The Night of the Doctor

by Harry on November 18, 2013

My plan, for the day itself, since we do not have cable, is to go round to my daughter’s friend’s house and watch it there, without a wife to make fun of it or a 7-year-old to interrupt it. Then back to my house to make a dinner for my daughter’s said friend, who wants to celebrate her birthday a day early by having my fondue with numerous other friends. Then, on Monday my daughter and I will go to the local movie theater to watch it again, this time in 3D. We’ve been waiting for this for about 3 years (whenever it was that I realized that November 23rd 2013 is a Saturday).

I have been avoiding the trailers, and any information contained therein — I have already learned more than I want to know. But, apparently this is a prequel, so I watched it; and it does seem like it is worth watching before Saturday (but on your own head be it if you regret it — if it helps, I didn’t regret it).

Oh, and I quite liked the Big Finish special, more for the obvious delight the actors are taking in it than the implausible plot.

How are you celebrating?

Peter Singer, Round 2

by John Holbo on November 18, 2013

I found comments to my Peter Singer thread – that’s what my utilitarianism thread turned out to be! – quite interesting. I’ve read a few of Singer’s books. I like The Expanding Circle, in particular. I’ve never paid much attention to the drama of his philosophical celebrity, so the thread educated me about that. What was most striking was this NY Times piece a couple commenters linked to, I think intending it as evidence of his bad character. But I had more or less the opposite reaction. I don’t know the man, obviously. I don’t stake any claim to insights into his psychology (beyond those democratically available to any other reader of the linked piece, and a few of his books) but he struck me as bend-over-backwards and turn-the-other-cheek, rhetorically. He’s apparently unfailingly polite to people who call him a moral monster, unspeakably evil, sending them books and thank-you notes and all. (And then this.) Maybe he’s just an Asperger’s case, and just doesn’t process insults as insulting. But he doesn’t seem like that, to me. That doesn’t really fit with his patience and solicitude for the likes of Harriet McBryde Johnson. I can, of course, see that the whole ‘but, captain, I’m just being rational’ Spock schtick only sets people’s inner McCoy off worse. And if you think he’s a Nazi on the merits – well, we know from the movies that the polite and polished ones are the worst ones. But seriously. What’s the guy supposed to do, given the case he wants to make? Yell at his critics? Whine that they are being mean to him? That would be a disaster. So it’s this elaborate, placid front of unfailingly polite rationality or nothing. This is not to say that he’s some great hero for keeping his cool when people insult him. But, to me, he came off not as an evil A.I. but just as someone trying to step his way through an emotional minefield, because he’s decided he really wanted what was on the other side. [click to continue…]