Doctor Who Fan Purge

Doctor Who Live : The Next DoctorSo after almost four years of Matt Smith the announcement was passed down yesterday that our new Doctor will be none other than Peter Capaldi. The Scottish born actor has actually been in an episode before (The Fires of Pompeii, the same episode that Karen Gillian acted in during season four). By now people have combed over his body of work and tracked down anything they they could on the man. The BBC had a photo ready for release within minutes of the announcement (which was broadcast simultaneously in many countries at once).

There were memes flying about and a generally fun attitude about the whole thing or at least I thought that until I saw Twitter and Facebook. A storm of fans were upset that the actor was older and not attractive. The lot that was brought up in the time between the old show and the new who got hooked on the show after Tennant’s tenure don’t seem to know what the show is actually about. It certainly isn’t anything to do with eye candy.

Some might argue differently, what with the companions, but even then the Companions are expected to have something interesting to keep us watching besides a look. I think David Tennant’s looks got over played and he wasn’t as good as everyone acted. I think Matt Smith got a rather unappreciated tenure because he wasn’t attractive in that typical way. And I think Peter Capaldi is the perfect actor to tae us further away from this being another show about sexy male hearth throbs and romantic subplot. I had hoped for a female Doctor, someone like Tilda Swinton.

But that brings me to my next point and the overall problem I have with all of this. The Doctor Who fandom, that is to say the fans themselves, tend to be rather terrible people. This isn’t true of all of them, but we’ve seen racism, ageism and sexism all rear their heads in this discussion about the next Doctor. We’ve seen people petitioning that they were going to quit watching the show if X type of person got chosen to be Doctor. (And by last pole numbers people who would leave with a Female Doctor ran up to about 15%)

The fandom isn’t adaptive, friendly or open minded to change in a show where literally the whole dynamic can change. Just look at some of the bullshit that was on Facebook after the announcement:

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You’re going to have click to enlarge them. There was similar sentiment on Tumblr and Twitter. The thing is that it’s bad for a show to cater to these kinds of fans. Most of them aren’t going on about the merits of the actor or the show, they’re looking for someone cute to drool over. As long as that’s the case they’re holding the show hostage from anyone deemed too old, unattractive or female because those aren’t the thing’s they’re attracted to.

This is the kind of purge that this fandom needs. Not a small nudge, but an ethnic cleansing-style extermination of all the people who aren’t here for the plots or characterization or love of the adventure. But who are there for the same reasons that a million other shows have gotten viewers in the past. It’s not a pure type of like and this show deserves fans who will rejoice when the best actor is picked, not when the most attractive is chosen.

As for what Twelve might have to say about that? I think that we can take a page from his character on In The Loop and The Thick of It.

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I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Accomplished

Let me just say that it’s awesome to feel like you’re a bad ass at something. Even if you know it isn’t true. I’m very happy with the photos I took yesterday and how the edits have come out so far.

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I need to keep working at this all of this and getting better, but I’m showing improvement for how the camera works.

First Person Firsts

perspectiveI’ve written what I would consider successful first-person perspective stuff for the first time in years. The shift has to do with the Thought Verbs post that I put out just a few days ago. Something in that way of thinking about writing spoke to me in a way no other advice has in a very long time. Even authors that we’re not particularly huge fans of can have decent advice. And this was something I would suggest to anyone who sets out to write a piece of fiction.

Writing it in present tense has also helped some. The immediacy of the actions happening carries more force in the story and it leads less credence to this idea that the narrator is withholding evidence when they don’t tell you how something turns out in the end. See, I’ve always had a problem with the idea of past tense in a first person novel when some event is not explained as it happens, but as the person finds out. It’s important that we’re not spoiled for the sake of the book working. But if someone were retelling a story in real life they would probably slip hints in to let you know it’s all okay.

That was the main disconnect for me. Which says a lot about what I want from my writing. I don’t mind first person, but it should make sense in the context of the world or in the context of the person’s mind itself. That’s all I ask.  It’s rare that we see realistically written first person novels (Realistic in that if someone were to do a real-life first hand account it would turn out like that novel).

Just to give an idea of what I’m working with here I will post an example of my trying to write before I changed styles and after I changed. Here goes.

Before:

The telltale smell isn’t there yet, despite the hundreds of bodies crumpled along the grassy hill. There are too many bodies for someone to cover them with those white privacy sheets or whatever. I don’t have a chance of effectively navigating my way toward the investigators, so I wander along the edge of the hillside between me and Lake Travis.

Annemarie’s footsteps shuffle along behind me and I can tell by her silence she’s staring at the same thing that I am. We’re both too young to remember Jonestown, but from the pictures that the news had on the comparison is well deserved. The 9/11 attacks took place while I was in junior high. That’s my frame of reference. I turn my back on the massacre; I don’t know how long I’ve been here, but staring out past the police tape seems a better choice than looking at them.

After:

I’d rather endure this than walk out and have him catch me. My pride couldn’t bear it. This is, like, my go to drug. I’m a super-special-awesome stalker. I will stalk the shit out of you. I’m a girl. We tend to nurture our stalking skills in high school. Usually, that’s also when we nurture our charm or our looks. So, when we “accidentally run into you” in the hallway for the third time we’ve missed a button or figured out how to tell a funny joke in the interim. And you do that little laugh and lean in close and notice the smell of the perfume (that we had to practically thrash around in a tub of). And then the stalking becomes dating.

Men don’t always figure out how to nurture their looks or their charm. So, sometimes, in men stalking becomes kidnapping which becomes twenty-five to life.

Most people would agree the second one is just a better go. I’m much happier with it and I plan out doing a lot more of what I have been.

The Possibility of something Different for the Twelfth Doctor

doctor_coat_blueEveryone who reads this probably won’t be aware of how Doctor Who works. The thing is, that over the last fifty years the Doctor has changed accents, heights, hair styles and faces. Some fans have been asking if this upcoming Doctor, to be announced this Sunday, might actually change genders or races.

There hasn’t been much opposition to the race thing without it sounding super racist at the offset. It is funny to see some of the same things that were said about us choosing a President that is black. I think the one that stands out the most is when someone said, “Who would honestly believe the BBC was choosing the best actor if after so many years they were to suddenly chose a black actor for the role?”

That’s a pretty blatantly racist thing to say and it’s one of those instances of trying to act as if no matter how good a black actor is, no one can believe they are good enough for the role.

When you talk about gender, which is probably the slightly more far fetched thing—but only because it wasn’t until recently that we ever saw any Time Lords that had switched between genders—people get even crazier. People threaten to quit watching the show, no matter how well the acting is done or how good the writing is. Their reason seems to be something along the lines that it’s a male role. Some of them seem to maintain that the Doctor becoming female would give the production team more time to write tasteless sexist jokes into the show. At least two women I have seen online complained that if the Doctor became a woman they couldn’t be attracted to him anymore, which isn’t only a stupid reason to dislike the idea, but it’s a stupid reason to watch a show. Other people are saying things about how it would only be done to appease whiney feminists. To my knowledge there hasn’t been any push to make the Doctor female for that reason.

There have been some pushes to make the role available to anyone regardless of color and gender. If the best actor is a woman of Indian decent, why not?

As one poster put it on Gallifrey Base, the popular Doctor Who fan forum: “I hope that this time they finally have the balls not to bother with the balls.” If they can put gender aside and choose based on the merits of the actor and what they’ll bring to the show then they can’t go wrong. And that’s what happened last time. People didn’t believe someone as young as Matt Smith could play the part. But he, in my opinion did a much better job than Tennant.

One of the excuses I hear against the gender change is “Why after all of these years would the Doctor change gender now?” That’s pretty easy. It’s been insinuated that Regeneration gives him what he needs to be to deal with challenges ahead. A personality type well suited for what’s coming up and the like. Well if the Doctor is making an attempt to hide from all his old enemies and remain small time—basically seem like a half heard of myth—what better way to do that then to become what he’s never been before?

If they were going to do this I think that now would be the time to run with it. The story behind it makes sense. The show is finishing it’s fiftieth year and it’s reaching overseas audiences with more ferocity than ever through mediums like Netflix and Blu-Ray and a lot of the fans never saw the old show, so they would probably take to the change better.

And if you’re prepared to leave a show because the gender or race of a character who is very capable of changing those things has changed, that says more about you than the show.