Archive for K.N. Porter

Time Lord’s Road To Global Domination – Anticipation Of Year 49

I opened my mailbox and found the Doctor inside….Well, on a magazine actually BUT it’s a wonderful article in EW.

My beloved Doctor, this amazing creature I share with millions around the world, is ready to return.

The article, and some of the comments made there in,  started my wheels turning. The impact if the Whoniverse and The Tao of Who on popular culture. Especially the impact this very Brit style of thinking/ ideals has on American Culture.

How do these questions impact this blog and the ideals, outlook and discussions we provoke?

I don’t know as of yet……I can’t wait to find out. 

We face the loss of old companions and the introduction of new. There are rumors flying about the return of River Song AND my beloved Captain Jack Harkness.

I’m excited, the anticipation of new adventures, new characters and brilliant writing have me twitching like a chihuahua after a meth cookie. I hope the rest of you are as ”GIDDY” as I am, and we happily dissect each episode and have spirited witty debates over every nuance of amazing writing.

 

The Darkest Doctor – Falling In Love With the Damage.

  In my previous posts I constantly reference The Doctor’s high moral code and aversion to violence. 

  The character of the Doctor was developed and is portrayed as someone who practices non-violent conflict resolution. He’s a hero that solves crisis through engagement – NOT violence. The Doctor is never cruel or cowardly and takes a long-term perspective on the ways of the Universe. The show explores with simplistic beauty some truly wrenching themes of loss and morality.

   With that being said I would like to introduce you to The 9th Doctor.

 The 9th Doctor comes to us as a child of war. Brutal at times, confrontational and inflexible, he states himself he sometimes creates carnage.

 This is The Doctor I fell in love with.

  I don’t mean fan girl SQUEE, I mean I fell in love with the darkness. This tough as nails Doctor damaged by war and guilt. Those events shaping his outlook and interactions, causing him to hide his sorrow inside a facade of manic energy and off beat humor.

 Not only is he the bad boy of the Whoniverse, The 9th Doctor is something of an action hero, subsequent to The 4th Doctor, The Doctors had a tendency to be camp, overly knowing and lovable. The 9th Doctor is brusque, snarky and virile. You can just taste the edge of insanity, from destroying two civilizations, bubbling right under the skin.

 This is The Doctor that tortures a Dalek and attempts to kill it in cold blood. Only the intervention from his companion stays his hand.

  This Doctor sets out to teach his companion (Rose) about the wonders of the Universe. She teaches him to re connect with humanity. Together they make each other better than they would have been alone. She sets him on the path to his 10th and 11th self.

  What has this got to do with the point of this blog, you ask?

  Who among us is not damaged due to something that’s been done to us or we’ve done or been ordered to do? I myself identify with Doctor 9′s darkness because I see my reflection and the reflections of all those who’ve faced significant trauma.

  How easy is it to cross the line and want to torture and kill your enemies or those that have committed violence against you. Does it matter if the violence was caused by gender, sexual orientation, political outlook or just being in the wrong area at the wrong time.

  Perhaps like so many you’ve been in combat and the actions done there haunt you.

  Rose has been criticised for being weak or an unflattering portrayal of a woman as a companion. I have to say it takes a deft hand to be a Doctor-Whisperer.

  For the thirteen episodes you see The 9th Doctor, you watch her reel him back, teach him to love and re instill his humanity.

  In the end he gives up everything because of her influence. The 9th Doctor tells his enemies he would rather be a coward than a killer.

 At that point, the 9th Doctor is ready to become the 10th. He’s let go of the rage and learned to master the pain. I wish we had an army of Roses to put in all the VA Hospitals.

 I have huge amounts of love for many of The Doctors. Numbers 4 and 10 do elicit that SQUEE so discussed earlier. The 9th Doctor showed me that you can regain your humanity, you don’t have to answer with violence. 

 

 

The Importance of Being Harkness

Re-reading through prior posts involving this companion, I see and enjoy the happiness and gratitude at the portrayal of a bi-sexual character in mainstream media. I have to admit I fell instantly in love with Captain Jack and followed him to Torchwood with reckless abandon.

I’d like to take a look at this companion from outside the box AND outside my comfort zone. This blog is a place to start educated debate and illicit discussions on views and ideals. I don’t even want to focus on Captain Jack’s sexuality or his importance in popular culture.

My point in this post is to show that Captain Jack Harkness is the ying to The Doctors yang. He is the necessary roughness, the doer of bad deeds, the man that gets what needs to be done, done. When The Doctor is unable to pull the trigger due to his conscience or the stance of values he must follow. Captain Jack is behind him taking care of business.

In contrast to The Doctor, Harkness is a man of extreme action more than willing to apply a hands on solution to a problem. This is the companion that brings his moral ambiguity to the forefront.

Captain Jack wears the cloak of Byronic heroism, with that ever present glint oozing the fact he will hurt you to protect whats his. Through this he creates a new character archetype, allowing us to embrace the Devil’s Advocate. Captain Jack holds a pivotal place in the change an evolution of modern science fiction heroes.

When The Doctor scolded Jack for joining Torchwood, an organization he views as xenophobic and aggressive, Jack shrugs and explains he is doing what must be done to protect the human population they both care for.

We see this companion evolve from a selfish egotistical prat to one of self-sacrifice. On his journey of discovery he studies the value of life. He looks beyond his narrow view and explores the complexity of negotiating different world views, cultural values, beliefs and moral codes through a framework established by The Doctor.

 

This does not mean that Captain Harkness will not make the hard choices and bring destruction or death to his enemies when needed. It is that spark of darkness encased by the teachings of The Doctor that keeps Captain Jack close to my heart.

 

This companion shows his humanity in every gray decision made, every secret kept and each manipulation. He wields his flaws as effectively as he wields his weapons against all enemies. Like all of us in the Whovian fandom he sets The Doctor as his North Star and futilely attempts to steer that same strict and often angelic course. Most often he fails, like the rest of us, but still uses the principals to navigate the wreckage.

 

Am I grateful Moffat chose to create the first openly non-hetero sexual character in the history of televised Doctor Who? Am I over the moon about the ongoing depiction of bi-sexuality in mainstream TV not too laced with stereotypes? ABSOLUTELY!

I just want to point out that Captain Jack Harkness is not just the sum of his parts; he IS a VICTORY of his parts. He is the culmination of flawed, messy, dark and lovable humanity.

The Strength of Song

While perusing a list of the Doctor’s Companions I decided to start my next series of posts on those I believe hold ideals and strengths, plus exhibit behavior I can admire. Those Companions, who explore the complexity of navigating different world views, beliefs and morality based on the foundation of ideals, composed by our beloved Doctor.

I’m going to start with the Nu Who and travel backwards, much like the subject of this post does in her adventures. Really she’s wibbly wobbly all over the time stream.

The first time we as a fandom meet River Song you know at once she’s different. This is a woman that faces off with the Doctor as an equal. There are no clumsy colt legs of acclimation, no wide eyed wonder regarding the Doctor and his adventures.

River, who’s portrayed in her forties, is an Action Hero!  She’s confident in her abilities, intelligence and sexuality. This isn’t the end of her list of attributes, this is only the beginning. If I were to list all of them, this post would be way too long. I will settle for what in my opinion, makes her special to me.

The first quality that made River stand out is her extreme intelligence. The adaptability and cunning that stems from this formidable resource make her readily able to continue coming to the Doctor’s rescue, or kill him, depending on what needs to be accomplished.

The second quality, which caused supreme admiration, is her strength. Everything she has to endure from her first meeting with the tenth Doctor to her final interaction during this past season, there’s no way someone without superior courage could have survived let alone succeeded.

Not only does River have the strength to be joyfully ruthless when necessary, she also has the strength to love. The strength of her love for the Doctor is what enables her to face and overcome the obstacles in her path.

Now you can argue, the love of a man leading to greatness?  Isn’t that stereotypical of how women are portrayed and doesn’t that lead us wibbly wobbly to the very issues we are her to discuss and prevent? Perhaps, I don’t believe River allows herself to be used this way. She’s not pining for a prince to rescue her and provide a picket fence. River rescues others, sets wrongs right, plans and executes her own conspiracies. She knows that in the end she will not actually “BE” with the Doctor. River does what she does for herself, because she wants to do it.

This inner strength led her to be able to resist brainwashing and alien technology. She created an alternative reality just by her force of will (and a little Time Lord DNA). River Song also had the strength to sacrifice this reality, as most are aware letting go of something is often harder than getting it.

River portrays qualities and dynamics I can utilize daily. She helps me self assess when I’m facing hardship; she shows me I can still be a beautiful, intelligent woman and embrace my feelings without being weak. I can rescue the prince and build my own white picket fence, then have the strength to knock it down if it’s needed.

River Song showed me that if I needed too I could be a better TARDIS pilot than the Doctor himself, and I thank her for it.

The Doctor and the Subtext of Loneliness

I last waxed poetic on the constant theme of acceptance woven throughout the series, now I would like to point out another thread. This thread weaves a dark subtext but one every being no matter what their views has experienced.

The Doctor most times is joyful, full of discovery, defending the oppressed, basically saving the universe and the Earth repeatedly.

Sometimes this bitterness is subtly touched upon and others times its thrown at the viewer with brutal force.

This sharp blade is loneliness; the realization that YOU are the one that is different, and no matter how much you strive this can never change.

In his extensive life with all his vast knowledge The Doctor knows that sooner or later he will again be alone. As the only one of his kind he can never hope to find that constant companion that could turn into a full time partner.

What individual has not faced this pit? It matters not if you were or are the perfect social butterfly, beloved and respected by your peers. You don’t have to be the individual struggling with your sexuality, discovering and processing your views on life and injustice. You can be absolutely the vanilla definition of normal and still be struck down by the thought that no one can ever understand you and you face the onslaught of life alone

This is why he searches and collects his companions but never allows himself to be too close. Of course the subject of love and attachment was explored with the companion Rose. Even this was fleeting and ended, changing his attitude and outlook even more with regards to emotional connections.

The current Doctor, Matt Smith, of course is not near as serious as The Doctor portrayed by Tenant, but his first companion is essentially already taken and attached when she joins him in his adventures.

The Doctor teaches us that even if we are different and exist in an environment where no one is fully able to relate to our thoughts and feelings; there is still joy to be found. You can still strive to find happiness and teach those around you to understand your views, if not help them to accept and embrace them.

To place this subtext in the real world, do we not strive to teach others that all genders, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation are something to be embraced and respected? Learning about these views and accepting them is not something evil but a new adventure to be explored. Is there anyone that at one time was the only individual in a group with a different slant or view of importance that others couldn’t understand? Thus leaving us “ALONE” with our outlook and misunderstood?

The Doctor shows us these feelings and situations can be dealt with and overcome. Although we may be alone we can persevere and make a difference. We may have too,time and again, face the pain of loss and  return to being on our own. This being said The Doctor shows us you should never give up and sequester yourself away from others. With belief and knowledge you can open eyes and set others on a path to explore the universe.

 

 

The Doctor as the catalyst for accepting “The Different”

I took some time to think of how The Doctor has a positive impact on the views we embrace and express in this blog. I looked at the entire series from beginning to the present for an answer. The Doctor in all his incarnations shows an innate joy in exploration and embraces those that are different. How wonderful to have this view, how amazing would it be to emulate this attitude. Instead of fear and loathing, if a person presented themselves as a decent individual they then would be accepted as they are. Be they male, female, gay, straight or whatever they so choose. We as a species could do worse than take this underlying theme and implement it when dealing with our fellow humans. The only skills required are an open mind, the joy of discovery and benevolent acceptance.

Would children discovering their sexuality, thought unacceptable, still feel the need to end their lives if these simple lessons were used? I believe with the use of what I like to call the Whomanity Formula , oppression, abuse  and that ever present villain “Bullying” would certainly become only scary fables.  As a lesbian and mother to a son that just came out, I hope I’m not the only one that observes this underlying thread. I’m not a Pollyanna; please don’t think all I see are butterflies and rainbows. I see many things in the series that should be discussed and addressed. I just wanted to point out the factor that drew me to the series. The unbreakable thread that ties my heart to The Doctor and his companions, no matter what face he wears. I want to learn new things, experience new ideas and see my surroundings through new eyes. I don’t care if they are straight eyes, lesbian eyes, or queer eyes;   The Doctor embraces them all and delights in the degrees of different.