A woman being cast as Doctor Who is so traumatic that it causes a science-fiction author to forget when he was born

How powerful is a work of art? Can it inspire awe or merely amusement? Does its presence cause a lasting cultural impact or is it some minor fad, soon forgotten amid the new season’s schedules?

With Doctor Who we can see the sudden and immediate impact. Take this experimental subject – a 55-year-old male from the United States who works as a professional science fiction writer:

“I read that the 13th Doctor is slated to be female. Well, I have had enough. In the last few years, Thor is a girl, Wolverine is a girl, Hawkeye is a girl, Vision is a girl, Hulk is a girl,Iron Man is a girl, The Question is a girl. These are not merely female sidekicks or variations, as when Batgirl or Supergirl don a costume to help out. These are replacements for the male meant to erase the masculinity from the name brand.

I have been a fan of Dr Who since age seven, when Tom Baker was the Doctor. I have tolerated years of public service announcements in favor of sexual deviance that pepper the show. But this is too much to tolerate.

The BBC has finally done what The Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen have failed to do. They killed off the Doctor. Dr. Who is dead to me.”

http://web.archive.org/web/20170717065420/http://www.scifiwright.com/2017/07/dr-who-is-not/

The sudden shift in perspective has apparently caused a subjective loss of ten years of memories and/or a radical shift in the space-time vortex and/or the author jumping to the often confused continuity of UNIT.

Or…maybe it was a typo and John C Wright meant “seventeen”, as 1978 fits with both Tom Baker and the show airing on PBS in the US. I prefer the other explanation though.

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58 comments

  1. JJ

    Camestros Felapton: Or…maybe it was a typo and John C Wright meant “seventeen”

    In all fairness, there was probably no change in his level of emotional maturity during that time, so you can understand how those ages might get mixed up for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KasaObake

    Please nobody tell him about Silk, Spider-Girl, Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen and, just to be totally safe, the Miles Morales Spider-Man run. I suppose it’s a little different given that Peter Parker is still around, but these characters all headline their own comics in the Spider-Verse and aren’t merely “side-kicks or variants”

    Then again She-Hulk also had her own comic before Bruce died and she became known just as the Hulk (nevermind that there’s also an Asian-American kid called Amadeus Cho who is also the [Totally Awesome] Hulk)

    I wonder if he’d be just as pissed if we suddenly ended up with Wonder Man or Scarlet Wizard.

    Also, what sexual deviance in DW? As far as I can recall there’s been maybe two recurring characters who are lesbians, and there’s been Bill, but it’s not like it’s Sugar Rush or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • delagar

      Don’t forget Captain Jack Harkness, who started out as a character on Dr. Who in 2005. Bisexual — or rather, beyond sexual categories.

      But in reality, I suspect JCW hasn’t actually watched any Dr. Who, not even back when he was a toddler and Tom Baker was the Doctor. He’s lying, in other words, which isn’t a sin (apparently) if you tell the *right* lies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lurkertype

        No, I think “Queer As Folk” (either British or American) would be more headsplody.

        Actually, something which shows LGBT people living ordinary suburban lives would be the most headsplody. The Episcopal Church (of which the high version is practically Catholic) allows married LGBT priests and bishops, so there could be a lovely couple of a gay priest and his husband the music director, worried about the lesbian bishop’s inspection (Or vice-versa). And of course, there’s everyone worrying about jobs, the mortgage, the kids, etc. No Very Special Episodes.

        Like

  3. KasaObake

    Or how about Black Widower? He’s not a superspy, just an old black guy who recently lost his wife. The whole film is just one long shot of him sitting on his porch, or pottering about. Occasionally his friends bring food round and offer condolences. In the background we can occasionally make out the destruction of a big fight between the Avengers and whatever supervillain they’re fighting in their latest film. Sometimes bits of wreckage land nearby. The film ends when he goes inside to bed, only to have his house flattened by the Hulk jumping in to join the fight.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. peer sylvester

    So I got to ask (because I dont watch Dr.Who): To my knowledge he is an alien. Who has taken many “looks” /forms / whatever before, right? (=many actors) Is there anything in the charakter that defines him as a man? Except being played by men so far?
    I mean, if I understand correctly, its not like “Herkules” or “Indiana Jones” which are rooted in being male? (Not that it wouldnt be impossible to think of a female Indy – That would be Lara Croft-ish – just that the character so far is written as male). Its not even like James Bond, where you could argue its more of a brand name for all 007s over the decades (which is not canon yet, but could become one day), or? Correct me if Im wrong, but its just “happens” so that the Dr. has chosen male bodies so far so to speak?
    Or is there really a DR. Whop canon somewhere that states that he must be male for whatever reason and the producers changed that?

    Like

    • KasaObake

      Canonically there’s absolutely no reason the Dr can’t be female. In fact, canonically, his adversary and the other only living timelord transformed from The Master to The Mistress (or Missy for short), which was a blatant setup for a female TV Doctor. (He’s already been female in the audio dramas and tie-in books apparently). I think there was a reference to another timelord way earlier, back in Neil Gaiman’s episode (or around that time, at least?), who used to gender swap, also. So, no, the people complaining that the Doctor could never possibly be female are, to put it mildly, wildly incorrect.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lurkertype

        Not only the Master, but the Corsair (mentioned in Gaiman’s episode), and the General just a year or two ago when Capaldi went back to Gallifrey.

        Basically, if you call yourself The (Title), you can swap.

        Liked by 1 person

    • sfrazer2015

      Given that the “canon” for Dr Who is basically “whatever we decided to write this season…” Yes:

      The Corsair was a Time Lord/Time Lady whom the Doctor had known in both sexes. (TV: The Doctor’s Wife) The Master regenerated into a Time Lady after the Time War as well, (TV: Dark Water) as did the General after being shot by the Twelfth Doctor with a laser pistol. (TV: Hell Bent)

      Source: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Regeneration

      Liked by 2 people

    • camestrosfelapton

      Not only that, the Doctor isn’t a particularly *masculine* character – as in conforming closely to stereotypes of masculinity. I guess some might argue that he is (male)nerd wish fulfillment or maybe the ultimate mansplainer and the character has certainly indulged in various kinds of sexism over the years but nevertheless the Doctor is a brains-over-brawn character with a strong (if variable) morality and a disdain for the military (to the point of it being a character flaw).

      An actor of different gender for the character is not a major shift in the character.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Jason Corley

    she-hulk’s first appearance was in February 1980, thirty damn seven years ago. Maybe 1978-1980 entirely disappeared for our poor subject. unstuck in time you might call him

    Like

  6. Matt Y

    ‘Well, I have had enough. In the last few years, Thor is a girl, Wolverine is a girl, Hawkeye is a girl, Vision is a girl, Hulk is a girl,Iron Man is a girl, The Question is a girl.’

    Uh oh, should someone mention to him that Thor’s hammer has been used by an alien, a clone, Wonder Woman, and a frog? Besides you’d think JCW might appreciate a story about the son of God who is living among mortals to learn what being worthy of power in a redemption arc might be.

    X-23 is a clone of the original Wolverine who still exists and she was his protege who took up his mantel, Logan is still Logan.

    Kate Bishop appears 12 years ago. She isn’t a replacement but another Hawkeye and has to deal with consequences of Clint’s actions because they share the same name.

    Wait which female version of Vision? 1610, Virginia, Viv? I mean it’s also known that Vision is an android right?

    He’s a bit late for whinging about She-Hulk.

    Iron Man is a suit of armor. Ironheart is the superhero name of the person wearing the suit of armor.

    Montoya is a long established detective character and makes sense as a successor to the mask.

    I don’t think he really thought any of these out or cares aside from something new to be offended about.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lurkertype

      Not to mention that most of those are, in fact, women. Iron Heart Riri is still technically a girl, and Movie version X-23.

      Of Thors, Jane’s a woman, and the rest of ’em (including the frog) were male.

      Like

    • nickpheas

      Also, the Montoya version of the Question hasn’t appeared in over six years. Goddess only knows what they thought were doing with the Question in New52, making him a mystical counterpart to the Phantom Stranger, but that one was male.
      Viv Vision is of course the sort of sidekick/counterpart that he says he’s not upset by.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aaron

    I don’t think he really thought any of these out

    You could have just stopped there and it would have been an accurate summation of pretty much all of JCW’s views.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. David Goldfarb

    At the risk of seeming like a party pooper: Why do we care about John C. Wright’s entirely predictable reaction? At this point, isn’t it obvious that Wright’s gonna Wright, and that it affects us not at all?

    Like

  9. William R.

    It’s been interesting to see the reactions to this announcement. Most of what I’ve seen has been positive, though that’s probably because I don’t frequent the places where I’d see the more noxious stuff. The negative reactions that I’ve seen have mostly come via retweets and memes. The people with whom I voluntarily associate have all been ecstatic about it, insofar as they’ve displayed any public reactions at all–not all of my friends care about WHO one way or the other.

    For my part, I stopped watching New Who after Capaldi’s first season. I’d had a rocky relationship with the series for a while, and it finally dawned on me that I was watching it because I felt I had to rather than because I wanted to–which was a shame, in a way, since I recall enjoying Capaldi’s performance. I try not to be the type to shout to the heavens when I stop watching a given show, so I just quietly parted ways with it and moved on to other things. I catch bits of news here and there, and I read the occasional episode review, so it’s not as though I’ve disowned the series–it just stopped working for me as a regular viewer.

    I do my best to live by the teachings of the Let People Enjoy Things school, and I usually succeed–it’s how I’d want my interests to be treated, after all. Heck, in recent years, I’ve even mellowed my attitude toward people who enjoy things like TWILIGHT. I know that not everything will be to my taste, just as things that I like aren’t always to others’ tastes. In the case of DOCTOR WHO, it’s something that used to be right up my alley but gradually became something that wasn’t.

    And that’s okay.

    I still have a great deal of affection for the franchise, particularly the classic series. I love the show’s premise, but like any show, there have been stories that I liked and stories that I didn’t like. Unlike some of the more vocal critics (to use a diplomatic term), I recognize that the stories I like are *still there*; I can go back to them whenever I want. And since we live in a time when current episodes (hopefully) aren’t in danger of being lost, I can come back to the show if I ever feel like giving it another chance.

    I’m happy that people are happy, and I hope that Whittaker’s stories are worthy.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. RD F

    Wait – I just read this line in the Emerald City review :

    “Wright responds to my criticism of the apparent gender bias in his books by saying, “The war between the sexes is over for a race that can change sexes as easily as change clothes.””

    But… but… but… the show explicitly said during the Capaldi run that this was the case for the Time Lords. So Wright is fulminating about Dr Who’s mega-advanced alien species having the same attitude to gender as his own mega-advanced post humans?

    Liked by 2 people