Live Long and Prosper: In Memoriam

There are some old souls of fandom whom I believe to be immortal. Tom Baker is, of course, top of that list, but William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Harrison Ford, Christopher Lee – they’re up there too. When I heard that Leonard Nimoy had been brought into the hospital a few days ago, my immediate reaction was that he is one of those immortal heroes and that he would be fine because he must be fine in order for our delicate world order to be maintained.

Of course he wasn’t fine. He’s left us for the stars, and today has been spent mostly crying at my desk, mourning a man I never met who once invited us all to be his honorary internet grandchildren. As I’ve sat here reading and watching and remembering, I’ve wondered what it was that made Leonard Nimoy such an icon for our community of geeks and nerds and Trekkies and how it was that he worked his way into all of our hearts. And for me, at least, I have it sorted.

Leonard Nimoy was funny, and kind, and genuine, and as far as I can tell, no one ever spoke a word against him. But the thing that made him truly special, the thing that made him understand us and love us all for who we are, was that he was also a weird dude. He understood the oddities that often drive us geeks to the outside and he embraced those oddities within himself. The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins is a masterpiece not just because it’s trippy and bizarre and a fantastic snapshot of 1967 weirdness, but because it’s one of the very first examples of a fandom crossover. Here was Spock (haircut and all, thanks to the production schedule) cheerfully honoring the tale of “a brave little hobbit whom we all admire.” While Star Wars and Star Trek fans were separating themselves into factions, Leonard Nimoy just wanted us all to dance around and celebrate fantasy and sci-fi for what they are: genres that bring us together and inspire us to dream.

He was unafraid to honor his position as an icon of sci-fi, so often appearing on The Simpsons to crack a delightful Star Trek joke, so often saying yes to additional appearances in the franchise as it morphed into The Next Generation and the 2009 rebooted film series. He never made a fan feel ashamed, or asked us all to move on from Spock. But while he embraced his role as everyone’s favorite Vulcan, he was equally unafraid to show us more of his personality – his thoughtful work as a photographer and poet always reminding us that he couldn’t and wouldn’t stop creating. Leonard Nimoy personified the Whitman line, “I am large, I contain multitudes” and he asked us all to do the same.

Leonard Nimoy embraced his whole self and lived fearlessly. In doing so, he inspired us all to embrace our whole selves – the weird, the creative, the gentle, the funny, the curious. He brought us joy and let us all believe that he would drive down the highway singing The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins before breaking out a Vulcan nerve pinch. He also made sure we knew he had a poet’s soul. He gave them equal weight, and implicitly asked that we do the same. As has so often been said today, he lived long and prospered.

Thank you Mr. Nimoy. I love you, I miss you, and I will try to embrace all parts of myself in your memory.

Live Long and Prosper

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Focus and The Men Who Lost It: The Works of Tolkien and Jackson

Adaptation is a finicky beast. Creative types have been riffing on each other’s work since, well, forever, and one of the most interesting tells for a source of one artist’s inspiration is what kind of art they themselves riff from. Being a bit of a Freudian in my analytic tendencies, I’m all about seeing the parallels between an original work and its reinvention from the creator’s side. And my oh my, do Tolkien and Jackson give me a lot to work with.

As with all analysis, my view is infused with my own interactions with both their works, so let’s set the stage. My first trip to Middle Earth came when I couldn’t have been more than four, and I spent the summer hearing The Hobbit read aloud to me by my mother (the originator of many a fandom). I still LOVE The Hobbit. It’s a brilliant little gem, filled with sparks of magic and creativity, unexpected joy and riddles set to puzzle the cleverest of hobbitses. Somehow I never got round to reading Lord of the Rings, despite my fondness for Bilbo and his gang, so the next visit to the Shire was in high school with the release of Fellowship of the Ring. I fell hard, along with the rest of the world, and raided my mother’s bookcase for the LoTR trilogy.

Here’s the thing, guys. As a cohesive piece… those books are just not for me. And I would go so far as to say they’re not terribly well written. (Though I feel the same about pretty much all high fantasy novels, so this might be more of an argument against the genre, but I digress.) I know – how dare I? Lord of the Rings IS a masterpiece, the basis of all modern fantasy, and a world that I adore.  I don’t dismiss Tolkein’s brilliance, and I’m thankful for his incredible body of work. Some of the best lines in literature are hidden (key word right there) in his work. But I cannot stand those books. Lord of the Rings is an exercise in taking a brilliant little gem and building out – out – out – until the world gets lost. It works for a lot of people who find it to be a beautiful place to get lost within, but inspiration alone doesn’t make for a well written novel. Tolkien’s best bits are hidden in paragraphs filled to the brim with stuff – not just world-building, but exhaustive and never ending descriptions of god knows what. Lines of dialogue and names that go for miles, and maybe it makes me a bad geek but I just cannot stand it. I did force my way through reading the triology, but it was a slog, made better for me only by the adoration I had for the Jackson films.

Jackson grabbed all those best lines out from under Tolkien’s weighty structures, dusted them off, and gave them to Ian McKellen to work his magic. Then Howard Shore came in and made the whole thing sparkle, and we’re left with one of the best pieces of fantasy known to cinema. I try to watch LoTR every year (extendeds, obviously) – much like other geeky folk read the series annually. Hey, to each her own.

You can see where I’m going with this, right? From where I sit, Jackson’s bloated, excessive Hobbit films are exactly what’s wrong with the Lord of the Rings novels. In an attempt to cover everything, to do it all and give every character their glorious due, Jackson lost a lot of what makes Bilbo magic. And just like Tolkien, there were just enough moments of pure, unabashed brilliance that no one can write them off entirely (the riddle scene?! C’mon. It’s perfect). Just as Jackson took an eagle eye (pun so very much intended) to LoTR and zeroed in on Frodo’s journey to Mordor as the emotional priority, Tolkien was writing a story focused on Bilbo, and his journey of a different, slightly more joyous arch. When both men took a step back and tried to carry on the story, they lost their focus and lost the magic. They lost the precision and the heart of their tales. It took Jackson to bring some clarity to the stunning originality of Tolkien’s later stories, when he had perhaps lost the perspective or the drive to edit himself and to know when things really just belonged in The Silmarillion. And while the Battle of the Five Armies was a solid film, with a beautiful emotional coda that will drive any sane and rational person to the Lord of the Rings films, they will always be the better movie. Just as for me, The Hobbit novel will always be the better book.

I wish we could have had both these men together in the world. Their art needed each other, in many ways, and their own journeys are very much the same. And when it comes down to it, in their later careers, at least as far as Middle Earth was concerned, both men needed a damn fine editor.

Orphan Black: The undisputed champion of sexual identity

I was so late to the game on this one, y’all. SO. LATE.

Only this past month did I marathon Seasons 1 and 2 of Orphan Black, and discover the ridiculous powerhouse that is Tatiana Don’t-Need-an-Emmy-to-be-a-BOSS Maslany. There is so much going on here that when I first thought of writing about it, I couldn’t come up with anything concrete other than fangirl glee.

Great characters (FELIX! Donnie! But mostly Felix!), great production (clone dance party whaaaaaat), great storytelling (Siobhan’s crazy birdwatching extravaganza), great effects (did I mention the clone dance party?!), and general badassery (Sarah’s Clash shirts!) abound. As you can see, there’s still lots of fangirl glee happening here. But I’m settling in and do, in fact, have a thing to talk about. Despite the revelations that came in the second season in reference to the clones reproductive abilities (or because of them? more on that later) every single character on this show is in control of their own body. Every single character has sexual agency, and an identity that includes but is not even remotely limited to that sexuality. It’s incredibly refreshing, and one of these days we won’t need to celebrate its victories because the rest of TV will catch on to the frankly groundbreaking handling of sexuality that Orphan Black boasts, but today is not that day.

(And for the second time in a row here, I’m chatting away with not a care in the world for spoilers. You’ve been warned.)

Something very specific keeps happening in Orphan Black: the LGBTQ cast of characters don’t have “coming out” moments in the narrative of the story. Their sexuality isn’t lauded as their most important character trait, and none of them are even remotely stereotypical. Cosima’s lesbianism is never used as a plot device or a lazy identifier, and she’s steadfast in declaring that it’s not the only thing that makes her an individual in the Clone Club. Her relationship with Delphine is sweet and honest and just as complicated as their closest straight counterparts, Sarah and Paul. And can we talk about Tony?!? Tony, the brilliant transgender clone who happily hits on Felix and takes T on screen. His pronoun of choice is honored with basically no questions and he isn’t put in a position where he needs to defend a damn thing about his identity. Felix shoots Art down when he mixes up Tony’s pronouns, but zero people get villainized. Art goes with it, Felix doesn’t shame him, and no one needs to say anything else about it. This, seriously, is modern TV at its best.

While we’re on the subject of Felix – this man won my heart when he asked Alison’s kids if they wanted to crossdress. Really, I just love him, and as rough as it has been to watch him and Sarah have their disagreements in the second season, it’s more than worth it to see Jordan Gavaris tackle fantastic scene after fantastic scene. His acting is top notch, his character complicated and thoughtful and fun, and I cannot get enough.

Back to those reproductive questions, though. In the second season, we learned the clones aren’t able to become pregnant. Which, makes scientific sense and explains the fascination with Kira, but is also clearly heartbreaking. (Side note: even more props to the writers for never, ever suggesting that Alison’s kids are less than because they were adopted.) Rachel is fixated on her own childhood and successfully kidnaps Kira, which somehow doesn’t read as the oh-so-tiresome example of a nasty female character stealing away someone else’s baby, even though it kind of is. Helena is a trope too – she’s essentially Frankenstein, but she’s not trapped in it. She’s a victim, a monster, a sexual being, killer, a child, and we love her even when we’re terrified by her capabilities.

So how are neither of these tropes problematic? Because every single person on Orphan Black is a complete character. They all grow and change and fight and cry and are in charge of their own damn bodies. This is a show about women whose bodies were not intended to be their own, and who refuse to let that be a reality. Three cheers, Orphan Black. Bring on the next season!

In Defense of Mary Morstan

All of this #221Back hubbub reminded me of something. Or, should I say, some people discussing what they hope happens post-haste in Season 4 reminded me of something. I LOVE Mary Morstan. I’m surely not alone, but somehow she’s turned into a polarizing character in fandom and she certainly has her detractors. And this leaves me all types of confuzzled.

(Obvious Note Time!  I’ll be discussing Season 3 of Sherlock in full. Spoilers, if for some unknown reason you haven’t caught up yet.)

Full Disclosure: I’m not generally a fan of Moffat-written women. I don’t hate him by any means – I will defend Moffat when I think he deserves it and loudly complain when he deserves that too. But, I do tend to find his portrayal of women troubling and simplistic. I’ll save a deep-dive into my schizophrenic views of Moffat for another day and another post, but this all goes to say that when The Empty Hearse premiered on New Years Day, I was beside myself with giggly adoration, not just for Sherlock’s grand return or Watson’s perfect headbutt, but for the character whom I quickly declared the first Moffat woman that I hands-down-from-word-go loved.

Mary is awesome, guys. She just IS. She’s clever and alert and hilarious and not even remotely afraid to have a difference of opinion from the men who surround her. (Which shouldn’t count as something to be lauded, but hey, #lowbar.) I give you: the moment I knew I loved Mary.

My greatest fear about how the writers would handle Mary was that they’d, for lack of a better phrase, Yoko Ono her. How many times have we seen this go down in the public sphere?  Women used to pit the men against each other, used as a tool to be fought over, or fought with, or vilified in whatever fandom they’ve had the misfortune to anger. It’s heinous and annoying and I hate it. I especially hate it when we lady geeks buy into the arguments against these women, which is what seems to happen in some more puzzling sectors of the internets when you bring up Mary Morstan.

So here’s why I’m so confused. Mary doesn’t ever want to break up our very favorite Consulting Detective Team. She brings out the best in Watson and in Sherlock alike. She plays them both with her wedding plans, letting them both think they’re in charge, she folds to Sherlock calling Watson out on the mustache-to-end-all-mustaches, she’s charming and lovely and – oh yeah – she’s a totally badass assassin. She isn’t used as a wedge in their relationship – if anything she lets Watson see how thoughtful Sherlock can be, and lets them be closer emotionally than they imagined with that spectacular Best Man speech. Would that have happened if Mary wasn’t great in Sherlock’s eyes as well as John’s? No. Not it would not.

Yes, she’s a sign of change, which I know can be hard for us nerdy folk to take. And, er, she shoots Sherlock. Yup. She does. She had no choice in the matter, as Sherlock explained and as John came to agree with. Her decision to hide her badass assassins past hurt John. Very true. Find me an honest representation of a marriage where someone doesn’t get hurt. When Sherlock confronts her on her assassin-ie lies, with John hiding in the backround, it’s brutal and all three of them are in remarkable amounts of pain. That said, she doesn’t force John into accepting her again, or manipulate him into deciding to stay. John Watson is a big boy and he made his own decision based on all the love and care that the two of them had in their relationship up to that point. I could go on, but really, here’s the headline:

John loves her. Sherlock loves her. She’s a quality female character with a fascinating past and a ton to add to the dynamic of the show. What’s not to love? I’m the first to fight against a Moffat-woman-failure, and this ain’t one.

I don’t get it. I don’t want to believe it’s because people want Johnlock to happen *that badly* but I don’t know what else it could be. Please, leave a comment and help a girl out if you think you can explain this to me. I don’t think I’ll agree with you, but at least help me understand!

Who owns art? And by art I mean Star Wars

This past weekend, I jumped in the car with a friend to take a quick day trip to Philadelphia Comic Con. While we really just went in to the Matt Smith panel and didn’t explore much else, it brought up a few questions and Deep Thoughts from my friend who’s not quite as familiar with the rest of nerd culture outside of the Whoniverse. A few of those Deep Thought discussion topics included: What makes a nerd? Can people be nerdy about non-traditionally-geek things? And hey, what did happen with Star Wars exactly?

Ah, Star Wars fandom. As I’ve mentioned here in passing, I have a very conflicted relationship with the land of Jedi and Sith. Growing up I adored Star Wars. Posters were everywhere, extended universe books were kept meticulously on my bookcase in chronological order (based on the timeline, of course, not the publishing dates) and my Han Solo action figure was generally much more used than Barbies.  Then it was my Freshman year of high school and *cue dramatic music* The Phantom Menace happened. My issues lay much more with the “improved” DVD releases than Episodes I-III, though like any self-respecting geek I hated those movies with a firey passion reserved for the devastated fan.

Let’s first acknowledge the (IMO excellent) documentary which sums all this up with far more humor and tales of woe than one fangirl could express, which is of course The People vs. George Lucas. If you haven’t seen it, do, and if you have, stick with me while I sum up before we continue with our Deep Thoughts and add some Conflicting Opinions. Yes, Episodes I and II are miserable films. I personally think III isn’t terrible, entirely, but by that time the whole thing was just too far gone. And while those failures might have been enough for many of us to say “to hell with you and this whole Skywalker family saga” that’s really only part of the problem. The problem, oh, the problem, is those bloody remastered DVD’s of Episodes IV-VI.

I get ragey even thinking about it. And frankly, I haven’t been able to watch them in years. So please excuse a gif to express my feelings.

Yup. That. SO MANY FLAMES.

We know how it went down – dear old George slowly but surely made increasingly large edits to the beloved films, starting with remastered explosions and ending with absurd CGI alien dance scenes getting inserted for NO DAMN REASON. FLAMES. (Et-hem. Sorry.) He also made it nearly impossible to get the originals without the “enhancements” he decided to include. Yes, they can be found. But they’re expensive, it’s not even remotely clear which versions are which, and they are made to look as bad as humanly possible to discourage people from buying them.

Time for the Deep Thoughts and Conflicting Opinions. Here’s the thing. He’s allowed. He is. It’s his film, it’s his baby, *cough*it’s his cash grab*cough* , and he can update things as much as he likes. I do genuinely believe that George Lucas thought he was making these movies better. More in line with his original vision. He always said technology wasn’t fast enough for him, and in case anyone doesn’t believe him, see the fact that he started with Episode IV. But what are the moral implications of an artist changing his art after he’s previously closed the book and sent the canisters to the movie theaters?

I do believe films are art. I do believe sci-fi is art, and TV is art, and books are art, and frankly anything created to give our brains an emotional experience or inspire thought and analysis is art. Who does that art belong to after it’s put out into the world for public consumption? Authors can make updates to their books with new editions, and while that’s mostly reserved for nonfiction, there are certainly new editions of poetry and novels coming from past centuries.  As a Lit major I spent a lot of time analyzing the differences from one draft to another. No new edition is worth less than the first, or more, for that matter. It’s different, and worthy of analysis. That doesn’t stop the general art-appreciating public from declaring one version of an artistic product “better” than the rest. (See: The two variations of Hamlet from various folios.) Mostly we all look at these artistic variations and analyze them and debate over their merits. But no one argues that Shakespeare had no right to change his monologue from one folio to the other. And yes, I just compared Star Wars to Shakespeare. Stick with me.  I believe, with let’s say 90% of the analytic bones in my body, that George Lucas had every right to change his art as he saw fit.

It’s not that easy, though. Literary entries can only take the comparison so far. Generations of people, over hundreds of years, have read and noticed different versions of different stories. Storytelling can be living art. But cinema is inherently different. It’s a moment more automatically frozen in time. Plus, there are some things, some huge moments in our society, touchstones of our culture, that take on a life of their own. Star Wars was one of those touchstones. It changed everything. Cinema, sci-fi, effects, storytelling, myth, the concept of a blockbuster. I’d argue that sort of a sea-change didn’t happen again until The Matrix (another entry in the Deep Thoughts and Conflicting Opinions saga for another day). Star Wars is a moment in time that can’t be repeated, can’t be changed. It does belong to George Lucas – but it also belongs to everyone who saw it and was changed by it. Artists always want to make one more switch, one more edit, one more nip, one more tuck. But any artist worth their salt will also tell you there comes a time when you just have to walk away. It has to be done. And part of that is to acknowledge that it’s not just yours anymore. It’s out there, for better or worse, and you have to acknowledge the versions that came before.

Maybe that’s the part that troubles us so much. There’s no sense that George acknowledges the versions that came before. He doesn’t really talk about them, he doesn’t make it easy for us to access them, and as far as he seems to be concerned, they didn’t exist. Only his newer, shinier, truer versions are canon. But that’s just blatantly incorrect. We all know Han shot first. And we all love him for it. It’s not that George Lucas can’t say “hey, actually I made a mistake or have some new fancy technology and I want to change it” – it’s that he can’t stare at us all blankly and say “…what’s the problem?”

So who DOES the damn thing belong to anyway? (And DON’T say Disney, you know what I mean.) I’d say all of us. Including George. But just as much as it belongs to George, it belongs to everyone whose lives it touched. And we all just want to be acknowledged. You can have art without viewers appreciating it, if we want to get particularly pedantic about it, sure. I’m not trying to have an “if a tree falls in the woods” argument here.  Because regardless of who saw it or how many people interacted with your work,  on a more emotional level (which is what art is all about, right?) things aren’t just about who holds the ownership rights. Art gets questioned, and analyzed, and written about, and experienced, and a piece of it does go into every person who views it, for better or worse. That’s what makes it art. It’s complicated and messy and it should be. We all own art, and we all own Star Wars, and that doesn’t mean we all have to agree about it but it does mean that all of our voices, I believe, count for something.

The rumor mill has steadily reported that now that Disney owns the rights, they’ll re-release a proper DVD/Blu-Ray of the original films. I hope they do; I’ll happily pay them money and watch the movies again without all those pesky flames coming out of my face. In the meantime, I genuinely hope George (with whom I’ve apparently decided I’m on a first name basis) has found some peace knowing that the franchise, and any more of those “one last change” temptations, are finally out of his hands.

“Did you just cry at the title screen?” or, why Doctor Who matters to me

This’ll be a long one, kids. Consider yourselves warned.

My Dad was in town recently. I get a lot of geeky habits from both my parents, but Dad is single-handedly responsible for my love of Doctor Who. It’s one of my very first fandoms – in fifth grade, when we were tasked to make a little boat to race in science class, mine flew a flag of Rassilon and I would tell anyone who listened what TARDIS stood for. When the show rebooted and gained popularity stateside, there was a wave of old middle and high school friends coming to me and asking “…hey, wasn’t that that thing you wouldn’t shut up about when we were kids?” Yes. Yes it is.

Anyway, when I was little, Dad would let me stay up late with him on Friday nights to watch Doctor Who on PBS. We would tape them all on VHS, rewatch to our hearts content, and anxiously await the PBS fundraisers that focused on Doctor Who so we could get some swag and tape some marathoned episodes. They imprinted on me in a serious way. Tom Baker will forever be my Doctor, and Sarah Jane my favorite companion. I also have a serious soft spot for Harry Sullivan, and both the Romanas. (For the record, Dad’s Doctor is Jon Pertwee – he watched on PBS too when he was a kid, slightly closer to real-time. ) At the reboot in 2005, again it was Dad pushing me to start watching. I was a stubborn old fan, loudly proclaiming that Doctor Who without spray painted aliens made of bubble wrap was no Doctor Who of mine. He watched and loved Eccleston and Tennant pretty much right out of the gate and tried his best to get me to rejoin the troop. In the days of Netflix DVD’s and not a lot of streaming, he caught me on a break from grad school and sat me down in front of the TV to watch some New Who. Tragically, they were at the Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks two parter. I rarely say any Doctor Who is terrible…. but to this day, I don’t rewatch that ep. So take that as you will. It’s even worse because now I know the next DVD was hiding Human Nature/Family of Blood/ Blink, which I will always defend as the greatest three-ep run in New Who history. But I digress. Finally, just two and a half years ago, I caught Midnight (still one of my favorite episodes) with a friend. And that – that was Doctor Who like I’d never seen it before. I immediately went home, started up with Eccleston, and came into the modern fandom with a vengeance.

I tore through it all, sobbing my way through School Reunion and Vincent and the Doctor, giggling endlessly at The Unicorn and the Wasp and Closing Time. David Tennant is my New Who Doctor, but I took to Matt Smith quickly too. I dove into the fantastic podcast community, google news searched Doctor Who on a regular basis, and was soon talking to my Dad (and anyone else who would listen) non-stop about the goings on and lead up to the seventh season, to a new companion, to the 50th, and to a new Doctor.

This is where things get a little more serious. The timing of my re-introduction into Doctor Who life is really important here. I had come out of a three and a half year relationship, moved apartments, and was in the middle of deciding with said ex if we should give it another go. (We did, for another year and change, before it crashed and burned.) So it goes without saying I was feeling a bit … fragile. Vulnerable. Unsure of myself. Rather desperately in need of something that would give me back the identity and self-assuredness that I had, in so many ways, lost. I already had the childhood memories, deep inside my geeky little soul, that if something was wrong, the Doctor would make it right. That the adventures of one sonic-wielding, two-hearted Time Lord would always be a place for safety and security and an exploration of all things good throughout time and space. Even before getting into New Who, on those worst nights, I would pull up Classic eps with Tom Baker and would always, always feel better when I saw my Doctor’s face in the time vortex of the title screen.  Once I started with New Who, I found that its emotional intensity was exactly what I needed – I could laugh at Ten being spectacular and obnoxious and wonderful even when the stories were dark. Especially because the stories were dark. Because the Doctor kept going, and wasn’t above being heartbroken or lonely or overly dramatic nearly to the point of being insufferable, and that things always ended up OK even when they really didn’t. Ten’s catch phrase, allons-y, became my mantra. So I kept going too, and hearing that phrase in Tennant’s voice always, always made my heart feel better.

Ironically, one of the only times my ex watched Doctor Who with me is what got me thinking more seriously about what Who means to me, and what it has meant since I was 10. Back in 2012, we watched that year’s Christmas Special, The Snowmen, together a few days after it aired. I was already giddy about it because Ian McKellen, and was thrilled to see a new title screen and theme song variation start up. And then it happened. Matt Smith’s face was outlined in the stars around the time vortex. It undeniably referenced Classic Who, and my dear Doctor Tom Baker (and the other Classic Docs, of course), and everything welled up inside me. I couldn’t hold back the tears and went straight for the remote to rewind and watch it again. Next to me on the couch, I heard “…Did you just cry at the title screen?” I fussed and fumbled and tried to explain how a face in the stars of the time vortex was a gorgeous reference to Classic, one that we hadn’t seen since the reboot, and to the intro that I watched over and over as a kid, and how that face in the stars represented so much more. That’s when I started to think about how Who had shaped my life. Since then, it’s gotten to be a more and more influential part of my day to day. Some of you who follow me on Twitter or even know me IRL know that I spent two weeks in the UK over Christmas and New Years this past winter. It’s not an exaggeration to say those two weeks changed my life. It also changed my body – on my last day in London, 3 January,  just outside Piccadilly Circus, I got allons-y tattooed on my foot.

So back to where we started. Dad was in town for work not long ago, and we were walking down Central Park West discussing Capaldi and Verity Lambert and my excitement about going to my first cons (LI Who and Gally, here I come!). I realized that while he knew all about my trip, and my tattoo, and my fandom adventures and he had heard me talk about the history of the show and my favorite episodes and companions until I was blue in the face, he might not really know what it meant to me. How this thing that he showed me when I was 10 changed me entirely for the better. So I told him. I told him that the Doctor was there for me during some of my darkest adult days, showing me a way to be thoughtful and compassionate and make bad jokes in the face of even worse circumstances. I told him how the idea of a hero with two hearts, whose first instinct is rarely violence and who wants to find the good in everything he comes across, kept my spirit up when not many things could. And how it always did, even when I was 10, and how grateful I am that he showed me Tom Baker and always pointed out how the women of Who were so often empowered and strong and fantastic and witty, and chosen for their intellect and independence. And we both got just a little emotional because we’re emotional people who do things like cry at title screens and tell the internet about it.

There are so many other things I could say about Doctor Who, and so many other favorite memories that I could get into and probably will – but those are for another day. Suffice it to say that the title screen of The Snowmen isn’t the only Who title that’s made me cry; like many other Classic Who fans, I cried openly at the 50th with its black and white title screen. And I’m not the slightest bit ashamed of it. I’m deeply proud of everything Who has given me and so many of us around the world. It’s made me who I am today and will help me be a better person tomorrow.

Allons-y.