Speculative Fiction, Intersectional Feminism, and Dirty Jokes
Classic Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol
May 26, 2016Posted by on
Since I’ve apparently decided to do a little mini-essay with each episode we do now, I figure I owe you a bit to chew on. The advantage to having the extra few weeks to get this episode off the ground (and the fact that I bought the disk) meant that we had the ability to watch the DVD extras, one of which was a thirty-minute documentary that discussed the “political” nature of Doctor Who during the classic run. A documentary that, frankly, I found fairly laughable, as it basically ignored the revolutionary politics at the heart of the character in favor of a fairly dull reading of the “ripped from the headlines” stuff from the Pertwee years, and the various sea changes that came with Thatcher and the like.
Which made me think that while Doctor Who is a show that is almost always aggressively political in nature, it’s much less often partisan in some obvious “go vote for such-and-such” kind of way. And that when most people think of “politics,” they’re ultimately thinking of election campaigns, legislation, or a voting booth. Which, sure, the 24-hour news networks treat “political” coverage as that kind of horserace, but it’s certainly not by any stretch the most interesting kind of politics out there. Politics, for me, is simply the word that we use to talk about the interactions, ideological or not, between groups of people in and among societies. Wage theft, cross burnings, transphobia, heteronormativity, et cetera are political issues above and beyond any ballot issue or piece of legislation. They are issues involving human dignity, oppression of viewpoints, and ill-treatment of people who don’t deserve it.
And that’s ultimately what Oi! Spaceman is. A forum to discuss those kinds of issues. (Mostly.) So the Maggie Thatcher impersonation is a “political” issue in that it’s about a public figure, I’m far more interested in what’s going on in other areas: with the gender representation, the treatment of authoritarian rule, the suppression of those who engage in thoughtcrime….
Anyway, if you haven’t heard the episode yet please give it a listen. We’re joined by Josh from The Web of Queer podcast, and it was a really fun conversation that didn’t end when the mikes stopped recording. He was a great guest who I hope will be back sometime. Despite my joke about sexy totalitarianism in the intro. Check it out here. (Direct download.)