Doctor Who, “Can You Hear Me?,” and the Nightmares of (More) Pandemic Teaching

A little over a year ago I wrote a piece reflecting on the seemingly unbearable struggles of pandemic teaching.  At the time, I used Tony Stark’s journey through Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame as my frame to help me understand what I was going through and all I was feeling.  Writing it was very personal and deeply cathartic.  In the end, I survived last year!  I didn’t quit!  I even managed to find incredible beauty in all the struggle, too.  Now I’m a month and a half into a new school year and, well, I thought it would be easier.  Yet I find myself pulled down in this dispiriting emotional mire once more.  This time Doctor Who offers a more apt lens to frame my experience.  Given today is World Mental Health Day – and we’re all struggling in our own ways and we all deserve to be heard and validated in those struggles – sharing this seemed appropriate.  When the school year returned, I needed the Doctor.  I still do.  I think we all do.

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Thor the God of the Unworthy – Reframing the God of Thunder

Jason Aaron’s time writing Thor – from Thor: God of Thunder to Thor to The Mighty Thor to Thor (again) to War of the Realms to King Thor – produced the defining version of the character.  No one, at least in my humble opinion, has ever done more with Thor nor understood the character, their world, and its theological fertility more than Jason Aaron.  Jane Foster lifting Mjölnir to become Thor herself was the heart of Aaron’s run.  But for that to happen, Thor Odinson had to find himself unable to lift the hammer.  This idea – the idea of Thor being unworthy – ties together much of what Aaron did.  Its seeds were sown in his very first arc, as Thor faced the brutality of Gorr the God Butcher.  Its actualization would lead to Jane lifting Mjölnir and becoming the mightiest Thor and the greatest of all the gods.  Its effects would culminate in Thor Odinson’s climactic battle with Malekith the Accursed during the War of the Realms and it would shape the sort of king Thor would become.

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The Abject Horror of Doctor Who’s Confession Dial

One of many things I love about Doctor Who is how no genre is off limits.  The horror genre being a favorite, they visit it’s themes, traits, and tropes often and with great effect.  Of allllllllllllllllll the creepy, freaky, unnerving, and haunting scenes I’ve seen play out in Doctor Who – episodes watched or novels read – one scares me more than any other.  One disturbs me to the very core of my being.  As far as I’m concerned, NOTHING in the history of this show is ANYWHERE NEAR as scary as “Heaven Sent” (S9E11).  Recently I read a post Gemma wrote over on Books Beach Bunny titled, “Blogging Confessions: Fear” and it reminded me I had an idea for a post about this episode over the summer…an idea I presume I promptly forgot because it would take me places I’d rather not visit.  But, inspired by the courage of her confessional piece, I decided to tackle it.  And hey, what’s October for if not scaaaaaaaary things, right?

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Community – A Welcome Distraction

I’ve started writing a regular monthly feature over at Reads & Reels!  I know, right??  I’m super excited about it too.  In it, I’ll be talking about something – be it a book, comic, movie, TV show, album, whatever – that has captivated my attention over the last month and proven a welcome distraction from everything else (re: boring adult stuff) that fills up my life.  For my first piece, I’ve written about the work of brilliant postmodern art that was NBC’s CommunityI am SUPER EXCITED to be writing for Reads & Reels (and pleased with the piece too) so you should totally click here and check it out!