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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing: the Doctor is Jewish, no?

Doctor Who Matt Smith yarmulke

Liel Leibovitz at Tablet has decided that the Doctor is “the greatest Jewish character in the history of television.” Because he is

constantly wandering, never at home. His relation is not to space, a place to call his own, but to time, which makes him highly dependent on memory.

And because he is

surrounded by a host of belligerent warlike species who view him, alternatively and sometimes simultaneously, as both pesky and effete and oddly omnipotent. Most celebrated among these baddies are the Daleks, mollusk-like beings who encase themselves in an armored suit slightly resembling a salt shaker. Their creator, a writer named Terry Nation, grew up in wartime Wales and was never able to shake off the profound terror of observing Germany and witnessing an entire nation unite under a murderous maniac and seek to exterminate everyone whom it regarded as inferior. When Nation joined [Sydney] Newman at the BBC, he wasted no time introducing “the unhearing, unthinking, blanked-out face of authority that will destroy you because it wants to destroy you.” Armored, slow-moving, and infinitely menacing, the Daleks’ catchphrase is “Exterminate!”

And so Doctor Who has a

timeless conflict at its center—the canny Jew versus the canned Nazis…

Leibovitz goes on to mention that the latest series, concerning the Doctor’s name, resonates with Old Testament metaphor… which I noted too, twice, in that it reminded me of the classic SF story “The Nine Billion Names of God.”

How does a religious metaphor for the Doctor work for you?

Thanks to Lowell and Ype for the heads-up.

Image from Doctor Who Problems.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)


posted in:
daily doctor | easter eggs

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