Speculative Fiction, Intersectional Feminism, and Dirty Jokes
Writing the Universe
September 10, 2015Posted by on
“Jean-Luc is actually my first Doctor,” it explains a lot really. I came to this realization watching the first few episodes of Star Trek: TNG with Daniel (I love Netflix) and the initial space jellies love story (“Encounter at Farpoint”) made me tear up and remember all the days I watched syndicated episodes through a fog of bad reception after school with my mom in the kitchen while she made dinner.
It was a very different time.
But this was *my* scifi, the scifi I grew up on and was fundamental in shaping how I saw the world. Guess what? This probably won’t surprise anyone who listens to the podcast (or anyone who knows me for that matter) but my scifi always has and most likely always will center around stories of empathy, understanding, and overcoming challenges of them with people or creatures we haven’t encountered before.
What do I mean when I say *my* scifi though, I think I’ve been questioning this more and more. How can I identify my Doctor (ideologically we’re speaking here) without identifying what it is he represents to me, as a part of a long and historied drama.
A ficitional figurehead of what my mind has come to understand as a genre which can be deeply political and emotional.
So, when I was later watching Steven Universe, and adoring how Steven questions every being he meets. He never accepts villains as evil, as unreachable, as unsaveable. They’re not villains, they’re just other “people” who he doesn’t understand. Again, empathy.
What is missing from the current era of Doctor Who and the Doctor for me? Empathy. This fundamental commitment to trying to understand someone and/or something before calling it evil or even bad. There is consideration, there is action, and then there are consequences. Jean-Luc isn’t always happy or prepared for the consequences of his actions but he rarely makes a decision without trying to understand the context; Steven may be a child but he rarely makes decisions of other beings based on anyone’s experience except his own (admittedly with mixed results), but it’s not always the case with Doctor Who.
I’ve realized though: this is my bias, this is my expectation, and it may not be everyone’s. I can criticize contemprorary Who’s intersectional issues but at the end of the day, I do want something specific from my Whovian experience. I want all the feels, I want all the connections, and most of all, I want to believe that empathy and understanding are at the heart of scientific and social advancement and discovery. Fictional or not.