Saturday, September 24, 2011

How religion eats people

This may not be a particularly excellent episode, and it certainly will not be the most loved one. In fact it will probably be hated by quite some people. But any attack on religion is good, isn't it?

Doctor Who Episode 6.11: The God Complex

Doctor Who has a history of satiring about religion. I don't know about the old series, but even in the new series it appeared quite a few times; in Parting of the Ways, the Dalek Emperor claimed to be god because he created the new Daleks... just make you think, if somebody created you (or claim to have created you), why does it automatically mean that you should "worship" him? This isn't just an RTD thing; in series 5 and 6 we already have those clerics which for some yet-unknown reason are military-looking; in A Good Man Goes to War the headless monks cut their (and others) heads because (not exact wording, but means something like) the logical mind obstructs faith and pure faith can only be obtained by removing the ability to reason.

In this episode though, religious faith are the core of the story.
  • I like the idea that "gods" are just creatures from outer space that "fall from the sky" and feed on people's faith (as a form of emotional energy) as food. It is probably not new, but still nice to see it on a TV programme that was watched by millions, many of them kids.
  • Although sci-fi never spell it out, the parallels to real-world religions is always there. In this particular episode we see how these monsters instill fear in people to turn them into believing the "god"; those who are turned will then constantly "praise him"; and most importantly those believers now feel "happiness" and "peace" despite the impending doom, in fact the closer they are being eaten the happier they become.

    Sounds familiar?
  • Of course, the best bit is that "gods" actually get punished: when civilizations get sufficiently advanced, they realize what gods are and decide they have enough of them, they build prisons, send them off to outer space and make sure the gods suffer long enough. Again, it is not new, in fact it has some interesting similarities with RTD's The Second Coming, which is every bit as weird just by reading the wikipedia page.

    Seems a very very long way to go for this earthly civilization, though...
The episode also features an interesting parallel on the Doctor's life to the "god's": both pick people up for the purpose of getting adored or worshipped. It has not been explicitly mentioned, but there has always been such a suggestion, the dangerous idea - for example in Moffat's short story Continuity Errors - that the Doctor can and do manipulate people's minds to make them believe what he wants them to believe. In a way he is also a "god" that bends and twists people's minds for his own purpose, even pleasure. To tie in with the series' theme the parallel was made further on the Doctor's death. I feel it is a bit heavy handed though; there is no need for the Doctor to spell out the Minotaur's last line "I wasn't talking about myself". Just let it fly past those who don't get it.

Overall, it's a clever episode, incorporateing some interesting thought-provoking ideas. I think episodes 9, 10 and 11 have been very good, even better than those River Song-related stories. Now just two more episodes to go...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

completely rubbish?

我常「鄧」古德明可憐,堅持舊式一點的英文便經常給人批評,把字典例句搬出來人人便說他只懂讀字典學英文。那難道像葉劉淑儀般用在 Google 打 completely rubbish 第一個彈出來的 result 乎? (有「多達」三千幾人看過那 video 呢)

英文我是不懂的了,就隨便打幾句出來,看看各位認為那句是對,那句是錯,那些 adverb 又修飾些甚麼...
1. This is completely rubbish / This is complete rubbish.
2. This is completely madness / This is completely mad / This is complete madness.
3. This world is crazy. Yes, it truly is.
4. This is simply a sentence.
5. It really is a rubbish bin / It is a really rubbish bin.