30 August, 2014

Who are you?

I tend not to do comprehensive rebuttals of opinion pieces because it only makes them more important than they are and life is, on the whole, too short.

However, Des Houghon’s piece on the new Doctor Who can be singled out for being able to cram so much derp into such a small space. Warning: spoilers may follow for anyone who has not yet seen Peter Capaldi’s debut episode.

The headline, in a way, says it all in terms of missing the point:
Opinion: Lesbian kiss between Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint has appeal only for Doctor Who tragics.
Yes, hold the front page! Cult entertainment appeals only to cult - something that can be said of literally every form of entertainment from science fiction to musical theatre to jazz to rugby. And why don’t they make more musicals that appeal to rugby fans?

Has political correctness gone so far that it is now acceptable to promote interspecies lesbianism on prime-time television?
“Political correctness.” DRINK! Because, of course, everything that is portrayed on television is promoting it, in the same way that, say, Poirot “promotes” murder.

But let’s think about this for just a moment… There’s a matrimonial relationship between a human and an ancient alien lizard and the reason that’s weird is because they’re both female? Seriously??

I find it all very confusing and slightly off-putting…
In other words, you’re watching Doctor Who. It’s meant to be scary. If that’s the creepiest thing you’ve ever seen on Doctor Who, then you’ve obviously never seen it before. Just wait until you meet the Weeping Angels.
…especially the revelation that Madame Vastra, a lizard lady, has such a long tongue she can catch flies on the other side of the room.
I think I know where your mind might be taking this, Des, and if I’m right, then it’s far more disgusting than anything the episode portrayed.

By now you may have guessed I am no sci-fi fan.
Then why are you writing about it? Don’t you have journalism to do, or something? I don’t like golf. So I don’t write about it because everything after those four words is redundant.

You see, the problem is not that Mr Houghton is watching and criticising something he doesn’t understand – the problem is that they don’t make science fiction more appealing to people who like… well, whatever it is Des Houghton is into.

I think the latest Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, is too old for the role at 56.
Says a man who has just told us he is not a sci-fi fan, so he should know. I’m sure the River Clyde is breaking its banks from Peter Capaldi’s tears.

He is a scrawny, improbable Time Lord…
Yes. It’s time they brought back those realistic, believable 900-year-old time travellers with a special machine that bends space/time to its will.

But one very important point that Mr Houghton is not alone in missing is that it was not a “snog” between the two characters. Vastra was breathing for her! Does Des Houghton, and all the other critics of the “lesbian kiss,” have a problem with paramedics giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to patients who happen to be of the same gender? Grow up!

Pathetic, isn’t it?
Realising you have a problem is the first step, Des.


  1. Des Houghton reviewing Dr Who almost counts as satirical SF all by itself. Sort of like Helen Keller critiquing Picasso. He's a veteran News Ltd journalist, former editor of the Courier-Mail - one doesn't get that gig without a couple of decades demonstrating a complete lack of imagination. Imagination leads to empathy. Empathy leads to developing a conscience. It's a slippery slope,

    Could have been worse though. Cory Bernardi might have seen it.

    (Disclaimer: I thought it was god-awful myself, but not because of cross-species lesbian relationships. Well, actually that was part of it. But only because of the low probability that a human and a reptile would send/receive the right signals to find each other "attractive". The clumsy attempts at pointless slapstick were much more offensive. And the bad writing - which was weirder than the story ,because we know that Stephen Moffatt is capable of much better. We've seen it.)

    1. I did wonder if the episode might prompt an "I told you so!" moment from Bernardi.