The trigger was a scene in which the Doctor (played by Peter Capaldi) plucks out one of his own hairs, and then one from the head of his assistant, Clara (Jenna Coleman), so he can test for the movement of air in a suspiciously still place in which they find themselves - a restaurant in which all the other diners aren't actually breathing, because they are psychotic cyborgs who use the restaurant as a trap for diners, whose body parts they can harvest (oops! Spoilers!)
|Human skin lampshade|
Crox Minor wondered too - she referred in especial to a subsequent scene featuring the sudden appearance of a hot-air balloon whose envelope had been made from human skin. Had anyone complained about that?
After all, there is good evidence that Nazis used the skins of Jews they'd murdered to make lampshades. Indeed, I saw such a lampshade for myself in a small Holocaust memorial in East Jerusalem once, and when I saw it I wondered if it might have been a part of my grandmother. All of which reminds me of the joke about two cats playing tennis and one says to the other 'my Dad's in that racket.'
But I digress.
Not stopping at lampshades, the Nazis are thought to have used the skins of Jews to bind books, and make wallets. I am not sure they'd have stretched (stretched - geddit?) to hot-air balloons, but you can see where this is leading.
Were Crox Minor or I offended by this scene in Dr Who? No, of course we weren't.
Had we plans to rise, self-inflated with indignation, gird ourselves up with quill and umbrage (though perhaps not, in this instance, parchment) and write a letter of complaint to the BBC? No, of course we hadn't.
The appearance of the hot-air balloon made of human skin (lured into that restaurant by cyborgs, remember? Please do try to keep up at the back) did instil a small frisson of revulsion, but no more than Mr Moffat (the writer of that episode) presumably intended. The human-skin balloon came at a distinct beat in the program, and was the zenith and apotheosis of the cyborgian tendency to harvest organs from passers-by. If we picked up a reference to the Holocaust, so much the better to instil in us feelings of horror and disgust. But intended to offend? Absolutely not. The Doctor's use of a ready material - human hair - to pick up the (non-existent) breath of the cyborgs could have been a reference to the title of the episode - 'Deep Breath' - but was obviously not intended to provoke or demean or belittle sufferers from trichotillomania.
The BBC is believed to have taken a position of not responding to this particular complaint - and quite right. We already have warnings prior to broadcasts containing flashing lights (in case it sparks off epilepsy); naughty words (in case adults might be offended at the fruity language already used in the playgrounds frequented by their offspring); people not wearing clothes, or having sex (as if normal bodily functions are anything concerning which we should be ashamed.)
Are programs now to be prefaced with warnings that some scenes involve people plucking out strands of hair, or any other activity linked with a disorder, no matter how obscure, to which a viewer might have raised a concern, however legitimate? Let's not stop there - should scenes of banqueting be prefaced by warnings that they might be offensive to vegetarians? Hunting, that they might offend animal-rights activists? [That wraps it up for Anthony Trollope, then - Ed.]
The kiss (in the same episode) between Madame Vastra -- a lizard alien lady ninja person of the opposite sex -- and her human maid, also a female homogametic anthropoid member of Homo sapiens, has caused conniptions is some quarters of society, mainly because the osculation is between people of the same sex -- though the lack of complaints about bestiality from some quarters might also be telling. The same program also features (though, thankfully, off-camera) a cyborg gouging out the eyeballs of a passer-by. Should we beware of showing such material in case we risk a sudden wave of eyeball-gouging in the population at large?
The drear, dead hand of Political Correctness means that we must be careful not to create, promote or endorse any material which, however slightly, or even unintentionally, might be demeaning or belittling of women, minorities, disabled people and so on, for fear of our being harangued by the sanctimonious, the self-righteous, the arrogantly self-important and the humourless.
What the PC brigade in their puritanical zeal have lost is any sense of proportion, and worse - that their quest for diversity and inclusion might have the opposite effect. Yes, of course, we must do our best not to hurt the feelings of other human beings - such is only common humanity. But to repeatedly hit one over the head with it looks like fundamentalism.
Never mind the cross-species lesbian snogging, if we lived under Sharia law, for example, there'd be no Dr Who, and then the self-elected guardians of PC would have nothing to complain about.