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25 July 2012 @ 10:00 am
Classic Who Meta: controversial topics in Classic Who vs Nu Who  

The Classic show often had plots that dealt with controversy. For example, it is said that executives saw the Sixth Doctor's tenure as abusive and violent (e.g. choking Peri). On the positive side, we had matter of fact scenarios that showed females as independent (e.g. Sarah Jane in The Time Warrior). Now, in a politically correct age, how has time changed the writer's approach to controversial subjects and scenarios? Do you believe that there is a significant difference between the perceptions/expectations of the Classic audience and today’s audience? What differences in the approach to story arc, subject matter, approach to character, and audience reception stand out for you?

(Thanks to viomisehunt for this week's topic! Have an idea for a topic, too? Submit it here!)
 
 
( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
V: river song nice hairmerryghoul on July 25th, 2012 02:46 pm (UTC)
...oh, dear, this became wordy and long.

With all versions of Who, I think it really depends on the executives, showrunners and the writers of that period. In general, that's why we had a lot of independent female characters in the Classic era, IMO.

Executives started to panic about how "violent" Who was around the last season the Fifth Doctor was on, and by the Sixth Doctor, they were tired enough to give the show a hiatus and eventually give Colin Baker the boot (along with other personal reasons, most likely). I have to agree with others that executives (at that time) didn't like Who because they didn't like Who, despite its ratings. By the time the Seventh Doctor was made into a more mysterious character, the ratings were down because of various reasons (including making Who more light-hearted), and executives pulled the plug.

With New Who, I feel that Davies tried to be more inclusive with his characters (especially with sexualities), but on other fronts he missed the mark (especially with race). Moffat, on the other hand, doesn't listen to criticism too much, and I feel his hangups about race and sex from his other shows (like Jekyll and Sherlock) pop up in Who.

I'm not sure about how the audience for Classic Who feels about Classic Who, but I know for New Who there are camps who scrutinize the failings of the new series and there are camps that would rather talk about the show and ignore meta about race and sex. In general, I've seen a lot of people disappointed in Moffat's Who as opposed to Davies. (I can't speak for Davies too much because I joined Who fandom with Moffat.) I'll have to admit, I fall into the former that sees some of the failings because I identify as a queer POC. I know sometimes social justice talk can be polarizing (and, at times, I do have problems with some of the talk), but for the most part I find it reassuring that I'm not alone in thinking there are problems with New Who at times.
kelkat9kelkat9 on July 25th, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
Wow, what a great topic! I believe that "what is controversial" depends on the individual watching the show or episode in question. I have learned from reading metas (such as this one) that what is controversial for someone else, may not be for me. It really depends on your background (social et al).

I'm going to focus on characters/characterization. I watched Classic Who as young girl (10-12 yrs of age) raised in an American fairly liberal and non-religious family. My first Doctor was Four with Sarah Jane. I enjoyed the Fourth Doctor immensely. Sarah Jane did not always appeal to me as for me, she often was not the strong female character I was looking for at that age. I know that many people disagree with me but at the time, I felt that she screamed and needed rescuing. I have been told during her time wtih the Third Doctor, she was a much stronger character and the writers may have watered down her character a bit. I was not sad to see her go. I did enjoy the older Sarah Jane (in New Who) much more or perhaps it was that I was older and my perspective changes. Although I hated the "pining away for him" aspect, I thought in New Who she was portrayed with more strength.

Leela did not immediately strike either and at first I thought she was intended to appeal to a male audience due to costuming. Eventually, she grew on me and I thought overall, she was a strong feminine character. Well until they sort of married her off. I was not raised to believe the ultimate goal of every girl was to get married so that didn't work for me. Romana was the first female Who character that I thought was consistently strong and smart. For some reason, I just loved her character, although, I'm sure there were eps were she was not as independent and clever as they could have made her. Her departure (although sad for me) was well done. She left to do something greater with her life.

I can't really speak as to many of the other companions as they may not have made as much of an impact and I didn't see many eps of the Doctor past the Fifth Doctor. I did quite like Nyssa and felt she was quite an intelligent character. I know there are many Tegan supporters and I think she wasn't afraid to call the Doctor out but I didn't care for her being portrayed so shouty. I really dislike writer who think they need to show a woman as independent or "strong" by making her shouty.

I have not seen all of Classic Who nor have I read very many of the books so I could be wrong but I think New Who does introduce some more intelligent independent female characters. (ie: Martha Jones who was probably in the end, the toughest and most independent). Rose and Donna were also strong in their own ways and not afraid to question the Doctor's morality but Martha was a bit more independent. I do not care for "the girl that waited scenario" in New Who. That rubs me the wrong way which is why I can appreciate Rose not doing as she's told but making her own decisions. I also don't care for the girl that pines away" scenario either.

Beyond masculine and femine is sexual orientation and diversity of culture of the characters. I tend to feel that due to Classic Who's era, there was very little diversity. The show was geared toward mainstream young male viewers. New Who has much more diverse charcters and I think was written to appeal to a more varied audience. Perhaps if New Who continues they will incorporate more diversity. I know it's a British program but I think it would be nice to see other cultures represented. I think RTD was more successful at appealing to a wide range of audience than SM.

fannishliss: Four/Romana facesfannishliss on July 25th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
I pretty much agree with you 100% as regards Sarah Jane (I thought she was a bit limp, though I like her a lot more now), Leela (though I always liked her and her knife!) Romana (I was a bigger fan of Lalla, but just having watched Key to Time, RomanaI was pretty awesome) Tegan (yes, too shouty!!) Nyssa (I actually know a girl named after Nyssa).

I like that there is more diversity now as well.

The "girl who waited" is such an old canard, needs to be put out of its misery. My least favorite aspect of New Who.
Mathilda: Killer Inflatable Chairstaiyou_to_tsuki on July 25th, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC)
When I started watching Classic Who, I was actually positively surprised by the portrayal of female characters I saw, having fully expected the generation gap to come with a plethora of issues with sex and race (although it should be noted I've seen very few episodes from the 60s, so my opinion is based on Doctors 3-7).

And while there are definitely cringe-worthy moments, I've also found myself very happy with the characterisations throughout the series. There's a prevailing idea, I think, of the Classic Female Companion being a young woman whose scream can shatter glass and who has to be rescued constantly; while there's definitely foundation for that stereotype, I've personally found that it's indeed nothing more than a stereotype.

The female characters in Doctor Who are allowed their own personalities. They're not only there to ask questions and pose as eyecandy; Liz is not Jo is not Sarah Jane is not Leela, etc. Many also get their share of character development (although some of it tends to happen off-screen). In that respect, I don't think Classic Who does much worse than NuWho.

Secondly, I feel every companion has their own strengths, their own talents and personal bravery. Women in Who rarely stay put - and while this can be seen as a simple way to get them into trouble and move the plot along, it's worth noting that from a Watsonian perspective it's a character trait. There's a difference between a writer deciding that "X needs to wander off so something can happen" and a character deciding that "I need to not do as I'm told because ____".

Add to that that a lot of female characters on Who definitely see themselves as equal to their male peers; every one of Three's female companions outright mentions "women's lib" at some point. We quite often see women in traditionally male positions such as scientists - but hardly ever as soldiers, interestingly enough.

I guess what it comes down to is that when it comes to strong female characters in Classic Who, most of the characters themselves are stellar - but the show often suffers from a case of telling instead of showing. There's usually nothing wrong with the characters, but the narrative doesn't allow them to be as independent as we're meant to think they are.

(Same thing could be said about race; there are serials where there are quite obvious metaphors for racism or segregation, and we're meant to think that's bad - but there's a very notable lack of PoC throughout the decades for a show where you can travel anywhere and anytime in the universe. Not to mention serials like Talons of Weng-Chiang...)

Then again, how were women portrayed in other TV series at the time, especially aimed at children? I don't know enough about media history to tell, but I often get the feeling that Doctor Who has at least tried to be progressive for a very long time.

Which is why I personally find it easier to be lenient with Classic Who than NuWho; the classic series was made in a different time. I can't be properly offended because it wasn't made for my generation. NuWho is, and that makes the issues that pop up there a lot harder to ignore.

... And after typing this down I get the feeling this wasn't what the entry was about at all. Oh well. Nonetheless, this is a great discussion topic and as it's pretty broad I might come up with something else later. :P
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
There's a prevailing idea, I think, of the Classic Female Companion being a young woman whose scream can shatter glass and who has to be rescued constantly; while there's definitely foundation for that stereotype, I've personally found that it's indeed nothing more than a stereotype. I have to say, that until I watched the series again--as compared to female roles now--I bought into the Who females as stereotypes who, think I said tripped on twigs, rather than holding positions, or having accomplishments. My favorite thing to say was that their function was to ask "What shall we do Doctor, and trip on twigs". But looking at Sarah Jane's first day with the Third Doctor, she deserves, from me, a sincere apology and second look. The Classic Who female held position. The Doctor Assistant or not, Liz was hired because of her qualifications. Jo wasn't a scientist, but she was qualified as the Doctor assistant with other skills. As Jo knew how to fly helicopters and I think had martial arts--she was closer to a soldier than a scientist. And although she wasn't a companion, Winnefred was a soldier. Ace's skills as well were more warrior-like. She becomes Time's vigilante.

Same thing could be said about race; there are serials where there are quite obvious metaphors for racism or segregation, and we're meant to think that's bad - but there's a very notable lack of PoC throughout the decades for a show where you can travel anywhere and anytime in the universe. This lack of POC is significant because issues of oppression, prejudice, aethestics based in "race" and culture on the show are presented from the point of view of entitlement. At least when British enslavement of Africans is mentioned once on the classic show, a man of color is allowed to speak about it as HIs expereince, or the experience of HIS ancestors as it relates to his existance.

Martha Jones is silenced, her attempt voice concerns or questions dimissed as hyper-sensitivity, and then we confronted with Doctors totally unrelated assumption of the situation--he doesn't see color, and of course the absolutely stunningly insulting suggestion that there is no greater menace or meaning in Shakespeare stumbling for the correct term to call "The Doctor's" Blackamoor lady than a man trying to find the right word to get a good looking female in bed with you. "It doesn't matter what he's calling you and why he doesn't have any inkling of what nation or culture you are from--Shakespeare wants to shag you; be happy."

I am always truly amazed by fans--of all ethnic backgrounds-- who think that the Doctor's reaction to Martha's question about the exisitence of the slave trade--bascially he intimates that it doesn't exist--is Politically correct because it proves the Doctor doesn't see "color".




Edited at 2012-07-25 07:44 pm (UTC)
Mathilda: Below the Thunders of the Upper Deeptaiyou_to_tsuki on July 25th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
I am always truly amazed by fans--of all ethnic backgrounds-- who think that the Doctor's reaction to Martha's question about the exisitence of the slave trade--bascially he insist it doesn't exist--is Politically correct because it proves the Doctor doesn't see "color".

This is similar to the issue a lot of people have taken with Moffat's tweet about how the Doctor presumably wouldn't understand what you're talking about if you use the words "gay" and "straight". Being blind to things like race and sexuality isn't a good thing - it's a sign of ignorance and lack of understanding of minorities' life experiences.

To say that the Doctor, who is supposed to be someone who readily questions authority and battles injustice, doesn't know about those things is more than just a little insulting. Because it means he doesn't understand the issues related to them, ranging from everyday discrimination to genocide.

"Problematic" doesn't really begin to cover it. Especially since genocide is a very present theme in NuWho.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
Ditto!
Lyriclyricwrites on July 26th, 2012 05:19 am (UTC)
To say that the Doctor, who is supposed to be someone who readily questions authority and battles injustice, doesn't know about those things is more than just a little insulting.

It's not a positive trait, to be sure, but you could argue that it's in character. The Doctor is sometimes blind to stuff. Take the Ood, for example. I mean, I don't blame him for getting sidetracked by Satan (hard not to be, it's Satan) but I really wish that immediately afterwards, he'd asked some questions. I mean, he's told that the Ood are a "basic slave race," but slavery isn't something that just happens, it's something that's done to people. So the obvious question is, "Who did it?" Followed immediately by, "Can it be fixed?" and "Are they still out there doing it?" and "If so, how do I stop them?"
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyricwrites on July 26th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyricwrites on July 27th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
Lyriclyricwrites on July 26th, 2012 05:11 am (UTC)
Jo wasn't a scientist, but she was qualified as the Doctor assistant with other skills. As Jo knew how to fly helicopters and I think had martial arts--she was closer to a soldier than a scientist.

Jo was also qualified in escapology, although sometimes she was prevented by plot. I've found that the general rule in third Doctor stories is that Jo can be counted on for any physical skill required by the story, from riding a motorcycle to disabling armed men. (Seriously, watch her and the Doctor work in tandem to take down guards. It's a thing of beauty.)

Yeah, I'm a bit of a Jo fan.
LondonKdSlondonkds on July 26th, 2012 06:44 am (UTC)
One problem with analysing the female companions in pre-2005 Who is the inconsistency in writing, with some writers attempting to individualise them and others simply doing a generic "companion" (generally giving rise to the worst cases of plot-driving uselessness). Jo in particular suffers from this with her level of skill and intellect fluctuating wildly from story to story. Also, it's a common complaint from companion actors that their characters were given individuality and interesting characteristics in their introductory stories and then got flattened out later on.

One of the things I really blame RTD personally for, though, is not challenging the "all older companions were pathetic damsels" mindset more in his media interviews. It came across to me as unfairly promoting his own character over all others, as for people who've seen the older stories, Rose is certainly the most three-dimensional and best written of the "everyperson" companions, but she most certainly isn't in the top half when it comes to competence, intellect, or the nebulous "being the Doctor's equal".
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)
First, So sad to hear that Mary Tamm, Romana I, has passed away. I very much enjoyed her brief stint on Doctor Who. Very Sad day.

is not challenging the "all older companions were pathetic damsels" mindset more in his media interviews. Agreed. People forget Sarah Jane spent most of her debut episode working on her own. She takes the lead in raid on the enemy forces and not because of what the Doctor taught her--she thought the Doctor WAS the enemy--but according to her own skills and knowledge.
This is the perplexing thing about statements about Martha and the Doctor. We meet her and she is already courage--Tennant says that this is what draws the Doctor to Martha, her courage and intelligence. As to her speaking up finally--sorry, as far as I can see that's Francine's influence. That woman walked up to a man she was told was dangerous by her government and smacked him to protect her daughter. Look at Tish courage and support of her sister. The Classic Doctor rarely took credit for his Companion's and Assisstant's fine attributes, or allowed them to think this.
Althiough through the Companion we get to see the Doctor, through the Doctor eyes, we have always been able to see what is best and admirable about humanity in his human friends and associates.
Moffat has at least returned us to that --well except for the one episode where he's preaching about the bad human mommy.
But for the most part, the Moffat lead team is back to allowing the Doctor to see what is best wonderful about humanity again.

However in RTD's favor, Rose was better percieved as an "everyperson" because of her relationship with Jackie and Mickey. Was there a more every person than Mickey. He gave her a family many people can relate to: a hard working widowed/single mother, making her way with her business in her kitchen, her boyfriend with skilled trades job, and Rose with what appears a thankless job, but we see her in the beginning as a hard worker.

Martha too is very much a everywoman, as I and many otheres can relate to a family who stresses independence and education, most of us who have attened college or University whether it is for the arts, music, medicine, language, know the drill of study, the pull of family especially if there is a breakup, the competitiveness between siblings, but the love underneath it all.

I am familiar with Donna too, especially in the economy of the last thirty years, many single women have been forced back home with parents--usually because have families, and single men too. but I have those firends who struck out of their own, no children, no spouse male and female, on their salaries and pensions.

Having families does help round a character out. I do not think that is a detriment.

fannishliss: Marth/Mickeyfannishliss on July 25th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the use of the phrase "politically correct." To me it means trying to avoid doing or saying things that are offensive. Is that what the new Who primarily does? Was the old who deliberately offensive by contrast? To me, something like Talons of Weng Chiang is kind of iffy because of outmoded stereotypical portrayals of Chinese culture -- but I don't think they were trying to avoid being "politically correct" by the way they made their portrayal in that series; I think they acted out of ignorance. (Sherlock episode "the blind banker" also made me wince!)

Or, one might say, "the inclusion of Martha Jones as the first companion of color is a bow to political correctness" -- if so then I have no problem with it. To me, Martha's racial background was not her central feature (though it did have important resonance when she had to serve as the maid when he was human).

Likewise, Jack's omnisexuality as the first openly gay companion might be said to be politically correct, yet seems to me as a daring and wonderful step forward. I love that a 51st century human has different and more open sexual mores.... in fact, I should hope he would!! Not every society (for example, Gallifreyan) gets stuffier and more repressed as eons pass! (Grain of salt please; I know they had to adapt to their long lifespans etc).

I also feel like the issue of genocide has been addressed repeatedly on New Who and it seems very controversial to me. No one can approve genocide -- yet in dealing with a race like the Daleks, is it truly ethical to let them live, since they are determined to wipe out everyone besides themselves? It's not an easy question in my opinion... though pure philosophy really, since Daleks are not any variety of human beings. And, I thought it was beautifully explored in Dalek, which is pretty much my favorite episode of New Who.

Why did Martha and Mickey end up together? That did not seem politically correct. o_O It seemed contrived. In my headcanon, I tell myself they got to know each other on long assignments with UNIT and found that their differences were beautifully complementary. :D
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
Was the old who deliberately offensive by contrast? To me, something like Talons of Weng Chiang is kind of iffy because of outmoded stereotypical portrayals of Chinese culture -- but I don't think they were trying to avoid being "politically correct" by the way they made their portrayal in that series; I think they acted out of ignorance. Notes from that time would suggest they were were very aware of the 'possible' offensive quality of the program, thus the very heated discussion about "privilage".

Remember this is the BBC, the same network that presented the Black and White Minstrel Show until the mid seventies, inspite of protest without and within the network. From everything I've read, their (BBC Head office) attitude towards the Weng Chiang episode was very similar to their attitude when confronted about the Black and White Minstrel show.

Or, one might say, "the inclusion of Martha Jones as the first companion of color is a bow to political correctness" -- if so then I have no problem with it Martha as a token character? I have a problem with that. If the only reason the character was cast with a Woman of Color was because of pressure to BBC to become more diverse, (There is a statement from BBC in response to criticism around that time at their lack of POC in creative roles, specifically citing Martha Jones in their defense,) then we have to question whether she was intended as a geninue character--or a token character. If she was hired only to quiet critics then "color" is her central feature.

However, I think Freema was hired because as the producers noticed, she was gorgeous, they liked her, and felt she had promise. The PC or no PC issues comes the writers awkward attempts to deal with Martha's complexion in various situations.
fannishliss: Julietfannishliss on July 25th, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the information about the BBC, which I did not know.

I think Freema is amazing and I am really glad she was cast. I mean, whether or not she was hired as a "token" I think she was much more because of her talent and also, I think her character is pretty well written.

(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fannishliss on July 25th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fannishliss on July 26th, 2012 12:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spicandspan89 on July 26th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spicandspan89 on July 26th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 27th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spicandspan89 on July 27th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 27th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spicandspan89 on July 28th, 2012 04:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 28th, 2012 04:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mathilda: He Speaks of Senseless Things {Time}taiyou_to_tsuki on July 25th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
Back on track with something that was cited as quite controversial last year - the inclusion of Hitler in season six.

Consider the fact that the Big Bad of Doctor Who since the program started airing in 1963 has been the Daleks, an extra-terrestrial race set on killing everything that isn't exactly like them, and quite obviously based on Nazis. Genocide has also been a frequent staple of Who stories; particularly NuWho, with the destruction of Gallifrey.

Personally, I find Moffat's portrayal of Hitler fascinating in that context; in a genre where writers so often have tried to tackle real-life issues and events through fiction, Let's Kill Hitler goes in reverse. Which, I suppose, is a testament to its bad taste; in a series where the word Dalek strikes terror into more advanced races and genocide is continually condemned, the presence of a man who played a pivotal role in one of the biggest genocides of the 20th century is played for laughs.

It's more than just a little offending, to try to bring up these topics and then resort to comedy when it gets too real. Not to mention the fact that the story could've been played out anywhere - Nazi Germany, and Hitler even less, actually made a difference to that.

I suppose this is one of the instances when you can say that Doctor Who, being a children's show at heart, actually strayed into questionable territory concerning political correctness. And in my opinion it strayed too far.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
The Daleks were very much Nazi.

Good points all around. The usual approach to "Killing Hitler" in science fiction is the illusion that such an act would destroy the future.

Moffat might have intented putting Hitler in the closet as a metaphor of the rule that bringing up Hitler and the Nazi as the ultimate evil ends a debate. If he feel that such a rule is a thinly veiled excuse to avoid talking about Hitler and the Nazi party and their evil I agree. Hitler in comedy--think of how long the Producers has run on Broadway.
However, as you pointed this program IS intended for a young audience. Is the story line age appropriate. Bad Taste is a given, but didn't the episode start with the naked Doctor hiding under a womans hoop skirts. Don't think Moffat is concerned with "taste".

Given the ethnic climate of our societies can we afford to allow young peple to think of a monster like this--as a comedic figure who is considered by humans in the future to be Less evil than River Song, who only crime shooting the Doctor?





Edited at 2012-07-25 09:15 pm (UTC)
Mathilda: Bíonn gach tosú lag...taiyou_to_tsuki on July 25th, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
It should, perhaps, be pointed out that I personally didn't think much of Hitler when he appeared in that episode. Hitler as a source of comedy isn't a new thing - it wasn't until afterwards when I started to think of the wider implications of his portrayal and other themes in Doctor Who that it started to bother me.

Godwin's Law in all honour, but I can't help but feel that in the end Hitler's appearance was absolutely pointless. And that makes me squint a bit.

Not a single thing about the setting affected the main plot; River and the Doctor's encounter, the introduction of the Tesseract, everything could've been played out somewhere completely different. That Moffat chose Nazi Germany and playing an appearance by Hitler for laughs; what does that tell us about Moffat's reasoning when writing the episode?

That's what makes me side-eye the episode the most. Historical atrocities shouldn't be swept under a rug or described in dull, graphic detail, reducing lives to numbers as we nod solemnly in respect for the dead. That Hitler is a source of comedy didn't truly bother me; that he could've been exchanged for any other genocidal dictator, fictional or not, that caught my attention.

I'm not saying Hitler is the worst example of a human being you can find, or that the Holocaust is an evil unsurpassed. I don't they're incomparable.

But like it or not, Hitler is a symbol of genocide. That Moffat chose him as a cardboard cut-out for a role that could've been filled by many other dictators, and a setting that was of no consequence to the story itself, seems significant somehow. I'm just having trouble deducing why that is.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
But like it or not, Hitler is a symbol of genocide. in the DW fictional univers, so is the Doctor. I was in fact shocked when the little petty people identified River Song as a great criminal for killing the Doctor rather than the Doctor. In the Cartoon he is accused of destroying 17 planets, I imagine inhabited, and has 3005 crimes from petty to destruction of planets, (I imagine the destruction of Gallifrey pretty much annihilated any other planets in the system!) going back 3000 years.

http://youtu.be/mhtwPxbokCE

Edited at 2012-07-26 12:43 am (UTC)
(no subject) - taiyou_to_tsuki on July 26th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
Not an hour after I responded to this, I turned on my television and Hogan's Heroes was on. The Nazi POW officers--who were from all the written experiences of POW-very unfunny, are figures of fun. There was little acknowledgement on the show about the true horrors of the Death Camps. And I there was Criticism of the movie Wild, Wild West because there was too much emphasis on the "racial stuff"--although the film takes place during the term of President Ulysess S. Grant who waged attempted to a war against the racial terroism going on in the South.
Mathilda: St. Michael {Sine Vinkulo Peccati}taiyou_to_tsuki on July 25th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
It's a bit fascinating how these big, terrible events get absorbed by pop culture; presumably because it's something so many people on several continents have a connection to. And then we break it down, make fun of it, make it bearable.

Somehow, this discussion has ended up with me questioning myself more than authorial decisions at BBC; is it a bad thing to find Hitler caricatures offending? On one hand, refusing to talk about something makes it seem like that something can't be talked about, and that it's worse than any other atrocity committed, and then we both forget and become less likely to discuss those other atrocities.

On the other, if you can casually joke about it, it might seem like these atrocities actually can be... looked at, explained, explained away, discarded. They become insignificant.

And perhaps that's natural; perhaps all historical events become insignificant after some time. But is that a good thing or a bad thing? Does it matter, in the long run? When it's okay to joke about Nazis but historically appropriate depictions of racism are a more sensitive topic, what does that say about us today?

... This is slightly off-topic. Hm. I suppose I shall have to try and think of something else closer to Who if I am to continue throwing my thoughts around in this entry. 8Ia
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 25th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)
When it's okay to joke about Nazis but historically appropriate depictions of racism are a more sensitive topic, what does that say about us today?

People made fun of Nazis and Hitler during during the war in song and in images--it was defiance, rather like the Terrorism Player Cards or political cartoons that we see today. Is there a difference between making fun of Nazis as individuals, as opposed to treating their crimes lightly or dismissing them altogether?

(no subject) - taiyou_to_tsuki on July 26th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
Katherine: TARDISspicandspan89 on July 25th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
Well said. I also found it offensive that River Song was deemed a worse criminal than the man who was responsible for the Holocaust. I suppose it was intended to make her redemption seem more dramatic, but it was tastelessly done. IMO the same would apply to pretty much all of Earth's notorious war criminals. Moffat could have chosen a fictional villain, perhaps from Classic Who. Maybe it would not have had the same impact, but it would have been far less disrespectful.
Mathilda: Russia {Полнолуние}taiyou_to_tsuki on July 26th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
God, I'd practically forgotten River Song's role in relation to the "worst criminals in history" thing; I was thinking a bit too hard about "HITLER WAS IN THAT EPISODE" (it should be pointed out that I didn't actually enjoy Let's Kill Hitler, so I haven't watched it since it aired).

But yeah, that makes me wonder even more what Moffat's thought process behind that episode was. A typical example of telling instead of showing? But then there's the fact that... there's not a lot to show. As far as we know, she's killed (well) one man: the Doctor.

Do Moffat expect us to think the Doctor is worth twelve million people's lives (not counting casualties of war, both military and civilian)? I think the Doctor would disagree.
Katherine: TARDISspicandspan89 on July 26th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
Yep, all of this. I thought the episode was pretty appalling from the get-go. Moffat's Doctor isn't exactly humble, but I really, really can't see the Doctor placing his own worth above that of that many people.

(12 million?? It's even worse than I thought.)
(no subject) - taiyou_to_tsuki on July 26th, 2012 12:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spicandspan89 on July 26th, 2012 01:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - taiyou_to_tsuki on July 26th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spicandspan89 on July 26th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
Lyriclyricwrites on July 26th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC)
I also found it offensive that River Song was deemed a worse criminal than the man who was responsible for the Holocaust. suppose it was intended to make her redemption seem more dramatic

I didn't think it had anything to do with her redemption. I thought it was because the Doctor's reputation was honestly warping the universe. People—presumably rational people who work for some sort of government—took it for granted that River was worse than one of history's worst people, not because of who the Doctor actually is, but because of the myth of him. The whole season is about the Doctor's legend becoming a force that even he can't really control: people do awful things for fear of him, and now we see people doing at least one awful thing (torturing River) from ignorant worship of him.

In other words, I think it was in there because it's so self-evidently, glaringly wrong.
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyricwrites on July 26th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viomisehunt on July 26th, 2012 06:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spicandspan89 on July 26th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyricwrites on July 27th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - taiyou_to_tsuki on July 27th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyricwrites on July 27th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
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