Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Annoying Dr. Who Moralism - S06E13 "The Wedding of River Song"

>> FYI - Spoilers follow.  

In episode S06E13 of Doctor Who, the character, Amy Pond, is confronted with whether to untie/rescue the wicked Madame Kovarian when it turns out that her murderous alien allies, the Silence, have decided that she is better off dead and that they no longer have a use from her and will kill her by way of her "eye drive" eye patch.

Madame Kovarian: [weakly] Amy... help me.
Amy Pond: You took my baby from me. And hurt her. And now she's all grown up and she's fine, but I'll never see my baby again.
Madame Kovarian: But you'll still save me, though. Because *he* would, and you'd never do anything to disappoint your precious Doctor.
Rory: Ma'am, we have to go, now!
Amy Pond: [to Kovarian] The Doctor is very precious to me, you're right. But do you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here.
[Amy re-attachs Kovarian's eye drive] 
Amy Pond: River Song didn't get it all from you, sweetie.
[eye drive activates and Kovarian screams] (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1824359/quotes?qt=qt1563102 )
This seemed like an act of justice from a Dr. Who character.  And Pond didn't seem to much hesitate on the matter.  Wouldn't it be amazing if that action stood on its own?

But no.  This is the BBC.  Here's what we get instead.

Later... when Amy Pond is pondering the death of the Doctor, she has misgivings about her choice to let Kovarian die.  Worse... she takes moral responsiblity for having murdered Madame Kovarian.
Amy Pond: I killed someone. Madame Kovarian. In cold blood.
River Song: In an aborted timeline, in a world that never was.
Amy Pond: Yeah, but I can remember it. So it happened. So I did it. What does that make me now?
I have trouble with this.  Madame Kovarian is a person who has demonstrated a long-term determination to kill Amy Pond's best friend, The Doctor.  In the process of trying to do so, Kovarian kidnapped Pond , kidnapped Pond's daughter, and brainwashed River Song to be a killer.  

Kovarian is betrayed and senteced to agony or execution by the same allies she willingly chose to cooperate with.  And *somehow* Pond's choice not to rescue her from the consequences of her own actions is deemed to be "killing her".  Who here is doing the killing?  Certainly not Amy Pond.

As a show... I like Doctor Who, I just disagree with the blatant moral fallacies which show up here and there.  The one of which they are most guilty?  The protagonists take moral responsibility for the actions of others.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Balancing the Percentages in a Relationship

Photo by Sepehr Ehsani 
I was asked to ponder last night an idea of give-and-take in a relationships and friendships.  The idea was that you should put in 90% and expect back only 10%.  Though it seemed like a reasonable heurisitic for tempering expectations and sense of entitlement in relationships, this didn't quite resonate with my approach to relationships.

I responded that I put in 50% of the effort and I expect to receive back 50%, plus interest.  I added that both of us should.  :)  You bring yourself to any relationship and you hope that you end up with more than you started with, otherwise what's the point?

I'm not talking about a tit-for-tat kind of trade of taking turns making sacrifices.  Rather it's a trade in enjoying the experience of the other person, and sometimes their counsel, and sometimes their help in achieving certain tasks.

It may be worth noting that I don't expect to get back what I put in.  Borrowing concepts of money for a moment, what you get back may not be in the same denomination or even the same currency as what you put in. But the crucial principle is that, over the long term, what you get back should be more personally valuable than what you put in.

In a good "trader" relationship, this is true in both directions simultaneously.  No one is poorer for having been part of it on the long term.  Both people end up "richer" and each should feel lucky-as-hell to have the other person in their life.