Tag Archive for jack harkness

This ‘n’ that

Two quick things. First, as Doctor Who bloggers, we are contractually obligated to give opinions on the casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. Mine is that Capaldi is a marvelous actor–which is, like, two or three of my top five qualifications right there–and that casting such a respected and accomplished figure (seriously–dude has an Oscar[1]) is a serious coup for the rubbish-looking kids’ program that Michael Grade axed. (Suck it, MG!) That Capaldi is a lifelong fan is just icing on a pretty spectacular cake.

He’s also the twelfth white guy in a row.

This does not mean he’s a bad choice or that I’m unhappy with his selection. I just would have preferred a riskier, less “safe” choice, and I’m disappointed that the legions of non-white-guys who are also stunningly good actors were apparently never even considered. My own personal pet pick for Doctor is Paterson Joseph; if you don’t know why, go rent Neverwhere [2] and watch his remarkably Doctor-like portrayal of the Marquis de Carabas.

Update: Or, having just caught up on my podcasts, “what Chip at the Two Minute Time Lord said.”
 

Second, your life is not complete without this picture of John Barrowman being exterminated by what I can only describe as a Dalek fairy princess.

On a convention floor, actor John Barrowman is collapsed against a TARDIS after having been "exterminated" by a small girl wearing a homemade Dalek costume that incorporates a tuile skirt and a halter top.

On a convention floor, actor John Barrowman is collapsed against a TARDIS after having been "exterminated" by a small girl wearing a homemade Dalek costume that incorporates a tuile skirt and a halter top.

You’re welcome. (Via Tor.com)

[1]Albeit not for acting. His multiple BAFTAs, however, are for acting.
[2] Which also has, in a supporting role, Peter Capaldi!

The 51st Century and The Future of Sex

“You people and your quaint little categories.” – Captain Jack Harkness

I don’t get to see a lot of bisexuals/pansexuals/queers who love people of multiple genders on television. Usually, even if a character takes up with a person of a not-heretofore-preferred-by-said-character gender, the typical reaction is “Oh, so you’re gay now?” or “I knew you were straight all along!”. If the possibility that someone can be attracted to more than one gender is raised, it’s generally scoffed at.

Captain Jack Harkness is different. A consummate “omnisexual”, Jack is shown in Doctor Who and Torchwood to flirt, have sex, and develop romantic relationships with men, women, and non-humans. He is believable when he grieves for the wife he watched age and die every bit as much as he is swooning over The Doctor (and nearly everyone else on screen). Amazingly, the rest of the Torchwood team all more or less join him on the middle of the Kinsey scale. The Whoniverse avoids suggesting that these people are fooling themselves, confused, or doing it for attention. I cannot think of any representation of my sexuality in pop culture that compares, and I can’t emphasize enough how much I appreciate it.

But there’s still something that bugs me. See, it’s not just Captain Jack who flies the pansexual flag; It’s stated several times that his attitudes and behaviors are typically 51st Century. Add to that the fact that the present-day Torchwood team is on board too, and all this seems to reinforce the old “everyone is at least a little bisexual” Kinsey-inspired cliche.

Which really, everyone is not.

In the queer community, the polyamorous community, the BDSM community, it’s easy to give in to the attitude that these orientations are more evolved, that their members have grown beyond the need for the more traditional “quaint little categories” that populate mainstream culture. The implications of the 51st Century attitudes presented in the Whoniverse seem to be that the human race is destined to outgrow heterosexuality, homosexuality, and quite probably monogamy, in favor of sexual expression that is more or less exactly like Jack’s.

Is a future that has eradicated our current diversity of sexual identities indeed a more mature one? Many portrayals of our species’ distant future, most notably those playing with utopian themes and their deconstruction, involve humanity moving toward–or being forced into– homogeneity. But wouldn’t true evolution and social progress involve social pressure to embrace increasingly different otherness? Of course, the 51st Century is not portrayed as the pinnacle of human evolution by any means, but with their 30,000 years on us, the message is right there: one day we will be beyond such petty things as sexual orientation, which is clearly a cultural construct because deep down we’re all omnisexual, obviously. Oh, and we will also smell fabulous.

But back here in the 21st Century, who are we to claim that pansexuality or any other specific orientation is more evolved? Limiting who people love and have sex with is, as we can hopefully all agree, backward. But pretending that whatever limits a person’s own attraction may naturally fall within is atavistic and closed-minded is equally flawed. Personally, I’m waiting for a future where we all celebrate and embrace one another’s identities and categories, no matter how unlike our own they may be. Captain Jack would deliciously fit into my future, but so would straight people, gay people, asexuals, sapiosexuals, queers of every stripe, people who prefer missionary position with the lights off, and every other permutation of loving, not-loving, shagging, not-shagging, and being ourselves.

Let us outgrow none of our amazing shades of love, not ever. Only our present day’s pathetic shades of fear.

I have linkspam now. Linkspam is cool.

Hoyden About Town looks at knitted sonic screwdrivers.

In Bitch Magazine, Carrie Nelson writes about the representation of bisexuality via the character of Jack Harkness in Torchwood:

Jack’s characterization is refreshing simply because his sexuality is presented so naturally. Though it’s frequently referenced, it’s never overanalyzed or challenged. It just is. This is a rarity in depictions of bisexuality in the media. So many bi-centric storylines in movies and television shows tend to focus on overwhelming problems and pressure to change one’s sexuality or pick a side. But this isn’t the case with Jack. Not only is he allowed to be who he is, he’s allowed to be happy with that identity.

In case you missed it, the BBC released the first official picture of new companion.

Maybe you heard! The movie Hunger Games was released on March 23, with great success! A few Hunger Games-related links:

Courtney Martin wrote a lovely article on fan activism at the New York Times, focusing on the Hunger is Not a Game campaign by Hunger Games fans. Shortly after the movie’s release, Lionsgate decided to be completely douchey, and try to shut down those fan advocates for diluting their IP.

There was a great piece on why you should watch/read Hunger Games at Alternet. The last paragraph, in particular, is excellent:

Perhaps its adolesent core of distrust is what makes The Hunger Games so appealing. Teens begin to notice the lie behind claims of a meritocracy, the way certain kinds of privilege are rewarded and bad authority, from a corrupt president to an arbitrary teacher, is obeyed. The Hunger Games, true to its YA nature, is propelled less by a specific agenda and more by a feeling – the feeling that the system is rigged and the adults are just sitting around doing nothing about it. Perhaps that’s why the series has legions of adult followers–it allows us to give expression to a loud, seditious frustration that our sensible society has deemed unseemly and unrealistic.

And in your daily dose of “humanity is awful,” Jezebel talks about how some Hunger Games fans are distressed that the Black character in the book, Rue, is played by a Black actress. This also inspired a rather decent article with a brief history of whitewashing, also at Jezebel.

Jack Harkness and How We Judge LGBT Characters

If some passages sound familiar, it’s because they appeared in an early version of this post that was published at Change.org in November 2010.

It’s that time of year again. That time when I – and the rest of the world, for that matter – am out of new Doctor Who episodes to watch. I guess it’s something we can live through (if you can even call it living). But even more tragic is the lack of Torchwood, Doctor Who‘s more mature and tortured cousin. » Read more..

My Dad, John Barrowman and Me: How Captain Jack Helped Me Come Out

I realised — or, more accurately, noticed — that I was gay when I was thirteen. I came out to my parents — or, more accurately, they noticed — when I was sixteen.

“Your mum and I have been wondering,” said my dad, putting the kettle on. “Do you think you might be gay?”

“… Um, well actually,” I said, my brain shorting out due to the unexpected turn in the conversation, “now that you mention it, yes.”

We hugged, drank tea, and talked about it for a little while, and then we all moved on with our lives. Everything was fine, and it was honestly the most low-key and therefore somewhat surreal coming out conversation I could ever have hoped for, and certainly not what I expected.

I would like to give John Barrowman partial credit for my dad’s attitude.

» Read more..