Jodie Whittaker, Doctor Who, and Double Standards

It’s been nearly two weeks since Jodie Whittaker was announced as the 13th Doctor on Doctor Who (one of my favorite shows), and the Internet has been on fire ever since.

I added my voice to this fire by speaking out against this casting and declaring that I was done watching the show. This led to arguments online and offline full of ad hominems aimed at me. As far as I care, if someone has to resort to such tactics, they automatically lose the debate regardless of how good their points are. I was accused of sexism and misogyny and told I would scare away any and all potential dates by saying what I was saying (in other words, I’d never get a girlfriend).

I kept quiet after a day or two, but now I’ll lay out what I think are nuanced reasons for disliking the BBC’s decision. I won’t repeat what I said in a 2014 blog (which has now garnered me some derision). This isn’t as simple as, “The Doctor is a woman, therefore I hate it!”

Artwork by Zapekanka. (

Let me begin by asking my female readers this:

If you heard Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games was being transformed into a boy and recast with a male actor, would that upset you?

If you said yes, then you may understand why I don’t like the idea of female Doctor.

It’s perfectly plausible that it could happen. Given the Capital’s penchant for genetic manipulation, vanity, and cruelty, it’s quite reasonable they could force a sex change operation on Katniss. But neither Suzanne Collins (the original author) nor Lionsgate ever did that. It would’ve made things needlessly complicated and messy. If they wanted to tackle gender issues within that universe, they’d have been better off creating a new character.

I say this because that’s the sort of arguments I hear for making the Doctor a woman. Recent additions in the Who mythos—most notably his archenemy, the Master, regenerating into a woman—paved the way for this happening (despite the fact that if Gallifreyans could do this, their society would look vastly different, but I digress). Others say science fiction has always tackled the issues of the day, and issues of gender identity are certainly hot topics now. But as I said above, taking a main character who’s been established as being male (or female) and forcing a gender swap just to make a social commentary isn’t good storytelling. It just makes the character a means to an end and doesn’t do the character or the audience any favors.

What saddens me is I’m pretty sure that if a female character was changed to a male in a similar fashion, there would be huge backlash and it would be considered legitimate. However, most people who criticize the decision to make the Doctor a woman are met with nothing but trolling and accusations. That, True Believers, could be extrapolated to be a double standard.

Would I object to a rebooted Doctor Who with a new continuity and new characters that included a female Doctor? No. That’s worked for other franchises like Battlestar Galactica with a female Starbuck. How about a spin-off with a Doctor-esque Time Lady? That’d be cool. Heck, 5th Doctor actor Peter Davison even suggested that a few years ago while also saying the Doctor shouldn’t be a woman. (His opinion hasn’t changed, and he’s been criticized for it).

Another argument in favor of this decision is it’ll give little girls a Doctor for a role model. While I’ve argued that representation is overrated and people can relate to a well-written character regardless of demographics, the fact remains that people still gravitate toward characters who look like them. But what about the little boys who are about to see their hero morph into a woman? Wouldn’t that be a shock? Might they ask awkward questions of their parents? It’ll already be difficult adjusting to a new Doctor; this’ll only make it harder. They might even stop watching.

Admittedly, this is all pure theory. I have no way of knowing what will happen. Regardless, as much as it pains me, I don’t plan to watch the series beyond the Christmas special. I find this decision to be a desperate gimmick motivated by political correctness aimed to please a vocal group of fans who don’t speak for the whole fanbase.

Do you agree or disagree with me? Why? What do you think of this decision? (Please keep your comments civil).

Drafted for a Panel and Other G-Fest XXIV Stories

You get two blogs this week since I missed last Thursday!

I went to G-Fest for the first time a few weeks ago in Rosemont, Illinois. I was accompanied by my Kaijuvision Radio co-host Brian Scherschel. It’s a convention dedicated to Godzilla, kaiju, and tokusatsu. I’ve heard about it for years but never attended. There are a lot of great stories I could tell about the show, most of which you can read about on the Kaijuvision Radio Twitter feed and in Brian’s latest blog on the podcast’s website, but there are a few writing-related ones I wanted to share with you.

I attended a pair of kaiju writing seminars the Saturday of the con. The first was a session for writers to share their ideas and get feedback. Since I’ve been kicking around ideas for a sequel to Destroyer (mostly because people kept feeding me ideas that I’ve churned in my head), I thought I’d talk about it in this session. However, I realized I was the only one there who’d never been published (except for the moderator), so I decided I would let the other attendees take priority and offered feedback. If there was time, then I would share. There were some great stories and concepts presented, such as a first-person tale told from a kaiju’s perspective, but the one I found most interesting was a story treatment for a fanfilm that included a potentially brilliant meta-commentary on the Godzilla franchise. I told the presenter that it reminded me of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. That was one of several pieces of advice that brought several people to me afterward wanting to add me on Facebook. I gave them my bookmark/business card that directed them to my website and other professional social medias.

(So, if you’re one of those people: Hello and welcome!)

Later in the day, I arrived early for a writing advice panel. I overheard the moderator say he wanted to add one more panelist (they brought on a new one thinking one panelist wouldn’t make it, but he did and they decided to add one more). I jokingly said I was a published writer with some kaiju credentials. “Oh?” he said. I flashed him the Amazon page for Destroyer and mentioned my kaiju short story in The Worlds of Nathan Marchand, among others, and he replied, “Get behind the table!”

Yes, True Believers, I got myself “drafted” onto the panel! It was only the second time in my life I’ve been on one.

Once more, the advice I offered impressed attendees and panelists so much, they came to me afterward for more advice and contact info. The moderator even said he would keep my name in mind when planning the same panel for next year’s G-Fest.

I know I sound like I’m bragging, but to be honest, I was surprised by all of this. Weird, right? The shameless self-promotor is surprised when people actually like him. Maybe it’s because I’ve yet to make it big or because I hang out with brilliant writers like Nick Hayden (I haven’t name-dropped him in a while, haven’t I? 😛 ). I suppose I take those as signs that I’m not as talented as I want to think I am. But success isn’t always a marker of ability. Plenty of gifted people (including Mr. Hayden) haven’t become huge successes and many untalented people are big stars. And just because someone is better than me doesn’t mean my talent is worthless. It’s hard to live among giants, though.

I guess what I’m saying is I haven’t been “discovered” yet.

Did you attend G-Fest this year? What did you think of it? Are do you deal with feelings of inadequacy as an artist?

Worshipping Work

Overworking turns you into Vishnu? Who knew? (That rhymed!)

While I don’t often get political here on my website, I’ve made it no secret that I’m a conservative. However, my loyalties are to ideas and not to, say, Republicans or President Trump. I want to say that upfront since some people simply assume when I say I’m a conservative that it automatically makes me either of the latter.

I bring this up because there’s been something about conservatives that kinda bugs me, but I’m not sure any of them realize what they’re saying. Conservatives are always railing against entitlement programs, insisting that they do nothing but encourage laziness. While I would say there are those who genuinely do need the help (though I’d prefer that help come from people and not the government), I mostly agree with conservatives on this. However, I’ve often heard callers on the local conservative radio show tell the host—almost like they were bragging—about all the many, many hours they put into their jobs/businesses, often with little or no sleep. They always seemed like the kind of people I talked about in a previous blog.

As often happens, to countermand one extreme, people succumb to the opposite extreme. In this case, from laziness to overworking. In fact, some conservatives almost seem to worship work. It’s as if those copious hours being productive are the noblest of sacrifices offered to some sort of ethereal god. What they don’t mention, though, is what those sacrifices probably included: their health, their family, and perhaps even their sanity. They live their lives making money and chasing prosperity.

Yet what they don’t realize is it makes them vulnerable to the sins of greed and pride. They accumulate wealth to provide for themselves and perhaps a family, but what good is riches if they have no time to enjoy it? What good is providing for a family they rarely, if ever, see? They won’t be a person to them, but a bank. Meanwhile, the wealth they piled up becomes a means by which they can brag about themselves. They’re better than the “lazy” people on welfare because they earned what they have. It makes them feel superior, perhaps even pompous.

I’m not saying hard work, money, or prosperity are evil things. Far from it. But in the end, wealth is only a resource humans can use to make a difference in the world around them. What’s important, what has long-lasting and eternal significance, is what we do for each other. Life is about investing in people, not things. Money, possessions, businesses—they’re all fleeting.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
    for they will surely sprout wings
    and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
(Proverbs 23:4-5)

What we do for people, though, will outlive us. Using our money to donate to charity that help inner-city kids or feed starving people; buying thoughtful gifts for those we love; employing our neighbors at our businesses. All of these give us chances to show love and teach lessons.

Besides that, God didn’t design human beings to work constantly. Some argue that the Sabbath—a weekly day of rest—isn’t relevant anymore, but I disagree. We all need to stop working and let ourselves recharge. If we don’t, we won’t have as much, if anything, to offer others. Plus, it forces us to trust God more. Instead of working to provide for ourselves, a Sabbath requires us to trust God to provide for anything we might be able to get for ourselves if we worked. As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

Balance is key. Put in your 40 hours a week, but try to avoid overtime. Why? So you have the margin to invest in the lives of your loved ones. Work eight hours, play for eight hours, and sleep for eight hours. That comes to a 24-hour day. Equilibrium.

What do you think? Do some people “worship” work? Do you? What can be done to countermand this? Should it?