Something Just Broke

The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day.

—Cormac McCarthy, “Blood Meridian”

The new season of Doctor Who has started up, and with it, plenty of opportunities to talk about how much I hate Steven Moffat. Except there’s not much that I can say about him that I haven’t already said. If you read this blog, you know that I have literally thousand of words’ worth of opinions on Doctor Who and, to a lesser extent, Sherlock, but there are folks out there who think Steven Moffat is one of the greatest minds currently working in TV, and if you believe that, you believe that. What I will say is that while I like Peter Capaldi plenty, I do feel like the 12th Doctor is sounding a little bit too much like either the 11th Doctor or Sherlock so far. Moffat has always had a bit of a tendency to turn his characters into interchangeable dispensers of wit (and his monsters into interchangeably faceless entities—those ticking clock dudes from the premiere reminded me way too much of the clock dudes from “The Girl in the Fireplace”). The 12th Doctor is darker than his previous incarnation, but only a little. It’s like they changed things up just enough to make people think they were witnessing something new, but not enough to challenge them. And the Matt Smith cameo was pure fanservice.

The 6th Doctor’s image has been revived somewhat in the past few decades. Almost everybody agrees that his first season was a low point for the entire series. “Trial of a Time Lord” was an improvement, but only an incremental one, and “The Twin Dilemma” remains one of the most excruciating viewing experiences I have ever had. That said, Colin Baker is markedly better on the Big Finish Audio Adventures. Not good enough to bump him up in my rankings, but good enough that I recognize that it wasn’t really his fault. He played the character to the best of his abilities. But nothing worked about “Timelash”. The writing, directing, production design, and yes, acting were all execrable. And bad Doctor Who is like a bad acid trip: queasy, nightmarish, and downright painful to sit through. So I still can’t say that I’m much of a fan of the 6th Doctor. Instead, I’ll say that good Doctor Who is about more than just who plays the Doctor.

We all like to believe that we are special snowflakes, but I wonder if my individuality runs a little bit deeper than it does for most other people. Or maybe it’s just that what I want out of life is somewhat unconventional. These past few weeks have been very stressful. I can’t go into detail yet, except to say that whatever the consequences, I choose not to be a rat racer. I wonder if part of the reason that I’ve fought with roommates, teachers, and various authority figures over the years is that they can sense that I don’t like them. They’ll ask me to do something and I’ll do it, but they can tell from the look on my face that I’m doing it only to get rid of them. That doesn’t excuse Psycho Queens Guy for barging into my room at ten at night and threatening to kill me, but it does place his behavior in some context. People are baffled by the idea that the person they live with/work with/get coffee from would rather they just left him alone. And you either learn to live with that or you don’t.

I’m trying very hard to adapt a Zen attitude towards the shifts that are occurring in my life right now. It’s tempting to fall back on comfort food, and to an extent, that’s what I’ve been doing lately, rereading some of my favorite funny articles on the internet and watching the TV shows that I already know I like. But a part of my brain is pushing back against that. It believes that now is the best time to be setting out and trying new and radical stuff. Maybe there is some truth to that. The hard part is setting a balance. When I’m under a lot of stress, everything goes to shit. I want to eat either too much or not enough, I have trouble sleeping, and when I was living with Psycho Queens Guy last year, I started having diarrhea like, twelve times a day. (I went home for a few weeks and it cleared up almost immediately. Funny, that.)

If I could synthesize everything that I’m complaining about here into once coherent point, I would say that what I’m going through is not my fault. It’s just the world, and I’m trying to push back. If I could externalize everything I’m feeling, I would, but some people just want control, and it’s all I can do to tell them that they can’t have it. So with that out of the way, I’ll talk about something that makes me feel a little bit more hopeful: I started watching “The Enemy of the World” not too long ago, and it’s really good so far. That, for those who don’t know, is a 2nd Doctor storyline that was lost for years before being rediscovered. Very few of Patrick Troughton’s serials still exist in their complete form, which is a shame, because he’s one of my favorite Doctors. So it’s a relief that this one not only turned up again, but is really good. I watch one episode at at time to mimic the way that people watched it when it originally aired. It’s better that way.

There’s no rationalizing what you feel.

 

Be ye not afraid.

Be ye not afraid.

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