Geoffrey Dow's blog

October 2015

First (and second) thoughts on the election of Trudeau II

Image: Detail from screenshot of Prime Minister elect Justin Trudeau speaking on October 20 2015. Video by Canadian Press via National Post.

October 21, 2015, OTTAWA — The election of 2015 (or #Elexn42 as it was known on Twitter) has come and gone.

Personally, the results were an emotional roller-coaster. I was working when the results — a clean sweep for the Liberals, 32 out of 32 seats — came in from Atlantic Canada, so I was intellectually prepared for what was to come.

But emotionally? Not so much.

By the time the night was done, and the extent of the Liberal victory and the NDP's crushing defeat was laid bare on my father's ancient television screen, I was torn between rage and despair.

I couldn't even take any pleasure in knowing that Steven Harper's hate-filled and hate-fuelled regime had gone down to defeat. "Ding-dong! the witch is dead!" one of my fellow election watchers crowed, but I felt no joy, only a dread that Canadians had traded a nakedly brutal thug in thrall to the One Percent to a soft-spoken and smiling lisper who would make us enjoy the ongoing dismantling of liberty and democracy.

24 hours later? My sober first thoughts live behind the link: My schadenfreude, where it at?

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Vote NDP to STOP Bill C-51, TPP, and HARPERVote NDP to Prevent more Lies & Liberal ScandalsVote NDP to Build the Country of our Dreams

Posted by Stuart Meisters on Sunday, 18 October 2015

 

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The election cometh ...

Don't be fooled!

The Liberals have never been 'progressive'

Vote NDP (or even Green) on October 19th!

Image: Detail of hand holding copy of Ottawa Citizen's front page endorsing Harper's Conservatives in 2015 federal election.

October 19, 2015, OTTAWA — Despite much of Canada's mainstream press' utterly shameful endorsements of Steven Harper's frankly fascist regime, it appears much of the country has rejected the former's campaign of fear-mongering and race-baiting.

Tragically, if the polls are to be believed, too many people have been convinced that Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party offers a genuine, 'progressive' alternative. Race-baiting aside, a Trudeau regime will give us only more corruption (see Dan Gagnier, and how far back his lobbying goes) and, worse, full-on acceptance of the ongoing corporate take-over.

Under a Trudeau government, the TPP will be a done deal; Bill C-51 will get — at very best — one or two merely cosmetic 'improvements' — and public services will be slashed some more in order to finance his promised deficit spending.

At the eleventh hour, I beg any and all of you who might read this: don't be taken in by the pretty face and the gentle words! Trudeau's Liberals differ from the Harperites only in their lack of xenophobia. When it comes to championing the rich and corporate power, they are every bit as extremist as the Conservatives.

I'll close with a few analyses you probably haven't seen elsewhere, but which might induce you to re-consider voting NDP (or even Green) if you've been thinking the Liberals offer a real chance at voting for change in 2015.

The historic record is clear. Please vote your conscience, please vote for your hopes and aspirations, not against your fears.

 

 

Geoffrey Dow

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September 2015

Meanwhile, in Canada ...

Peegate runneth over!

Dear Leader Stephen Harper's competence revealed

Read More.

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June 2015

Meanwhile, in Canada ...

It all makes sense now

Dear Leader Stephen Harper reveals

His government's textbook ...

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November 2014

Blogging Doctor Who, New Series 8

 

 

Dissing Death in Heaven

Image: Clara walks among gravestones.

November 12, 2014, OTTAWA — Almost there. With only a Christmas "special" still to dread, the 2014 slog that was Doctor Who's 8th revived series has, mercifully, nearly come to a close (if not to a merciful close).

An an honest critic must give Steven Moffat his due. From Danny Pink's classroom tears in his introductory episode, to a payoff for television's Least Convincing Romance Ever, to the Doctor's query, "Am I a good man?", with which the series opened, at least this year, Moffat didn't drop any of the major plot points he raised during the series. (Well. Maybe one. Time will tell.) The answers were neither clever nor convincing, but at least they were provided.

Yes, that's faint praise; and probably too generous. For along with the answers, "Death in Heaven" slaps us with un-foreshadowed plot twists out of sketch-comedy satire, blatant emotional manipulation, a debate on moral philosophy whose sophistication would shame a class of 12 year-olds, and an entirely unwelcome appearance by a Magical Negro.

But tell us what you really think! I hear you cry. Of plots and themes and lies and agonies. Spoilers and cussing as usual. I think most of you know the drill by now.

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Throwing out the Doctor with the Dark Water

Image: Clara has regrets

November 6, 2014, OTTAWA — "Dark Water," the 11th entry in a 12 episode series, trundles along with a certain amount of professional competence, but is very far from being good drama.

The episode bears almost all the flaws we have come to expect from Steven Moffat's latter oeuvre. A story with the density of rotten sea-ice that groans along at a glacial pace and tedious swaths of explanations that don't, actually, explain much at all.

The upside includes excellent performances by Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and, especially, from Michelle Gomez as the mysterious Missy.

Want more? Throwing out the Doctor with the dark water includes spoilers as per usual, including a couple of Big Reveals; click at your own risk if you haven't seen it yet.

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October 2014

Blogging Doctor Who, New Series 8

 

 

In the Forest of the Blight

Image: The Doctor and Clara look out from the Tardis as it floats in space. Screenshot from 'In the Forest of the Night'.

October 27, 2014, OTTAWA — Here we go again: interrupted for a couple of weeks by an influx of competence, Steven Moffat's Doctor Who is once more circling the black hole of creative bankruptcy. Moffat's name isn't on "In the Forest of the Night" — the official blame goes to one Frank Cottrell-Boyce — but his fingerprints are all over it.

Child in peril? Yup. Magic child in peril? Yes and yes.

Lots of expository dialogue? Oh, yes.

Completely implausible reactions to extraordinary events? You know it.

Magic Reverso-Babble TM to ensure story has no lasting consequences? Why not? We're in Moffat-land!

Truth is, there is so much wrong with "In the Forest of the Night" it's hard to know where to start — or where to stop. I made every effort to be parsimonious in my critique, to prune away the dying limbs the better to reach the rotten heart of the tale, but did I succeed?

You can judge for yourself by reading In the Forest of the Blight. Snark, spoilers and baffled vitriol behind the link, as usual.

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Flatline falls short

Image: The Doctor looks out through a tiny Tardis door. Screenshot from 'Flatline'.

October 24, 2014, OTTAWA — I did it again. Made the mistake of watching a recent episode of Doctor Who a second time.

I really enjoyed "Flatline" the first time around. I barked delighted laughter and might even have gasped in surprise a time or two. I found Rigsy charming and Clara on her own a small revelation.

But when I queued up the story for a second go-through, things were not so good. Not terrible, but too obvious by half and derivative without improving on the inspiration.

My full review, as always, includes spoilers along with my keen analysis (or so I like to believe) and charming nervous exhaustion. This time, there's also a poll! Click here for the full story.

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Re-thinking the letter-grade

October 20, 2014, OTTAWA — Well, never let it be said I'm inflexible.

Having now watched this week's follow-up to last week's Doctor Who episode, I fear I waxed a little over-enthusiastic in giving it an A-plus in the header, below.

On first look, "Flatline" was even more entertaining. Possible more well-written and definitely much better-directed. If "Mummy" warranted an A-plus, then "Flatline" deserves top possible marks.

And it's not quite that good. So changing the grade to a straight B. Subject-line modified accordingly.

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Mummy on the Orient Express:

Doctor Who takes the B Train

Image: Clara raises a glass to the last hurrah. Screenshot from 'Mummy on the Orient Express'.

October 19, 2014, OTTAWA — I know, I know. This series' ninth episode aired yesterday and here I am, posting about the 8th. I have no excuses, except that of "Life got in the way."

To those who'd wondered where I'd gone (and missed me) I say, "Mea culpa and that I'll try to do better with 'Flatline'." To those who'd wondered where I'd gone (and hoped I'd stay away), I say only, "You can't get rid of me that easily! But if it's any consolation, my reappearance comes with a surprise: I quite liked 'Mummy on the Orient Express'!"

What a difference a good script makes.

I was all-too-ready to dislike "Mummy On the Orient Express" as much as I did last week's "Kill the Moon".

MOOE's title suggested only another tired homage to, or rip-off of, someone else's creation. But what do you know! MOOE was funny and intriguing (if poorly-directed), with a believable interpersonal drama and Peter Capaldi's best performance yet.

In just 45 minutes, Jamie Mathieson managed what Steven Moffat and his previous collaborators could not in seven episodes: to make Clara's doubts about the Doctor believable.

Was "Mummy on the Orient Express" a perfect episode? Not quite. But it was better than most and a lot better than we have become accustomed to in recent years.

As usual, my full review is spoilery. Not so usual, it is hardly angry at all (which might help to explain why I am so late in its delivery). Also not so usual, this might be the first time I find myself in fundamental disagreement with Patches365. Which kind of makes me wonder if I'm wrong.

Click here for Clara's Choice.

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Abort the moon! or

Après Moff, le déluge?

Image: Screenshot of spiders - or is that giant bacteria? - on the moon? Screenshot from 'Kill the Moon'.

October 8, 2014, OTTAWA — If Steven Moffat isn't trying to abort the program he has had under his control since 2010, at the very least it's clear that he doesn't care what happens to it once it grows up and moves out of his house.

"Kill the Moon" could be watched as a personal drama about the Doctor and Clara Oswald; it might be viewed as a girls' own adventure, with trouble-maker Courtney Woods finally given her chance to shine; or seen as a feminist fable, with three women — maiden, teacher, crone — deciding the fate of all humankind. Could. Might.

Other interpretations will no doubt be constructed; there are among Doctor Who's fandom those as creative as they are forgiving.

 

Transcripts R Us!

For those interested in the program's thematic debate, I confess I went to the trouble of transcribing the key minutes.
I don't know whether to apologize or to brag, but it is here if you want it.

I am not part of that wing. I don't want to "fix" the program with fanfic nor weave intricately-constructed academic analyses to fill in plot-holes and justify self-contradictions of character and story. All I want are stories that don't insult my intelligence.

Is that really so much to ask?

Apparently so. "Kill the Moon" offers as the basis of its plot a "physics" whose idiocy would have appalled Newton — or even Douglas Adams. To add insult to insult, "Kill the Moon" is an unsubtle morality tale pushing a political agenda that adds a kiloton of fuel to the idea that Steven Moffat is not exactly, shall we say, a feminist-friendly thinker.

In other words, Won't somebody think of the foetus?!? Angry words and spoilers — they all live behind the cut.

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