Dr Who and the Subtlety of Evil

In a bit of relaxed google-searching, a glance at Kournikova in google search, as she’d been front page in The Age over her non-marriage non-news somehow got onto Karen David and then onto Karen Gillan whom I don’t know from Eve but that’s the nature of surfing.

Years ago, when my tele was stolen it was never replaced and so Dr Who went by the by, to the extent that I didn’t even know it had been discontinued. I thought, from various blogs, that it was alive and going well. Youtube helped bring me up to speed and one episode called Blink had some statues doing strange things. There turned out to be Weeping Angels, strange malevolent creatures whom you couldn’t look away from for a second because then they’d make their move.

That sounded pretty inventive and it looked as if Dr Who had some pretty strong storylines these days. Finding the Eleventh Hour was interesting too and so those two clips appeared last evening in the Eleventh Hour post. One reads on and I started exploring the latest incarnation, Matt Smith and then came upon this:

In “The God Complex” the Doctor has to break Amy’s faith in him after he discovers that she is the reason they are brought to a prison for a being that kills by feeding on faith.

… which immediately had alarm bells ringing. Reading about the episode itself, it’s necessary to know at least something about Dr Who before going any further and as not all readers might be au fait, a quick look has this:

Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord, a time-travelling, humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior appears as a blue police box from 1963 London, when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, he faces a variety of foes while working to save civilisations, help people, and right wrongs.

Coming back to this particular episode and its Dawkinesque title [and don’t forget Lalla Ward was a Doctor’s companion], the blurb says:

The Doctor, Amy, Rory, and Gibbis regroup, and the Doctor surmises that the other three believed that some higher fate controlled their lives. The hotel and its rooms were, by design, meant to challenge their faith by fear to allow the beast to possess them. The Doctor identifies that Gibbis has survived due to the extreme cowardice of his species, while Rory lacks any such faith to be broken.

However, the Doctor realises that it is Amy’s faith in him that is being challenged; it is her faith that brought them to the hotel in the first place. Amy soon becomes possessed like the others. As the beast comes for Amy, the Doctor and the others grab her and take her to the room she opened previously.

Inside, they find the illusion of young Amy, Amelia, still waiting for the return of her “raggedy Doctor” (“The Eleventh Hour“). The Doctor asserts to Amy that he is “not a hero” but “just a mad man with a box” to break her faith in him; her faith broken, the beast outside the door collapses on the floor.

The message is clear – it’s faith in something which allows The Beast to possess you but if you can only break a person’s faith and belief, then The Beast collapses to the floor. This is precisely the opposite of the Christian message which is that faith is the only thing which is going to save you.

Contrast that message with The Never Ending Story, also for kids:

The book describes the fantasy world of Fantasia which is being threatened by a force called “The Nothing,” a void of darkness that consumes everything. The creatures of Fantasia have gathered to plead for help from the Childlike Empress of Fantasia, but her attendant (Moses Gunn) reveals to the assembled crowd that she has fallen deathly ill due to The Nothing.

The God Complex, I’m afraid, is nasty and illustrates how values are transmitted to kids in a society. With parents no longer seen as anything more than roof and cash providers, with reality and learning being the net and the game, with Dr Who and many others on the tele in a position to remain values-neutral as they once were, as they should be but choosing to actually start transmitting new values and not forgetting music also transmitting new values, with sex and drug input from within schools, kids are growing up to believe, reinforced from all directions, that they are mini-adults who can take care of themselves and need no values, no input from anyone out there, particularly parents and teachers. Throw in the libertarian stance which often fails to distinguish between children and adults, which blurs the distinction and the recipe for disaster is complete.

The subtlety is that the kid, with a child’s limited mentality, believes he really is complete in himself, whereas he’s being manipulated just as much as any Church, school or parent ever did, only far more nastily. The enemy pretends it doesn’t even exist and any suggestion that it very much exists is called superstition.

So, while parents are providing what they think is basic protection through CRB checks and other externals, the mind of the kid is being warped by a multitude of sources they’ve plugged into, of which the Dr Who episode The God Complex is just one tiny part I happened to see. The nastiness is in what it produces – a rootless, history-less, values-less little human where the worst excesses are played out and you only need look at the things being done today – the Mail lovingly lists as many as it can find for your shock and titillation – to see the mindset of so many of these mini-monsters.

You only need go into any public place to see kids beyond their parents’ guidance and no attempt at guidance from the parents. People, this is sickness. Right surmise:

Future criminals ‘can be spotted at age of two’

… wrong solution. The last thing it needs is State monitoring. It needs reassertion of the old institutions such as good parenthood and the old values.

The warning was given in The Lord of the Rings. There are nasties out there and the reason Hobbiton and the Shire existed in such peace for so long was largely due to Rangers like Strider who did their defensive work at a distance and the Shire was blissfully unaware of who they really were. You remove the Rangers, kill them off and the Shire is suddenly exposed to the nasties who come disguised and constantly present themselves to us as not nasties at all – they’re our friends, trust them. The EU for example.

You could throw in an analogy here of the termiting of Britain’s armed forces – an aircraft carrier here, a fleet of harriers there – work from within the nation and break down its defences. The enemy is subtle, Fabian, working on the weakest links first, the line of least resistance, slowly setting up false constructs people eventually take as read and that one about needing no faith in anything or anyone, no trust, can be seen in the results society-wide today.

Once again, the N1 question is – how to reverse this damage?


The embedded pic is from the Beeb.

15 comments for “Dr Who and the Subtlety of Evil

  1. The Nameless Libertarian
    March 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Well, James, I’m going to have to disagree with you here. Plus ca change, eh?

    First up, this is not an attack on faith. Sure, the monster attacks faith, but think about the set-up of the show. It is a monster. It is the antagonist. It is what needs to be defeated. And make no mistake about this, the Doctor rages against this monster – quite literally in one scene. Yes, he does have to break Amy’s faith in him; but when he does so it is painted as a tragic scene; heart-breaking for her and for him. It is not presented as a good thing; it is only done to save her from lethal danger presented by a device designed by an ersatz, malign would-be deity. Plus, if you follow the story arc of the season, it doesn’t work. She still has faith in her raggedy Doctor; and her faith (as well as the faith of others, possibly numbering in the billions) is crucial to the plot of “The Wedding of River Song”. This episode isn’t an attack on faith as such; if anything, it is the opposite.

    And as for the title – sure, it’s a nod to (and possibly a subversion of) Dawkins’ tedious tome. But it is about the Christian or Muslim god; it is about the Doctor. As a character says to him: “Why’s it up to you to save us? That’s quite a God Complex you’ve got there.” And this is one of the key themes of this season; the Doctor has become so powerful that armies flee at just his reputation. He is a madman with a box who has taken on the powers of a god; but he’s not one. And that is not to attack the idea of a god, but to attack the ideas of false gods. Surely that’s not an idea that a Christian would oppose?

    Unfortunately, the “Doctor Who” part to your article reads like someone who hasn’t seen the episode in question, but rather you’ve come across the title online and desperately tried to find a reason to see it as an attack on the faith you hold so dear. No doubt you will virulently disagree with both this assertion and my reading of the whole episode, but again, plus ca change, eh?

    • March 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      I would also point out that it is fiction (i.e. not real) and much fiction relies on the protagonists finding faith as a plot device, so this is an interesting spin on the idea.

      • The Nameless Libertarian
        March 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

        Actually the moment when the Doctor clocks that it is faith rather than fear that the Minotaur is after is a great little moment; it makes the story a lot less predictable and ramps it up a notch.

  2. March 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    The bottom line is, that this plot device is still used – that to break the monster, one has to break faith and that’s not a message that should be given. It’s not “my” faith we’re talking about here – it’s the message which it’s giving in general terms.

    And it’s not the only place. Golden Compass is exactly the same in it’s “turned on it’s head constructs” and various other films, all which have young audiences that can’t discern as you and LR can. LR points out that it’s fiction – come on, that’s exactly how values are disseminated – through fiction and song – always have been. Look at Oliver Stone’s JFK film for a start.

    One of my readers wrote, on the topic:

    I thought that the subtle under laid point at the end of that episode was that Amy’s faith in her Dr really was justified after all. He had to kind of con her out of it, long enough to the minotaur monster to run out of “food”.

    I do agree that there are all sorts of subtle slants to make people think what others want them to.

    Two points here – your interpretation, TNL and hers differ decidedly. Secondly, it’s the “subtle slants” I’m really going on about which comes back to LR and fiction.

    Look at the whole phenomenon of groupthink and NLP. It’s all about slides and assumptions. In that Dr Who episode, the last thing anyone was thinking about was political engineering – they were thinking only of the plot and the action, maybe of the “honeyness” of Karen Gillan.

    With a values-neutral audience, rather than a values-negative as I am, it’s much easier to transfer those values without question, particularly if their minds are not on what’s actually happening.

    Small point, subtle, not conscious yet next time they meet a similar plot in another film or series, it reinforces it, then another, then another. That’s how brainwashing is done.

    Even the idea of your country being great and you patriotic to it is brainwashing but we’d call that socially acceptable brainwashing. My point is that it’s naive to think things in fiction and music come values free – that’s the sort of idea the left tries to put over us.

    And as for Dr Who in its new form, it should be values-neutral but that commenter at my place writes:

    Sometimes it can be quite scary. They do seem to have hints of conspiracy theory in some episodes with Queen Victoria setting up uber secret organisations and sometimes it seems a bit “God complexy” in places. Not so sure about it really. I would like to see how his “daughter” gets on.

    There’s an edge now and a sophistication to the ideas currently which makes one wonder who the target audience has become. I’d say great for us – Blink looked good – but for kids?

    • March 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      So, James, you want to stifle creative expression? Say it ain’t so 😉

      • March 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        I am saying it ain’t so.

    • The Nameless Libertarian
      March 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Except the message being given actually is a malign monster is abusing faith but that faith will ultimately be strong enough to survive.

      Besides, if we’re going to look at the limited critical faculties of the kids I think we should be wary of saying that they will consider the message of this to be that you have to lose faith; they are more likely to see the episode as being the Doctor beating a bad monster and allowing his companion to go off and start her married life with her husband. And I’d be surprised if that was a message you objected to…

    • The Nameless Libertarian
      March 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Plus, the interpretations of your commenter and my good self concur exactly on the point that Amy’s faith in the Doctor survived his pragmatic attack on it…

      • March 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm

        Which does not alter the point it was trying to make and the edge to the 5th series onwards which hadn’t been there earlier.

        Adding to this, something just fell into my lap in a post a co-author just put up at my place. I’ve copied and will paste here:

        Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.

        letter from Aldous Huxley to Georege Orwell in 1949

        That’s a bit different from the Dr Who case but certain things are the same: “infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis” and “suggesting people into loving their servitude”. In other words, the means are subtle, go largely unnoticed until the effect is achieved.

        The man who wrote that was one of the more virulent specimens at the Frankfurt School. Pretty clear what his idea for society was, as was reinforced in his other writings.

        • The Nameless Libertarian
          March 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm

          Except (ignoring the pedantic fact that series 5 was broadcast in 1968 which makes me sound like a total anorak) there is no new edge to “Doctor Who”. The sixties dealt with Nazism, trans-humanism, and a loss of control of technology. The seventies saw a critique of right wing think tanks and taxation, while also addressing green politics. The eighties took a pop at colonialism, Thatcher, video violence, racism and, well, the Doctor having to win through by making a companion lose her faith in them… “The God Complex”, in that respect, is nothing new.

          I was unaware that Huxley was a member of the Frankfurt School. Then again, I wasn’t using the definition of membership being “people with whom James Higham does not agree…” 😉

          • March 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

            You can point to Adorno’s criticism of Huxley’s pessimism to say Huxley could not be a Frankfurt thinker and yet his “warnings” anticipated and later followed precisely the guff coming out of those leftist intellectuals.

            There’s a whole bunch of people, of different decades, of course, who are related in the sense that they all pushed the same basic agenda forward in different ways:

            Marcuse, Huxley, Adorno, Russell, Leary W. H. Davies, Lytton Strachey, Siegfried Sassoon, Leonard Woolf, Herbert Read, Keynes, Muller, Alan Watts, Arnold Toynbee, Gerald Heard, Linus Pauling, Carl Rogers, Norman O. Brown, Paul Tillich, Rollo May, Carlos Castaneda.

            That’s before we look at Tavistock and what they were about. It’s all about interrelationships and to get tied up in differences in nuances is to miss what they were jointly pushing. For example, in more recent times:

            That was also the goal of the Frankfurt School, which produced men like Peter Drucker, who influenced business gurus like Ken Blanchard, whose management theories created the Seeker Friendly movement and the Emerging Church movement.

            There are many writers not of the global left who have written about these people, e.g.

            Huxley’s cohort in the 1950s experimentation with psychotropic drugs, Dr. Timothy Leary, of Harvard University’s Psychology Department, provided another glimpse into the perverted minds of the Russell/Huxley/Frankfurt School crowd, in his autobiographical account of the Harvard University Psychedelic Drug Project, Flashback.

            Leary quoted Huxley:

            “These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible.”

            From another site:

            The Fabian Socialists, the CFR, and men like Aldous Huxley, along with his brother Julian Huxley (first director of UNESCO), have been building a world grid of consciousness, government and religion.

            The thing with Huxley was that though he wrote “as a warning”, he was very much enmeshed with those people, despite their outward criticisms of aspects of his views and the net result was a shift in society towards breakdown in order for it to be rebuilt.

            For example, he wrote of the dangers of insurgent individualism and said human standardization would become a necessity.

            It’s quite amusing to read attempts to:

            1. Deny the interrelationship between these people, as if they were somehow in their own disparate cocoons when the history of the 20s to the 70s is anything but disparate.

            2. To try to make out that somehow this is all a figment of James Higham’s dislikes. The wealth of material on the internet alone on the matter gives the lie to that. That’s a typical leftist ploy – to say that what the debunker has written, which was actually drawn from maybe a dozensources, is somehow all his own idea. LOL.

            One aspect I forgot to mention earlier was that Huxley was the occult connection of the movement [more recently Davidson and Strong] – Crowley was a tutor of Huxley, of course.


            This puts his “All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible” into context – of course he will be diametrically opposed to it because it is antithetical to the whole movement.

            By the way – have a guess who wrote this and in which publication?

            A new consensus that embraces the new immorality is accomplished through a felt crisis, and today’s moral crisis — created by trading moral boundaries for sensual freedom — serves the purpose well. The proliferation of all kinds of pornography, aggressive sexual promiscuity of all forms and the absence of absolute boundaries leads to social chaos which, in turn, calls for social controls in areas outside of sex, which would have been unthinkable in a Judeo Christian culture. Pornography and the official promotion of every kind of what used to be called sexual perversions is the “new norm.” It serves a political purpose.

            Isn’t that interesting because it is in line with the Frankfurt to Leary continuum and is directly related to loss of freedom and takeover by the very oligarchs Huxley was on about.

            The message is that the people of note whom many libertarians see as supporters of freedom are, in fact, supporters of the opposite. Know thine [real] enemy is a wise piece of advice.

            Some reading:





            • The Nameless Libertarian
              March 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

              I do wonder who precisely is trying to “(d)eny the interrelationship between these people, as if they were somehow in their own disparate cocoons when the history of the 20s to the 70s is anything but disparate”. I am not saying anything of the kind, and if you are trying to imply that is the case then you are once again mis-representing my opinion. Likewise I don’t need to be patronised with “some reading” – I have two degrees in political philosophy and will soon have a PhD in it. I’ve already read widely on this subject – and other related thinkers – already, James.

              The Frankfurt School I refer to is the Institute for Social Research and the thinkers who studied/researched there. As such, it is pretty easy to say who was and who wasn’t part of that school. And a lot of thinkers that you mention well, weren’t.

              It strikes me that you are trying to come up with a Frankfurt School mentality – so people do not have to be part of that school to share ideas. Which is fair enough; although, not all of the thinkers mentioned there would necessarily fit in with that mentality – assuming that the mentality can be identified itself. After all, Adorno and Habermas are Frankfurt School by my definition, but are very different thinkers. Furthermore, you might persuade some that there are ideological links between different thinkers; others might well lay down the charge that you are lumping thinkers you do not happen to agree with together based on that dislike. That is not a leftist ploy FFS, it is a legitimate position that happens, through interpretation of material both on the net and elsewhere, to disagree with your system of classification.

              But we’ve already done the Frankfurt School to death, and the point I wanted to make was about the Who, so I suggest we leave the Frankfurt School there.

              Anyway, we did

  3. March 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    TNL – we’ve always been a bit cross-purposes here. I don’t know which people you’re referring to but the Frankfurt School I refer to is the Institute for Social Research and includes such people as you’ll find here:


    Neomarxists and lowlifes, as so many sites have shown them to be. How many more would you like? Members include, say, the egregious Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, Theodore Adorno and Walter Benjamin.

    I’m not entirely sure which Frankfurt School you’re referring to – perhaps something from an earlier era, maybe in the 1800s.

    Virtually any modern work discussing these people illustrates what they were really like. Huxley, you’re quite right, was not a bona fide member but as mentioned above, his very “warnings” were precisely what his mates acted on, almost to the letter.

    The connection between that time and the 60s/70s is not even a question – hell, they quote each other for goodness sake. I really don’t know what you’re trying to achieve with this blanket denial. The argument that these people make different arguments, think differently, I mentioned in an earlier comment or in the text – it’s not what they disagree on which is the issue here.

    Of course two philosophers are going to disagree on many minor things and even have a different angle from where they come. However, on the main points about the reconstituted society, they bring their own particular poison with them but the net effect is breakdown, which is what they wish for.

    This is illustrated here:


    Weil is very clear about his goals. In 1971, he wrote to Martin Jay the author of a principle book on the Frankfurt School, as the Institute for Social Research soon becomes known informally, and he said, “I wanted the institute to become known, perhaps famous, due to its contributions to Marxism.” Well, he was successful. The first director of the Institute, Carl Grunberg, an Austrian economist, concluded his opening address, according to Martin Jay, “by clearly stating his personal allegiance to Marxism as a scientific methodology.” Marxism, he said, would be the ruling principle at the Institute, and that never changed.

    The initial work at the Institute was rather conventional, but in 1930 it acquired a new director named Max Horkheimer, and Horkheimer’s views were very different. He was very much a Marxist renegade. The people who create and form the Frankfurt School are renegade Marxists. They’re still very much Marxist in their thinking, but they’re effectively run out of the party. Moscow looks at what they are doing and says, “Hey, this isn’t us, and we’re not going to bless this.”

    Marcuse might have referred to “polymorphous perversity” as the summum bonum and Horkemheimer “the hostility to personal gratification inherent in bourgeois culture” as the bete noir – two different people, two different angles but the net result is the same and Huxley’s quote in a previous comment was along the same lines. This is what I mean by us being cross-purposes. You’re looking at only their differences – I’m looking at their sameness and a nasty sameness at that.

    Of course there were peripheral players in the FS but the main ones were unequivocal in this. Adorno and Marcuse in particular were vile and may writers have rightly noted this.

    As you say though, time to leave the FS to their damage and get onto something else. You mentioned Series 5 not being current. May I humbly submit this please:

    Series 5 (2010)
    Main article: Doctor Who (series 5)

    203 “The Eleventh Hour” 3 April 2010
    204 “The Beast Below” 10 April 2010
    205 “Victory of the Daleks” 17 April 2010
    206 “The Time of Angels” 24 April 2010
    207 “The Vampires of Venice” 8 May 2010
    208 “Amy’s Choice” 15 May 2010
    209 “The Hungry Earth” 22 May 2010
    210 “Vincent and the Doctor” 5 June 2010
    211 “The Lodger” 12 June 2010
    212 “The Pandorica Opens” 19 June 2010

    Please correct me if that wasn’t the fifth series.

    • The Nameless Libertarian
      March 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      I’m not going to dwell on the Frankfurt School stuff as we discussed that at length last year. You know where I stand, I know where you stand; to continue to debate it is the very definition of pointless. However, there is no blanket denial of anything from me (again, misrepresenting my position, but nothing changes there). I just see the offerings of the Frankfurt School in a slightly more nuanced way than your “good vs evil” approach.

      As for the fifth series… Doctor Who was broadcast for the first time in 1963. The fifth series was broadcast in 1968. Patrick Troughton was the Doctor. It was pretty good stuff. So the series you’re referring to is actually series 31. But yeah, it’s the fifth series since the show was relaunched. Unless you count the specials. In which case it is the sixth series. Trust me, the debates about Doctor Who series numbers have been fought and will be fought for decades to come…

      • March 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm

        Well, glad we got to the bottom of that.

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