Shut Up, Doctor!

Stacy Embry commands your silence...

I've always had one weakness... I can't listen to the phrase "SHUT UP" without wanting to slap the person saying it! As long as I can remember, even into my classroom today, that phrase is my Achilles Heel. See in my mind it takes me to a playground, and hearing five year old's shouting it back and forth whilst getting higher and louder. "YOU shut up", "No, you SHUT UP!!" etc...

And now, from his first full episode in season eight and throughout, the 12th Doctor is repeating it.  The phrase has gotten more and more prevalent, and it's even infected other characters. We've had Clara's stone cold delivery at the end of Kill The Moon, then Dark Water began with her repeatedly telling Danny to "Shut up!". In Last Christmas Shona got in on the act and instructed the 'big man in red' to "Shut up!" Not to be outdone Santa even delivered a "Shut up, Doctor!" Really? It's infected Father Christmas too?

To me, shut up is an insult. It means only the speaker has something worth hearing, and anyone else who's talking is just making noise. But when delivered by the 12th Doctor it's not an insult. Well it is a slap across the proverbial face, but he is working something out when he, in his own way, asks you to turn off the sound. Because, after all, the 12th Doctor actually IS the one worth hearing.

Why this pattern with Capaldi? I know his regality puts him above us, and unlike Smith who used it to show his weakness (yes my adoration for 11 is the cross I bear), Peter Capaldi has made his Time Lord, at best, diffident. At worst? Imperious. And, we like him for it! We like it when he corrects us, instructs us, draws a line in the sand telling Santa that scientific explanations are off limits for him to share.

I've never seen "The Thick Of It", and I now refuse to watch it as I've grown quite fond of Capaldi as 12, but I understand it's migrated, in an adapted form, from a famous phrase his character used there.

"Shutty.... shutty up up up...", as best used in Time Heist, is a new thinking-out-loud mechanism that feels addictive.

So I propose, for 2015, join me as I'm going to start saying "shut up" when I need a moment of mental focus. I will make this adjustment into a social experiment and see how long it takes someone to really become offended. On any given day I may have 20 students shouting "Ms Embry" on top of each other to ask questions, tell me stories, or just attempt to bond. So, as an educator it would establish my authority to lay a series of "shut ups" on my students, would it not?

Or maybe we should leave it to the Doctor and Clara? They seem to be the experts knowing when/and how to use it. The ability to think out loud has been a hallmark of all regenerations, but Capaldi is a managing Doctor... an actor not a reactor. Common wisdom for acting instructors has us teaching that acting is reacting, but I'm quite enjoying seeing it turned upside down in a master class by Peter Capaldi (and Jenna Coleman of course).

But just once, let me try it...
"shut up. Shut up! SHUT UP!!!"
Gosh, that felt good.
But its way too much power for a mere mortal. Wouldn't you agree?

Risk adverse, Stacy would never even enter the TARDIS, but admires those who do. Happily watching and writing from the distance of Indiana, USA. She enjoys writing and discussing her observations and critiques.
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