Superhero Winemakers Part 2: Jason Lett is Doctor Who
“It’s a straw fedora. I wear a fedora now. Fedoras are cool.”
click on comic to enlarge
The thing about good sci-fi is there are no mere coincidences. Life changing moments occur because it was crucial to the fabric of space-time that your life be changed, and some space-time fabric mastermind is working to ensure you have the encounter necessary to generate your all-compelling epiphany that is going to instigate you changing that life of yours. In this way, sci-fi fascinates by treating what we often take as mundane as instead purposefully intended. Else wise, we walk a different path through history.
And So, Doctor Who
Enter Doctor Who. BBC’s Time Lord stands as the ultimate geek-out intellectual superhero saving the universe again and again as the last man of mystery able to do so. He regularly puts his life on the line for the sake of the greater good, while repeatedly figuring out how to save his bacon in the midst of that universe saving conundrum. His superhero antics do not include a cape, but instead pose him as an otherwise everyman complete with massive encyclopedic knowledge, and a supersonic fix-all screwdriver (See Lett’s breast pocket above).
In Doctor Who’s world there are moments in history that are fixed. That is, they cannot occur otherwise lest the universe itself collapse in on itself. These fixed points in space-time are few, but in their essence define fundamental aspects of what it is to be of this universe, whether we as humans recognize those moments’ importance or not.
Behold Eyrie Vineyards. Thanks to its place in beginning a worldwide regarded wine region, and thus also helping to transform not only how we understand U.S. wine making potential, but also what cultural-economic possibilities underlie an entire region, Doctor Who understands Eyrie Vineyards, and thus also the Lett family, as one of these fixed (that is, crucially required) moments in human history. (Wow, that was a long sentence.)
The Eyrie Episodes: The Willamette Intervention: Part One: A Good Man Goes To Wine
In part one of The Eyrie Episodes we are stuck at a crucial moment in the fabric of space-time. Our beloved Doctor Who must ensure that young David Lett makes his way to first learn about the powers of wine making, second convince his parents it is the right choice, and third discover the beauty and grape growing rightness of the Willamette Valley.
As our episode begins, Jason Lett, as Doctor Who, exits the Tardis in pre-wine era Dundee Hills, Oregon. The hills are rolling green. The climate is cool, lightly moist from morning fog, and the sun is rising through the mist casting rays of golden light across the tall hawk dotted trees. He takes a deep breath and smiles. In moments a man is going to come walking over the crest of the nearby green with a small soil scoop in hand. Doctor Who will talk with him, encourage him to look up into the trees and see the hawks, and in doing so the man will be struck by the landscape and decide to dig into the earth right there.
In this moment we glimpse a crucial element of Doctor Who–he carries more connection to the person being importantly directed than that person realizes. The Doctor’s encounter (with his own father in this multi-layered sci-fi moment) is known as valuable in advance by the Doctor, while only recognized later by the person being helped.
Flash Forward (though backwards from our own human perspective in time):
A couple is waiting for their son to return home from a road trip to California. He’s told them he has a new idea to discuss. Little do they know, their boy wants to take up wine making, having met wine maker Lee Stewart, himself doing interesting things in wine.
Enter Doctor Who. Casually starting conversation with the couple discussions of the potential of wine making in the New World is mentioned. UC Davis has a good program. etc. A seed is planted. The Lett parents, without realizing it, consider wine in a new way. Though not thrilled, when young David tells them of his plans they are now more open to the suggestion.
The Eyrie Episodes: The Willamette Intervention Part Two: Time For Dundee
The phantom enemy that must be fought in part two of The Eyrie Episodes includes both dreaded vine diseases that can ruin a vineyard, and the dregs of economic crisis. With his cunning wit and smart humor, Jason Lett as Doctor Who recognizes the power of a diverse and dynamic vineyard to keep pests at bay, and costs down. The fight is won (though not till episode end after much tension, humor, and British style brilliance)!
As the episode begins, we return to the place on the hill beneath the hawk nests. Jason Lett as Doctor Who is standing in the morning sun appreciating the view. This time the hills are planted with established vines that were not present before. The second generation of Eyrie winemakers tend the fruit, bringing into tradition a young next generation as well. Here Black Cap wines are also grown, Jason Lett’s own label. Thus, takes hold not only an Eyrie dynasty, but also a leader in establishing a celebration of wine making in the United States arising from the wealth of the land, climate, and fruit itself.
Why Jason Lett as Doctor Who? The truth is originally my thought was that Jason Lett is who Spiderman becomes when he finally grows comfortable with his suit. Spiderman carries a strong commitment to family and tradition, while switching up how he will live his own life at the same time. He’s everyman likeable, with handsome smart guy charm, while also totally devoted to the woman (and by Jason Lett years children too) he loves. He appreciates his privacy, and will follow through on what he knows is right. Spiderman faces his challenges with steadiness and conviction.
At the same time, I couldn’t help but follow an intuition that’s harder to describe–Jason Lett somehow feels like Matt Smith as Doctor Who to me. Similarly, Matt Smith’s Doctor Who is everyman likeable, with handsome smart (and tall) guy charm, also devoted to the health of his companion, Amy, and the love of his River Song. He wants the committed family life, but as a Time Lord struggles to have it. He ensures that moments in space-time be done right, and is committed to the tradition of his people while finding ways to follow through in his own good sense. Further, both Matt Smith’s Doctor Who, and Jason Lett are known for their dry humor.
(Incidentally, Doctor Who rarely wears a hat but during the Matt Smith years has a penchant for trying them out. Jason Lett, from what I can tell through pictures online, often wears a hat.)
The thing that clinched the Doctor Who portrait was Jason Lett tweeting in response to my Spiderman suggestion, saying to me instead that his wife took him to be Doctor Who (while he took himself to be Doctor Terrible–oh the joking!), and his kids were looking forward to whatever comic I came up with. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough that this one bit of my intuition agreed with Jason’s good wife, but was happy to discover it so. As such, this comic is dedicated to to all the Letts. I hope you enjoy!
Next week we’ll look at some other good wines of the Willamette Valley.
To read more on Eyrie Vineyards see my previous post on their wines and story:
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