“There’s this issue you’re not allowed to discuss: that women are needy. Men can go for longer, more happily, without women. That’s the truth. We don’t, as little boys, play at being married – we try to avoid it for as long as possible. Meanwhile women are out there hunting for husbands.”
Steven Moffat, supposedly, The Scotsman
Why is it that tumblr is always so sloppy in doing its research? It’s like tumblr wants to hate people, to vilify people, to denounce them as sexist, homophobic, racist, etc…like it takes joy in it.
Instead, tumblr, let’s explore the concept of primary and secondary sources and, related to that, reliable sources.
This is a quote from an interview Steven Moffat did with The Scotsman, a British tabloid newspaper. So, is this a primary or a secondary source? It’s a secondary source, we haven’t gone and talked to Moffat himself, and it’s not a direct quote from something he’s written himself. It’s an account of something that he said which has been written down and reported by another person. So, it’s a secondary source…not a primary source…so it now becomes important to assess whether or not that secondary source is also a reliable source. After all, most of the information we get is from secondary sources so there are reliable secondary sources. So, what’s the source here? Oh, yes, it’s a British tabloid newspaper. Can British tabloid newspapers be regarded as reliable sources? Come on, Doctor Who fandom, this one should be easy for you to answer, after all, you’ve all been posting reports from The Sun or myriad other British tabloids about who would definitely, 100%, be the Twelfth Doctor. Did any of them even mention Peter Capaldi? Might that suggest something about the reliability of this secondary source regarding Steven Moffat’s personal opinions when it comes to women?
Oh, but don’t take my word for it, let’s have a quick Google and see if we can find someone authoritative ’s opinion on the reliability of the British tabloid press in this instance. Who do you respect, tumblr? Who do you respect, Doctor Who fandom? How about Neil Gaiman? Personally, I can’t think of a single man on Earth, other than my own father, who I have more respect for. What does he have to say?
“It’s a newspaper interview. Like sausages and the law, you can only respect them if you’ve not seen them being made.” Neil Gaiman.
Seriously, click the link, because Neil talks about his own experiences of being interviewed by The Scotsman and how it resulted in them reporting that he’d accused JK Rowling of ripping him off. Which was the exact opposite of what he’d actually said. Funny that.
Of course, that’s still, technically, a secondary source where this statement and Moffat are concerned, albeit a considerably more reliable one than a British tabloid newspaper. So what does Moffat actually have to say about this quote? After all, doesn’t he get a right to reply to his accusers? Doesn’t he get to defend himself?
So what did he tweet in response to someone calling him a “sexist bastard” on twitter?
When someone else asked him why he was being called sexist he replied, “Cos of an old interview I gave where I was talking about Patrick in Coupling, but it sounded like I was talking about me.” He further clarified to another user, “quoted out of context in the original. I was talking about Patrick in Coupling, not ME!”
The source for that is here.
So what Moffat had been talking about was the character of Patrick’s attitude to women in the sitcom Coupling, not his own opinions. We can only speculate that either the interviewer or the editor decided to “sex up” the interview to make it seem as if Moffat was talking about himself and his opinion of women.
I know some of you want to hate Moffat, and this quote nicely justifies that, but just a few minutes of Googling immediately calls into question the reliability of this quote. Are there issues in his writing that can and should be discussed? Sure. But it seems to me that so many assumptions regarding Moffat and as a result the intentions behind his writing are based upon this quote from this interview, and that is just an extremely shoddy position to hold, intellectually speaking.
And it fascinates me that my dash is regularly filled with hatred and vitriol aimed towards Steven Moffat, while people give writers like Mark Millar, who has genuinely said some seriously hideous things and written some of the most vile, racist, sexist and homophobic stuff, a pass…because Kick Ass is “just a bit of fun”…and Hit Girl is “bad ass”…