Final Project

Here is the link to the blog I did for my final project.

https://aliensindoctorwho.wordpress.com/

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Looking Back

Since this is my last post, I just wanted to give a short “review” of my experience with the show. I have never watched Doctor Who before this class. In fact, my only knowledge of it was the fact that it is my ex boyfriend’s favorite TV show, so you can only imagine the opinion I created before I started watching it. I would say I like some science fiction, but I am more interested in the dystopian side than just aliens and extremely advanced technology like time travel.

I found the show to be interesting. I think it had a little bit of a slow start for me, nothing had really hooked me. The first thing I really held onto was the episode with the Dalek. For me, this was the first time that there was substance to the show, rather than just landing in the time that needs the Doctor and Rose to help rid the city of aliens. I did enjoy that Rose and the Doctor started as a juxtaposition. I think it added some good levels to the show.

I did enjoy the mysterious, seemingly tough Christopher Eccleston, however, David Tennant definitely won me over. He is so flamboyant and says everything with a purpose. It seems as though he does not want to waste any words. I was also pleased with the extra dimension of the Doctor that was revealed. I think Tennant is the one that subtly shows his loneliness just enough to keep the audience thinking about the fact that he not only is the last of his kind, but he has been living by himself for hundreds of years, and that anyone he has ever gotten close to is no longer by his side.

I will say, when Rose left, I was heartbroken. The hopeless romantic in me was dreading the moment as I knew it would happen eventually. I think Rose brought out so much in the Doctor, especially when Tennant was in the role, so seeing her say goodbye was tough.

I liked the contrast of Martha and Donna, especially since Donna was actually introduced first. I think Martha just thought she was living in Rose’s shadow and that’s all she would worry about. On the other hand, Donna was stubborn and knew that she was important and made sure that she never felt inferior to anyone. Both characters were the same in the way that they were both incredibly smart and made sure to bring the Doctor back to reality.

Once the eleventh Doctor was introduced, I sadly lost quite a bit of interest. I think I was such a big fan of Tennant’s character, that whatever followed just would not quite do it for me. I enjoyed Amy and I thought her accent was always fun to listen to . The main thing that kept my focus was wondering who the mysterious River Song was. I feel like I figured it out rather early, so when it was finally revealed, I felt a little disconnected again.

I guess that there are only so many different aliens to fight and there are only so many broken hearts the Doctor can handle before the show gets a little redundant and tired. I enjoyed my experience with the show, but I don’t know that I am sitting here waiting for more.

 

Lutheran? Catholic?

I’ve come to notice lately, especially with Easter just passing, that there is a lot of diversity in religion. Now, this is an obvious statement. Of course religion is diverse, the Jewish do this, Buddhists do this, and Christians do this. Is that what you were thinking? I am not just talking about the obvious differences. Instead, I am talking about diversity within certain religions.

There are different branches within one religion. While these religions have the same main beliefs, there are differences within the religion. The difference that really hit me was those who participate in Lent. It is a common misconception that only Catholic people participate in this activity. I have noticed that people are surprised when they find those who are non-Catholic giving an item up for Lent.

I have also noticed conversation between people of different religions about what they do on a daily or weekly basis. One example is confession. I have heard some comments about how they do not think it is necessary to confess or how they think it is weird. There are people on the other side of the argument that find it necessary to confess in order for God to forgive them.

There are a lot of different ways to practice religion. Being nondenominational, we are more of a “laid back” religion and we are not a super involved branch of Christianity. On the other hand, there are private Catholic schools that students attend to not only get an education, but to deepen their learning of their religion simultaneously.

I found it interesting that there is so much variation within one religion.

I also have heard people describing themselves and others as a “good” or “bad” Christian. My question here is who gets to decide? What makes one person more qualified to judge another person’s actions and then continue to classify them as either good or bad at a religion? In reality, there could be a “bad” Christian calling a “good” Christian bad just because they behave differently from one another. Then again, why does it matter to anyone else who is or is not a “good” Christian? Isn’t that between the person and God? Isn’t that something they need to work on?

I also find it interesting how many people that attend Wartburg, a Lutheran college, are not Lutheran. I almost attended a Catholic high school, but I admit, it was a little bit intimidating since I did not quite fit in. I have not gotten that intimidation factor here at Wartburg at all, and I think it is because there is not just one religion across the entire campus. Obviously some are more common than others, but I know that there is a wider variety than the high school I almost attended.

I think it is fascinating, as I stated previously, that we all believe in the same overarching ideas, but there are still so many difference in what we do, not only in church or for holidays, but in our everyday lives as well. It makes me wonder if some parts of other religions mimic the same one as mine.

 

River Song is Melody Pond??? Whaaaaaat?

Through the course of watching episodes of Doctor Who, there have been many surprises that caught me totally off guard, such as Rory’s first “death”, Rose’s “Bad Wolf” powers, or Donna’s character development in “Turn Left”; however, nothing prepared me for the reveal that River Song was actually Amy and Rory’s daughter. I actually screamed at my television as the realization and the implications of this realization hit me. I was deeply impressed with the writing, although it was a little bit deus ex machina style of conflict resolution. Overall, it was one of the most surprising things that was revealed in the show in my opinion.

River Song was a character that I didn’t really like very much when the Doctor first meets her. She’s kind of a know it all, I know something you don’t know type of person, which was narratively off putting for me. As she began to appear more and more frequently, I began to like her a little bit more (but I still didn’t really like her). She represented a sort of narrative “screw you” to the audience, as she already knew everything that lay ahead of the Doctor. However, once “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon” came around, I began to suspect that this teasing was finally going to come to a head soon. When it was revealed that she was Amy and Rory’s daughter later on, it all finally made sense. Because of the paradoxical nature of River Song, she had to withhold all of this information. When I realized the implications, I was even more caught off guard. She was the girl in the space suit that killed the Doctor, she was stolen by a cult, the Doctor was Rory and Amy’s son in law!

Ultimately, this was one of my favorite reveals in a show famous for them. I was originally off put by the build up (it did feel like it took forever!) but it only made the payoff that much better. River Song is narratively one of the most interesting characters; it seems as if she is somehow woven into almost every major storyline, from David Tennant all the way to Peter Capaldi. I still don’t love her as a character, but what the writers have done with her character demonstrates a true display of how interesting narrative arcs should be done.

The Problems with “Brave the Shave”

As many know, there was a fairly large charity event on campus this week for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a pediatric cancer charity. Let me begin, I am not at all against advocacy or raising awareness for cancer charities. St. Baldrick’s deals with their money very ethically. All proceeds go into funding for pediatric cancer treatments. So, I do not mean this post as an attack against St. Baldrick’s or those who participated in the Brave the Shave event. However, I, and many others who have been diagnosed with cancer, find a serious problem with some of the methods used by cancer charities, including St. Baldrick’s. First, one of St. Baldrick’s main methods in fundraising is stating that pediatric cancer receives the lowest amount of funding from the greater cancer fund. While this is technically true, it is misleading. Yes, the pediatric fund is the smallest, but children diagnosed with cancer also receive funding from the specific diagnosis funds (e.g. Leukemia, lung cancer, etc.). This is not to say that the pediatric fund is not in need of support, but I believe it is misleading to market it the way that St. Baldrick’s does. My main issue is with the Brave the Shave event. While initially the event may seem to be in support and solidarity of and with those going through chemotherapy, it is viewed as insensitive and offensive by those in the cancer community. While I myself have not yet gone through chemotherapy (and hopefully never will), I must agree with this. Seeing people smiling and laughing while shaving their heads is deeply hurtful and seeing those who have shaved their heads everyday is just an additional, persistent reminder of what they have, are, or going to have to go through. Losing your hair while going through chemotherapy is not a choice you get to make; it is a symbol of the illness they are experiencing and symbol of their own mortality. The Sun did a story about an almost identical event hosted by the Macmillan’s foundation (https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1725639/cancer-survivors-slam-macmillan-brave-the-shave-campaign-calling-it-disrespectful-and-offensive/). Here are some of the accounts they collected:

But people who have lost their hair to the condition have taken to Mumsnet in fury, accusing the cancer charity of being out of touch with patients.

One user wrote: ‘I can barely articulate how completely distasteful it is,’ while another added: ‘Completely agree about it being distasteful. I meet women suffering from cancer on a regular basis and none of them are happy about losing their hair from chemotherapy.’

Another shared her hair loss story and accused the charity of offending other cancer sufferers.

She wrote: ‘I hate these campaigns. I didn’t lose my hair with my previous chemo, but now I’m clinging to the last wispy bits covering my head.’

‘It is not just about ‘braving the shave’. It’s facing up to the reality that even if/when my hair starts to grow back, I’m unlikely to live long enough that it’ll ever be this length again.

‘My hair falls out everywhere. My scalp is all tingly and sore and flaky. The experience of just shaving off your hair for a laugh is just not comparable at all.

‘All the big cancer charities seem to have completely lost touch with the actual experience of cancer patients.

‘I know they need to make money, but why can’t they do it in ways that don’t upset or offend the people they want to support?

‘Though it’s partly about public demand I suppose.

‘Often the most vehement supporters have absolutely no cancer experience.”

Another sufferer made the point that shaving your head does not ‘make you brave’.

She wrote: ‘I try not to watch these adverts. It actually hurts my head – from the ghost pains of when my hair was coming out during chemo.’”

I want to make it clear that I do not believe that anyone who did shave their head as part of this event had any ill-intent nor am I claiming that this is the opinion of every person with cancer, but I do wish people would put more thought into how it might affect people. There are plenty of ways to show support and stand in solidarity with those going through something as tough as cancer, because ultimately, Brave the Shave is not support, but rather hurtful parody. 

What Doctor Are You?

For this post, I decided to take a personality quiz to see which Doctor I match with the best. I found this on the BBC America website, link here: (http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2013/11/personality-quiz-doctor). With the rise of media companies BuzzFeed and PlayBuzz in the internet age, fans have no shortage of quizzes they can take to determine what characters they are most like. This particular quiz ask questions such as “What is your dream car?”, “What do you look for most in a companion?”, and what strategies I would use given a scenario where daleks take over my neighborhood. As I made my way through the quiz, I found some answers to questions that were obviously tied to a particular Doctor. At the same time, there were some where I had absolutely no clue what Doctor went with each answer. In the end, the quiz told me that I was the Eleventh Doctor. This is its description: “You’re truly one of a kind. They not only don’t make ’em like you any more, they never did in the first place! Somehow, even the most mundane of things can be transformed into a unique statement in your wayward hands. Your ability to raise eyebrows everywhere you go – while still somehow being entirely admirable – is unparalleled. OK, sometimes you make bad decisions and perhaps you’re too keen to let your reputation speak on your behalf, but you are a hard person to forget, and that is how you have come to have a reputation in the first place.” I have always thought personality tests are very much akin to the descriptions of horoscopes. The descriptions are always just vague enough that they can really apply to anyone. Spoilers, the way the stars happened to look when you were born does not contribute or shape your personality. I think this rise of personality tests and the revival of horoscopes is simply the need for people to be affirmed in some sort of identity by an outside source. Even with the Myers-Briggs test, which, admittedly is more specific and intensive than other personality tests, feeds into the ambiguity in identifying people. There are a lot of different personality types in Myers-Briggs, but it is still finite. I think the categorization of personality takes away from the nuance of individualism. When asked what my Myers-Briggs personality type is, I often respond with “Don’t put me in a box!” then eventually admit that I’m an ENTJ. So, do I think a Doctor Who personality test is harmful? No. However, I wish more people understood that though you may be categorized as a Cancer, or an ENTJ, or the Eleventh Doctor, that personality is not a concrete thing that can be categorized, no matter how questions you answer.

The Race Box Question

The U.S. Census Bureau has asked millions of Americans questions regarding their race since 1790. In 1790, the only “races” listed were ‘Slaves’, ‘Free white females & males’, and ‘all other free persons’. There have been many changes regarding the races included, and whether it is an option to click “other” or “none”. As an example, the category named “other race” was taken off between the years 1850 and 1900, and returned as an option in 1910. Many races were not represented and acknowledged until years after the first census. Asians were acknowledged in 1860, 70 years after the first census. Latinos were acknowledged in 1970, 180 years after the first census. White has been the only race category acknowledged since the very beginning. How have they been asking Americans about their race? Through a U.S. Census form that asks you to check the box next to the race you identify with.

Race boxes are asked to be filled out for applications for schools, for subject tests such as the SAT, and for employment purposes. When employing people of color, one must wonder if they are seeking diversity in the workplace or are instead expunging them? It is a completely valid question to ask, especially in today’s day and age where diversity feels like more of an obligation than an embraced concept. Many are afraid of being race exclusive or deemed a “racist”, when the truth is, they did not hire them because they didn’t believe they were the right fit. Affirmative action, or the favoring of those who often face discrimination, is used all the way from college admissions to job applicants. Many argue the use of affirmative action and voice that it goes against what was the “most sweeping civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction”: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (United States, Congress, Senate). In Title VII, it bans discriminatory practices in employment. The question remains, what to do about race boxes?

Race is defined as a group of people with common ancestry, yet with it, comes an unexpected baggage that hasn’t always been there. Race is important in the way that is differentiates us, provides us with a culture (whether we choose to associate with that given culture or not is our choice) that we can share and build relations from, but it also has been providing a barrier to some. It was a barrier in the early 1600’s when slaves first appeared on the scene, it was barrier until the late 1960’s during the Civil Right Movement, it’s still a barrier to some today. Derogatory terms have been tied to race, and hate has stemmed from peoples view on others race. To me, race is a quality that should be embraced but is unnecessary to peruse. It’s a social construct that society has labeled us by, but it by no means represents who we are fully. At the end of the day, race is just another box society is trying to squeeze us in. We should move on and explore the parts of ourselves that would reveal more about us than race ever could.