Thursday, 5 November 2015

PC Tokenism versus Leftist Propaganda in Doctor Who

All mainstream modern mass media TV, movie, novel narratives are politically correct - but there are two ways of being PC - and one is a lot worse than the other.

Some modern stories give the impression of having been conceived independently, then politically correct elements were secondarily added in order to to throw a bone to the Thought Police. This is what the Social Justice Warriors accurately call 'tokenism' - e.g. casting a woman or racial minority actor in the role of high status character such as a judge or the president, but without this affecting the motivations, plot or action.

While tokenism is annoying and diminishing to a creative work, and is a constant reminder of the power and dominance of the New Left, it can be tolerated - and 'bracketed-out'.

But what is intolerable is the opposite - when the storyline is PC propaganda, and the narrative integrity is token. When the whole 'point' of it is political propaganda, and the story is simply a manipulative tool to try and make the ideology effective and memorable.

An example is the ongoing Doctor Who episode The Zygon Invasion, scripted by Peter Harness; which is a pro-mass-immigration political allegory - crudely dressed-up as a Doctor Who episode.

I could not last-out the whole episode once I recognised what was going-on (which did not take long!) but it is an example of the very worst kind of Soviet style propaganda at almost every level - but given a high production gloss.

So we have strong preaching of pacifism/ willing victim status in line with the author being Peter Harness who wrote Kill The Moon last year - which was (by a large margin) the Worst-Doctor-Who-Episode-Ever (therefore naturally he was paid to write more on the same lines).

We have not just a female-led, but apparently all-female UNIT - which is there to show us how the military ought to be done.

(i.e. spending most of the time gossipping about the doings of the 'alpha male", sharing personal feelings and sympathizing for personal feelings, disobeying orders, breaking down and crying - and, in general, failing to use just force to defend the Good.)

Indeed it has become common in this incarnation to have the screen mostly filled either with the Doctor surrounded by women and minorities (and minority women) - or else just have the women and minorities dominating the plot, and the Doctor absent.

Doctor Who in the post-revival form has been heavy on tokenism - with far too much emphasis on the Companion (and even the Companion's family, for goodness sakes!) - in a crude, and successful, attempt to woo a female audience by turning Scifi into Soap.

(Some of the Rose and later Donna episodes closely resembled the egregious East Enders - which is a very popular and long-running soap about a collection of vile Cockney harridans, sluts and thugs meant to be 'ordinary people'.)

But the new Doctor has been crossing the line from tokenism into propaganda; and crossing the line between something I can just about accept, into something that I cannot bear at any price. With David Tennant we had the Doctor as a superhero (rather than a wizard).

But now with Capaldi we are getting Clara as the leader, and the Doctor as a cowardly and pathetic middle-aged sidekick . A Platonic sugar daddy to his beloved Clara; in seventies style Ray Bans and Electric guitar (posing like a superannuated rockstar 'ambassador' such as Bono - making peace signs on the stairway of his private 'World Presidential' jet).

And when action is needed the Doctor behaves like a dependent wimp; texting Clara for help more than a hundred times! She casually shrugs off this appeal until it is convenient for her to answer - clearly establishing 'who wears the trousers' in this 'marriage' - and characterizing the Doctor as an weird internet stalker.

So, expicitly and with emphasis, we now have a Doctor who cannot even start doing anything to solve a crisis without the go-ahead from his strong, fearless, beatifully dressed, and utterly dominant younger girlfriend... I mean Companion.

So even the basic character of the Doctor, as signalled by his clinging and insecure relatonship with the Companion, has been subverted and sacrificed and forced into service as political propaganda; teaching us how men and women ought to relate in the coming Leftist utopia of willed and embraced 'alien' invasion and takeover...

In conclusion, I can tolerate tokenism up to a point, which is just as well because it is now universal; but when I am offered crude allegorical propaganda for self-hatred and willed-suicide, dressed up as drama, then I switch-off or walk away - and I do not return.

See also:


JP said...

So what do they do about the invasion? Accept it and focus on combating right-wing xenophobic, racist hatred of the invaders... I mean, the migrants?

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - I don't know - I walked away...

Anonymous said...

"...the coming Leftist utopia of willed and embraced 'alien' invasion and takeover..."

Then I guess the title of part two, The Zygon Inversion, is apt here.

I still prefer the 1963-1989 original series, with the John Pertwee and Tom Baker years seeming to have most of the best scripts. The few specimens of the revived series that this American non-subscriber to premium cable has seen show the influence of the Harry Potter movie adaptations. The first two of these were directed by Chris Columbus who was a writer for and protege of Steven Spielberg, a filmmaker whose style was clearly affected by Disney. Those English who decry the 'Disneyfication' of popular culture should take a closer look.

The most striking borrowing is the dramatic device that might be called 'uproar'. In Disney's films an authority figure, a villain, or an otherwise intimidating character shouts and begins to make demands, pounds the table, etc., sending the rest of the players into frenzied activity with breakages and pratfalls as they frantically try to comply.

The latter-day Dr. Who samples I've seen consist of one uproar after another but with loud sound effects in place of the shouting.

Elsewhere you've commented that the Doctor, as a wizard, would be celibate. No disagreement from me, but recall that the William Hartnell Doctor had a granddaughter. This might imply that he is an old widower who has had his innings with romance and child-rearing but now is content to devote his remaining years to other pursuits. Then the series became a hit, William Hartnell retired, his character was regenerated into Patrick Troughton, and those remaining years began swelling into centuries.

But even then the Doctor's undersexed status required no suspension of disbelief: This was a series aimed at children but entertaining enough for adults to watch with them. Most children are bored with romance in stories, so its absence here was a non-issue. Sexual tension was not conspicuous by its absence even when younger-looking actors like Peter Davison and Colin Baker played the lead. It's all in the scripting and acting.

Recall too that the series was sold to the powers-that-were at the BBC as an educational one. Science fiction plots were allowed only if every other story involved true historic settings and events. And even the science fiction scripts had to include a little science lesson, such as the Doctor's constructing an electromagnet, while explaining the steps to one of his costars, in order to escape a Dalek prison.

If Georges Remy, a cartoonist from a country not usually stereotyped as prudish, could create with apparent insouciance a nearly woman-less imaginary world in The Adventures of Tintin and get away with only minor clucking from his readers, certainly the BBC could return Dr. Who to its roots as a children's show.

Or cancel it.

Bill said...

Loved the old Doctors. The revival couldn't hold my interest past the first few series - too much crying!

Don said...

It's sad in that the new Doctor could have turned the story back to his 'wizard' roots. He has the chops for it. He's not a bad tv actor. I hate the direction the show has gone and I have quit watching as well.

The Captain Jack stories were about where I started tuning out. I am a traditionalist when it comes to entertainment that even might be enjoyed by children. Keep that junk out of it.

As the production values have gotten better, the show has gotten worse and the stories are terrible just boring. The only character I even enjoy is the soldier boyfriend and now he's gone.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that Matt Smith,s episodes (with a new producer at the helm) were noticeably less propoganda-ish; they were still filled with liberal asides, but as asides and not plot developments. In fact, these were handled more as humor than statements. I sort of got the impression that somebody had told them to tone down the leftism. The Tennant years had soured me to the point where I simply can't watch the actor in ANY role, can't even read a Doctor Who book featuring his version of the character, and had made up my mind to stop watching the show. The handling of Matt Smith's seasons made it just bearable again. Now, starting with Capaldi's intro story, it seems somebody among the powers that be dictated that the PC faucet be turned back on full again. I, too, have walked away from what was for many years a cherished series.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Anon - And the propaganda is so clumsy and obvious! I suppose that makes it less dangerous as propaganda - but also less effective as drama.

Probably underlying the problem with the show is that - because of the ideology of the writers, they have nothing to be serious-about except radically politically correct issues ( since they have decisively rejected nearly-all 'traditional' morality, sins and virtues); and the show does need a serious core.

Anonymous said...

I'm English and started watching Doctor Who in 1973 with Jon Pertwee's Doctor... I gave up on this lefty drivel a few years ago and I couldn't agree with you more! Everything you say is absolutely spot on... these idiots at the BBC have effectively ruined a much cherished childhood memory for me... the rotters!