The Ten O’Clock News: Enduring Legacies and Other Less Pretentious Ideas

I realised over the course of this evening that today is fifty years since JFK’s assassination, fifty years since the first Doctor Who episode and three years since Danger Days was released.

I was first going to do a post about JFK and how he’s become an icon, then about JFK and Doctor Who and how they’ve both become – very different – icons, and then I remembered Danger Days and how that’s already legendary, but probably is so because I was there when it happened.

I mean, the Kennedys are like America’s royal family, and everyone knows the old “what happened in Dallas on 22nd November 1963? Don’t know, wasn’t watching it then” joke/quiz show answer. People know where they were when it happened and everyone has a theory about Lee Harvey Oswald, etc. etc. Stephen King’s written a book about stopping it, G Way wrote a comic about ensuring it – President Kennedy seems to have become an idea more than a person in many ways.

Doctor Who has kind of defined science fiction, British television and eccentric dress sense over the past five decades, and since the Internet has attracted as many, ah, enthusiasts as JFK. Everyone has an opinion on the writing, the acting, the regenerations, the best Doctor (David Tennant, for the record), the scariest ever villain (gas mask children or weeping angels, for the record). It’s always been there and hopefully will keep being there, because it’s excellent. I have no idea what’s going on about seventy per cent of each episode, but it’s fun, and funny, and one of the few things I’m proud is British. Plus the TARDIS is up there with Hermione’s beaded bag on my list of fictional things I’d like to play with. It’s a thing, you know, as opposed to a TV show.

Danger Days might be my favourite MCR record. It’s bright and loud and dirty and colourful, and the concept is so, so clever. Danger Days is a world which started with Art is the Weapon and has continued through the videos and shows into the comics. Well it technically started with a comic and evolved into a record and went from there… my point is, it’s tangible. It’s believable too, because we aren’t all that far from nuclear war or semi-permanent medication (I got a badge at the Freud Museum in the summer that says “In the future, art will be taken as pills”). The storylines in the comics are relevant today – I don’t want to give away spoilers, but Red and Blue’s situation is real, and so is that really irritating Party Poison-imitating dude whose name escapes me. The corporate clean-up’s in our faces.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my gushing about Danger Days is similar to what people are gushing about Doctor Who and JFK on other sites, today and over the past fifty years. For some people, JFK in terms of history and legacy and political meaning is what they’re passionate about. For some it’s Doctor Who. For me it’s MCR shit. Everyone has a thing, you know, and sometimes it’s hard to explain it to other people. But I think it’s important that we have them, and reflect upon them when the time is right.

What’s yours?!

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