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From Gothic to Science Fiction: Doctor Who and the B.C. Teacher's Dispute


posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , , , , , ,

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“The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life.  He showed all of us!  That you don’t just give up.  You don’t just let things happen.  You make a stand, you say no, you have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away!”       Rose Tyler from Doctor Who




After sitting on a plane for twelve hours and watching back to back episodes of the X Men, returning home to find myself searching for ways to stream the episodes I had missed, I finally had to admit something:   I love the X Men.  Not only do I love superheroes (yes, I have always been rather fond of our Hugh, even with metal claws), but I love all things weird and wonderful like superhero powers and time travel and gene mutations.  So it wasn’t a stretch at all to realise, actually, I have a fascination with sci fi.  I have carefully hidden it under the guise of “English Literature” geek, talking at length (to anyone who will listen) about all things William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.  And if you are listening, I mean really listening, and if you care to probe a little deeper, you will learn that I wrote my Honours thesis not on Jane Austen and female friendship as planned, but on Gender and Landscape in…wait for it…The Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs Radcliffe and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Gothic and science fiction, all beautifully wrapped together in two amazing novels.  I relished every moment of reading those books and writing that thesis.  Oh how I unpacked and unravelled and cried and cheered and cried some more.  And when I probed these two works for clues and hints about gender roles as reflected in the landscape, I had “a ha” moments that will last a lifetime and will ensure that I honour these two women and their genius for all of my days.  Amazing.  Truly amazing. 

So in recognising that I love science fiction, gothic, fantasy, dystopian tales, super heroes, the works, one day not long ago I decided to do the right thing and hang up my chick-flick-I-can’t-stay-awake-any-longer-hat in exchange for Doctor Who.

After all, there isn’t such a thing as a Whovian for no reason.  And it came highly recommended by my friend Sarah Bessey who doesn’t even really like sci fi (we’ll have to have a chat about that).

Thus began my love affair with the Doctor.  I started with season one of the new Doctor Who which aired in 2005.  I adored Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, having never seen another Doctor Who in my life and I put up with some very bad graphics and cheesiness in favour of the characters and the stories.  Rose and her mother and Mickey and the Doctor.  Real people.  I loved it and continue to love it, four seasons, several companions and two doctors later.  But I don’t just love Doctor Who because I love sci-fi.  I love it because it’s real. 

Settle down; I’m not about to confess that I think aliens are about to invade London this Christmas. 

I don’t need to believe in aliens; there is enough evil and selfish agenda in this world as it is.  Everywhere.  Not just in those notoriously corrupt countries we hear about in the news, but right here in our own little towns.  There are battles going on around us all the time.  And unfortunately, once you open your eyes to the evil around us, you enter the battle and you cannot stop fighting.  You might try to stop and you might have little breaks but as long as there are battles (and there are always battles), you will always be fighting.

My favourite scene in Doctor Who occurs in the last episode of Season One.  The Doctor and Rose are engaged in an epic battle with the Daleks some time in the future and the Doctor tricks Rose into going home in the Tardis.  She cannot control the Tardis and she is stuck in her former reality.  She cannot return to the battle.  In a spine-chilling moment, a seemingly resigned Rose sits in a café with her mum and friend Mickey.  They are eating chips and talking about coleslaw and pizza.  It’s normal life on the East End—the life that Rose’s mother desperately wants for her daughter.  Just be normal.  In other words, stay safe.  But Rose cannot accept normal life.  She complains that “he’s fighting for us, for the whole planet and I’m just sitting here eating chips!”  Rose tries to explain to Mickey and her mum that it’s not about the aliens and the space travel, but that “it was a better life.”  She goes on:

“The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life.  He showed all of us!  That you don’t just give up.  You don’t just let things happen.  You make a stand, you say no, you have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away!”

And right then and there, watching Doctor Who on my laptop and drinking hot tea with my McVities, I knew what it was about.  I described that scene as spine-chilling because it shows us that once we have seen the evil, the destruction and the battles, we can’t go back.  We can’t run away.  We can’t go back to coleslaw and chips.  How can any of us go back to coleslaw and chips when we have seen what we have seen?  When we know there is a better way of living our life?

We can’t.

And that’s the way it should be.  Because like Rose, we were not made just to sit on our comfortable seats eating chips.  Oh yes, we have those moments and lots of them and they are a blessing and a gift.  I am grateful every day for times of quiet and rest and coleslaw and chips. 

Blossom and tui and lakeside and lambs.

Laughter and games and music and faith. 

These are the things that give us strength and courage when the battles start.  And I’m not saying that we should be looking for battles around every corner.  Believe me, I have not gone seeking the battles that our family has faced.  That would be a bitter and destructive existence.  But I am saying that as we go, if our eyes are open, we will see the battles.  Because as sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are supposed to see the injustice, the untruth, the unfair and the downright evil and we are supposed to stand up and play our part in the battle when the time comes.  And the time will always come and we have to be ready.  Because there are those who cannot fight and we are supposed to fight for them.  And there are others who do not see the battle or do not want to acknowledge it and yes, we are supposed to fight, even for them.  Even for those who just run away.

Most importantly, we are supposed to fight for our children.  Yes, they need to learn that life isn’t fair sometimes and they need to learn how to protect themselves.  But they also need to know that Mum and Dad and other significant adults will go to the ends of the earth to protect them and fight for them.  They can’t always fight their own battles.  Sometimes we are supposed to do it for them so that they can just keep on being kids.  They’ll have their own battles soon enough and they can fight them when they are strong and have the skills they need with which to fight.

My friends in B.C. are doing exactly that.  They are fighting an incredible battle on behalf of all children in that province, not just their own.  Major injustices have occurred and I can only speculate at the selfish agenda which is driving the government to behave and act in the way that they are.  But my friends, the teachers in B.C., have stood up and said no because they have the guts to “do what’s right when everyone else just runs away.”



I know my friends are tired of fighting.  I know they are in fact exhausted and potentially financially crippled.  I wish more parents and tax-payers who aren’t even teachers would pick up the fight and let my friends rest for a bit.  Let them eat chips and talk about coleslaw and pizza, even just for a few days while the government gets a clear message that the entire province of B.C is disgusted with them.  But in true Rose fashion, my friends continue to stand.  Rose finds her way back to the Doctor, back to the battle, and my friends will keep standing and keep fighting too.  They are fighting for the good of an entire province, yet they still have to put up with accusations of selfishness and greed.  This fight isn’t about money.  It’s about integrity.  It’s about truth.  It’s about the future. 

And as I picture Premier Christy Clark and the Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender speaking to the cameras, I instantly get an image in my mind of the Slitheen, hungry aliens set on devouring the human race masquerading as powerful but corrupt politicians. 



And in case you didn’t know, they also let off a lot of hot air.

Doctor Who is not so far from the truth.


And that’s why I love it.

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