November 27th, 2014

granada holmes

BBC Sherlock Meta: On Sociopaths, Morality and 'Sherlock'

I finally wrote up some thoughts that have bumping around inside my skull ever since I saw HLV back in January (took me long enough, I know). Basically: are sociopaths and psychopaths -- at least as those words are used on "Sherlock" -- necessarily amoral? Or can someone be a sociopath in the way that show uses the term and still be a good person?

Read it here: On Sociopaths, Morality, and 'Sherlock'

(The short answer to that second question, IMO, is "yes.")

I also talked a lot about philosophy, though some would say abused it. This post started out about 6,000 really pedantic words where I really went into the metaphysics of Aristotelian notions of good (being a good member of a certain class, being morally good, and the connection between the two) and how virtue fit into that whole picture. But it was dry as the milk-jug in 221B and so I cut a lot of that out in the efforts to make it more accessible and also to bring the focus back to the bits of Sherlock I was discussing. What I lost was an in-depth discussion of the philosophical issues, and I may have misrepresented a bit of how philosophers discuss these concepts. I think it works as a fannish discussion, but don't look too hard at what I say Aristotle actually said, or what philosophers mean by moral regret. It's basically true but if I was trying to really talk about those things on their own terms there's a lot more to be said.

(This is the meta equivalent of a fan-artist saying "Okay I've done the best I could but for the love of God don't stare at the left hand for too long." I suppose metaists are allowed to pull that as well. :-D)

Oh, and before I forget: A happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! And a happy Thursday to everyone else.
granada holmes

Things I've Been Reading

... and that I think you might enjoy taking a look at as well:

(1) How Elephant Teeth Taught Scientists Extinction Existed, by Sarah Laskow over at The Atlantic. It's a fascinating bit of scientific history and told with the art of a skillful storyteller. Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.

(2) Just Another Day, by the inimitable solrosan. Sherlock gets into a bit of a strop and people ignore him, but the story isn't about that, not quite. Rather it's about John, Anthea, Mycroft, Lestrade, and back to John: the mundane facts of life involved with getting Sherlock out of trouble and also just going about their day, and how their days kind of interweave together. It's like the Sherlock episode whose title I can never remember, where it's a series of short scene told from different minor characters' POV, where each moment is only tangentially related to the other stories (they link up in tiny details) and it gives this tapestry of life in Springfield as a whole. This story was kind of like that, but for Sherlock. Plus the moments are really quite beautiful, and Sherlock is charmingly impossible without being the true focus.

(3) Jerusalem, by the equally inimitable suitesamba. Set some time post-series three, where Mary is gone but Baby Girl Watson is not, Sherlock has a bit of a personal crisis. A touchingly normal one that all people must face at some point, but I don't want to give it away. It gives Sherlock a chance to be charmingly human and John a chance to be there for him. I'm honestly not sure whether to call this one Johnlock or not; if it is, it's only Johnlock in the sense that making that transition would change precisely nothing about their fundamental relationship, they're that integral to each other already.

(4) How Retirement was Created. Again, precisely what it says on the tin. An interesting look at the history which, as with most of the best things in this life, apparently began with the Germans.

(5) Why Do They Burn Down Their Own Neighborhoods?, on the psychology of rioting in poor neighborhoods. This was a real eye-opener, made a lot of sense and actually moved me to tears at some point.