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Regeneration Speculation

November 22, 2013 3 comments

I’ve been trying to write a blog post about Doctor Who, regeneration and the role of The Doctor being played by a woman for some time now. Mostly I go round in circles and learn a little bit more about my own tastes, personal prejudices and slowly gain a greater understanding of inequality and sexism. It’s a very useful intellectual exercise for me, but consistently makes for a bloody boring wall of text as I1 waffle on. I’ll try to make it less dull, without tying myself up in knots about how to make the world a more egalitarian2 place.

So duly warned, here are some things to consider about regenerations.

1) Every regeneration is a reboot – I think people get distracted by the fact that because Doctor Who’s reboots happen as part of the narrative, rather than outside it, that this makes changing the show’s format some how easier. It’s not. The story and casting are only part of making a show. Casting Tilda Swinton (for example) as The Doctor is as easy to do as casting Katee Sackhoff as the next James Bond.

2) Having a preference for a certain shape, colour, gender or anything else in your future timelords does not make you a bigot, in the same way that preferring Roger Moore to Sean Connery as James Bond does not automatically make you anti-Scottish.

Being a bigot is the thing that makes you a bigot. For example, if your reason for not wanting Tilda Swinton to play The Doctor boils down to “girls smell”, then you need to have a word with yourself.

If, however, every time you close your eyes and picture The Doctor and you see someone who is short, bald and male (and your list of preferences are all actors who resemble Danny Devito) then that’s just your taste and your shouldn’t let anyone tell you that your tastes are wrong or weird; they’re your tastes and you should enjoy them as they’re part of who you are.

3) Casting, if done well, should be based on who the producers of the show think they could do the best work with. No other criteria should enter into it. Which brings me on to point 4.

4) The only way you’re going to get to make the decision is to become the next show runner of Doctor Who. If you’re so inclined, you should make this a personal goal3. I also think speculating on who the next show runner is just as interesting as trying to guess who the next Doctor is. I suspect it’ll be Mark Gatiss next, but I’d love it to be Jane Goldman.

5) With that in mind, lobbying the BBC to produce a version of Doctor Who with a female lead is the wrong approach. Producers should feel free to pick whomever they’re happy working with. Tell the BBC you want more sci-fi and fantasy shows with female leads and female show runners. Then when the job for show-runner comes up, shout your preferences from the rooftops.

1: I’m fat white bloke of average height in his late 30’s. I’m happy with my body and gender and very happily married to a rather lovely lady. As such I feel I have very little to add that hasn’t already been said by other fat white lucky sods.

But I like to waffle on, so there.

2: Being an egalitarian does not mean you only have to eat eagles. Hmmm, eagles. You can’t be an egalitarian without being a feminist by the way; can’t be for an equal society without dealing with the most obvious imbalance.

3: A hall of fame that includes the likes of Verity Lambert and Russel T Davies.

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Categories: Geek, TV Tags: ,

Geek? Me? Of Course I am.

September 15, 2011 1 comment

“Speak out with your Geek out” is an online campaign/meme/idea/excuse-to-write-about-cool-stuff/ thing doing the rounds this week. The idea is to talk about the geeky things that you do.

I am relatively un-convinced that geeks need an ‘awareness campaign’ however. Because the modern definition of a geek has changed so much over the years.

30 years ago, to be a geek meant you where someone who did gross things for money. 20 years ago, it meant someone who had poor hygiene and social skills who also happened to have some sort of all consuming hobby or obsession. But the hobby aspect was just icing on the (rather smelly) cake, it was the lack of social skills and the stink that defined a ‘geek’.
These days, when we describe someone as a Geek (or to use the more British version of the term; Anorak) we mean “Someone who spends way too much time on an area of knowledge, often one with no practical use.”

Speak out with your Geek Out

And that’s a pretty broad church. We get Steam Geeks , Car Geeks, Table-Top Gaming Geeks, Video Game Geeks, Vintage Toy Geeks, Anime Geeks, Football Geeks, Art Geeks, Science Geeks, even Geek Geeks. This list is so large, you need to be a Maths Geek to care about how big it is. Fashion Geeks have invented the term ‘Geek Chic’. Ironic t-shirts with obscure references can be found easily (and are used by many as a way to break the ice). Film geeks have filled movies and TV shows with pop culture references. To be a geek is the norm these days.

This makes sense. It’s in our nature to study almost anything to the point of obsession, and that does not have to be a bad thing. Human beings devote their time to a plethora of activities, and to mock someone for having a hobby displays that you have a lack of character. Healthy, happy people have multiple skills, multiple obsessions and do stuff in their spare time.
Do not mock the guy who’s just spent 40+ hours writing an intricate D&D campaign for his 6 friends, mock the idiot who’s spent 40+hours passively sitting on their arse watching whatever happens to be on telly. After all, you wouldn’t mock someone for preferring Coke over Pepsi, so why would you ever mock someone for wanting to play ‘Warhammer 40,000’ rather than watch Eastenders?

The only time Geek gets used as a pejorative term these days is when that obsession gets in the way of said Geek enjoying life. The Manchester United Geek who misses their own daughter’s birth in order to watch the match has a problem, as does the World of Warcraft Obsessive who stays up all night fighting murlocs on the night before that all important job interview. And that’s not an issue caused by being a geek. That’s an issue caused by not being a grown-up. Being a geek is an excuse to celebrate the things that fascinated us when we were young, but it isn’t a reason to not embrace the joys and trials of adult life.

If you like to do something, why aren’t you learning as much about as you can? Being a Geek is to be human.If you aren’t a Geek, what does that make you?

Categories: Geek Tags: , ,