Category Archives: Captions

Sherlock Holmes Is Not A Drug Addict, Watson

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes sneering in A Study in Pink

“Physically or mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects is the definition of addicted. Why can’t people just think?”

There’s a charming review of BBC Sherlock on FlickeringMyth.com entitled Late to the Show — Sherlock you might want to read. I’m particularly impressed with how he manages to review the series without any spoilers.

The author does, however, consistently make the mistake of referring to Sherlock Holmes opium addiction. Sherlock Holmes never took opium in any of the stories or incarnations. He did take seven percent solution of cocaine from time to time. And  the only time Sherlock ever takes morphine, in the actual stories, is when he is received a serious injury requiring stitches. In fact, using any or all of the standard definitions of addiction, the only thing Sherlock Holmes appears to have an addiction to is solving crime.  Lack of interesting cases has the deleterious affect on Holmes, not his drug use. He may not even have an addiction to nicotine, if we use the stories as evidence!

Which is why I want to nail this “Sherlock Holmes was a drug addict” myth with a Buffy-sized stake through the heart (or double-barreled blast to the head of all the Sherlock Addiction Zombies, if you prefer).

Why Sherlock Holmes Is Not, Nor Has Ever Been, A Drug Addict

Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse dependency consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.
Wikipedia

Ad•dict•ed/Ad•dic•tion: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful
Merriam-Webster

addicted – compulsively or physiologically dependent on something habit-forming; “she is addicted to chocolate”; “addicted to cocaine”
The Free Dictionary

(sorry my OED is boxed up at the moment)

Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson in BBC Sherlock looking skeptical.

Exactly how many nicotine patches are you wearing right now, Sherlock?

Note that all of these definitions refer to a dependence and most refer to an adverse or harmful result. Sherlock Holmes does not show a dependency upon any drug, even nicotine, at any time in any story. He is perfectly capably of going for long periods of time, when on a case, without so much as a cigarette or pipe. If anything, he seems more adversely affected by lack of tea. (But, of course, he is British and it is Victorian England). Dr. John Watson repeatedly mentions that the use of a seven percent solution of cocaine is taken only when Sherlock is between cases. In the very first story, A Study in Scarlet, we have this description of Sherlock by Dr. Watson:

“Nothing could exceed his energy when the working fit was upon him: but now and again a reaction would seize him, and for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night. On these occasions I have noticed such a dreamy, vacant expression in his eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of some narcotic, had not the temperance and cleanliness of his whole life forbidden such a notion.” [Emphasis mine]

From the beginning of their relationship, Dr. Watson notes that Sherlock Holmes is not an addict, nor does he have the personal habits or behaviour of an addict. In The Sign of the Four, Sherlock does his masterful deductions about Dr. Watson’s watch being previous owned by Watson’s brother who was an alcoholic while high on cocaine. Sherlock uses the deductions to demonstrate that the cocaine has not dulled his wits.

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BBC Sherlock Season 3 Guide and Guesses

Last Update: 08 January, 2014

As we get more information, hints, teasers, rumours, sightings, and so forth, I’m going to update and fine-tune my guesses.

And for those who don’t want any spoilers, you might want to go look at something else. There are some nice fanfic or captions or videos you can amuse your self with.
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Gatiss and Moffat, Who’s Your Favourite Child?

A series of shots with Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock Holmes and Matt Smith as Dr. Who competing for popularity

Well, this could be a bit awkward.

In case you’ve missed the news, both Sherlock and Dr. Who, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith, are going head to head in the National Television Awards competition. The winners will be announced on 23 January, 2013. I confess as much as I like Matt Smith and The Doctor from time to time (no pun intended), I’m rooting for Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch (although, I have some friends who are in a real fehklumpt (I was going to use “feshmeckle” but can’t find out how to spell it correctly in Yiddish), because they are true fans of both the shows and the men).

My reasons for supporting Sherlock are beautifully explained in a Los Angeles Times article for which I’ll simply include the following excerpt:

For the generations of men who have wondered what it is women want, this year has made it fairly obvious. We want a man of devastating intelligence, cerebrally and physically nimble, whose vast store of arcane knowledge is foundation for a super-human ability to solve problems and the fascinating, frustrating wall that protects a tender heart.

We want Sherlock Holmes.

Does Sherlock Look Happy?

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock looking serious and arrogant as someone

What do you mean my Christmas gift was also my birthday gift?

Ooh, you are in trouble now. People with late December and early January birthdays hate combined gifts! Trust me/ (I have a friend born on Christmas Day and you’d better make certain there are two gifts and one isn‘t wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper…)

For those who don’t know, Sherlock Holmes birthday has traditionally been listed as 6 January, 1854. The date of 6 January was never actually specified by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the canon, however, through a bit of specious logic, the Baker Street Irregulars members agreed upon the date and hold an annual party in celebration. As for the year, Sherlock Holmes centennial was celebrated in 1987, the year he first appeared in print, however in the story His Last Bow, set in August 1914, Sherlock is said to be 60-years old which would mean he was born in 1854. There’s a nice little piece about all of this in the New York Times, along with the argument that Sherlock’s birthday should be 2 December because that is Dr. Joseph Bell’s birthday (the actual man on whom Sherlock Holmes is based).

Personally, I like the 6 January because it is the 12th Day of Christmas known as Epiphany (celebrating the arrival of the Magi or Wise Men with their gifts for the 3-year old Jesus; which is why my family did not put out the Wise Men in the Nativity until 6 January). I like the idea that Sherlock was born on Epiphany which means  a moment of sudden revelation or insight. So very Sherlock!

The Seattle Sherlock Holmes fans seem to agree with a gathering on the traditional 6 January and will be gathering this Sunday for celebration (and more than a bit of fun). I look forward to seeing some of you there.

I’d hoped to get something extraordinary done to post for Sherlock’s Birthday, but work is interfering so I may be running a bit late. Meanwhile, everyone should plan on celebrating one of the world’s most beloved fictional characters in an appropriate style (I will, however, eschew the often suggested 3 pipes of tobacco or 7% solution in favor of some bubbly (perhaps not a case) and some good reading and viewing.)

May your New Year be filled with Health, Happiness, Joy, Peace, Prosperity and Plenty of Sherlock Holmes!

 

We Warned You About Being Naughty, Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock Holmes in bed looking groggy; text reads: John, last night is a bit fuzzy. Did I get lost in my mind palace?

That’s what you get for letting John fix your drinks. Payback for Baskerville!

There will be something fresh on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I’m desperately working away to finish both (this is worse than promising handmade gifts to family and friends).

A Big Shout Out Thank You to TrickyBonMot at Tumblr (Jenny Jo) for the wonderful BBC Sherlock Christmas Card treat of some lovely fanfic. You can read her Sherlockian Carol here at AO3. I’ve also reblogged it at sherlockcares.tumblr.com.

Meanwhile, there’s news on the RDJ Sherlock Holmes front. Apparently, the script for movie #3 is being ironed out, but there will definitely be a movie #3 with Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. reprising their roles. They do have lovely chemistry together, although it’s rather explosive (double entendre intended). The current word is that the filming will be somewhere we haven’t been yet, so not strictly set in London.

Oh, and I should mentioned that I opened one of my Christmas gifts early and found out a friend had sent me the set of Baring-Gould Annotated Sherlock Holmes, so I’m having a very hard time concentrating on everything I else I need to do before Tuesday. Thank you, BE Warne (she has several sites including West Wing and House fandoms).

 

My Christmas Wish Letter to Santas Gatiss, Moffat and Vertue and Team Sherlock

Louise Brealey as Molly Hooper in BBC Sherlock; text reads: I wish I could be Naughty with Sherlock this Christmas. Did I just say that out loud?

‘Fraid so, Molly. Easy on the Holiday Spirit. But don’t worry, it’s no where near as embarrassing as what some folks post on Tumblr and Twitter.

All I Want For Christmas

Dear Santa Sherlock (aka Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue & Team Sherlock),

I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need (this isn’t going where you think it’s going, by the way). All I want for Christmas is for you to go through Season 3 Sherlock scripts with a magnifying lens and make certain they don’t require me to willingly suspend my disbelief more than once per episode. In other words, iron out all the bits that don’t make sense when you think about them but were shortcuts. What John Scalzi calls “lazy writing” in his novel Redshirts. (I did seriously consider sending a box of the book to the production office, but was afraid you’d take it the wrong way and not understand that my concern is because, for the most part, the writing is breathtakingly phenomenal).

I’m talking about those bits in the script that force me to turn off my brain, where the writer sublimates logic, reason, plot coherence, character integrity, and even fundamental knowledge to push the emotional impact. In other words, emotional manipulation is given precedence over plot and character consistency — or even believability.

And I’m sorry, Mr. Moffat, I know you don’t like critics and criticism, but if someone doesn’t mention the quibbles, how will you ever know they are there? I love your writing when it’s witty and sharp and bright, which is why shortcuts that cheapen and tarnish the sparkling brilliance are so blatant and maddening.

I am aware that we’re in another Romantic Revival period (made even more obvious by the concurrent Gothic Revival) and that in the Romantic Movement it’s all about heightening the emotional response to the art, however, as Mr. Moffat pointed out, brainy is the new sexy.

Season 2 Sherlock is exceptionally fine television from every standpoint: acting, production, directing, set decoration, music, even costuming. And yes, there’s some damn fine writing in it. The dialogue is phenomenal and the updating of the classic tropes from the original material is spectacular. Which is why the large — and entirely unnecessary — plot holes drive me mad. My inner Watson has a great deal of trouble controlling my inner Sherlock from doing a high-speed, 10-minute rant of the plot and character continuity issues.

I won’t bore you by going through them all (although I must mention that the oft-cited “instant acting drug” followed by Adler’s escape in Scandal requires at least three “willing suspensions of disbelief” in one scene including a weak, indecisive, inactive Watson in a “man down” medical and “combat” situation). I will, however, point out the most blatant example from The Reichenbach Fall. We are expected to believe that a Chief Constable of Scotland Yard is unaware of who Sherlock Holmes is and that he has been assisting the police in a number of major investigations despite the fact that Scotland Yard held a major press conference to publicly thank Sherlock Holmes for his essential assistance in the capture of Ricoletti, *Interpol’s Most Wanted Criminal!*

Not to mention the man being apparently oblivious to the recovery of the Turner masterpiece stolen from the National Gallery, the rescue of the kidnapped major capitalist, the Moriarty Trial involving the breaking into the Crown Jewels, the maximum security prison, and the Bank of England vault, and the current case of kidnapping of the American Ambassador’s children. Really? I’m suppose to believe in a Scotland Yard Chief Constable who missed all of this? Apparently, he doesn’t read the papers, watch the telly, go online or even bother to read the Scotland Yard crime and case reports.

And the most frustrating part is that this was not only unbelievable and weakened the story, but it could just as easily played out correctly and actually strengthened the scenes involved. In the first scene, where Anderson and Donovan have gone over Lestrade’s head and taken their case to the Chief Constable, the characters, the scene and the episode would have been strengthened if the Chief Constable had responded with something along the lines of “It makes sense he’s been behind a lot of these crimes. I always knew there was no way Sherlock Holmes could be that smart. We’ll teach him he can’t make bloody fools of us all and wipe that superior sneer off his bloody arrogant face.” Which harkens back all the way to A Study in Pink where so many officers volunteer for the “drugs bust” at Sherlock’s flat and ties in nicely with Watson’s warning about “every single officer you ever made feel a tit, which is a lot of people…” Finally, at the actual arrest, the Chief Constable would only need to change a few words saying something to Donovan along the lines of “So we’ve got him nicely cuffed, I see. Not so clever now. I always said he was a weirdo.” At which point Watson could haul off and slug the Chief Constable per the scene. This would allow the Chief Constable to still remain a twit, but not make it seem that Scotland Yard is run with the most appallingly incompetent management this side of Steve Ballmer or RIM. (I was going to make a comparison to Barney Fife, but I’m not certain you would get the reference, but he’s in Wikipedia.)

As I’ve said, this is just one of the examples I could have used. I chose this one because it was the simplest and most obviously unnecessary (fixable by changing just a few lines). Both Scandal in Belgravia and The Reichenbach Fall are rife with them. But this being the holiday season, ’m not going to belabor the point by going through all of the others. My purpose is merely to beg you to take the opportunity of the 3 month production delay to winnow out any continuity issues that might be lurking in the Season 3 scripts.

I just ask please Santa Moftiss, don’t settle for the easy applause of pandering to the cries of the Romanticists. Be strong. Make the Season 3 Sherlock scripts as sharp, tight as A Study in Pink, and capable of withstanding the scrutiny of Sherlock Holmes himself. Challenge yourselves to challenge us, please.

Do this for me and I promise to be very good and not whine about the wait or ask for a blooper reel to tide me over. I’ll even bind and gag my inner-Sherlock when watching Dr. Who with my fan friends. And I’ll channel my inner-Watson and bop in the nose (verbally) anyone who dares to criticize any of the writing.

Sincerely,

J.H. Watson

Uhm, after posting this, I came across this video regarding some of The Avengers continuity issues. My inner-Watson is choking my inner-Sherlock to spot me from doing this to Season 2 Sherlock (or even just Scandal or Reichenbach).

The Sherlock Naughty List Just Keeps Growing

Rupert Graves as D.I. Lestrade on BBC Sherlock gaping at Louise Beasley as Molly Hooper in Christmas party dress; text read: Lestrade just put himself on the Naughty List.

So it looks like everyone’s holiday gifts will be a little late from me. Sorry. Stupid, stupid, stupid work and life.

And while I’m still trying very hard to focus on Sherlock Holmes and not the individual cast and crew, I felt I did have to share this wonderful praise from JJ Abrams about Benedict Cumberbatch, in part because it explains so much about why Sherlock is so good (even when it violates our willing suspension of disbelief, but more on that when I post my Christmas Letter to Santa Moftiss later this week). Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Speaking to Digital Spy the director: “Being on the set with him… I think everyone was bringing their absolute A-game. I think, frankly, in a way, [his] presence sort of elevated everything.

“Time and again, every scene, Benedict brought a surprising, unexpected, grounded, real and often terrifying aspect to the role. So we are incredibly grateful, all of us.”

Keep in mind, Mr. Cumberbatch has said repeatedly that Martin Freeman produces the same result in him when they work together. And Mr. Freeman is getting massive doses of praise for his performance in The Hobbit as Bilbo Baggins, despite other criticism with the film. Great work guys!

Now speaking Sherlock Holmes (the original), he’s featured in this wonderful New York Time’s Sunday Review article on concentration. Being a  big fan of neuroscience, I’d read several abstracts and articles on research that supports and underlines the results highlighted in the NYTR article. Needless to say my New Year’s Resolution is to concentrate more on Sherlock Holmes (and meditate on surviving until Season 3 Sherlock).

I’ve got scads more I’d like to post, but need to dash off to a instructor’s workshop on using antiquated tech. *heavy sigh* More antler-madness is coming along with the other holiday cheer.

But you do realize that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and end on Sherlock’s Birthday (Epiphany), don’t you?

If you haven’t been following, there’s a wonderful Sherlock Advent Calendar and Contest at Sherlockology that tells a story (based on the original Silver Blaze plot) in the manner of the Sherlock: Casebook.

And a big Shout Out to the folks who have ordered Sherlock Quote T-Shirts and Tote Bags as well as those folks who have used the MX Publishing shop. I’m adding a bonus donation to the Audubon Society and the Cornell Ornithology Labs this month because they have a matching contribution offer.

 

I Think Sherlock Needs a Hankie And a Hug, John

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock Holmes crying with Martin Freeman as John Watson; Text reads: John, what do you mean there's no Santa?

Really, John, you should have checked with Mycroft to make certain he’d told Sherlock. You know how overprotective Mycroft is with Sherlock (barring CIA thugs who willing to shoot you and psychopathic dominatrices and consulting criminals).

Congratulations to Benedict Cumberbatch on his Golden globe nomination for Sherlock and the Coventry Telegraph has a nice piece on his role in Star Trek Into Darkness. But since I’m trying to stick with Sherlock Holmes and not get lost in the actors (there are plenty of Cumberbabes and Freeman/Gatiss/Graves/Moffat fans running sites for that), I’ll limit the amount of coverage I give to other projects.

And speaking of other projects, no I haven’t seen The Hobbit yet (but will  as soon as I can schedule a trip to Victoria, B.C. or Seattle, WA), however, I have caught several interviews with Martin Freeman. Invariably everyone asks about Season 3 Sherlock and Mr. Freeman is still saying shooting starts in March, 2013. (I will now pause to do the Happy Dance.) There’s a lovely interview with him in the Irish Times discussing not only his casting as Bilbo Baggins, but the kinds of characters he plays including his take on Watson. It’s a very interesting insight into his perception of both Sherlock and John as alpha males (and probably something the shippers should read before writing submissive John fanfic). here’s an excerpt:

“I wanted Watson to have his respect and his dignity,” Freeman says. “But the congratulations I got were way and above the call of duty. I wasn’t prepared for people saying, almost immediately, that it was the best thing they’d ever seen on television. People really fucking said that.”

Cumberbatch’s Holmes is complex, worrying and mildly deranged. But the role would not work so well without Freeman’s complementary, introverted, unselfish performance as Watson. Everything about the man – his posture, his old-fashioned manners – speaks of the doctor’s time in the military.

“I was very keen on that side of it,” he says. “Basically, he would be the most dynamic person in the room if Sherlock wasn’t there. He is an alpha male who has sewn people up in Afghanistan. I watch a lot of fucking telly. And I like it when characters aren’t judged unfairly. People play characters as stooges and that’s not how it is.

On the “where is the…” front, I’m working on the Holmes Boys Christmas story (no, no, not that Christmas Story; there are no Red Rider rifles in this, although there are pirates). I’ve also got more antler-madness coming (and may even consider putting it all together as a slideshow/gif/something). I was suppose to have a video by now, but it may end up MIA due to excessive personal demands on High Functioning Sociopath’s holiday time. Oh, and here may be a site move to a new server before Sherlock’s Birthday. So basically, like everyone else, I’m overloaded, overcommitted, and working away like one of Santa’s eleves this holiday season (and a pox on whoever came up with the idea of a “Holiday Potluck” instead of catered business Christmas parties).