers are the filthy pigs keeping patriarchy in place, unlike the delightful SWP's Central Committee protecting rapists in their midst- whoops, let's not mention that.
Jesus Christ, is this what passes for revolutionary politics in the English-speaking world? Then again, it says a lot that multi-millionaire wankers like Russell Brand get hailed when they speak the fucking abvious, and people turn to the far-right for answers, as the actual 'revolutionaries' are too busy whining about whatever piece of mass-market shite as if that's the way to change things.
October 29, 2013 @ 6:28 pm
Just to clarify:
1. I'm not a member of the SWP, I never have been, and I never will be, and
2. This blog doesn't pretend to be making a serious contribution to revolutionary politics – there are, thankfully, many better people than me out there, doing that better than I ever could.
This is a Doctor Who blog, with all the problems that entails.
Thanks for stopping by though.
November 27, 2013 @ 5:19 am
"I'm not a member of the SWP, I never have been, and I never will be"
You were never a member of the BBC yet you didn't hesitate to jump on the Saville bandwagon and then politicise it, yet I'd think one of the dominant radical leftist parties (once again) acting like corrupt authoritarian bastards and pretty much tarring what remains of the Left is a far more pressing concern – at a time when far-right, racist wankers like UKIP and whatever are clawing their way up – and what are you activisty types doing – nah never mind about silly stuff like that, whining about crappy TV shows and comics while chucking stupid activisty jargon is the real important issue!
"This blog doesn't pretend to be making a serious contribution to revolutionary politics"
Amazingly enough, that describes the entirety of the "Social Justice" wank – little more than puffed-up liberal/identity poltical dreck – and its real relation to politics. Then again, only a decade ago primitivism and CrimethInc were all the rage among the same types, so just another shitty fad that's enamoured what's left of the Left (ho ho).
December 21, 2013 @ 8:38 pm
Oh, here we go. "I'm more right-on and politically active/aware than you are." Look, sweetie, we all wave our metaphorical willies about one thing or another: if radical politics is where you want to show that you have the biggest wang, then go to a radical politics blog, This one is primarily about Doctor Who.