Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Womansplaining Sherlock

"We just had to start the year with some complete nonsense, eh, Watson.?"  OK the great Sherlock Holmes didn't say that but could have given the mountain out of molehill furore that erupted in the past week. "Egad, sir, the monstrous Regiment of Womyn is on the march again. Where's m'hat?".

It was not until the last decade that anyone conceived the view that Sherlock Holmes has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (as it is called these days) coupled with a psychopathic tendancy. The latter occasionally surfaces to give shock value, but it is the up-to-the-moment words placed in his mouth by that Gatiss fellow and his Dr Who moonlighting pal Moffatt that have set off a small storm amongst our favourite nutters, the feminists.

I do have to admit a few things. I am used to 'older' versions of Holmes and a gentler Watson from the days of  Brett and Hardwicke, but Cumberbatch and Freeman have given new life to the roles and a new tone to go with them. The drawback is that the writers are the equally the strength, unfortunately. It is quite a conundrum. But let me get to the point.

Two ladies came by to tell of the latest 'episode' which is about early feminists and which I have not seen, so I simply listened as they sat on the patio discussing it. I did chime in a bit m'self of course.  After all, just because the great detective wears a deerstalker just like mine, hardly allows him to take liberties. And Poor sap Cumberbatch, who has already incurred the ire of men's rights advocates (but that's another matter) seems to have done!

Cumberbatch can just as easily spout nonsense on his own account, but on the TV he spouts words and is in scenes that imply he has 'mommy issues' - a phrase quite outside the experience of Sherlock's contemporaries, apart from some Viennese sorts. (But then, they are furriners). And the blame has to be bourne by Moffat who is doing a similar 'lay waste the character's history' in Dr Who.

Lynette Porter set the scene, as I had no idea at first of what they spoke.
The plot, at first, seemed simple. In 1895, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) are brought into a frightening murder mystery by Scotland Yard inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves). 
On her wedding anniversary, Emelia Ricoletti (Natasha O’Keeffe) publicly shoots herself in the head, but not before terrorizing the neighborhood with shrieks of “You!” while firing a shotgun toward passersby. While her body’s supposedly in the morgue, Emelia hails a hansom cab to track down her husband (Gerald Kyd), who conveniently staggers from a Limehouse opium den in time to be accosted by his dead wife. She taunts him in the street in front of witnesses before handily using her shotgun to dispose of him—and disappears. 
Holmes gleefully takes the case, because it offers a delightful mix of street theater, murder-suicide, and “ghostly” deeds. Months later, when the bride again rises from the dead to murder men, Holmes is back on the case, setting a trap for the bride. Alas, she outwits Holmes and Watson and escapes, leaving behind another corpse. 
Up to this point, the Victorian setting provides plenty of opportunities for Holmes—wearing the expected Inverness cape and deerstalker—to have both adventures and man-to-man conversations with dear friend Watson. It’s a pleasantly Gothic outing.
I think a small look might help.

OK, You get the idea?

Onward Watson.  Bring on Candice Holdsworth to explain. The Game's afoot.  It took me a moment, holding a tray full of drinks for the gals, to understand that Candice was in fact 'on-side'. Albeit a bit wonkily, as you may see.



The feminists hating on Sherlock need to get a grip and read some history.

What exactly are feminists talking about when they use the term ‘mansplaining’? 

Is it whenever a man offers his opinion to a woman? If so, how is that any different to the sexism the phrase ‘mansplaining’ purportedly protests? Is this not just sexism aimed at men?

Now, have you got that? I don't want to have to come back with my towel and explain it again. That would be denounced as 'Knightsplaining'. 
That certainly seemed to be the case when the makers of the deeply inoffensive BBC drama Sherlock were chastised over the show’s New Year’s Day special. Apparently, it didn’t show proper deference to the Suffragettes, as the prodigious sleuth was heavily criticised on social media for supposedly ‘mansplaining’ feminism.

The episode, titled ‘The Abominable Bride’, returned Sherlock and Watson to the Victorian era, where they investigated a secretive group of women, who, it was implied, were Suffragettes responsible for a series of murders of married men.
I am not aware of any historical murders of married men under the rationale of feminism, but we should all be in no doubt thet the Suffragettes were terrorists who fire-bombed buildings, destroyed property and artworks and even threatened to assassinate the Prime Minister. 

After solving the case and uncovering the mysterious female cabal as the culprits, Sherlock gave a speech, which was entirely supportive of the Suffragette movement:

‘One half of the human race [is] at war with the other. The invisible army hovering at our elbow, tending to our home, raising our children, ignored, patronised, disregarded, not allowed to so much as vote. But an army nonetheless ready to rise up in the best of causes, to put right an injustice as old as humanity itself. So you see, Watson, this is a war we must lose.’

These well-meaning comments, however, were not kindly received by disapproving feminists on Twitter, who accused Benedict Cumberbatch’s character of ‘mansplaining’.
Not that they were even true. The 'army' of people who did not have the vote consisted entirely of young men, off to war, and subsequently mown down in their tens- nay hundreds  - of thousands. 

Unfortunately, these individuals seem to struggle with discerning the difference between actual misogyny and a man – in this case a fictional one – simply voicing his thoughts. 

Mansplaining is a divisive concept that pathologises the male psyche, as if men are uniquely capable of patronising, sexist behaviour. And it is an inherently self-contradictory phrase, which attempts to identify sexism while also reinforcing it.

I have certainly encountered men who treat women as lesser intellects. Yet I also know plenty of men who would never dream of doing that. It is pretty obvious that supercilious men don’t behave that way because they are male. They do it because of their ignorant and unpleasant personalities. Such lordly behaviour is certainly not limited to men or misogynists, for that matter. 
I wonder how Candice would go about characterising the feminists. 

I have, however, met my fair share of condescending ‘femsplainers’: feminists who cannot countenance the possibility that someone can both be female and not a feminist. Such people have tried to forcibly convert me to their political ideology by insisting that I am a feminist – despite my claims to the contrary. Usually they will argue that if you believe in equality between the sexes you are therefore a feminist, as if one cannot reach that point by any other path.
So, now we see.

For these femsplainers, feminism is the default option for women, and if you opt out then you are either stupid, mistaken or self-loathing. 

This is where the ugly politics of identity leads you, into a world of mistrust and intolerance of anyone who does not fit the required stereotype. 

A man isn’t even allowed to comment on anything related to the history of women because it isn’t his history.

This is where I have my own bone to pick with Sherlock. 

I completely disagree with the sleuth’s assertion that in the campaign for women’s suffrage ‘one half of the human race [was] at war with the other’. Actually, there were many men who advocated votes for women. The philosopher John Stuart Mill being one notable example. 

There were also women who campaigned against the Suffragettes. But, most importantly, the right to vote was something that working-class men were fighting for, too. Prior to 1918, they didn’t have the vote either. It was not so much a gender conflict as it was a class conflict.
Well said, m'dear. The Suffragettes had no wish for 'ordinary' women to have a vote. Just Upper Class ones.  They did not include young men either. The men who were dying on the river Somme, for instance. 20,000 on the first day of a several months long battle. 140,000 men, mainly lads who could not vote, died in those months. They earned the vote. How many suffragettes died, again? 

The campaign for suffrage doesn’t belong to the Suffragettes alone, and it is not just ‘women’s history’. It was a triumph of universalism – a common history that we all share.
Thank you M'dear. I shall fetch another round. I am not sure of the 'Universalism' word though, but the people in the bar make their own minds up.

Much is made of Suffragettes. The 'media' loves them, of course, although it beats me just how convoluted a mind has to get to adopt upper-class, cossetted terrorists as lefty heroines. 

But trying to 'understand' the mind of even mild psychopaths like lefties, feminists and the mob of cultural marxist hangers-on is as futile as trying to understand the mind of the great Sherlock himself.

Of course a chap does sometimes feel the urge to 'tell it like it is' and  seek the root of the problem. This sometimes does not go down well with ladies. Even very pretty ones.

And of course, we do need from time to time to look into the abyss. Better someone do it for you, mind you. Or use a polished shield to see the Gorgon. Here my friend Julian helps us out.

Here is a quote I found on a Tumblr site. I have edited it slightly and not given a reference because I don’t want to lead people into bad parts of the Internet, but here it is:
“Here’s a fun summertime … game for girls … It’s called Mansplainer Roullette. Start by making a short list of men in your life who like to talk and have a tendency to condescend. These can be guys at work, school, who live in your building, work at stores you frequent, etc.
Whenever you bump into one of these hunks, ask him lots of dumb questions that require him to explain things to you. Be particularly thick headed when he tries to teach you, forcing him to simplify multiple times. After a while, these guys will just assume you don’t understand anything and start automatically “mansplaining” any topic that comes up. BONUS! Every time a new man on your list starts treating you this way, you get to buy yourself a gorgeous new pair of shoes …”

Its enough to make a chap cry in his beer.... or become more thirsty.



  1. On her wedding anniversary, Emelia Ricoletti (Natasha O’Keeffe) publicly shoots herself in the head, but not before terrorizing the neighborhood with shrieks of “You!” while firing a shotgun toward passersby.

    Oh. I. Just. Can't. Wait.

    1. Perhaps she was shouting 'Hugh', or 'Phew'. Perhaps even 'Who' as in the Doctor. One cannot be sure with Moffatt writing the script.

  2. Correction - she uses two revolvers before shooting herself, she only used the shotgun on her husband.
    What was interesting was the conclusion that no one be charged because all the husbands deserved to die.
    It wasn't that great, but the writers had backed themselves into a corner and it was more of a bridging episode.

    1. The story is a story. The continuity issue is for the scriptwriters. But the issue is the furore of what they put in the mouth of the main actor.

    2. I agree. Here was a pro-feminist episode that got slammed for not doing it right.
      Better to have avoided the whole feminist theme altogether.
      Everyone I speak to just assumes all men had the right to vote well before the 1900s and are surprised when they hear the truth.
      Of course, to understand why the feminist movement worked so well you should read "Singled Out". It's the story of all the women who would have gone onto being wives and mothers had the men they were supposed to marry not been cut down in WWI.
      Of course, if you believe Hillary Clinton, those women were the real victims of WWI...

    3. I agree. Conan Doyle will be spitting wood chips in his teak lined coffin. Moffatt is the one who puts all this feminist rubbish in his characters' mouths. He has made Dr Who into a wimp, elevated nonebrity women into over-powerful, loud-mouthed 'assistants' at every turn and cast fat, incompetent wymmmin in senior military roles. (that 'Donna Noble creature was the pits) I would imagine that he would cast Hilary Clinton if he could but he'd have to screw down anything portable in the TARDIS.


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