4 June 2013

The Ourobouros

Several academic types (remember my old definition of an academic: someone who spends their time squeezing one idea into their heads until it has squeezed all other ideas out..) have written a series of essay collected into a book which condemns the television show Doctor Who for being racist.

The book, entitled "Doctor Who and Race" contains several essays examining the issue of race in the show, and, surprise, surprise, they find the show sadly lacking, and several critics even claim it is racist.The problem is so great one critic felt compelled to state: "'The biggest elephant in the room is the problem privately nursed by many fans of loving a TV show when it is thunderingly racist."

(Incidentally, my spell checker does not recognize the word "thunderingly".  The correct term, for most literates, is "thunderously".)

That's quite a claim: not merely racist but "thunderingly" so.  What does that mean? 

To say someone "thunders" or "is thundering" usually refers to someone who is loud and bombastic, an evangelic preacher declaiming at the top of his lungs, that sort of thing.  What is it that screams so loudly in Doctor Who?  The fact that the Doctor has always been and remains white.

I would grant, readily, that in the past the show did use racial and even racist stereotypes.  However, the show has evolved over the years.  One  of the Tenth Doctor's companions was a black woman, and there was also a black male who played an important role across several seasons.  More recently, the show has been trying to build up its politically correct street cred by inserting gay couples into the show, frequently. 

But to say that Doctor Who is racist, and "thunderingly" so,  because it features a white man in insipid in the extreme.  And, considering that the show has attempted to be more politically correct in recent years, the condemnation here is not that the show is politically incorrect, but that it is not correct enough.  The claim is absurd in its face.  If pushed a little farther, we would be faced with the claim that any show featuring white men are racist, and "thunderingly" so, because they refuse to be black.

So once again we have the spectacle of the more politically correct attacking the not correct enough.  The whole movement is an ourobouros, the snake that eternally eats its own tail, never finished, never full. Let the Doctor change again and again, according to their current demands, and it would still be found to be wrong, because, somehow, it still wouldn't be right enough.

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