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Monday, June 18, 2007

Say My Name

"We are right at the egde of knowledge itself, and you're busy...blogging! -The Doctor in Utopia

Well, that about sums up my life right there. It's funny, series three has been on for what, nearly two months now, and I haven't said a thing about it (well, except for that breif mention back in April) Originally, I was trying to use as little Doctor Who references as possible, so as not to alienate readers who had never seen the show. Well, upon discovering a few weeks ago that I actually have readers and none of them really care that I'm obsessed with Doctor Who, I've decided to talk about it again. Hmm...where do I start.

How about with a spoiler warning? Since the episode has in fact been aired (though not in this country yet) I can and will talk about certain events that take place, however, some events, such as the one I am about to discuss, are incredibly "spoilery" and will give huge amounts of plot away. If you're one of those people who likes knowing exactly what is going to happen, by all means read on, but, if you are one of those people that hates it, and avoids all spoilers like the plauge (I'm like that, still haven't seen Pirates 3 yet, still don't know the ending) than please, do not go any further. Alright? We good? Good. Then let's begin.


Oh my God, the Master. The Master. The Master. The Master. I'm still in shock. The latest episode, episode eleven Utopia, of course, featured the return of the villian I was least expecting and least excited for, the Master.

Let me make this clear, I HATE the Master. He was probably one of my least favorite Doctor Who villians of the classic series. By the time series three rolled around, if I ever stopped to think about the Master (which I didn't often) my mind usually went to "Classic series only, good while he lasted, glad he's gone" I never, EVER suspected he would make an apearance in the new series. God, was I wrong.

With a name like "The Master" you'd think he wouldn't be do-able in today's modern, advanced version of Doctor Who. Cheesyness, and supervillian names like "The Joker" or "The Penguin" are looked down upon. Most of the "enemies" of the Doctor in the new series, and the classic series actually, are specific races with specific names, not titles. He's fought a werewolf, no name, Mr. Finch of the Krillitanes, normal name, and of course, the Daleks and Cybermen, species names. The Master, in today's society would be met with ridicule, his old catchphrase "I am the Master, and you will obey me" would be answered with "Yeah, well I'm Nelly, and I'm going to call the police" You wouldn't call a respectible person, even one you hated, something like "The Master" you'd call them by name. "The Master" just sounds corney.

Once again, I was wrong.

There's a great scene in the new episode, where the Master just stole the Doctor's TARDIS and is being his usual threatening self where the Doctor says "I'm asking you really, properly, just stop. Just think." and the Master responds with "Say my name" The Doctor, incredibly shaken, clearly both frightened and broken is forced to respond with a semi-whispered "Master,"

What we're seeing there a great glimpse into who the Master is, and what his motivation is. The term "Master" when used to address another person typically means you are addressing someone to your superiour, someone you are subservient to. A slave, for example, would call their owner "Master", a servant calls their boss "Master", a dog's owner is called a "Master". By using "Master" as a name, it forces whoever addresses you to become subserviant. You, in effect, become the person's "master" by them addressing you as such, and you are therefore superior to them. The Master, being the way he is, clearly enjoys that feeling of superiority, that feeling that everyone in the universe is his slave, by the usage of "Master" as his name. He demonstrates this in one, brief, beautiful line in which he forces the Doctor, his one true equal and complete enemy, to effectively grovel at the feet of his master, the Master. In one moment, the name of the Master has been changed from nothing more than a cheesy, supervillianish name, to a metaphor of the relationship between him and the Doctor, and for how the Master truley sees himself. It's a great superiority complex. I love this show.

What it also makes you ponder is, what's in a name? The Master's name, obviousy as I just said, is a metaphor for his superiority complex and his need to see everyone subserviant to him. The Doctor, is not only a title so common that it is an effective disguise for what his unknown name is, it also represents knowledge. A Doctor is someone who goes through years and years of schooling and is therefore seen as being highly inteligent, someone wise, like the Doctor. But what about a normal person? What about us? Does a name mean the same thing to a "normal human" as it does to two fictional Time Lords?

From a logical, literal sense, the answer is no. A name is just something used to identify you, like a number but nicer. However, from a non-literal, more philisophical sense, a name is much more just a number. Humans, in general, give a lot of thought to names, just look at parents and their newborns. My aunt Terri was supposed to be named something different, but when she arrived, my grandmother took one look at her and said she didn't "look like" the name. There was something about her, something everyone could see, that made it impossible for them to name her that. After about a week being nameless, they finally decided that she was, in fact, a "Theresa" and the rest was history.

If a name really does mean nothing, why did that happen? How is it possible that a person can be a "Jenny" versus a "Sarah" or a "Gary" versus a "David"? Is there really a difference? How important is it?

I suppose it depends on the person. Someone told me once (can't remember who) that names aren't important. They said you could know a person without knowing their name as long as you focus on "the inside", which is all very nice and poetic, but it must get a little confusing having to refer to everyone you meet as "that person with a shy personality" or something. I generally think that as long as you know the person's first name, you're fine. I have plenty of friends, for instance, whose full names I don't know, I've never bothered to ask. Last names have never been important to me, just the first name.

To my mother, aparently, I am again, wrong. I was invited to a part recently at my friend from "While the Light's Were Out" house. I didn't know his last name, so when we tried to find his phone number we couldn't. While searching, my mom remarked "I can't beleive you don't really know him" to which I responded with "Of course I know him, it's Jordan, he was in the play with me, he's a friend," but I didn't know his last name. To my mother, you don't really know a person till you know their full name, like their entire name is their true identity and their first name only scratches the surface. To me, your full name's just your family name, it doesn't say anything about you, just about your family. You don't need to know a person's family to know them, just need to know them.

Though thinking about it now, a person's family is a part of them, it's their backstory. Knowing where a person came from is a big part of knowing a person, and I suppose just knowing their first name isn't really enough when looking at it that way. Wether or not you're a Jordan, a Terri, a Master, a Doctor or a Nelly doesn't really matter if you don't know their origins. It's why the Doctor doesn't tell anyone the rest of his name, it reveals too much about him.

A last name is just a family, a first name is just a person. It's the full name, I suppose, that really lets you know someone. The Master, on the surface, is a man with an intense need to feel superior and make everyone else feel subserviant, but underneath all that, someonewhere in the depths of his origins, there may be more to him. There couldn't be something else there that, from a different part of him, is different, like a last name we just haven't seen yet. You don't really know a person till you know their full name.

Which of course, answers the question. What's in a name? A lot.

I can't beleive the Master's back. I loved the guy that played him last night, John Simm was brilliant. Can't wait for more. Right now though, I have to go find Jordan's last name. And then I think I'll go to a party.



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