Saturday 8 December 2018

[originally posted on FB]

I thought it was probably a send up when someone said a popular daily newspaper had castigated Dr Who along blatantly racist and sexist lines, but as I like to check out the source material for these claims I took a look. Guess what? It didn’t stop at race and gender, it took a pop at the disabled too.
The DN (as I will call it - the Daily Newspaper) tells us it is speaking up for the poor beleaguered ordinary citizen who, they infer but never say, has not the wit or the gumption to speak up for (or indeed think) for themselves.
What are Dr Who’s sins by DN standards?
After an intro that makes clear this article does not approve of anything about the new series, we are invited by implication  to mock these aspects:
A “stridently feminist” lead with “extraordinary engineering skills” (a woman good at engineering?! In this day and age?!) Add a “racially diverse cast” (shock horror?! In this day and age?!) but not just that, it gets worse. Alongside the “strident” feminist is a “black actor” playing a “dyspraxia sufferer” and another black actor playing an “Anglo-Asian police officer”.
And the bit that made me laugh. It was reference to the “token white middle-aged male”. I mean how can anyone – the subtext reads – even consider watching a programme that is not at least 99% middle-aged white male. Aren’t middle-aged white males the effective majority in much of life. Well yes, DN, they are, and just look what an f***ing mess they’ve made of it.
Oh and the DN doesn’t spare the “token white middle-aged male” because “even [he] is a cancer survivor”. (Oh no, not a portrayal of a cancer sufferer in a TV drama!? Hadn’t we plumbed the depths with trying to portray a dyspraxia sufferer as normal i.e. not totally and constantly defined by his condition?! Whatever next?)
The Doctor herself we are told is “too busy preaching to fight aliens”. It seems the DN at this point was frothing with too much rage to notice that this declaration was the header for a paragraph describing the Doctor’s encounter with “psychotic alien Tzim-Sha” in an earlier episode.
The thing is, they weren’t frothing about the programme pretending that the world isn’t entirely made up of white middle-aged males at that point, they were frothing along different lines, so didn’t spot the anomaly.
Apparently (I didn’t see the episode), the strident feminist had tried to stop the murderous alien by persuading him to reform. It doesn’t work and she was “forced to resort to more drastic action”.
“More drastic action”? Well well, suddenly mealy-mouthed about spelling it out? So I’m assuming that the “more drastic action” could not have been described as “forced to resort to murderous violence with comprehensive collateral damage such as would have been perpetrated far sooner by real men” i.e. the proper white male middle-aged role model seen in so many male-dominated films, programmes and computer games, and not the ‘strident’ woman making out that she’s good at engineering whilst surrounded by a cast of non-white no-hopers.
It doesn’t even stop there, the article froths ever more wildly as it goes on. Dr Who has wide appeal (the DN clearly hates that) and it’s peddling the idea that it’s not the winning that counts. It doesn’t quite say: how dare a programme watched by so many children peddle the idea that losing doesn’t make them worthless pieces of shit for the rest of their lives who should know their place and kowtow to their bigger, stronger, richer, whiter, non-disabled peers whilst being grateful for any crumbs that come their way, unless they have the luck to tip into that elite category at some point, in which case they’d better learn to despise the non-white, non-male, non-able-bodied pretty darned quick or they’ll be thrown out of the club.
But it does say, “To the delight of risk-adverse snowflakes everywhere, the Doctor is a firm believer in the maxim, ‘it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part’.” But give them a bit more leeway and they’ll be spelling it out.
The article ends on the racist seam where it began. The programme has “found room for ... ONE middle aged white bloke” [their emphasis]. They’ve done this “in a bid to prove” they are the “most inclusive show on television”.
Actually, they are one of the most popular shows on television. And what the DN apparently can’t stomach is to have a popular show peddling the message that non-white, non-male or non-able-bodied does not mean inferior being. Wow, all that vitriol! All that pathetic insecurity. All that longing for the good-ole 1950s. White middle-aged male power feeling under threat, is it? Who’s the snowflake now?
I have not linked to the article. They get enough exposure, but here's a book by an actor from previous series which is especially interesting in this context as his recollections really contradict the DN's frothy inadequate attempts to reminisce about days gone by.

My Dalek Has A Puncture