Sunday, 1 April 2007

Drummer's Vacation

I'm off for a few days to pile up on booze and histories of the Third Reich. There is nothing inherently contradictory about these aims. It is only under an influence that one feels any of it makes the slightest bit of sense.

Doctor Who last night was top drawer entz. The plot was a bit rubbish but many aspects of it were extremely cool, including (as I've said at Matt's) what I feel is a deepening of the Doctor's character into the melancholy that T & C Baker went into but many of the others avoided. After all, if you'd spend a grand of years on the run, destroyed your own people and many other planets, and lost everyone you loved, you'd be at least as sad as Morrissey, if not rather more so.

I remember in Genesis of the Daleks the Doctor has the famous ethics-of-murder scene,(the Doctor has to touch two strands of wire together to destroy an entire room of embryo Daleks - all the Daleks in the universe at that point) which I always read as a metaphor for abortion; but nonetheless, Doctor Who never takes on, as far as I know, the idea of his killing Hitler or Stalin. The Doctor, despite his principles, kills loads of people with guns or his bare hands. Why has he never, out of sheer love for humanity, ever gone back and had Hitler shot? Something to do with timeline probably. Then again, I've asked Himself the same question and there's never any answer.

10 comments:

Tom Freeman said...

Well, the Doctor, in Peter D form, had clearly got over his aversion to violence when turning a gun on Davros (was it Resurrection of the Daleks? I was very young at the time).

One thing that puzzles me is the 'new Who' idea that he's the last of the Time Lords. How can a time-travelling species die out (or very nearly die out)? At what point in time is there only one of them left?

Delicolor said...

I take it the red wire/blue wire bit on the CAT scanner was a movie joke...

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Have a good one, mate.
Don't get tempted to re-enact your theme when drunk.

Umbongo said...

"Why has he never, out of sheer love for humanity, ever gone back and had Hitler shot?"

Isn't this something to do with the unreliability of the Tardis in aiming for an exact point in time? I'm not sure how the good doctor deals with parallel universes but he might end up killing a "good" Hitler and letting the evil one survive. Actually that's not a bad story line!

Matt M said...

The way I've always seen it, he didn't wipe out the Daleks because, for all he knew, doing so would open to door to something worse.

The same could be argued for Hitler - without the horrors of WW2, the world could have been plunged into a war with an even greater death toll. Once you start messing with history, who knows what could happen? (No pun intended).

What's long puzzled me is that the non-interference thing only seems to apply to events in OUR past. Stopping the various alien invasions must be just as bad as stopping various European dictators.

How can a time-travelling species die out (or very nearly die out)?

If you bring in the books and audio adventures, the Timelords have already been wiped from history twice and Gallifrey has been isolated from the rest of the timeline.

The Tin Drummer said...

Matt zusagt:

The way I've always seen it, he didn't wipe out the Daleks because, for all he knew, doing so would open to door to something worse.

The same could be argued for Hitler - without the horrors of WW2, the world could have been plunged into a war with an even greater death toll. Once you start messing with history, who knows what could happen? (No pun intended).





I thought it was because the creatures he was about to destroy were babies and had caused *no* actual harm, despite what he knew they would oneday do. Hence the speech to Sarah about meeting a small child and if someone told you it would become a terrible dictatory...

I cannot think of any outcome that might have been worse, unless Stalin had been somewhat emboldened to attack a weak and unself-confident western Europe in, say, 1941: even that doesn't make it *worse* than what happened.
I also can't see fuckwits and tossers like Himmler or Goring going it alone.

I suppose it's too late to worry now. Maybe there's a reason there, why a series about a time traveller became so popular in the mid Cold War period....

Matt M said...

I thought it was because the creatures he was about to destroy were babies and had caused *no* actual harm

I hadn't thought of that, but it does make a lot of sense.

I cannot think of any outcome that might have been worse

If a second world (or even just European) war was inevitable, it seems best to have had it before our knowledge of nuclear weapons became too advanced. A war in the 60s or 70s onwards, among nuclear powers, would probably have seen a greater death-toll and devastation than WW2.

The Tin Drummer said...

Well....given that we nearly had WWIII anyway I'm not sure I buy that line of reasoning. WWII did most of the work towards nukes, so no WWII, no nukes for a while. Also, no WWII, no Cold War, so no need for 'em. But I take your point, that someone might have been emboldened to use them because of the lack of memory of a devastating war.

A second war in Europe was probably inevitable after the first one and its lack of proper conclusion. A better question might be: what would have happened without WWI?

Matt M said...

A better question might be: what would have happened without WWI?

It's the not knowing that makes meddling with history so dangerous - if a butterfly flapping it's wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world (or whatever it's supposed to be) then just think of the changes the absence of a major historical event could bring about!

james higham said...

...After all, if you'd spend a grand of years on the run, destroyed your own people and many other planets, and lost everyone you loved, you'd be at least as sad as Morrissey, if not rather more so...

How sis you find out about me? I thought no one knew.