20 June 2013

The Doctor Diaries III.4 & 5b: “Daleks in Manhattan” and “Evolution of the Daleks”

Professor Diggins' Dragons

I wrote yesterday that I used to get really annoyed every time the Daleks appeared again, until I realize that each time they are threatening different humans, so the Doctor has to intervene over and over again, to save different people.

This has, I believe, a metaphorical application:

The sci-fi enemies represent the recurring problems that humans face over and over and over again. Every human faces the same temptations, the same tragedies, the same weaknesses, the same challenges. We don't really learn by example. We make the same mistakes our parents and grandparents and ancient ancestors made. We suffer the same diseases.

So the Daleks, Cybermen, Carrionites, Sycorax, Weeping Angels, Family of Blood, and all the other enemies recur, season after season, just as we suffer in the same ways, generation after generation, day after day.

This is one way that someone who is not usually a sci-fi fan could perhaps come to enjoy Doctor Who. I mean, even I hate these stupid aliens and overdone monsters.

But they're metaphors. None of us will ever face a Dalek (well, we might dredge one up in a pond somewhere), but each enemy represents something awful that we actually do fight every day.

The Cybermen could represent our addictions to technology and our increasing willingness to allow the virtual world to take over our identities.

(I type this as I'm following the #BenedictCumberbatch hashtag on twitter and clicking on all the pictures).

The Daleks could represent our proclivity towards racism and genocide.

The Family of Blood could be an embodiment of ways in which we prioritize our own tribe, culture, and other in-group over other people's needs.

The Weeping Angels will get a post of their own!

Oh, and by the way, what's with the title of this post? Professor Diggins' Dragons
is a kids' book about just this theme -- dragons are metaphors for whatever challenges the kids need to overcome.

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