Why the Doctor Should Be an Old White Man

Let’s talk about social justice for a second. The term “social justice warrior” has become something of a slur on the internet. I don’t see the shame in it, personally. It’s like using “feminazi” as an insult. Obviously, invoking Nazism to deride someone you don’t like is wrong, but since the real insult there is that somebody thinks women deserve equality, I’m not sure why this is supposed to be offensive. If being an SJW means believing that it is wrong to exclude people based on race, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, nationality, or what have you, then call me an SJW. Call me a feminazi if it please you. I butt heads with my fellow feminists on certain things because there are times when I feel that taking a stand is somewhat pointless. That, in case you can’t tell, is what I’ve gathered you here to talk about. The Doctor is not the President. He doesn’t have to represent the diversity of his own viewership. It might be nice, but it’s hardly necessary to make him a woman or a person of color. In fact, it’s probably better if we don’t. Here’s why.

Doctor Who has been around for 50 years. Like any other cultural institution, it has a certain value and aesthetic that cannot be separated from the time in which it was created. The Doctor travels around in a police box, something that existed only in a very specific time and place. He travels primarily with young women from contemporary England, and his relationship with them is usually a bit paternalistic, perhaps even a tiny bit condescending. You can like or dislike it, but those elements are hardwired into the DNA of the show. Take them away and it’s not Doctor Who, just as a James Bond who isn’t cocky, cool, and kind of a misogynist isn’t James Bond or a Sherlock Holmes who is warm and fuzzy and a feminist isn’t really Sherlock Holmes. People believe that in order to update the show and make it accessible to the new generation, we need to change its values. But Doctor Who isn’t gay marriage. It’s not your right. It’s not even a privilege. It’s a thing you can watch or not watch. That’s why it’s art: because it doesn’t give a fuck whether you like it or not. If it did, it wouldn’t be art.

I’ve gotten mocked for making this argument before. People say that since Doctor Who is really about change, we should embrace the change and all that that implies. By that logic, the Doctor should be played by a Chihuahua and the show should consist of him driving around in a Porsche and sniffing other dogs’ shit. Don’t give me any of that “that’s not what I meant” crap; it’s what you said, so stand by it or fuck off. You can’t separate the English-ness of the show from the show itself. It’s a shamelessly romantic portrait of an England that hasn’t existed for a long time and probably never did to begin with. If you don’t buy into that, don’t watch the show. You don’t get a vote. This isn’t democracy. It’s art. Part of the reason I have to distance myself from the fanbase is the invidious notion that so many of the entitled fuckwits have gotten into their heads that since they would like to see a female or black Doctor, they should get to see a female or black Doctor. No. It’s not the show’s job to give you what you want.

Doctor Who has disappeared up its own ass in recent years. It’s no longer about pushing forward but about running in circles. Every other episode is about revisiting something that happened in a previous storyline or going back to the Doctor’s childhood or bringing back a beloved old character for one last go-round (until they decide to bring back that character again for yet another go-round). When will this end? Moriarty is in a grand total of two of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories. Know why? Because once he’s gone over Reichenbach Falls, that’s it. There’s nothing left to say about him once that’s done. He doesn’t exist just to give definition to Sherlock. Sherlock isn’t the center of the universe. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind and when Sherlock foils some of his plans, he decides he has to take Sherlock out. It’s that simple. They’re not destined to be together, and I get so tired of those introspective moments where the villain says “We’re not so different, you and I” while the hero has to wonder if he’s really a good man or not. I think Sherlock is a good man. I think the Doctor is, too. Can we accept that and move on? People change, I know, but it’s the present that matters. At present, I don’t like Doctor Who or Sherlock. So I don’t watch either show. Funny how that works.

In case it’s not obvious, I was pretty steamed when I wrote this. I’m angry about a lot of things right now. I’m also stressed out, because I’ve got a really busy week coming up and I’m wondering how I’ll be able to pay my bills, do my job(s), and still find the time to see my friends. Typical adult stuff, I guess. I don’t want to be a parent. God bless those of you who like kids, but I don’t and I never will. It’s just not for me. I can’t change the fact that Darren Wilson and the dude who killed Eric Garner got off for what was quite simply murder just because people don’t want to face up to the deep and pervasive sickness of racism. And for the Spike Lee fans out there, let me just say that Mookie did the right thing. That anger had to go somewhere. You can’t just watch a cop murder somebody, shrug, say, “That’s unfortunate”, and go home. You just can’t.

Maybe I’m just tired of spending all my time in the arts. I need something to think about other than media representations of various groups of people. Sometimes a show is just a show. And if I don’t enjoy it, I don’t enjoy it. That’s my business. But it won’t stop me from whining about it. In the name of God, I will do my duty.

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One More Thing…

Read this one in Peter Falk’s voice. It will sound so much better, trust me.

There are a great many things that I don’t understand. Vegans, reality TV, that stupid security tape on CDs and DVDs that is utterly impossible to pull of in one piece, you get the idea. But if there’s one thing that’s really bugging me right now, it’s economics. That’s not quite true, actually. There’s something just a little bit deeper that’s eating away at me. Let’s see if we can figure it out.

I enjoy objectifying men. Some people feel that it is wrong to objectify women, but I disagree. I love pornography. I also, as I mentioned in the post prior to this one, saw Skyfall recently and spent many long minutes drooling over Daniel Craig’s ripped body and glorious face. I want to have sex with him. There’s nothing wrong with that. I also want to rule the world, but until I can program these robots so that they will be sentient, adaptable, and fiercely loyal to me (how many mad scientists have sabotaged their own plans by forgetting about that one?), I’ll have to be content with my fantasies. As you might have noticed by now, I have a vivid imagination.

Okay, maybe that was too much information. I’m sorry. I have a lot on my mind. Let’s talk a little bit more about James Bond. The gender politics in that series have always been icky, but that is changing, albeit slowly. CraigBond is a bit more tender than ConneryBond or even BrosnanBond, and I don’t mind saying that while I wouldn’t mind saving the world with Sean Connery, I’m not sure I would enjoy being romanced by him. Some entitled old white men have bemoaned our culture’s gradual shift away from men who win women simply by dressing nicely and being available, and to that I say: good. How many movies can you name in which an average-looking sad sack woos a perfect 10? The former is almost always a man, the latter almost always a woman. Some cases are excusable–Knocked Up, in which the imbalance between the two was the entire point of the film, and Sideways, in which the woman was prettier, but no less well-developed–but after a while, the examples pile up. The most blatant example of this that I can name is Adam Sandler, whose characters have slept with dozens, if not hundreds of women who would not give a guy like him a second glance if they weren’t receiving a fat sack of cash for it. I suppose you could argue that Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison are funny in a very juvenile, Friday-night-rental kind of way, but the five minutes I spent watching I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (I couldn’t stomach any more) actually made me angry. What gives Sandler the right to cast himself as a total ladies’ man? Let me rephrase that. He certainly has the right, but that doesn’t make it right.

Adam Sandler movies have gone from being merely lazy to openly contemptuous of their audience. Jack and Jill was basically a feature-length scam, nothing more than an excuse for Sandler and his buddies to collect ridiculously inflated paychecks just to hang out and act like guys. Grown Ups, from what I can tell, was basically the same thing, although someone is bound to point out that Chris Rock is still awesome, so I’ll go ahead and say it: Chris Rock is awesome. Moving on…

The climax of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, according to what I’ve read (normally, it’s wrong to judge something without having seen it, but here, I honestly don’t give a shit), involves Kevin James and Adam Sandler’s little scheme to pass themselves off as gay lovers unraveling when the two can’t bring themselves to kiss each other in public. If you’re going to sign on for a ploy like that, shouldn’t you be prepared to at least give your “partner” a little peck on the cheek? But Sandler caves to the homophobia of his audience, still trying to include a message of tolerance by adding that it’s wrong to use the word “faggot”. Is it? I say “faggot” all the time. Faggot faggot faggot. And while I’m at it, homo queer cocksucker fudgepacker butt pirate pole-smoker gaylord gaywad gayass. Were you offended by that? If so, you’re on the wrong website.

I used to see every movie that was supposed to be good. I got bored with that after a while. These days, I see movies if they have some special relevance to me. A few weeks ago, I saw The Band Wagon, a fun old musical about the difficulties of working in the theater. This weekend, I think I’ll watch Food, Inc., for no reason other than that it’s been on my Netflix queue for some time and it will no longer be available for streaming as of Monday. But I will always have a special place in my heart for anything that is weird, out there, or just plain nuts. Speaking of which…

There’s only one way that I can properly describe this movie to somebody who’s never seen it: If you were a sci-fi-writing, disco-dancing leather daddy, this is what your acid trips would look like. That’s all I’ve got, seriously. It’s one of the greatest “so bad it’s good” movies ever made, a hallucinatory, hideously excessive futuristic musical with hammy overacting, surprisingly catchy tunes, sharp choreography, and a script so unhinged that when it ends with the most blatant deus ex machina this side of the Battlestar Galactica finale, it feels earned rather than cheap. If you are intrigued by cult movies at all, I cannot recommend The AppleĀ highly enough. It’s available for streaming on Netflix, in case anyone cares.

Stay out of trouble, everyone. I’ll be back soon.

My Blog Needs a Gritty Reboot

I just saw Skyfall and thought it was great. One of the popular topics of discussion amongst Bond fans is whether James Bond is one person or just a code name taken by a succession of people. The former explains why he is played by different actors in different movies and how he can spend 50 years saving the world without getting any older. It’s a nice idea, but Skyfall lays waste to this idea, paying explicit homage to the Sean Connery films by having Daniel Craig drive the old Aston Martin and do other things that I don’t want to mention for fear of spoiling the plot. Thus, I suggest a better theory, one that explains basically everything that I need it do without getting too bogged down in all these pesky notions of believability and realism: James Bond is a superhero. There, that’s it. Spider-Man has been fighting crime since the 1960s, yet we usually just assume that his origin story happened 10-15 years ago. I’m not a comics nerd (yet), but I’m pretty sure that’s how those guys manage to wrap their heads around the constant rewriting and recasting of their beloved characters. Some have suggested that James Bond is a Time Lord, which is a nice idea, but for once, I’m not going to drag Doctor Who into the discussion. He’s a superhero. There, that’s it.

It took all the willpower I had not to use this image.

Casino Royale was, to some purists, not a proper Bond movie. He didn’t have any cool gadgets (no, a defibrillator does not count), didn’t flirt with Moneypenny, and didn’t make any corny puns. Those people will no doubt enjoy Skyfall, as Daniel Craig does all of that and more in this film while still retaining the edginess and all-around badassery that made him arguably the best Bond since Connery. And as fans of the books will tell you, Craig’s Bond is far closer to what Ian Fleming envisioned than anything by Connery, Dalton, Moore, Lazenby, or Brosnan. He’s sexy, but not “pretty”. He’s also shorter and blonder than any of the other guys. If my life got a gritty reboot, I would demand that I be played by Daniel Radcliffe, who could probably capture my obsessive nature, peerless intellect, and devilish good looks about as well as could be expected from someone who is not the Robot King.

I’m definitely this handsome.

Gear shift: There are times when I wish I could just start my whole life over again from the beginning. Even when I can point to certain elements of it that I don’t hate, there are too many things inextricably intertwined with that that continue to vex me. One thing that I’ve learned in all my years of being wronged is that any apology that you have to actively pursue is not worth it. Sometimes people apologize to me for no reason, and I try to be patient with them as I explain that they don’t need to do that and honestly, it can get kind of annoying if they do it too much. Sometimes people demand an apology out of me. They almost never get it, as I am an asshole, but more importantly, I’m too busy trying to get my own life started to hate myself for every joke that went too far or every deadline that I failed to meet because I was too busy crying myself to sleep. I used to make the mistake of thinking that every apology that I received was some sort of victory. Occasionally, people use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card. (“You can’t get mad at me for that! I apologized!”) Sometimes, they realize they’ve offended me, but don’t understand why. I hate to say it, but love without understanding is useless. If you value someone but don’t see them for who they truly are, you don’t have a leg to stand on. It stings, doesn’t it? Yeah, I know the feeling.

So, back to James Bond. Actually, let’s talk about Kevin Clash. The Elmo puppeteer resigned from his post last week after 28 years on the job and frankly, I wish he had tried to tough the storm out. As of now, three men have come forward saying that he used them for underage sex. Whether there is any veracity to the stories is hard to say, but one thing that I can say for certain is that to me, they look like they just want attention. Nowhere in any of the statements issued by his victims can I find anything about protecting the other boys that he might abuse or putting an abuser behind bars. Instead, they just want money. Lots and lots of it. I don’t know why Kevin Clash sought out teenagers for sex rather than men his own age. Perhaps he thinks they’re sexy. More probably, he was so full of denial and self-loathing that he couldn’t bring himself to reveal that part of himself to somebody his own age. I know I’m being an armchair psychologist here, but I don’t care. We need to learn to stop seeing every error in judgment as a career-destroying mistake just because it involves somebody’s sex life. There is a world of difference between what Clash (allegedly) did and a priest fondling altar boys. The men here were not only consenting, they met Clash on a gay chat line. If they lied about their age to get laid, then Clash is no more of a creep than Steven Tyler and a zillion other rockers who slept with underage groupies. I repeat that I am not saying that Clash is not guilty of any wrongdoing, only that this whole affair has been blown way out of proportion.

Normally, I try to be deferential to victims who come forward to accuse powerful people. Right-wing douchebags wrote off the woman who spoke out against Herman Caine before they even knew her name. That was disgusting, misogynistic, and blatantly partisan. But here, the shoe is on the other foot. Being young doesn’t prevent a person from being a predator. These three men clearly just want money and/or attention, and I’d be saying the same thing if they were women.

I hope Kevin Clash is able to get his life restarted somewhere else. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Whether or not you think this dude is a creepazoid, the whole story is just depressing.