ETA: Right. So several streakers just dashed up outside the Tim Horton's window (which I am sitting right next to) and shook their junk around. Actually, I think they were dancing, but I only gave them a glance, because my dad's at Tim's too, so looking for longer would have just been kind of...yeah, no. But we all (everyone in Tim's) thought it was hilarious.
Take note of this rare occasion: I have something good
to say about how Moffat/Gatiss and Co. handled A Scandal in Belgravia
never does Holmes’ bit about how Irene is The Woman – the woman Holmes holds as the pinnacle of womankind; the writers kind of worked around it, and I realized the other day that I’m actually really glad they did.
Now obviously – for reasons most of us have been over a dozen times already – the way Scandal
updates Irene’s character isn’t to her overall advantage. Or rather, while it is debatable that her character suffers from the retelling, it’s certainly true that the BBC writers undercut their
Irene quite a bit. They wrote a very good character, but then they wrote her right into a corner – that’s my opinion.
However, I’m pleased that they essentially omitted the part about how Sherlock regards Irene as the best of womankind. When BBC’s Sherlock calls her “the woman” he does it out of impatience and delirium – without capital letters. Many people probably feel that this change was just another way in which the writers undercut Irene: by changing Holmes’ respect for her into irreverence. Perhaps they’re right, but personally I’d rather not have Irene’s worth as a character framed for me by her value in the eyes of the (Fantastic! Brilliant! Amazing!) male protagonist.
Which essentially brings me to the bigger point: the fact that Holmes considers Irene the highest example of her sex has never struck me as particularly complementary, to Irene or to her sex. What it indicates is that–
1. Holmes feels himself qualified to judge womankind and determine its finest specimen.
2. He feels comfortable with proclaiming one woman superior (thereby proclaiming all others inferior).
Now first of all, I think it’s rather juvenile to consider one individual person The Best of Their Sex. But whatever, everyone has a right to their opinion. However, when you actually write something like that into a story – “Brilliant man decides woman who interests him is best of all women” – that’s just… I mean, there is so much inherent generalization, and essentialism, and male superiority going on there, it’s almost hilarious. It’s an oversimplification but not an overstatement to say that Holmes may as well be proclaiming Irene “Amazing…for a woman.” And okay, that kind of thing is the least bit surprising when coming from eighteen ninety-something. But attempting to reuse that bit of ACD canon today is, in my opinion, a mistake that’s both silly and a bit offensive. I’d rather see Sherlock sneer dismissively at Irene (as in Scandal
), than listen to him condescend to an entire gender by presuming to judge, and to state, that he’s found the superior specimen of the whole lot of us.
(I invite anyone who can’t see the point I’m making to try imagining a female character – even a really awesome female character – proclaiming one man to be The Man, the very best of men, superior to all other men, and doing it in a way that basically suggests “The one man who’s good enough to captivate my interest.” Seems a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it?)
Another thing I’ve been thinking about for ages, re: Scandal, is that I can’t figure out why that episode caught such flack for undercutting Irene, when as far as I’m concerned, the Ritchie ‘verse and Elementary
have both undercut her just as badly, in their own ways. ( spoilersCollapse )
I don’t disagree that Scandal
is problematic, but why is it the one that gets labelled misogynistic, while the Ritchie ‘verse is generally regarded as fine, and Elementary
seems to be regarded as somehow feminist? That seems very simplistic.