“Some corners of the universe have bred the most terrible things. Things that act against our very beliefs. They must be fought.”
Guess who said that? Mahatma Gandhi? Martin Luther King? Mother Theresa? I will give you a clue. He’s a doctor. Yeah, that doctor. I am a certifiable Dr Who fan, or a Whovian if you will. I know you must be wondering, “Doesn’t this lady have better things to write about?” Right at this very second, dear reader, I do not. Roll your eyes if you like. Dismiss me altogether if you must, it changes nothing! So why not indulge a girl hmm?
Dr Who is a British sci-fi series and it stars The Dr, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who just happens to have two hearts. His spaceship, the Tardis, looks like a blue telephone box from the 60′s (bigger on the inside - transcendental engineering, you know). With it the Dr travels throughout time and space, saving the earth from certain annihilation. “Aliens? Why should I watch a show about that?” you ask slightly mortified and outraged. “We won’t face extinction at the hands of aliens! At least not any time soon. Time traveling phone box my ass! I would rather watch the news.”
Oh all right! As far as I am aware of, we are not facing imminent annihilation. Shoo, that’s a relief isn’t it? Now you won’t have to spend thousands of rands stockpiling food or building an underground bunker (do people still build those? Hang on, perhaps they should, climate change and all..) At ease soldier, everything’s going to be just fine..or (insert eerie piano music) .. is it really?
Do me favor. Switch on your television or radio. Go head! Shake along dear human, my Granny can move faster! All right then, tell me, just what did you see and hear? It’s tricky isn’t it? We inhabit a strange world where somewhere, in a remote area or in your very own perfectly manicured backyard, something always seems to be going horribly awry.
On the off chance you cheated and didn’t do as I commanded (oops, I politely suggested), allow me to share the..uhm. ..bad news. We are being force fed the notion that we are not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, rich enough, black enough, white enough..blah, bladdy blah. Our political, social, economic, moral, ethical thingamabobbie on which our entire society is premised, is in complete disarray! Oscar, Nkandla, e-tolls, missing planes, India beating South Africa in cricket… It’s plain to see – we are doomed. Now tell me, honestly, wouldn’t you prefer a good old alien invasion instead?
Very well, I will stop haranguing you with delightful tales of doom and destruction, and deal with matters of greater urgency – the Dr and why you should, at the very least encourage your granny to watch the show. The Dr really is a scoundrel of sorts. With his dashing smile, quick and quirky ways, he lures us into his Tardis and transports us… anywhere really. Sometimes to an era of great historical significance or into the very, very, very far flung future.
One of my favorite episodes, The God Complex, sees the Dr and his companions, Rory and Amy Pond, trapped in a 1980′s styled hotel that has no exits, corridors that shift and the Tardis nowhere in sight. Everyone is at a loss. However, they are certain of two things. Each person has a door and behind it lies their greatest fear. Also, there happens a monster prowling the corridors. Just as the monster descends, the victim is filled with euphoria and exclaims ‘Praise him! Praise him!” The reason why this episode intrigues me is because it dealt with faith and fear and how both binds or illuminates our fate.
While on this mad dash, the Dr compels us to dig a little deeper and think a little harder and (this is the important bit, so pay attention) he never, ever lies… or tells the truth either! “‘You know when grown-ups tell you everything’s going to be fine, but you really think they’re lying to make you feel better?’ Amelia: ‘Yeah…’The Doctor: ‘Everything’s going to be fine.”
So into trouble or swashbuckling adventure (can one ever be sure what exists at the far end of time and space?) The Dr races! He faces his enemies as best he can, armed with three things: a sonic screwdriver, his companions and insatiable curiosity (not a bad feat after 900 years!). “There’s something out of place – let’s go and poke it with a stick.”
Together they fought off numerous threats to planet earth. Threats such the Cybermen (who demand conformity), The Weeping Angels (who steal time from their victims and hurl them into a forgotten past) and The Silence (” a race of genetically engineered priests who used post-hypnotic suggestion to manipulate other species into doing their bidding”). After every episode of Dr Who, my daughter and I would have a lengthy discussion…this isn’t just another tv show..
So forgive me if I only listen to the news intermittently and view the world with a certain amount of detachment. I won’t bore you with the very real threats we all face in our daily lives. Why should I? Whether on a person or global scale, we all have our very own Cybermen to face, our own Weeping Angels… It’s never easy but then again life would be terribly boring if everything was! Just remember that you, like the Dr, never face any of those things alone. I think it best if I ask The Dr to end off this blog post. After all the man does have a way with words..
“Homo sapiens… What an inventive, invincible species. It’s only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenseless bipeds. They’ve survived flood, famine, and plague. They’ve survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life, ready to out-sit eternity. They’re indomitable. Indomitable.”