2017-09-06

On discovering one's new doctor is a girl...

There are certain global roles which are more important than run of the mill A-list celebrities and international leaders.

One of these roles was recently reassigned...  That's not the right word, what is it they say? "Appointed?" — No.  "Elected?" — No!  What do they say?  Oh yes...

"Regenerated"


The Doctor is an imaginary hero, and imaginary heroes are singularly important people.

Firstly because they are heroes.  Mere Presidents, Leaders of the Opposition, and Secretary Generals of the UN fade into insignificance beside heroes.  Leaders can only tell you what to do, but a hero can show you who to be.

But imaginary heroes outrank even real heroes because real heroes are only human, and consequently flawed.  It is a pity we're psychologically incapable of accepting that somebody can be a hero and a bastard simultaneously, or even a villain and a very nice guy (1).

But a fictional hero can be superhuman, transhuman, or even not human at all. Furthermore, they can face problems cunningly constructed to parallel awkward moral corners and demonstrate how a suitably progressed nature overcomes all challenges.

So if real heroes show us who who to be, then imaginary heroes give us aspirations for who we would be in the best of all possible worlds.  They show us what things could be like after we've sorted all this irritating mundane crap.

Imaginary heroes give us something to aim for, something in fact, to aim the whole World at (2).

So now The Doctor is going to be a woman and what could be better than that?  You wouldn't want to steer a World ignoring half of the passengers, would you?







On discovering one's new doctor is a girl...


I - which part of
fiction did you not understand?

The writers write and can write what they like:
make him an accountant, make him a fraud;
they could have Ian Chesterton wake up,
in January nineteen sixty four,
and call the whole damn thing a dream, a trip
more psychedelic than extraterrestrial

and the TARDIS only bigger inside his head.


II - which part of
science fiction did you not understand?

I mean, really, have you read the literature?
Forget the tiny part that gets to film,
because Sci-fi is at core about the different

the unusual, the strange. We've had hero robots
hero ghosts, heroes who were nobody,
we've had heroes who were toast

and brought back from the dead, irreligiously.

So a female hero should not be a stretch, especially
as "different", "unusual" and "strange" need not apply.

So perhaps the problem is the other side
of the equation, because Sci-fi is secretly about the day
in which it's written: the doomsday weapon fifties,

the cyberpunk eighties -- you get the idea...
So maybe an effortlessly superior, hyper-intelligent
witty, humane and technologically supported woman

is too close to the knuckle, for the average office drone?
Well get over it.



III - Which part of
alien did you not understand?

It's infeasibly lucky for Time Lord's to have hands
that the slightly vulnerable, yet gutsy, cute
and sometimes awestruck companion can hold.

Bilateral symmetry, being less
than one mile in diameter, a smooth
and spike-free outer skin, non-radioactive

a working temperature below one thousand degrees --
there's none of these we have a right to assume,
but every time we've thrown the dice and looked

at page two-six-four-one-three of the DM's guide
and the regeneration table, we've always rolled
not even a funky Klingon forehead.

You never quibbled at a pair of hearts
why so much trouble with a pair of breasts?


IV - It's not political.

I have heard otherwise well-meaning people say...
Hell yes it is! This is a choice made
before the public gaze. This is us when we say

we do not need the word "heroine". This is
the very best of Dr Who: grandstanding
and soliloquising all the way up to someone else's line

drawn in the sand and, when
the whole room is focussing on her,
rubbing out the line with the toe of one sensible shoe

before stepping across and strolling off
into the future that should already be.



(1) If we understood intellectually that we're all flawed, and therefore did not (for example) expect politicians to keep their trousers on, or policemen to be inhumanly incorruptible, patient, disinterested, perfect observers and the peak of physical fitness then the World would be a happier and simpler place.

(2) Which is why I do not grumble on rare occasions when the somebody needs picking up in the middle of night — it's the closest I can get to materializing in a magical blue box at to save the day...



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