Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Fans, Philosophers, and Hitchcock

Hitchcock has invaded Doctor Who, in the sense that "pure cinema" has been an unconscious "invisible hand" goal of media as it advances. I recently saw a few of the new Doctor Who series, and noticed that, at least from the point of drama, it's probably better than the old series (although it does have a bit of the ADD-style emphasis on surprise too). Unfortunately, it feels exactly like a short story - the characters don't develop in a real way, and things feel divorced enough from plausibility that it's hard to take emotions seriously. I wouldn't complain if the science was bad - the old Dr Who was laughably bad (probably intentionally) on science, but the new series is bad in the sense of interpersonal relations. This is mixed with the transformation of the character of the Doctor from being a reserved ancient alien of superhuman intelligence and a strong independent moral set of values into a time-traveling teenaged playboy. Sure, it's better cinema, but it's worse in almost every other aspect - it bears about as much resemblance to the old series (7th doctor and before) as the new battlestar galactica (ouch!) to the old (also kinda cool). As the authors have seen fit to emphasise the Doctor's teenagedness by wiping out the civilisation from which he came (whee! no more parents! Also, less meaning for the principled separation the character had from that society, and more drama on the order of "last of the X") and several others as well, it's sad that they then feel the need to reintroduce things they wiped out (oops!) with new origin stories and other plot butchery. It's pretty bad. Thinking about this though, I wonder a bit about the 7th Doctor - that seemed to be the only series that was placed heavily in a moral universe - most of the other series were set in a more philosophically plausible universe. I suppose it's part of the passage of time that one watches good literature or similar turned into garbage - perhaps this is what was being made fun of in Red Dwarf when Lister jokes about an updated version of a classic done as a stereotypical cartoon. If most people watch TV more than socialise in person with friends, and pure cinema (and similar) has characters and situations rather out-of-norm from real life, what psychological effects would that have on society as a whole? Is there a public interest in reshaping things here?

Lockheed reserved 70% of the faculty club today (where I went for lunch), making a lot of people upset. Oh well. Tonight there's to be a march starting in front of the military recruitment centre in Oakland. Everyone should go!


  • I might be going to Philly for a KOL meetup at the end of the month. Depending on if I go alone, I might go on to NYC to try to see Pirates of Penzance first on the 29th. This would mean renting a car, but it would be a lot of fun. I'll try to decide on this in the next few days. I'll try to learn something appropriate to play on my accordion while at the meetup in the meantime.. Part of the meetup will be at UPhilly's Mütter museum, which sounds pretty cool.
  • I'll be given a new experiment to design/program/start on soon. Hurrah!
  • I might be going to a Rocky Horror convention in May.
  • Housewarming party for a friend sometime soonish?
  • Hopefully trip to Outland in Columbus sometime?

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