Is There A Doctor In The House?

So, Matt Smith, huh? If you're not a Whovian you probably don't know who he is. In fact, if you're not a Whovian you probably don't know what a Whovian is.

Matt Smith replaced David Tennant as the Doctor on the longest running, and best, science fiction show in the world, Doctor Who.

Tennant, who is ranked by most as the greatest Doctor of them all, grew on me but slowly. Smith, a virtual unknown, I loved from the get-go. The very first episode was incredible. From fish fingers and custard to the most terrifying threat ever--"Basically... run"--it was all gold. And the sheer genius of an actor who is the youngest ever to play the part--28--who manages, more than most, to project those nine centuries of life out of the screen is just breathtaking.

And now I've seen the entirety of Smith's first season I have to say it just got better. Karen Gillan as Amy Pond is equal parts gorgeous, heroic and sympathetic. The stories are as deep and convoluted and satisfying as ever. Even the new TARDIS interior is pretty good. Okay, now I need to go buy another prop replica sonic screwdriver, but that's a small price to pay, I feel.

Two thumbs up.


Faith In Fashion

Remember, not so long ago, that it was the done thing to be all new-age-y and talk about 'homeopathy' and 'alternative' medicines? It was fashionable to pretend to be a vegetarian, buy anything with the word 'herbal' on the bottle, and eschew leather shoes for sandals made out of hemp.

Of course, after that came Kabbalah, which consisted of pretending to know what 'kabbalah' was and trying bits of red string around your wrist.

And now, it seems, we're on the downswing of Wicca. Modern Wiccans (generally referred to as 'fluffwiccans' or 'wikkans' in print) have little in common with traditional Wicca. Modern Wicca consists mainly of buying books by someone with an incredibly pretentious and excitingly dark name*, dressing like an escapee from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, telling people that you're a Wiccan as loudly and as often as possible, and pretending to understand what 'harmony' and 'balance' mean in respect of your hastily adopted religion. Once in a while you might want to light a pre-dribbled candle and place it on a fake skull, just to maintain proper witch-cred.

No, I didn't write this post to bash Wiccans (but then, what would they do about it if I had? Cast a spell at me?) nor to talk about those who select their religion from the pages of a fashion magazine. No, I wanted to share with you a nightmare.

See, sooner or later the people who treat religion as a fashion accessory are going to find their eyes caught by atheism. Yeah, atheism's not a religion. I know that and, I hope, you're smart enough to know that, but bear with me.

Atheism has many of the features that the religion-as-fashion-statement crowd look for:

It's likely to annoy the heck out of your parents, coworkers, friends and generally anyone you meet, which means you can think of yourself as dark and edgy.

It's not liked by the establishment nor the religious right.

It's not actually necessary to truly believe in anything.

There's no church (or equivalent) to attend when you'd rather be having a lay-in.

There's many books on the subject you can buy and fill your bookshelves with.

It's quite easy to be loud and in-your-face about it, with t-shirts, bumper stickers and jewelry.

There's money to be made from the t-shirts, bumper stickers and jewelry.

There's no required clothing, jewelry, or dietary prejudices, yet you may freely adopt any you wish and you don't have to give up a single thing you don't want to.

The list goes on. The point is, fellow atheists, they will find us sooner or later. Sooner or later a Hollywood starlet will opine "I believe in God, but I'm an atheist" and, at that point, there's not much left to do but head for the treeline. Our cries of dismay and challenge will fall on deaf ears.

But forewarned is forearmed, so maybe we can prepare. The children and our slower members might be able to find sanctuary in some religion until they leave. I hear that Unitarians are pretty open, and there's always Buddhism. For the rest of us, though, there's little hope. We'll have to endure the eyerolls and smirks, the sighs and knowing nods, as people judge us as trendy atheists.

Here's hoping that the religion-fashion victims find something else and miss us this time.

*For both first and last name, randomly select at least two words from the following list: dark, claw, silver, night, wolf, storm, child, moon, raven, crow, paw, tail, star, mage, spell.