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hey remember when clara oswald told a robot threatening her with torture to suck it

remember when clara oswald convinced the time lords to give the doctor another regeneration cycle

remember when clara oswald convinced the doctor to save his species and consequently saved the…

On Vocabulary and Fiction





  • Favorite thing about this scene: the Doctor acknowledging his part in sending a companion mixed signals instead of blaming their response to his signals on irrational human-ness (and femaleness). Now go back and say this to Martha, Doctor, preferably with an actual “I’m sorry.”
  • Least favorite thing about this scene: fandom missing the point and continuing to insist that Clara’s a horrible shallow person who just wanted Eleven to be her boyfriend and dislikes Twelve because of that

Overture to a post. 

That’s a good scene.  A great moment.

But I feel I must point out that the issue isn’t just fandom thinking Clara is horrible and shallow.  The issue is also that the episode sends mixed signals, just like the Doctor does.  This is yet another example of Moffat texts talking out of both sides of their mouths (so to speak), and wanting to have their cake and eat it, of them telling the audience one thing while showing the audience another. 

This scene by itself is excellent.  But it isn’t by itself.  It coexists with scenes in which Clara is clearly horrified by the Doctor’s transformation, despite her supposedly having seen every incarnation of the Doctor.  It coexists with scenes in which she defends herself against the horrifying charge of being a horrible, shallow person (i.e. the kind of girl who has the temerity to have pop stars on her wall as a kid) by proving her appreciation for wise old blokes with a name drop of Marcus Aurelius.  It coexists with scenes in which she is described as a control freak and a narcissist and needy gameplayer.  Yes, we are supposed to frown at this stuff coming from the Doctor… we’re supposed to think he’s being a prick… yet we’re also clearly supposed to find it funny (according to the gender essentialist ‘wars of the sexes’ logic of sitcoms). 

We’re also clearly supposed to find him funny when he displays all the characteristics he charges against Clara and which she charges against him.  It doesn’t really matter if the writer has strong women declaring “men are monkeys” if the text ultimately and implicitly invites us to find the monkeyish behaviour vastly charming.

I think it is more accurate to say that Clara is horrified by the fact that her best friend had a psychotic break and put her in real and not fun danger while confusing her with a robot, and that he seemingly looks old and weathered prematurely, as though there’s something wrong with this regeneration (since she just spent her Christmas learning that the Doctor grows old over centuries), and requires reassurance after this genuinely terrifying experience that was followed by a maybe not so fun time nearly dying and thinking that she’d been abandoned by the Doctor (even if this was never actually true - and note that it’s the Doctor who catches her when she passes out and that he is there to step in the moment her confrontation with the bad guy gets out of hand). And part of the Doctor’s effort to reassure her is to admit that he gave the wrong impression to her in the first place, and that he is not nearly so safe a friend as he might have at times pretended, but that he is still her friend. 

I think the degree to which Clara self-identifies as a bossy control freak is a part of why this was particularly traumatic for her despite her familiarity with regeneration, and is an interesting wrinkle in her as a character. It’s at once a flaw that generates compelling stories and something that can be used for the sort of comedy that modern Doctor Who needs to provide every so often. This seems to me a prime example of Moffat’s effectiveness as a writer.


This was so beautiful that I had to put it up on my wall and examine it as if it were an exquisite piece of art. 


"Manpain" by Anonymous

Above we have a quintessential example of early 21st Century prose by an aggrieved man. The author of this piece is unknown, but we can surmise by his inability to properly say “shit” to a woman and his assurance that he likes “admirable” female characters that he is most likely a “Nice Guy.”

The anonymous author employs deliberate obtuseness in order to provoke a reaction from his audience. Notice how he pretends no British individual supports the idea of a woman portraying the Doctor, despite clear evidence to the contrary, even amongst actors who have portrayed the titular character on the show. Then there is the stunning self-centeredness regarding his perception of third wave feminism; he is only interested in equality it grants him the “right” to hit the women whose arguments make him so incoherently angry that he is unable to rationally reply.

His final challenge attempts to trap the reader. Do we respond and grant him the audience and validation he so desperately seeks, or do we ignore him and let him believe he has won? But perhaps we have a third option: to turn the focus back on him and examine how his comments display his deep insecurity in his own sense of masculinity, something he feels can only be reclaimed by challenging a girl on the internet to a fight and preemptively declaring victory because he fears he cannot engage with her on an intellectual level.


I really have nothing to add to this.

“If someone were to die at the age of 63 after a lifelong battle with MS or Sickle Cell, we’d all say they were a “fighter” or an “inspiration.” But when someone dies after a lifelong battle with severe mental illness and drug addiction, we say it was a tragedy and tell everyone “don’t be like him, please seek help.” That’s bullshit. Robin Williams sought help his entire life. He saw a psychiatrist. He quit drinking. He went to rehab. He did this for decades. That’s HOW he made it to 63. For some people, 63 is a fucking miracle. I know several people who didn’t make it past 23 and I’d do anything to have 40 more years with them.”


anonymous reader on The Dish

One of the more helpful and insightful things I’ve seen about depression/suicide in the last couple of days.

(via mysweetetc)

Haven’t read it yet. Strong candidate for the McGann/Eccleston book, with the caveat that both that and the McCoy book are going to run up against the physical limitations of the print on demand service, and I’m going to need to be very, very careful about what I do and don’t add, to the point where I may end up cutting essays that appeared on the blog to make room for things. At the moment my biggest priories with that book are Night of the Doctor and Engines of War. After that, I’ll start to consider McGann novels, with Taking of Planet 5, Seeing I, and City of the Dead being the three frontrunners. But any of those would come at the expense of Book of the War or some Faction Paradox audios, so yes, it’s all a complete and utter mess and I’m glad I have one more easy book before I hit those two nightmares.

(McCoy is somewhat easier - there’s much less that I’m adamant about adding, and definitely some NAs I think I wrote crap essays on that are best cut. I think my decision to be much more selective with McGann novels was ultimately sound.)





note to self





To me, what happened to Donna is simply the end of any RTD-vs-Moffat debate. Moffat didn’t write that. Therefore he is better. End of.

To me, what happened to Amy is simply the end of any RTD-vs-Moffat debate. RTD didn’t have any of his companions…


Here are eight of the posts that Randy Queen has filed DMCA notices to take down from the fantastic eschergirls blog. These posts were blatantly legal under fair use principles, and I consider this reasoning to apply to my reposting them, although I am of course happy to remove them if Escher Girls objects to my use of their intellectual property. (To be clear, Escher Girls was wholly uninvolved with this post - I used the DMCA complaint to find caches of the posts from before the images were taken down by Tumblr, and am reposting them on my own initiative.)

To make this terribly pedantic, my reasoning in asserting fair use.

Purpose and character: These are clearly transformative, adding commentary that highlights important social issues of sexism and misogyny in the American comics industry.

Nature of the copied work: The work is fictional, which is generally considered a point in favor of fair use.

Amount and substantiality: Darkchylde, the comic from which these images come, is a many-issue comic series of which these are only a handful of images that are largely insubstantial.

Effect upon work’s value: It seems unlikely that anybody is going to use this collection of images as a substitute for purchasing the work, although I will admit that I think anyone with good taste will largely be persuaded not to buy the work on the merits of these images.

The ninth, and one more I found by happenstance, will follow in a moment. 

reddit | posted by moshita.org

reddit | posted by moshita.org

reddit | posted by moshita.org

reddit | posted by moshita.org

reddit | posted by moshita.org

reddit | posted by moshita.org

reddit | posted by moshita.org







Anecdotes by medical practitioners 

"A woman came in for a baby check with her 6-month-old and she had what looked like chocolate milk in the baby’s bottle. So he started explaining to her as kindly as he could that she shouldn’t be giving her baby chocolate milk. At which point she interrupts him and says, ‘Oh that isn’t chocolate milk. It’s coffee! He just loves it!”

"I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment, she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldn’t matter ‘because he uses a condom every time and he makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use’.”

"Had a lady who measured her baby’s temperature by pre-heating the oven and putting one hand in front of it while the other hand was on the baby’s forehead. She told the nurse her baby’s fever was about 250 degrees.”

"Lady has to have foot amputated and is given waiver forms to sign pre-op. Buddy asks if she needs time to think about it. She’s very nonchalant and doesn’t seem to care much what they do. He gets suspicious and probes a bit as to why she’s not more concerned. She says she gets that they have to operate and it’s OK because the foot will grow back.”

"I had a couple who had been trying to conceive for over two years. I asked all the usual questions, how often do you have sex, any previous pregnancy, etc etc. Something seemed off to me during the consult, so I continued to ask questions. Finally I asked if he ejaculated while inserted into the vagina. Both parties looked confused.Turns out the couple was not having insertional sex at all. I had to awkwardly explain to them how insertional sex works. Diagrams were required.”

"Patient comes in, she’s upset. She’s pregnant, and she doesn’t understand why. She’s on the pill. Upon talking to her at great length, I find out that she only takes the pills on the days that she is sexually active – no other time.”

"Patient comes in with her bf. They are indignant, as if somehow I could’ve prevented [the pregnancy]. The problem? Well, the pills were bothering the girl’s stomach, so, being a gallant bf, he decided to start taking them instead.”

I was explaining the treatment to the husband of a patient about to be discharged. He kept nodding and agreeing with me, but I knew it was flying over his head. Turned out a fundamental problem was that I was describing the drugs as ‘tablets’ and he had no clue what those were.

Reddit thread 


Oh my god… I can’t decide if I should laugh or cry…

I am stunned. Oh my god.

I am scared for humanity and I feel very fortunate to have had the majority of my relatives in the medical field.

Notice how 3/4 of these would be prevented by comprehensive sex ed? How many of these poor people do you think got taught abstinence-only?

In a capitalist system, a corporation’s primary purpose is to create value for shareholders.

On roller coaster streets that dive into mist shrouded hills crusted like barnacles with candy colored houses, a one armed guitarist distorts rivers of sound that paints the walls of the old poet’s shop, made weird and etherial it bleeds across the boundary between worlds and above helicopters watch drones play in the park. A wrong turn takes you to an arterial hub of vegetable delivery trucks in insectile ranks, dress white and at attention flanked by forgotten industrial machinery. In the valley the code of pimply faced boys mutates through the real estate like an entitled virus and climate-controlled garages keep self-driving cars waiting for their oncoming disruption. San Francisco is a science fantasy city.




Clearly this attempt at trying to understand the Moffat-hate crowd was a mistake. Of the responses I got, I got one person who started by making some comment about “the proper use of the tag” (seriously, who the fuck made you Queen…

Stephen Moffat is not sexist

dolly parton interviews with good morning america on her upcoming variety show, 1987 (x)

I confess I love Dolly Parton.

I was a teenager in the mid-to-late-90s, and I’m thinking now about how there were three pieces of culture that came out then that came to define my thinking about what culture should be like: Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (1996) and Radiohead’s OK Computer (1997).

I think all of these works were part of a similar cultural zeitgeist that looked backwards as well as forwards, high as well as low, and embraced cleverness as high value proposition.

It’s not a bad idea. Perhaps a release party for Eruditorum Volume 5. Anyone have suggestions where to hold such a shindig?

Sex and wheels: Zadie Smith on JG Ballard's Crash:

Sex and wheels: Zadie Smith on JG Ballard’s Crash (via instapaper)


Things we’re probably not supposed to notice: Martha Jones walks the earth for a year, and at the end of it she’s still wearing eyeliner.

Martha Jones is so badass she can save the world and do her eyeliner at the same time.



President Obama came down hard on gun-control laws during today’s Tumblr Q&A. 

I have experienced few senses of ambivalence higher than Obama’s late-Presidency decision to be ineffectual in many of the ways progressives always wished he would be ineffectual instead of being an ineffectual bipartisan.




Criticism, Etc.