If there’s one thing we’ve come to learn, it’s that you cannot trust the British Government to get anything right about popular culture (or anything else, really). But the latest bit of genre farce from the halls of Westminster in the UK might just be taking the biscuit for its most ludicrous entry into the culture war so far.
Conservative MP Nick Fletcher — best known for being really bad about trying to fake visits to his own constituents — recently lead a Parliamentary debate for International Men’s Day. You’d think such a thing would be an opportunity British officials to advocate for better mental health support for men (roughly three quarters of the people who died by suicide in the UK in 2020 were male), or anything actually useful instead of it being a cudgel used by clueless people to complain when it’s International Women’s Day. Instead, Fletcher took the chance to rail against so-called-“woke” initiatives, the perceived existence of toxic masculinity, and the greatest threat facing every single man in Britain today: Jodie Whittaker being on Doctor Who.
“Every male character or good role model must have a female replacement… and it’s not just James Bond”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 25, 2021
“Everywhere, not at least within the cultural sphere, there seems to be a call from a tiny, but very vocal minority that every male character or good role model must have a female replacement,” Fletcher mentioned in his comments (via the BBC). “One only needs to look at the discussions about who will play the next James Bond — and it’s not just James Bond. In recent years we’ve seen Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker, the Equaliser, all replaced by women.”
“Men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby,” Fletcher continued, referring to, presumably, the 2015 Tom Hardy movie Legend about the criminal Kray twins, and the BBC period crime drama Peaky Blinders, revolving around crime families in 1900s Birmingham. “Is there any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crime?”
Reader, I too cannot believe that all fictional men have been Thanos snapped, especially the men in Ghostbusters, or Luke Skywalker, who was literally on Television Last Year. Thankfully some of Fletcher’s peers in the debate were just as incredulous as we are about his galaxy-brained correlation. Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodd first told Fletcher she thought she had misheard what he said, before simply adding that issues facing men in the UK were “far more complex” than “who should be the next 007.” After spending much of yesterday being clowned on for the remarks, Fletcher posted a follow-up statement on social media defending his “rather nuanced” argument, adding that “I did not link a Dr Who being female to crime being committed by men,” despite that being a thing he did in fact say. “In fact, I was making a statement that boys and young men also need positive role models within the media, just as women do.”
Oh wherever will they get them? No doubt Fletcher is especially excited to see who turns up in the TARDIS when Whittaker exits Doctor Who next year, as am I, especially to see what crime I will be allowed to get up to should the future Time Lord be female.