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I'd misplaced my mobile sometime in the last day. This in itself isn't surprising, and there's a reason I opted for the bright-pink case that has nothing to do with recent Sherlock Holmes adaptations. But I woke up from a nap this afternoon to it making noises, but couldn't find it. Turns out it had been on my bed and I'd kicked it off during the night - into the trash bag full of garbage I was rounding up to take downstairs. Eep! I assumed it has just fallen behind the nightstand or something.

But we're having enough rain they issued a flash flood warning, which made my phone beep until I acknowledged it, which is when I found it in the trashbag. Otherwise I would have probably never found it until after I took the trash out which could be a bit not-good. Things like this are why I have phone insurance, but even so. Sometimes I am not the best at adulting.

Anyway, the rain is remarkably beautiful, romantic even, when I don't have to be out in it. Peaceful. Here's a picture from out my window.

That doesn't really do it justice, though if you remember the pictures I've shared of looking out my window at (say) snow-covered roofs when there wasn't anything actively falling, it does give you an idea. For the full effect, though, video is required.

That's just the sound of the rain through a window; my air conditioner was off at the time. It was around that point that I started wondering if we had empty honeypots to weather the storm in, and if they'd be necessary. The name Sun-day certainly seems a misnomer. :-)

In other (more fannish) news, over at Tumblr, Natka asked me what my favorite Sherlock scene was a while ago. This is a particularly difficult question because I love this show (for all its faults, and particularly the first two series) for so many different ways. There are funny moments and philosophical moments and heartwrenching moments and wonderful-dialogue moments and why-don't-you-just-kiss-already moments and Mycroft moments (because he gets a category all his own) and just ... everything moments, really. But maybe because I'm going on interviews when I have to talk about my academic past or maybe because school's starting in the US I'm thinking more about the moments that made me fall in love with Sherlock as a philosopher. At its heart I think what speaks to me is the way this show asks philosophical questions and frames them in a consciously philosophical way (Sherlock's brain is really quite good for this), but Sherlock lacks the emotional connection and appreciation of something beyond logic to always see the answer in convincingly human ways. Which allows for genuine dialectic in a way I don't think Socrates quite managed.

So I finally settled on talking about the above scene from "The Great Game," where I think Sherlock finally frames one of the show's fundamental questions for me, specifically, "Should we care about people even if it's not an advantage?" And this has me thinking about (spoilers...) Mary's shooting of Sherlock in "His Last Vow" in a new way. I still want to flesh this out, but the ninety-second version is that Mary is operating like Sherlock on steroids. Even assuming she doesn't want him dead (which I believe but I know would need arguing or at least stipulating), Mary took a big risk by cornering CAM in a situation where some innocent (Janine, for instance) could just walk in like that. Once you're in the moment there may not be a better way out, but the thing Sherlock keeps coming back to is, did you take an unjustifiable risk that perhaps painted you into the corner. And Sherlock's behavior over the first two series is escalating in that way: not just arresting the cabbie in ASIP, letting the old lady stay with Moriarty in TGG, actually engaging Moriarty directly at the end of TGG/ASIB, and most noticeably putting himself in a position where he'd have to fake his own death and let John grieve for him. These are actions that in that moment, what else could he have done and the actions that led up to it make a certain amount of sense but also ignore the potential to box him in. It seems like there's a real similarity in what Sherlock is doing throughout those first series and what Mary does in HLV, or at least that they exist on the same continuum, and it seems to me that maybe Mary's shooting makes more sense thematically if we view it not as the action of a villain opposing him but as an extreme that Sherlock is increasingly veers toward and really, really needs to avoid.

Which doesn't excuse her actions. Quite the contrary - I think it shows why she's wrong in a way that also makes sense why Sherlock is wrong in the beginning and needs to grow into something better, and also (since Sherlock is growing, I think) why Sherlock is a more healthy match for John than Mary is. Take that in the sense of non-romantic, platonic soulmates if you prefer.

Anyway, that's more a promissory note than anything, and a chance to kind of flesh out the thoughts rolling around in my head. It needs to be fleshed out, obviously. But I have been thinking a good bit about it lately and it seemed worth taking a first stab at kinda-sorta explaining it so I can maybe get it down in some form outside my skull one of these days.

PS - An interesting meta on the opposite viewpoint, that Mary really meant to kill Sherlock: here. This is mostly so I'll be able to find it if i ever sit down to write this up in a more structured way, but I think some of you might find it interesting. One of the more well-thought-out approaches to this issue, and while I don't accept some of her premises so I'm not really convinced, I definitely think this falls into the category of "worthy opposition."


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2014 01:20 am (UTC)
I love that scene. :) and I agree that Mary and Sherlock have a lot in common -- my personal take is that the reason Sherlock is so quick to forgive Mary in HLV is because he can see himself in her. And that doesn't necessarily make Mary a "good guy" -- it rather suggests that Sherlock knows himself to be quite a bit not good, just like her. In certain ways, at least.

One thing that I find fascinating and bold about this show is that, as they present Sherlock as this (largely) unemotional, calculating machine, they also show that he is *right* -- at least in some sense. In ASiP, when Sherlock says "why would she be thinking about her daughter?" and everyone in the room is so shocked at his inhumanity. But Sherlock is absolutely right, there: not only is his logic impeccable, his understanding of the workings of the human heart is actually *better* than that of everyone around him. The Pink Lady was *not* thinking about her still-born daughter in her dying moments, she was leaving them her password.

And in ASiB, when Sherlock points out that love is a chemical defect found in the losing side -- again, he's absolutely correct, and it's what allows him to defeat Adler. With Janine, love is a "human error", and so it is for her. And in TGG scene above, Sherlock is perfectly right to point out "not much cop, this caring lark." John's empathy for the victims makes him angry with Sherlock, which makes him unwilling to help Sherlock, which can only hurt the victims. (Plus I think Sherlock, if he were more of a dick, might correctly observe that John's empathy is basically selfish -- he feels it quite keenly that Sherlock doesn't care about the victims, because he interprets that to mean that Sherlock is incapable of caring about *him*. I think that's a major subtextual thread to the episode -- the two of them are sort of quarreling through the whole episode, and the underlying tension between them is, does Sherlock care about John? John's getting to the point where it will be too painful to keep putting up with Sherlock if John's tenderness toward him is completely unreciprocated. [but of course it isn't, as John learns in the pool scene.]) Plus the earlier TGG scene:

JOHN (switching the phone off): Try and remember there’s a woman here who might die.
SHERLOCK: What for?
(He looks up at John.)
SHERLOCK: This hospital’s full of people dying, Doctor. Why don’t you go and cry by their bedside and see what good it does them?

Again, Sherlock's logic here is absolutely justified. He's right! There's no reason John should care so extravagantly about these specific victims when he is literally surrounded by people who are dying. In fact, I would go one further than Sherlock and say John logically would be more useful caring for the people dying of more ordinary problems -- as a trained doctor, he might actually be able to do them some real good. What good is he doing Moriarty's victims? All he's doing in the lab is annoying and distracting Sherlock.

I think it would have been easier, lazier, and far more conventional for the writers to paint Sherlock as consistently *wrong* because of his emotional remove. That would have flattered the audience -- we could all have taken comfort in the fact that, while we might not be mega geniuses like Sherlock, at least we can feel. I think it was braver and more interesting to show that Sherlock is largely correct in eschewing sentiment in favor of logic. And indeed, as Sherlock gradually becomes more emotionally open and vulnerable, it is *always* a liability. Every time he finds himself painted into a corner and forced to make a bad choice, it is because he has allowed sentiment to get the better of him.

(It occurs to me that you might be interested in this article I read recently on the reasons why empathy is a poor basis for moral behavior. I think in a lot of ways, Sherlock (the show) is building the same argument.)

Sep. 1st, 2014 01:20 am (UTC)
HOWEVER, there is also another theme at play here -- a counterpoint. Because while in an immediate sense, Sherlock is right that caring will not help Moriarty's victims, in a larger sense he is horrifyingly wrong. Because the *whole reason* Moriarty is putting on this show and putting these people in danger is to amuse Sherlock. Sherlock's emotional remove means he see the cases in TGG as puzzles for him to play with, which Moriarty understands and feeds. If Sherlock saw the cases as the horror shows they actually are, he would not be so amused by them, and Moriarty wouldn't have bothered with the whole game in the first place. So ultimately, Sherlock really is culpable.

sorry, you must be really sick of me going on at such outrageous length in response to all your entries. it's only that your posts always give me such interesting food for thought!
Sep. 1st, 2014 02:54 am (UTC)
sorry, you must be really sick of me going on at such outrageous length in response to all your entries

Hardly! It's just that your answers give me a lot to think about in return. It's clear that you're really giving a lot of thought which is hugely flattering, and your comments in urn make me want to mull over what you say.

... The problem being that by the time I've done the mulling it seems I never get back to actually respond. Lack of drive, lack of focus, just plain worn-out-edness. Something. But your thoughts end up bumping around inside my skull and usually shaping my own. I find them fascinating. I just feel bad I'm not doing more replying to you in turn, but please don't think it's lack of interest or that I don't want what you're offering! I'm just for whatever reason not good at replying to them, but I love reading them.
Sep. 1st, 2014 03:16 am (UTC)
ah no, don't feel bad. I understand. but I am glad to hear that some of my ideas have insinuated their way into your thoughts. :)
Sep. 1st, 2014 01:31 am (UTC)
I'm sooooooooo envious of your rain! It's been so long since we've had any, I barely remembered what it sounds like.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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