are two reasons why I’m posting this essay…
because it’s important to me.
been working on it forever. Well, seems like forever. And I keep
kicking myself over and over, trying to make sure things look
right, because there is a chance at saying something and having
people misread what I am saying and what I mean. That’s delayed
this piece from completion and kept it in development for a very
long time. But I want to share it, and there comes a point where
you ruin something by trying to be too perfect. So, if anything,
while I hope it gets viewed on its own, more important to me is
that it also could serve as a conversation-starter.
because some things need to be said.
a hidden reality about believing the right things that can be
very dangerous. Essentially, you can be a good person, with great
intentions, but if it’s only your beliefs then a lack of action
can assist the wrong things in continuing.
I mean is that it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of repetition,
similar in ways to the idea of:
I need a job to get experience.
I need experience to get a job.
someone needs to jump onto the merry-go-round, even though it
may be in motion. Change, growth and progress are caused by taking
action, not by continuing with the status quo and waiting for
someone else to step forward.
are certain things that I don’t believe—or, perhaps more accurately,
to believe—about time when it comes to making a decision or
taking an action. I’d like to approach these things thinking they
are being done because they are the right decisions… the right
thing to do. Fortunately, I think, I’m not dumb enough or naïve
enough to be convinced that is the way things always work.
Who naming Jodie Whittaker… it’s not about time (and yet
written this essay dozens of times. Started it dozens of dozens
of times. Thought about it hundreds of dozens of times.
difficulty for me come from a few places. Most specifically—seated
on my isolated bench in the park, and naïve in my hopes—the
troubles begin with being male and hoping I’ve always treated
others the way I would like to be treated. (Starting with respect
Whittaker is the next Doctor Who. First woman to take on the legendary
role. And I want to believe that: (1) She earned it as a talented
performer, and not simply as a female performer. (2) That those
in charge of making the decision did not approach the selection
by wanting a woman playing the part first, with good stories and
production plans arriving later along the list of actions.
we have a situation where those creating the next run of shows
and narrative for The Doctor selected Jodie, with ideas in place
of the journey they wanted to undertake and picking her as the
one they wanted along for the ride, then it’s not about time such
a decision was made. It’s a great decision being made at the right
time. We have great ideas, and they would be even more amazing
with a female Doctor, so, let’s cast the role that way.
I’m not naïve. At least not completely and blindly naïve.
There is a very good chance that someone, in some meeting room,
wanted a person in the role that would bring on a bit of controversy…
a bit of change… a bit of media attention… and said “let’s get
this done” first. There is a very good chance that someone said
“it’s about time” and that led to a “select a woman” decision
I kind of hope that’s not the way things happened.
one reason… Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and
Peter Capaldi. Those of us watching the show for slightly more
than a decade have been treated to an absolutely brilliant run
of Doctors. Saying “it’s about time” has, to some degree, an edge
to it that expands in meaning to the idea that previous caretakers
of the role were mistakes. You may want Idris Elba, Helen Mirren,
Daniel Radcliffe or Ian McKellen in the role—all fine candidates—that
shouldn’t come by saying Tennant or Smith were wrong.
another… I am thrilled to see Jodie Whittaker becoming the next
Doctor. Go back to my notes about approaching the changes to be
made, and understand that my hopes are that those working on the
upcoming batch of episodes wanted a female doctor because of the
storylines they had in mind, and selected her because she was
the best for where they want to go. I love the idea of a female
doctor. (I would also love seeing Idris, Helen, Daniel and Ian
have a shot.) In that, you’ll find the anticipation for the possibilities
with Jodie is incredible for me. I’m really looking forward to
the return of Doctor Who, with her in character. It’s
not because they made the switch to a female lead though, and
instead it is because they have tremendous opportunities to create
quality shows with a female lead.
it’s because of my being a male, and all of the other thoughts
I have and hesitations involved that such perspectives bring into
play, that we need to spin this babbling of mine to a different
place. Because I’m concerned that people are thinking I’m blind
and ignorant (which, hand raised, potentially guilty as a result
of my personal experiences). And because, honestly, I’m not sure
people really understand the history of entertainment, and how
even when attempting to do something different the industries
and conference rooms and people involved have really offered us
some stunningly inappropriate results. Consider…
your satin tights,
Fighting for your rights…”
I noted, I’ve been working on this essay for quite some time.
But I keep circling back and find myself facing a few difficulties.
In the end, these two lines from a song seem to provide the very
best example I have for demonstrating what I mean with a scenario
not often cited.
you know the song these lyrics are from?
the theme for the television show Wonder Woman. There
were several changes made to the show between seasons one and
two, including revisions to the theme song. But… head to the internet,
navigate to your favorite search engine, and take a look. There
it is, and you can even find videos and sound clips to hear it
in all its glory…
your satin tights,
Fighting for your rights…”
words, and they make me cringe.
Fox and Norman Gimbel wrote the theme song, and they are quite
the talented pair. When it comes to a significant listing of credits…
and some darn catchy earworms… they have a tough-to-beat list,
including: (1) Theme songs for shows like Happy Days,
Laverne & Shirley and The Bugaloos. (2)
“I Got a Name” from the legendary Jim Croche is a Fox and Gimbel
is the lyricist of the pair, and I don’t cringe because of him
or his work. My reaction isn’t about placing the song into any
type of context or giving it some kind of rationalization.
I cringe because as I look at the lyrics, they show me a perfect
example of why women (and, anyone facing obstacles concerning
respect and equality) have so many problems. And it’s not completely
about the actions of yesterday, but it is certainly about the
failure of many to learn and grow.
have a problem with a hindsight approach to correcting art. Cartoons…
books… movies… and the ideas of editing them, rewriting them,
colorizing them, and in so many ways adjusting the presentation.
To me, it does not automatically translate that today’s society
should produce a different result from yesterday’s work. You could
make a case that it walks into the area of censorship. It definitely
compromises artistic design. And I do believe there is a value
in viewing past creations as produced and presented, allowing
context to also show when there are problems and issues.
I do not want to see changes made to Mark Twain, I am not asking
for Looney Toons to be edited, and I’m fine with the works of
I do believe is that it is up to us as a society, interacting
with each other as well as being examples for the next generations,
to recognize where the attitudes and expressions of the past need
to be corrected in what we do today. And, in many cases, corrected
because the actions in the past do rise to extreme and obscene
is where I’ll return to Jodie Whittaker.
say that I’m excited about Jodie taking on the classic role of
The Doctor would be a monumental understatement. I’m thrilled.
I’m happy. Intrigued, fascinated and amazed. (Yes. I’m kind of
delighted about the season.)
just hope that we get to enjoy a brilliant performance and extraordinary
run of seasons with her because she is a talented performer and
the crew delivers quality. And I hope that it is successful, allowing
others to be generous and diverse with their productions. Unfortunately,
the track record demonstrates that there may be others watching
for entirely different reasons (and that my naïve hopes are
quite likely quite naïve).
may not be able to offer an insider viewpoint into all of this.
And, quite honestly, it takes action to make changes… not a belief
that things should be done properly and hoping changes come about
naturally without action. That understood…
am looking forward to seeing Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, because
it’s her time and the right decision, not because it’s about time
and a forced arrangement.
~ ~ ~
a finishing thought, now that the first Jodie Whittaker season
has aired—including the New Year’s Special—with broadcasts and
viewings by those that recorded episodes and so on complete.
massive applause is in order. The actors, writers, directors,
and everyone associated with the show deserves praise for their
efforts. Great season… wonderful storytelling… awesome work.
if we could just get the next season to its release a bit sooner