Tag Archives: Doctor Who

The Trouble With Portraying Sexuality

There’s something that’s been sitting on my mind for a while now, and I wasn’t really aware of the cognitive dissonance until I had a recent discussion with a friend of mine. In feminism, a movement apparently in its third wave according to academics, yet still struggling to find a unified front on many issues, there is a bit of an issue when it comes to the public perceptions of female sexuality.

Basically, it boils down to two views. First, you have the idea that sexuality should not be shameful. Sex isn’t something to shame people for having. Doing such can cause all sorts of psychological problems, first off. It’s a completely natural process that, unlike most animals in the world, is enjoyable for recreational purposes and is not solely a procreational action.

Unfortunately, when it comes to shame over sex, women get the worst rap. We all probably know the double standard by now… men who have multiple partners are conquerors. They’re virile. They’re manly. They can hold their tally like a trophy, the quantity of their conquests far outweighing their abilities (or inabilities) in the bed itself. Meanwhile, women are to keep their sexual lives quiet. Women with multiple partners are sluts. Shameful. Dirty. Broken. In a weird twist, sometimes people that want to help protect women from being sexual victims apply the term “victim” all over the place, even when sex is fully consensual… because it’s inconceivable for some people that a woman might seek out and desire sex. So, there’s the faction that wants to eliminate sex as a dirty word and deed, particularly for women. If a woman wants to be a stripper, let her. If she wants to be a prostitute/escort (when legal), why not? If she wants to dress provocatively, she should be allowed without being called names, or seen as “asking for sex.” Consent is different from how one dresses one’s self.

But then, there’s the other faction. The faction that says they’re tired of women being objectified and seen as sexual pleasure units. That’s tired of cleavage and boobs and butt on every single advertisement. That’s tired of having products directed at women (and men) because of their chromosomal makeup. Tired of the media using tired, false gender narratives and tropes, like the damsel in distress. But, mostly, tired of just being deemed as sexual, being boiled down to physical bodies and sexual performances. Tired of being “Hot Girl #3” on the TV.

Now, some of these things are shared by both groups, like being tired of the tropes and the gendered products. But sometimes, even those things find fractions between the factions. Because, despite being feminists and desiring an equality between all genders and sexualities, there’s just too many problems and not enough solutions.

It is definitely a problem that women exploring their sexualities are seen as sluts and looked down on. It is also definitely a problem that society demands sexual performance from women. It’s a hypocrisy that continues to harm our social makeup where men expect sex from women, and women have the choice of either being degraded for complying or degraded for not complying. And then possibly being raped and blamed for it by society. It’s not exactly a kind world for women today (and the scary thing is that it seems like it might be kinder than it once was).

I’ll give an example of the disparity. In the BBC show “Sherlock,” a show I find to be quite fantastic, in season 2 we were introduced to what is perhaps Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most infamous female character, Irene Adler. Appearing in “A Scandal In Bohemia,” she is the one woman Sherlock Holmes has shown obvious affection and admiration for. To quote,

To Sherlock Holmes she is always THE woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. […] And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

In the BBC show’s re-imagining of the character, she was recreated as a dominatrix, using her wits and dominance in the bedroom to put powerful people in compromising positions and obtain information she hoped to use to her advantage. In her first meeting with Holmed, she introduced herself in the nude as an attempt to throw him off his game. It worked. …but this portrayal exemplifies exactly the difference in the factions.

On the one hand, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with a woman willingly working in the sex industry. (We’ll skip the discussions of abuse and slavery for now to make the discussion simpler, but I wouldn’t count anyone coerced or forced into that industry in any fashion as working in it willingly.) There shouldn’t be anything wrong with a woman using her body or sexuality for any (legal) reason, even to win a battle of wits against a certain private detective. However, some feel that being portrayed as a sex worker diminished the focus on Adler’s mental acuity and ability as written originally by Doyle. It felt like a cheap gimmick, a typical jump in today’s media to make the woman a sexual being, an object of pleasure.

This is, of course, not helped out at all by show-runner Steven Moffat’s rather well-documented casual sexism and poor treatment of female characters in his other show, “Doctor Who.”

Personally, I think the Adler character (unlike many of the women in “Doctor Who”) was well done. The sexuality wasn’t really a focus the way I saw it. It was never portrayed in a gaudy, ridiculous fashion. Rather, it was run as a counter to Sherlock’s discomfort with the sensual, as sensuality requires physical and emotional responses that he has spent years ridding himself of for the sake of logic and reason. Others, like my friend, disagree.

The sad thing is, there’s not really a way I can see out of this sort of conundrum. It seems perfectly obvious to me that both factions have absolutely correct and poignant points. Both of these hypocritical philosophies of our society (particularly American) are damaging. On their own, they’re bad enough. Combined, they are a maelstrom of harm and sexism. And that’s just for the women. It damages men, too, as does our portrayal of men in the media. So, should one aspect be focused on more than the other? Can both be fixed without a complete reset of social norms and ideals? Or is this something we will constantly be fighting against, one way or another?

I honestly have no idea what should be done about these problems, save this: We need to talk about them and realize they’re problems. While we may not agree on the solutions, as long as we agree something is wrong, we can start to work toward answers. And since the world is full of people smarter than me, maybe the answer is just waiting for someone to mention the problem to the right person.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

And Now Is Nap Time

I really tried to curtail the “I’m feeling ill” posts. Honestly. But this has been going on for a while, and I don’t like it. Now my temperature is bouncing around on a trampoline, from 101 to 97.9. It’s ridiculous. And when I get a bit feverish, usually whilst in bed under my SINGLE cover, I start shaking harder than the earthquake in Alaska that broke a 9 on the Richter scale that likely very few people recall.

Thanks in part to my shaking (and my cat, who ate through my cell phone charger last night (this is not related to the me being sick, I’m just annoyed by it)), sleeping has been difficult. I also have sores in my mouth. They’re sores I’ve had before, sadly, and they really suck. The one inside my lip isn’t so problematic, it’s caused because me incisors keep accidentally biting me there. But the partner on the same side of my mouth, the sore on the left edge of my tongue… That one’s the worst. And when I say edge, I don’t mean it’s on top. It’s on the side. So even moving the tongue hurts. Makes eating awkward.

Especially eating a sandwich. Which I did yesterday, because I was fed up with things and my stupid condensed soup needed a can of milk, not a can of water like I assumed it would. Stupid broccoli and cheese…

Anyway, I had planned to write about how Mitt Romney is terrible and how his 47 percent thing perpetuates a false narrative about the working lower class (such as, they are worthless and/or don’t exist), but I don’t have time (or viable conscious mind) for that. So, between dreams of appearing on “The Voice” (where I sing “Collide” by “Howie Day”), I’m writing this update. Technically, this thing has until about sundown tomorrow to buzz off, but it seems less and less likely that that’s going to occur. So, Friday, when I’m not having to be at work all day (just the first half), I think I’ll swing to a doctor. Assuming they take non-insured people for less than an appendage or two. Or an organ, I want to keep those, I think.

But! I do have something cool to beg forgiveness. It’s a video with Grover and Cookie Monster making fun of “Twilight” and singing musical versions of “The Hunger Games,” “The Avengers,” “Doctor Who” and “The Newsroom.” My only complaint is that Grover doesn’t quite sound like the Grover I recall, but Muppeteers change. Many times because they die. Sadly.

…anyway, enjoy that! I’m going to pretend I’m completely healthy and sleep an uninterrupted sleep, as opposed to only two hours like last night.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

“You Have Died Of Dysentery”

So, I’m still feeling terrible ill. I broke my fever, thank goodness, but at what cost? While my fever was going, the intense stabbing pains in my intestines had actually stopped. Once the fever broke, they started again. And it super sucks and super hurts.

If my Googling and subsequent Wiki’ing has been any sort of accurate, I likely have been infected with Campylobacter. It’s apparently the most common bacteria involved in food poisoning and causes symptoms like headache (I never have those), vomiting (none of that, thank God), and dysentery.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-

Dysentery, for those fans of “Oregon Trail,” was pretty much the most feared cause of death in the game, so I understand. It even killed one of our presidents, I do believe… Zachary Taylor, I think. I’m not positive and feel too ill to do much research into that little factoid right now, though.

What dysentery does, though, is it tends to cause abdominal cramps, pain, diarrhea (often bloody and mucusy), and fever.

…Sounds like me. Yaaaaaaaaay.

The internet tells me this will last 5 to (at most) 10 days, most likely. I’m hoping the initial 5 to 7 days I read is more accurate. Because I don’t have health insurance, but if this lasts more than a week, I’m asking a roomie to throw me at a doc-in-the-box.

Self treatment isn’t too difficult, though. I’ve started drinking Gatorade today (we had some at the apartment left by one of the previous tenants that roomed with one of the current roomies… it’s awful). I’m going to have to buy more tomorrow. I still haven’t eaten much of anything, mostly out of fear of the pain. I ate another bowl of cereal with milk this morning and I really need to stop that. For now, I’m sticking with bananas and grapes. I’ve eaten two bananas today, in addition to the cereal. That makes the food tally: Four bowls of cereal with milk, assorted juices and two bananas. And a few grapes. That’s all I’ve eaten over the past several days.

…I guess I should go get some soup or something.

I also bought some Gas-Ex today, to see if that would help.

Nope.

The benefit of being bedridden is catching up on TV. I finished up with “Doctor Who” (just since 2005, of course) and even started to watch “Game of Thrones” today… but my internet is mean and I really need Netflix to watch that.

I really like the theme song, though.

…anyway… I’m going to go pass out and try to watch more TV stuff or something. And do that getting better thing. Hopefully that’ll happen, too.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Sing, Sang, Sung – “I Can’t Decide” By Scissor Sisters

Fans of “Doctor Who” might understand why I’ve picked this song. Besides my being sleepy.

Once again, fatigue from exhaustion and simply arguing with too many people on the internet that just don’t quite get what you’re saying, in that they usually assume the opposite… It’s seriously tiring. One day I’ll stop.

But, instead, I spent my “not-on-the-road” time today catching up on my “Doctor Who.” I’m on the holiday specials before Matt Smith takes over as the 11th Doctor. Which means I just got finished with Donna Noble.

Donna, regrettably, looks quite similar to someone who was once my closest friend. Lord knows what we are now. Not talking at the moment, somewhat estranged… But she’s still someone I care about quite a bit. Beyond looking like her, Donna had similarities in her brash yet occasionally emotional style… Other than that, Donna’s one of the funniest, funnest things to happen to “Doctor Who.” David Tennant and Catherine Tate had a fantastic chemistry on-screen that wasn’t wasted by attempting to make their chemistry romantic. She was, to date, my favorite companion of the Doctor’s, and that won’t likely change.

So, her exit from being the Doctor’s companion? It pissed me off. A lot. And made me extremely sad. I cried a bit, even though I’d known what would happen for a long time. (Sometimes I read ahead… Yes, I’m terrible, but to be fair, I read ahead a long time ago.) I seriously considered giving up on the show then. But I’m not. Not yet. Pushing forward, that’s me. Plus, Karen Gillan plays a Scottish, redheaded kissogram in her first episode? I don’t mind that. And she’s less than a year older than me! Clearly, I need to find myself acting in Scotland soon.

…anyway.

With “Doctor Who” often on my mind lately, and the (in my opinion) sadistic and depressing nature of Donna’s sending-off, Scissor Sisters’ song “I Can’t Decide” came to mind. Particularly because it was played during the third episode of a three-parter featuring recurring Who villain The Master to great effect. Being that he’s sadistic and crazy, I thought it fit.

And, hey! The music video I found is made up of clips from the show, including the one where he sings along and torments the Doctor and his companion’s family (Martha Jones at the time). So it’s very “Doctor Who” oriented today.

I guess I should say… adult language ahead? Yeah. And the song, when you think about it, is as twisted as The Master… Bouncy, catchy tune, sadistic and awkward lyrics. Fun times for all!

“I Can’t Decide” – Scissor Sisters

It’s not easy having yourself a good time
Greasing up those bets and betters
Watching out they don’t four-letter
Fuck and kiss you both at the same time
Smells-like something I’ve forgotten
Curled up died and now it’s rotten

I’m not a gangster tonight
Don’t want to be a bad guy
I’m just a loner baby
And now you’re gotten in my way

I can’t decide
Whether you should live or die
Oh, you’ll probably go to heaven
Please don’t hang your head and cry
No wonder why
My heart feels dead inside
It’s cold and hard and petrified
Lock the doors and close the blinds
We’re going for a ride

It’s a bitch convincing people to like you
If I stop now call me a quitter
If lies were cats you’d be a litter
Pleasing everyone isn’t like you
Dancing jigs until I’m crippled
Slug ten drinks I won’t get pickled

I’ve got to hand it to you
You’ve played by all the same rules
It takes the truth to fool me
And now you’ve made me angry

I can’t decide
Whether you should live or die
Oh, you’ll probably go to heaven
Please don’t hang your head and cry
No wonder why
My heart feels dead inside
It’s cold and hard and petrified
Lock the doors and close the blinds
We’re going for a ride

Oh I could throw you in the lake
Or feed you poisoned birthday cake
I wont deny I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone
Oh I could bury you alive
But you might crawl out with a knife
And kill me when I’m sleeping
That’s why

I can’t decide
Whether you should live or die
Oh, you’ll probably go to heaven
Please don’t hang your head and cry
No wonder why
My heart feels dead inside
It’s cold and hard and petrified
Lock the doors and close the blinds
We’re going for a ride

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Nothing Much To Say

I spent most of my evening napping… didn’t mean to. Meant to go pick up a check from three weeks ago… I really need to do that. Then I ended up watching more Marble Hornets videos with my roommates. Neither of these things is me driving home to see my family. I still need to pack and grab things that need to stay there… Oye. I guess I’ll leave early in the morning…

One thing I did do today is listen to former President Bill Clinton’s DNC speech. It’s pretty good. He tells people the facts. He isn’t divisive, doesn’t draw a “Republican vs. Democrat” line. He makes a plea for honesty and civility, compromise in government. And he makes a strong, factual case for President Barack Obama’s record and potential second term. I’d say it’s worth a listen.

Anyway, I guess I’m going to either try to pack or get some sleep (read as: watch more “Doctor Who”). Tomorrow, I should have a legitimate post up based on some discussions I had on a political website. The topic, unless something changes: Bigotry. What a fun, safe thing to discuss, right? Maybe I’ll actually have a fleshed out, thoughtful post that I don’t have to try to explain later, too. That’d be nice.

…well, goodnight for today.

Tagged , , , ,

Sing, Sang, Sung – “Walk On The Ocean” By Toad The Wet Sprocket

I still don’t have anything to say, really. Today was the third day in my long weekend. I did chores. I watched more “Doctor Who.” I found myself annoyed with the whole Martha Jones being in love with the Doctor thing. I found myself more annoyed with the Christmas special “Voyage of the Damned.” But I can always talk about that later.

Frankly, there hasn’t been much going on politically other than the three headlining RNC speeches (Paul Ryan, Clint Eastwood and Mitt Romney) being kind of awful. And I don’t feel like talking about them. Not right now at least. Maybe after the DNC gets a chance to be a comparison.

You ever have days like that? Not writer’s block, necessarily… just days when you don’t feel like it? Days of lethargy, I suppose?

Anyway. I give you another song. It’s an old one (Like, the 1990s. Practically ancient.), and apparently not terribly well known/popular? At the very least, there’s not terribly many Youtube videos of it. In fact, I think I’ve only ever found the one that includes a video, and it’s missing the first second or so of the song. And looks to be recorded on VHS. Badly. Fortunately, since then, someone’s added an album version.

Ah, well. Beggars, choosers and something about horse steak and all that.

I’m putting this song up just because. It’s one I always wanted to do a capella… most of my a capella group laughed at the idea. Well, the guy in charge did, so, the majority of people that mattered. Plus, I don’t know how to arrange music. I’m sure I could, if I just took the time to try… but it’s not in my bailiwick, for sure. So, no a capella version I’ve ever heard thus far. Even though I think it would sound great. But maybe this is a song everyone hated but me? You tell me.

“Walk On the Ocean” – Toad the Wet Sprocket

We spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
Where are we going, so far away
And somebody told me that this is the place
Where everything’s better, everything’s safe

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

And half and hour later we packed up our things
We said we’d send letters and all those little things
And they knew we were lying but they smiled just the same
It seemed they’d already forgotten we’d came

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

 

Now we’re back at the homestead
Where the air makes you choke
And people don’t know you
And trust is a joke
We don’t even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Whovian Experience

It’s Labor Day weekend. Meaning I don’t have to go into work until Tuesday. …which actually kind of messes me over, since I’m supposed to be going home this weekend and now I can’t leave until Thursday after work if I want to get all of my hours in.

Woe is me.

The benefit of the long weekend, however, is my getting to sit down and get work done! Like reading all the reviews and comments for “Camp Gethsemane” and getting in on the editing process, which needs to be done in November.

Yeah, that’s not even close to what I’ve been doing. I will get back into that starting this weekend, though. I just really need someone to start kicking me in the butt about it. Probably should be myself… I’ll get it done. No worries. Well, lots of worries, I just can’t worry about them.

No, what I have been doing is watching the British TV show “Doctor Who.” You may have heard of the show. It’s the single longest running science fiction show ever. Longest American sci-fi show (and I think second longest ever) is actually “Stargate: SG-1,” which ran for 10 seasons. “Doctor Who” ran from 1963 to 1986, 1987 to 1989, in 1996, and then was booted back up in 2005, running to the present. In total, 35 years, and Wikipedia tells me they’ve run 784 televised installments. Compare that to “Stargate”‘s

Now, because “Doctor Who” has been running so long, it’s gone through tons of changes. The central character, the Doctor, has been portrayed by eleven different actors, in fact. His regenerative abilities allow for the story to make sense with changing actors. Most notable after that, though, is the “reboot” brought about by Russell T. Davies. I say “reboot” because I can’t actually think of a better word. It’s more like a… revival, actually. That’s a much better word. After nearly 10 years in stasis, Davies brought about a revival in 2005, one that got most of the younger generation, especially the younger American generation, hooked.

So, as a nerd, one who’s seen all of “Babylon 5” and “Stargate: SG-1” and “Stargate: Atlantis” and “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and oodles more sci-fi TV shows, you’d think I’d be right on top of this one, right?

Well, not really, no.

Here’s how my experience with “Doctor Who” went. I had many several friends very into the show back in its early days of the revival. As in, literally, 2005. I had friends in the U.K. and in America trying to get me to watch the show. So I said, alright. I’ll watch it.

I watched the first two episodes, “Rose” and “The End of the World,” with Christopher Eccleston playing the Ninth Doctor. Aaaaaaaaaaand I really didn’t like them much at all. The writing was poor, as I saw it. There were holes and hokey references, stilted dialogue… it just seemed bad. I gave up on the show, despite my friends screaming “It gets better, we swear!”

Time jump to summer of 2010. I was vacationing with my family for the first time since childhood, staying at our time share resort in Massanutten, Va. We turn on the TV at some point out of boredom and flip through the channels randomly. Suddenly, we land on BBC America, and I’m watching David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in the last bits of the episode “Silence in the Library,” written by Stephen Moffat of “Sherlock” fame (and, of course, “Doctor Who” fame, taking over for Davies as head writer in 2010).

And then, “Forest of the Dead” came on. After which came “Midnight.” A lot of my friends posit that those three episodes are the best Tennant episodes ever. Whether I agree or not remains to be seen, but they were quite good. I started reconsidering watching the show again.

Zooming to fall of 2011, I still hadn’t picked the show back up. Then my sister showed me a humorous four part “Doctor Who” spoof called “Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death,” which was quite entertaining. So I decided to go to the library and check the DVDs out.

Unfortunately, all of Eccleston was checked out. So I decided to grab the first available season they had: Tennant’s first season, with Rose Tyler as his companion.

And I enjoyed it. I really did. Still, life and lethargy got in the way and I didn’t actually pick the show back up until… this weekend. Well, after being slightly forced a week or two ago by my roommate, who made me watch “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances.” Partly to try and get me to love Eccleston.

Either way, I’m watching the show. I’ve finished with Eccleston, and now I’m a few episodes into Tennant’s second companion Martha Jones. I still like Tennant better than Eccleston, but the writing for Eccleston greatly improved past those first two episodes and handled his character with much greater finesse. And I actually liked Rose. I know many who didn’t, for whatever reason. But I liked her. Donna is almost certainly going to be my favorite, though. “The Runaway Bride” was simply fantastic.

Anyway. I’ve had so many friends incredulous (and nearly crazy-murdery eyed) at my lack of “Doctor Who” immersion. So, just to let them and the world know, I am getting into it. And it is, so far, quite good. And after all, I have to at least get through to the Neil Gaiman written episode. Otherwise my nerd-cred is almost completely obsolete.

So please don’t murder me.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,