Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

This week is another “Lucky 7” with the seventh episode of series 4. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lynne as we talk about mysteries, celebrity historicals, classism, racism, and how we deal with media created by people with views we abhor.

What do you think of “The Unicorn and the Wasp”? And how do you deal with stories created by people whose views harm you and/or people you love? Let us know in the comments!


Happy things:

The Incomparable Ep 166 – I Assume Everyone Is Awful
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Download or listen now (runtime 1:15:12) 

Comments on: "203 – The Unicorn and the Wasp’s Nest" (4)

  1. terminuspodcast said:

    Thank you for your discussion about separating the art from the artist. I know that’s something I genuinely have struggled with, even in the world of Doctor Who, with people like Gareth Roberts.

    But I’ve also had to struggle with John Barrowman as well, to be honest. People are always saying to me things like: “Oh, you’re queer. I bet you love Barrowman” and I have to be like: “Actually, as much as I’ve enjoyed his work on things like Doctor Who and Torchwood, I find him pretty problematic”.

    Pushing further for me about Barrowman, it’s the transphobic comments he’s made, such as when he was cavalierly saying how he called people on the set of ‘Arrow’ by the ‘nickname’ ‘Tranny’. So, the trans community called him out on that, pointing out how that’s a very hurtful slur to our community.

    But instead of taking it as a learning moment, he reacted defensively. In fact, in one video I watched of him at a Q&A when someone brought he up, he basically said to the person that they were being too sensitive and that he (Barrrowman) “couldn’t be transphobic, because he was gay”.

    It really took him down in my estimation, honestly, and it’s just been really hard to see him very positively since. And to enjoy him in the Whoniverse since, by extension. And, yes, sometimes I talk to people outside of the trans community about this and they don’t think it’s “that bad” and that he’s “harmless”, but as a trans person myself (genderqueer), married to a transwoman, and in a life surrounded by many trans friends and family, it really stings for people like me. And it’s sad. 😦

    • Very will expressed, terminus podcast. As you say, it is sad. As someone who has all the cards dealt in my favour (straight white male etc etc) I realised some time ago that an occasionally off colour joke on my part wouldn’t necessarily be received in the spirit intended just because ‘everyone knows I’m a great guy.’ No matter who you are, people can only form an opinion of you based on what you put out there. They can’t see you from the inside. So I changed what I say and how I say it.

      As for the overall question of separating art from the artist, I think that everyone has to find their own way through – and some very practical approaches were discussed here. For me, in a highly collaborative venture like making a TV show, the views of one person are not enough to stop me from enjoying something that was created by so many people – especially if that person’s views did not have an effect on others involved in the production. It would be a different thing if it was the showrunner – especially if their views and actions did affect on others around them during production. So this is a bit of a problem when I look at Joss Whedon. I need to have a much closer look at what he has done, and then at myself.

  2. MJ Fouldes said:

    A very good episode. I really enjoyed the story you discussed. Very light but fun. There is that worry, as you say, separating art from the person. For example I love podcasts and the Nerdist was one I often enjoyed. But since one of the creators of that podcast turned out to be not so great a chap, I felt I couldn’t listen to it again. Hearing him laughing and being all lovely and nice after the Wizard’s curtain had been pulled back made me feel uncomfortable. Thankfully podcasts are not something I will ever run short of (having listened to most of your main episodes I am going through the Verity Extras!) so my ears will not go hungry. But it is sad.

    On a similar vein I very recently bought the Kate Bush album Aerial on CD as I had always been curious to give it a listen, but before I did buy it I read about Rolf Harris being a narrator/singer on a track or two. I was a big cartoon drawer when I was younger and Rolf had been a hero of mine before the sinister side was revealed a few years back. I then found out Kate Bush had re-released the album a year or two back and had replaced Rolf’s vocals with her son Bertie’s. Now, I could have gotten the original CD (which was a lot cheaper) but I couldn’t quite ease the uncomfortable feeling connected with one of my fallen childhood heroes. So I bought the new version of the CD (and to be fair was happy I did).

    But back onto Doctor Who and thus far I have been able to separate stories from the behind the scenes stuff. So I could watch any of GR’s stories and not even think about him as I will be enjoying the acting and the action. As you say Donna and Doctor Ten were SO lovely together!

    Let’s all just be incredibly nice together, that’s what I say! Love to you all!

  3. Top notch discussion in this ep. Thankyou.

    I can still enjoy the eps GR has written, though they experience is always tainted by remembering, “Oh… it’s him”. And then remembering the wonderful books he wrote in the New Adventures and Missing Adventures series decades ago now, and realising I’ll never be able to enjoy *those* the same way again.

    And then I reflect that my slightly soured enjoyment is a trivial loss, compared to the hurt felt by folks who actually are trans.

    We have to hope, though, that people can learn, and are redeemable. I’m a 99% recovered homophobe myself, thanks to the patience and friendship of gay folks I’ve met since my mid 20s and the introspection and re-evaluation they inspired. I hope that someday Roberts and/or Rowling will recant their transpbobia; that Whedon will someday pulicly admit that being a Feminist Icon demands a bit more of one than just having been a bit more feminist on the surface than most of the guys around him 20 years ago.

    But I also won’t be holding my breath. =:o\

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