Netwatch: Female Doctor Who

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The Doctor’s new look – airbrushed, apparently.

News broke on Facebook around 8pm last night that a woman has been cast as the next Doctor Who. I have been cataloguing the responses I see to the phenomenon and am including them here with my own commentary largely for my personal amusement.

“Who is now ruined forever”
These ones are not actually appearing on my friends list, mainly because I carefully maintain it to minimise the damage bigots, fuckwits and normal people can do to my mental health. I mention them here for completeness. Although for everyone complaining that Who has now jumped the shark I’d like to point out that what Who actually did with the shark was hitch it to a Victorian hansom cab and drive it through the skies of London.

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13th Doctor’s ideal companion

“Here is a list of all the horrible things I want to see happen to the female Doctor’s male companions. I want this because I am FEMINIST.”
Wow, you hypocrite.

“Waah leave my blissful communion with the Goddess alone, teh doktor belongs to teh wimminz now and you can’t be upset ever because GIRLS ARE BEST”
This response is fascinating. It occurs as a reaction to the slew of “Who is ruined” posts and it’s an extraordinary mixture of butthurt fragility and delusional entitlement. I could write an entire post analysing it alone. The irony that really shows for me, though, is that this is exactly the same emotional response behind the complaints men make when “equality” (or revenge feminism, the two being hard to tell apart without close questioning) breaks down yet another door. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the women coming out with this gem think they’re not sexist and have no idea why men would ever complain about equality moving forward.

“My six-year-old daughter wants to watch it.”
So far the only one that’s made me smile. By virtue of this casting decision Who has made itself part of the gender war the grownups are having, but at least for now the six-year-old daughters of the world will get to have the magic for themselves. And then they’ll grow up and start joining in with revenge-feminist group bonding between women, and I’ll stop caring about them getting to have magic any more.

“All the posts on my f’list are about the Doctor”
Yes, and now yours is too…

“The new Doctor will be a glorious world of perfection.”
Don’t worry sweetie, daydreams are normal at your age, you’ll grow out of them.

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If you’re going to jump the shark, do it right.

“Doctor Who is British and has British humour, you’re just not understanding the show correctly.”
Excuse me while I beat you to death with a pair of Union Jack Y-fronts, you smug colonial twat.

“The Doctor is fictional and doesn’t represent a real transsexual, don’t be stupid. Content yourself with the fact that the diverse new Who writers room has started doing female characters better.”
Sorry, what? Those female characters are exactly as fictional as the Doctor. You mean women deserve fair representation in fiction and people who switch genders don’t? Or do you mean people who switch genders are not real people?

The real kicker was that this whole “the Doctor is fictional” spiel actually came out of the mouth of a fellow trans man. I guess that’s what internalised transphobia looks like to other people.

The value of rage: RIP Sir Terry Pratchett.

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Publicity shot from ‘The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents”.

Morbid? Yes, it is. Bandwagon-jumping? Absolutely. The sort of thing PTerry himself would probably despise? I doubt it not. However there are people looking at this blog apparently in the expectation that I’ll have said something about such a momentous event in fantasy as the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, and far be it from me to disappoint my future readers.

I’ve got a when-I-met-Pterry anecdote I’ll come to later, but the best article I’ve ever read about the man is this one, written by Neil Gaiman: “Do not underestimate this anger. This anger was the engine that powered Good Omens.”  It talks about Terry having a deep sense of justice, and anyone who’s read Pratchett can appreciate the near-perfect balance he struck between acute social awareness, blackest irony, and an infallible sense of petty, stupid humanity and all its attendant farce. Continue reading

The day I grew a tail

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Anonymous creator, found here on Flickr

Some time ago I posted about furries, and my first rather nervous foray into their world. Looking back at it I can see similarities with the motivations behind the steampunk culture I explored in my most popular post. I can also see similarities with brony culture, which I’ll go into in a little more detail below.

Since that post I’ve been spending more time around my local furries, and gradually I think I’m starting to understand some of the subtleties a bit more. I’m beginning to get why quite so many furries are gay or bisexual men and what the draw of “fursuiting” is, and it ties in to some themes I’ve noticed in steampunk and other subcultures as well. Continue reading

Impermanence

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There’s a saying that goes “This too shall pass”.

There’s another saying, a Buddhist one, that likens a person to a flame; always in motion, always consuming the wood on which it burns, composed at every moment of totally different atoms – and yet the same flame.

The picture to the left is from a comunity art project called Mitcham’s Models, which installed reworked mannequins around an unlovely junction in town to coincide with the city’s annual Open Studios event. Open Studios is a month in which Cambridge’s surprisingly many artists throw open their studio doors to the middle-class average Joe; the eerie figure in this picture was found on my way home from a gig at one of Cambridge’s few remaining live music pubs.

Continue reading