18 Comments on “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

  1. Let’s hope that Moffat doesn’t abandon his usual high standards for some CS Lewis-style clumsy religious analogies, eh? :-)

    • @cerebusboy I agree that Lewis could be a little heavy-handed in his religious analogies, but Moffat’s even worse! Sinister homicidal monks with no heads who demand unquestioning obedience? Offhand comments about the inadequacy of religion in almost every episode? OK, Steven, old chap, we get it.

      • @Wicked conservative Throwaway compares, to my mind, favorably with the overly religious-analogous. I find it very strange when some kinds of Christians don’t just regard the Narnia books as, like the Lord of the Rings, ultimately just fiction but appear to view them as something superior on the basis of their crude Christ-analogies (isn’t propaganda – for however noble a cause – ultimately rather contrary to the rightful aims of art?To shift ground slightly : I know of one zoomer who regards “The Passion of the Christ” as a great film. TS Eliot articulated a Christian view of art (specifically literature ) when he said (am paraphrasing) that “the greatness of a work can not be decided by literary standards, but whether or not it is a work of art can only be decided by literary standards”. If one finds oneself regarding Mel Gibson (!) as a great director then I think one has failed any genuine regard for aesthetic standards. )

        And there is something thrilling about the Doctor being a scientist of sorts, implying as it does that the wide infinite university of the Who universe is as real and perceptible as our own.

        Anti-clericalism has a fine (protestant!) history in fiction, and many an evangelical I know actually claims to be, like Jesus, against “religion”, so I’d maintain that Moffat’s asides (though I can see how they would grate ) compares favorably to the sort of Doctor-is-like-Jesus analogies that Russell invoked (as in the Kylie-starring Christmas special!). Aside from any ideological objections, Superman books and films have all done this trope much better – and I’d argue that it’s because it is a more natural match for the central character’s most vital and interesting aspects.

        • @cerebusboy Interesting points. I’d quibble about art and meaning. I don’t think it’s as simple as “art for art’s sake” (which has always struck me as question-begging and not half as clever as it sounds) vs. “art as propaganda”. Is Narnia really in the same league as, say, “Triumph of the Will” or a Soviet film about tractor production, or a Eugenics Society film about racial degenerates?

          Any work of art, particularly anything narrative, will have its underlying cultural assumptions, its own “cause”. And if it explicitly claims, or seems, not to – then it still does! It seems crude to me to reduce the portrayal of a cultural vision to “propaganda”, with all the pejorative connotations of that term. Like “brainwashing”, it has become a politicised and meaningless word.

          I agree that a lot of “Christian art” is terrible – didactic, simplistic, and priggish. But I don’t include Lewis or Tolkien in this category. Both – but particularly Tolkien – go way beyond mere “Christ-analogies”.

    • @carl jacobs

      May one be as bold as to point out that since you call him “Dr Who” (the name of the TV show) rather than “The Doctor” (the name of the character), you have very little right to dictate to us who the best Doctor is.

      And the answer to that question is obvious.

      • @peterould@carl jacobs I realise you’re a proper full blown Whovian, Peter, but is it not fair to say, given Smith’s excellent turn, that all the popular appraisal of Tennant as the greatest Doctor ever now seems ridiculously unjustified? The original Queer of Folk is to my mind still Russel T Davies’ best work (I’d rank Bob & Rose over much of his Who too) and David Tennant, “dead shark eyes” aside, was just a bit *too* camp as the Doctor (hell, I think even Peter Davidson’s Doc could take him in a fight!)

      • @peterould@carl jacobs I see you are not very inclusive of those of us who are living into our very different and diverse Dr Who contexts, are you. Just the imposition of a rigid narrow Dr Who orthodoxy. Eh. You probably think Picard is superior to Kirk as well.


  2. >>I know of one zoomer who regards “The Passion of the Christ” as a great film<<

    @So that'll be two now :-)

    • @PhilipCole@so Ah, so you’re the one ;-).

      I was delighted to discover some clergy who are fans of Scorcese’s Last Temptation of Christ . Scorcese is one of the world’s most renowned film-makers, whereas the Passion of the Christ is made by the ham-fisted antisemite responsible for the anti-English kiddie cartoon that is Braveheart.

      Shouldn’t the “Greatest Story Ever Told” require the best in the business to tell it? As a Star Wars fan, I found the Sith Lord-knock off Satan was amusing, but you don’t need to be a cineaste snob to say that ripping off George Lucas is rarely a marker of a fine cinematic exercise. The Passion of the Christ is torture-porn with theological pretentions (although YMMV, of course).

      • @cerebusboy@PhilipCole@so I like Last Temptation as well. Not 100% accurate, but it’s interesting to explore how Christ was tempted in ALL things. Surely that means sexually as well?

        • @peterould@PhilipCole@so Exactly! And so many of the decisions (such as the leeching out of the soundtrack when John the Baptist realises who Jesus is) are simply superbly evocative.

          Film is a visual medium, so it’s a bit much when people give the Passion of the Christ a free pass because its language (and the ultraviolence) are accurate.

          Similarly, MGMs own producer characterised its biblical and bible-era epics as being essentially but “teats and sand” commercial exercises, whereas Scorcese clearly, whatever else one might think of him, brought the same invention and mastery of craft to Last Temptation as he did to Raging Bull.

          And, although I don’t know any classical music (gather that Wagner’s Terry and Isobel is catchy tho ;)), the last five minutes of Last Temptation, “it is accomplished” and all, compares very favourably with any evocation of Christ’s triumph in any aesthetic medium.

    • @Charlotte74 There’s a world of difference between having a favourite actor and claiming that one actor is the “only” One, True inhabitant of that role. Olivier’s Hamlet might be the best, but that doesn’t mean that those of other actors (such as David Tennant on the stage? ;)) are somehow invalid. And that’s aside from the fact that regeneration is a key aspect of The Doctor’s character that carl seems to be curiously dismissive of – it’s not like all the post-Pertwee doctors are somehow “playing” John Pertwee’s Doctor which would (by definition!) make them inferior copies of sorts.

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