Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sherlock - "The Abominable Bride"; why reviews and viewer reactions as described in The Telegraph online are deplorable (How's that for a 19th c. title?)

Following the New Years airing of the Sherlock Christmas special, articles appeared in The Telegraph online, entitled "Sherlock's suffragette 'mansplaining' irks Abominable Bride viewers" and "Sherlock's 'mansplaining' wasn't the worst thing about The Abominable Bride". The latter doesn't need to have it pointed out that it came after the former - the article merely feeds on the general theme of the first - in effect, it just piles on in a TV critic form of one more kid jumping on top of a playground dog pile. It can be dismissed as both vacuous and pitiable. The only item of note is the poll question at the bottom of the page which asks "Was the suffragette in Sherlock a good idea?", for which the responses were "Yes, it's brilliant to have women's rights portrayed on TV" and "No, it was badly done", sadly and unsurprisingly, neither of these sentences actually pertain to the episode, but I include it to illustrate how idiotic this presentation was and will leave it at that.

The first article we'll take a look at. Dismissing the first paragraph as a lead in, the second quotes Reddit users who support the slant of the article. How many did or didn't, it doesn't say.

The third, forth, and fifth paragraphs are just a recap of the story having to do with the suffragettes in question. While the sixth, as quoted here in full -
While the incongruous segment may have been well-intentioned – Sherlock co-creator Stephen Moffat has been accused of sidelining female characters and storylines in Sherlock and his other show, Doctor Who – there were problems with the delivery, which was almost entirely done through a male character.
First, Doctor Who? if you've been watching any DW involving Amy Pond or Clara Osward then you know that the character of Amy has been a huge part of any arc that she's been in and to say that of Clara is just ridiculous - she was in the fore and became the pivot of the last arcs before Jenna Coleman left the series. While Sherlock is centered around Sherlock Holmes - and he is indeed male (*newsflash*). 

And then it goes on. "For one, the incident was historically inaccurate..."


"Well Of Course It Was!" I want to yell. Why? It's happening in Sherlock's mind. I mean, what the hell do you expect?? Even if you aren't a fan of the original stories, "Sherlock" has made reference to the fact that Sherlock doesn't have any information about anything other that what is pertinent to crime solving:

From the original stories, in A Study in Scarlet, Watson makes a list of his evaluation, then, of what Holmes knows and doesn't know:
  1. Knowledge of Literature.—Nil.
  2.                      Philosophy.—Nil.
  3.                      Astronomy.—Nil.
  4.                      Politics.—Feeble.
  5.                      Botany.—Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.
  6.                      Geology.—Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them.
  7.                     Chemistry.—Profound.
  8.                     Anatomy.—Accurate, but unsystematic.
  9.                    Sensational Literature.—Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.
  10. Plays the violin well.
  11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.
  12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.
This translates in the series to the fact that Sherlock doesn't keep track of anything that he can't use in the solving crime (cf."The Great Game" where it is mentioned - more than once - that Sherlock doesn't know that the earth revolves around the sun - and then again his lack of astronomical knowledge is highlighted near the end, albeit in a strangled sort of way).

This lack of - to him - "unnecessary" information surely includes general history, It's a safe bet that this would include the history of the suffragette movement.

So. By saying the episode was historically inaccurate, what you're saying is that in a scene in an episode which takes place in the mind of Sherlock Holmes - someone who we can safely assume that that doesn't know anything about history that doesn't bear on the process of crime solving (certainly including the history of women's franchise) - is historically inaccurate...

...I do not have the words.

It defies all reason.


The following paragraph:

Furthermore, suffragettes never wore Ku Klux Klan-style hoods. Rather, [Emmiline] Pankhurst was known for the wide-brimmed style sported by women in the early 20th century.
Well, of course they didn't. But we're talking about a drug-fueled dream of Sherlock's, where the suffragettes are merely a backdrop for Emelia Ricoletti - the thing that provides context to Ricoletti's death. What does Sherlock know about secret societies in the nineteenth century? Enough to know that they would sometimes send a message using  pips ("Some secret societies used to send dried melon seeds. Orange pips. Things like that." (The Great Game)) as a warning. Other than that? One would reasonably posit, "Not much". Certainly not the style of hat someone from history preferred who wasn't a mass poisoner.

The other thing wrong with this is that they are *not* wearing KKK hoods. If Sherlock knows about secret societies to know that sometimes they would use orange pips for message sending, it seems like he'd know enough about the Klan from researching secret/hooded/anonymous groups to pick up on the fact the rank and file wear white robes. Since the rank and file suffragettes attending the meeting were wearing robes in other-colors-besides-white, it seems unreasonable to equate their costuming with Klan robes.

Rather, they were what more closely resemble robes of another hooded group: penitents. such as those in Christian traditions such as the Semana Santa in Seville.

(The tweets in question mentioned specifically KKK suits, hoods, or hats. I had subsequently messaged the tweeters with a link to a page featuring the penitents' hoods, the capirotes. Two of which responded with 'we know the difference between the one and the other and the reference in the episode was to the pips which was from the KKK' in the original story. I then pointed out that these specific hoods weren't Klan hoods (the Klan being alive and well - not to mention familiar - in the American South and on the Internet, cf. the article in USA Today from 2014 about two Florida cops being fired when their Klan affiliation was discovered also the ADL website) and asked why they specifically linked the costumes to the klan. Neither of these tweeters have responded as of this writing.)

At this point Sherlock would walk by, glance up, pause, and then label these Telegraph writers 'Idiots' and walk on. 

I wouldn't argue.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bound (Enterprise S04E17)

I'm currently watching Enterprise on Netflix - I never watched all of them when they were on the air. I finally hit "Bound" (the Orion slave girl episode). Unfortunately, after watching this:

 Link to Amazon

I see this:

And I expect Old Gregg to pop up behind them.


Noel Fielding has a lot to answer for.