Saturday, November 23, 2013

It Can't Rain All The Time: The Day of the Doctor and Why "Doctor Who" Is Such a Great Ally Against Empire

I do have my things that I enjoy, and by and large they have a theme running through them: the choice to embrace, whatever the cost, the hope for better tomorrows and the rejection of cynicism and defeat. Today, one that my father introduced to me when I was a child--Doctor Who--aired its 50th Anniversary Special: The Day of the Doctor. Sure, there's going to be people whining about this bit, picking nits over that bit and so on, but the thing that encourages me is that many fellow Whovians actually grok what this episode is about (not that it's subtle about it, but still many do miss the key elements until well after the fact) that very core ethos.

Culture matters. This is a struggle of ideas, and therefore of ideals, and this means that the core of the struggle against Empire is to kill the ideas that are at the core of this toxic meme. Doctor Who's core ethos, to quote the excellent Craig Ferguson cold open about the show, is about the triumph of intellect and romance (in the literary or artistic sense) over brute force (violence, as Mark Passio recently defined it) and cynicism. When at its best--and, having seen this special, it was at its best--this is what elevates the human mind and spirit above the clouds of Empire's pollution of thought and belief, granting it the clarity and perspective necessary to see reality for what it truly is: far more abundant, merciful and forgiving than we're led to believe that it is by Empire- all we need to do is cooperate with it and we can do and be truly great things.

We should never ignore our emotions, anymore than we should ignore our logical minds. Emotion fills in the spaces that logical, linear thought cannot fill itself; this is what Passio's talking about in his presentations, and when Doctor Who is on point it says the same thing in different terms. To win this struggle, we must embrace the power that emotion possesses and use it in its lawful purpose as a compliment to our logic; to bring Left and Right Brain function back into harmony and striving together towards common purpose is what a healthy culture must do to survive and thrive wherever it may exist. Doctor Who is one expression of that healthy culture's crying out for examples to inspire us, to make fiction into reality, to bring sanity where none exists, and remember hope where it is scrubbed so viciously out of a people.

So all you writers, musicians, photographers, painters, inkers, pencilers, singers, editors, sound engineers, dancers, choreographers- you too have a real and vital purpose, one that is necessary and not trivial- not expendable nor a luxury. You are the memory, the archive, the right brain function of your nation and your species- you exist to remember Care, to force forth feelings necessary and proper when and where needed, and through Care revive and bring purpose to Right Action (to use Passio's terms), and thus healthy function to individuals and communities alike.

Below I'm embedding Ferguson's cold open, for those who've not seen it, because it's awesome in its own right as well as a succinct summary of why this show is such a great ally in the cultural front against Empire. (Note: This occurred early in Matt Smith's run as The Doctor.)

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