I’ve been trying to work out why I’m in such a state about DW. Last night, for family reasons, it turned out that I won’t get to see JE until late on Sunday, and I went into meltdown. I felt very guilty because I ought to care far more about the family reunion picnic my hubby’s got organised for this weekend and the fact his elderly dad’s decided having us to stay over would be too much. Good mothers do not behave like this. They care far more about their inlaws than a couple of fictional people running down a street into each other’s arms.
And yet…plenty of people, mostly male, would react similarly if they were expected to delay watching England vs Argentina in the World Cup Final for 24 hours. They’d competely freak out if some bigmouth told them the score before they got to watch. That seems to be okay, or at least more okay, than feeling like this about a show. But the emotions aren’t that different. If your team missed the final by a free kick last time around and they’re in this time, you’ve waited four years and it must feel the same way.
Today the only thing that seemed to calm me down was listening to The Messiah. This rather horrified me, since I wear atheism like a badge of pride most of the time. But I needed to hear something based on faith, because that’s what is required right now. I think it’s all connected to stories and what I expect them to do in society. I expect them to impose order on a chaotic world. I know that in the real world virtue is, as often as not, rewarded by a kick in the teeth and power is more likely to triumph than good. But that is exactly why I need stories where it turns out differently. I need relief from struggling to adjust to the random and capricious nature of the universe. The illusion that there is some orderly force at work shaping our ends and, occasionally, doling out instances of pure joy and grace.
And if I don’t get that, my last light flickers out. So stories are very important. All cultures tell them and many invest quite ridiculous levels of meaning in them. I’m not saying religion is the answer. It’s not, it causes more wars than it ends, I suspect. (I’m talking Christianity here because it happens to be the narrative for my culture and the one I grew up with. I don’t see why other religions should be different in this regard though. Correct me if I’m wrong).
When I stopped going to church about five years ago I came to the conclusion that for me, the service I choose is basically the theatrical re-enactment of my chosen narrative, the one that imposes order on the creeping entropy of the universe. and therefore comforts me and gives me the strength to fight back against the shit that happens daily. Perhaps because I left behind that particular myth, I now need others just as much, if not more. I never needed fandom until I stopped being a Christian. Arguably I had it already.
So for me, if the Doctor ends up with nothing and nobody it’s a bit like someone proving conclusively that the Gospel, or whatever you believe in, is a load of lies, in a way you can’t deny. I need my stories to be more hopeful and more orderly than life, or I won’t read them. I don’t mean I can’t handle sadness. It all depends how it’s done, and if it’s given some kind of point and meaning I can accept it. But I feel that the Doctor has suffered so much, again and again and again, and I can’t watch any more if it doesn’t stop. I love him, I love what he represents and I love the fact that he tries, hopes and never gives up. And I don’t see how he can go on doing that for ever if nothing ever gives him more than a fleeting moment of happiness that’s cruelly snatched away. I’ve got real life for that, and I don’t need to go looking for it.
People talk about RTD as if he’s the only one who can influence this but there are other people involved, some of whom I’ve invested a great deal of emotion in. DT, for instance, someone I hadn’t even heard of four years ago. I like to think that if you’re a minister’s son, and a basically decent person, you’d rather not be associated with a show that stamps on people’s hope, particularly when families are watching. God, we can all watch East Enders if we want to be depressed. We can watch the NHS fall apart on Casualty or gang warfare and the worst of human nature on Holby Blue. And that’s before we even start on the news. Why is it so cool these days to mock genuine joyful happiness? If I feel David Tennant has willingly chosen to be associated with that for longer than he absolutely had to be, then it will diminish him in my eyes, I’m afraid. So there’s a lot riding on this and I wish there was someone in my life I could talk to about it without feeling a complete selfish idiot. Why is it okay to weep when a ball propelled by a human foot happens not to go between two posts at the right time, but it’s embarrassing and selfish to care about this?