For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:
For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak
we are afraid our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive
Because here’s the thing about realizing you’re into girls. Hardly anyone I know has ever said, “Am I gay?” in the same way they say, “Hey, do you know what the weather’s supposed to be like tomorrow?” Like they just need to figure out how to dress for the occasion. No, when most people ask, “Am I gay?” they ask it with the kind of urgency they would usually reserve for things like, “Do I strap this parachute to my back and jump from this free falling airplane or do I nose dive into the ocean and hope the sharks don’t eat my remains? SINK OR SWIM? LIVE OR DIE? QUENCH THE FIRE OR BURN ALIVE?” It feels so urgent, and the reason it feels so urgent is because you’re probably not just asking, “Hey, do I want to make out with other girls?”
You’re also probably asking: What the hell are my parents going to say when I tell them I want to kiss other girls? And my friends and my co-workers and my classmates and everyone at my family reunion? And what’s that girl going to say when I tell her I want to kiss her? And how is my life ever going to be OK, and how can I go on being the same, and am I the same, and what else do I not know about what’s alive inside me? And who will still love me and who will start hating me, and is God involved, or the government maybe, and what if it’s only one girl I want to kiss, and how do I label myself and must I label myself, and what if I change my mind and, really, what if I do burn alive?
Accept the story as given: The Doctors re-write history, save the Time Lords and thus release themselves from the burden of guilt which has haunted the Doctor for hundreds of year.
And yet the story as given also maintains that in saving themselves, they exterminated the Daleks. Genocide.
It seems Moffat’s Doctor suffered not because he committed war crimes, but because he committed war crimes against the wrong people. Moffat’s Doctor is actually quite okay with genocide — not one of his incarnations gives it a second thought here! — provided the right people are slaughtered.
One could actually make a pretty good case that any war against the Daleks is a Just War and that only genocide could lead to victory in it. But Moffat doesn’t make the case; he doesn’t even acknowledge the issue.
The Time Lords are saved and that’s all that matters. Seldom — if ever — has Doctor Who offered such a chauvinistic message as a happy ending.
(Strangely, the episode’s secondary story stands in direct contrast. In it, the Doctor forces humans and Zygons to negotiate a way out of their conflict, insisting that killing innocents is never worth the cost. From that synopsis it seems Moffat must have intended the secondary story as a comment on the primary, but I saw no internal evidence to suggest the parallels were anything but incidental.)
This moral, this philosophical, blindness appears again and again in Moffat’s Doctor Who. Consider the girl (and world) in a refrigerator in the above-referenced “A Christmas Carol” or the glee with which his Doctor informed the Silence he had programmed every member of the human race to kill them “all, on sight” in “The Day of the Moon”.
It is not the fact that Moffat’s Doctor kills that is so problematic; the Doctor has a long history of using violence when nothing else will work. It is that Moffat’s Doctor kills so easily, sometimes with joy and almost always, without acknowledging that there even are moral issues involved.
This is especially ironic given Moffat’s obvious love for the program’s past. Think of “Genesis of the Daleks”, when the 4th Doctor could not bring himself to destroy the Daleks more or less in the cradle, or “The Runaway Bride”, in which the 10th Doctor nearly allowed himself to die after destroying the Racnoss. Ten’s face, as he came to recognize the horror of what he had done is one I can still see in my mind’s eye, though it has been several years since I watched the story.
It is almost enough to make Moffat’s version of Doctor Who seem like another program entirely, an alternate universe’s series, in which might makes right and genocide is fodder for joy and jokes, so long as the “right” groups are the ones on the receiving end of slaughter.