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Deduction: We're not a couple! Deduction: We’re not a couple!

Argue all you want John, but you’ve got to admit, you do seem just a bit too close to Sherlock.

Bros before hos(hoes?), right?

I’ve never had a roommate, so I can honestly not say what proper roommate behavior is, but supposedly, John and Sherlock are just roommates, but everyone wants them to be gay, everyone. It’s actually a big joke in the Sherlock television series made by the BBC. Everyone thinks they’re gay. When John gets engaged people are surprised. They’re all like, “Dude, are you sure about this?”

Here’s the thing, John and Sherlock are not gay. I read all the Sherlock stories and they’re just not. John gets married. He looks at women. Sherlock even looks at women, even though he never acts on it, that we know of. Sherlock is a bit of a mystery man. He’s prone to dressing up and pretending to be other people, so it may very well be that Sherlock has himself a secret woman somewhere; she’s just not in the story because Sherlock hid her so well.

…but, when we read these stories today, it kind of seems that John and Sherlock could possibly be gay.

How men interact with one another has changed over the years. Men used to be a little more touchy-feely with each other than they are today. Even the way men act towards one another in Europe vs North America is different. Men in Europe are more touchy-feely than North American men. For example, that cheek kiss thing people do when they meet each other. It’s not only the women that do it. So we have not only time differences in interactions between men, but also continental differences.

To start off with John and Sherlock are roommates. There’s nothing weird about that. I always thought that Bert and Ernie were roommates. They had separate beds after all, if they’re gay they need to take the plunge and get one bed. Back to Sherlock, men are roommates–they might even share the same room, but have different beds. There is nothing at all weird about John and Sherlock sharing the Baker Street apartment together. So this is not what makes people think they’re gay.

More likely, what makes people think John and Sherlock are gay is how they interact with one another. They sit in their respective chairs in the living room at Baker Street and talk about stuff. They decorate together. Some of Sherlock’s stuff is in the room and some of John’s stuff is in the room. They act like an old married couple. They go on holidays together. They go to restaurants together. They share rooms when they go places.

Again, none of their going places together makes them gay. Two friends can go places together no matter what sex they may happen to be. Sherlock and John truly do sound like a married couple. Sherlock can tell what John is thinking. John knows all of Sherlock’s habits. John even knows what pipe Sherlock likes to smoke when he’s angry. They’re close like any two friends should be, but they’re so close that they probably pick stuff out of each other’s teeth. It’s an odd relationship to say the least.

Women tend to be a little closer in their friendships than men. If you have a best girlfriend, you might very well know each other’s habits and even share the same bed when traveling. I know there are people who think that’s weird, but honestly, it’s not that weird.

We usually don’t expect men to be as close as Sherlock and John seem to be. Sure, guys are roommates, but how often do they each have their own chairs in the living room and sit down to read the newspaper? Can you imagine walking into a fraternity house and seeing all the guys there sitting in their own armchairs drinking tea and reading magazines in each other’s company? No. I mean, I see them partying in each other’s company, but I don’t see them acting like John and Sherlock.

It’s not a complicated thing, but it’s there. John and Sherlock do seem just a little too close, but in the end, they’re not gay, unless they just have all of us fooled.

Just for fun, Google “Johnlock” and look at all the fanart.



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#471 Dyatlov Pass by Alan Baker

Dyatlov Pass by Alan BakerDyatlov Pass by Alan Baker

This book has the pleasure of being my 111th book of the year. This means I have completed my yearly challenge and anything on top of this is just icing on the book cake.

I wanted to read this book because I read up on the Dyatlov Incident and I was intrigued so I wanted to see what an author would do with it. This book is centered around a man named Viktor, he’s a reporter, a writer, yes. It’s a book about a writer. Viktor lives in Russia. It’s the fiftieth anniversary of the Dyatlov incident and he’s been asked to do an article on it.

Here’s the thing, when we meet Viktor he’s not out writing his article. He’s in a mental institution. Three of his friends have been found dead in Dyatlov Pass and it is a psychologist’s responsibility to determine whether or not he’s sane enough to be charged with their murders. The psychologist at first thinks Viktor is full of crap, but Viktor is able to produce documentation to back up some of his claims and his story is strange one.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident happened in 1959. A group of explorers were planning to go a mountain named Otorten, which basically means “Don’t go there,” in the local language. They were all found dead. The official cause of death is listed as a compelling unknown force. Several of the bodies held high levels of radiation. Several of the bodies suffered severe internal injuries without external injuries. Their tent was cut open from the inside. The files were classified by the Soviet Union. No one has ever been able to figure out what happened to these people.

Viktor tells his story to his psychologist. His probing into the article soon leads him to strange places. One of the men in the original group was not able to go due to illness. He knows another man who has many files on the incident. The other man has seemingly devoted his entire life to finding out what really happened there. He proposes to Viktor that they go back and check things out. Viktor receives some secret files from another man. Soon two women, a photographer and a physicist, are also brought into the group. They have a strange object which is deemed necessary to return to the area.

Soon talk of strange orbs in the sky, installations, and cauldrons fills the text. The group supposes that maybe other dimensions are being superimposed here and that’s what causes all the strange things to happen; things soon become stranger than they ever could have imagined and three of Viktor’s associates end up dead.

What I liked

I liked how Alan was able to take some of the information about the Dyatlov incident and make it a book. It’s fiction of course. No one really knows what happened to the people involved. It’s one of the strangest mysteries of the twentieth century. These people died horrible and strange deaths and no one knows why. So of course we can speculate about secret government experiments, yetis, aliens, and so much more. Unless we have some more real evidence, we may never know what happened to these poor people.

There is a bit of government conspiracy in this book and it’s Russia why wouldn’t there be. Russia has been involved, theoretically, in pretty much every government conspiracy for the last seventy years or so. Russia isn’t always the mastermind of all that goes bad, but there are plenty of conspiracy theorists that would like it to be. Russia is a place of mystery. It seems both dangerous and really neat at the same time. So we as non-Russians like to make up a whole bunch of stuff about it. Some of the things people make up about it are really neat, while others are just stupid.

What I didn’t like

It’s a book about a writer. Let me repeat it again, it’s a man writing a book about a man writing an article. Is there another man in the article that’s writing something as well? I don’t like this crutch some writers seem to keep falling back on. Come on people you have imaginations write about a construction worker or an exotic dancer; I don’t care, just write about anyone besides another writer. I have heard the phrase, “Write about what you know,” as advice for writing. I don’t think that’s necessarily a good idea. We can do research in order to write about things we don’t know. Just because being a writer is familiar, it doesn’t mean you should write about it. I do realize this may seem all very hypocritical since I’m a writer writing about writers.

All this talk of different dimensions and such is woo-woo. We talked about woo-woo a while back, remember? Writing about woo-woo things is not bad, it’s generally called Science Fiction or Fantasy. If there were no books about woo-woo things the world would be a sad place. My problem with this book being woo-woo is that the Dyatlov Pass Incident was a real thing. People really died and nobody really knows what happened to them. I think talk of other dimensions supposedly causing the death of these people is kind of a cop-out. I believe a book that would have been more suited to the Dyatlov Pass Incident would have been a book about some secret government experiment in the middle of nowhere, even a Yeti would have been a more plausible explanation for these deaths over inter-dimensional fluctuations. People have actually claimed to see Yetis, no one I know has ever traveled to a different dimension, to be fair, I don’t know anyone who says they’ve seen a yeti either.

Overall

If you would like to read a nice fiction piece about the Dyatlov Incident this is a good place to start, but keep in mind it’s definitely more on the Science-Ficiton-y side.



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Deduction: The Curious Case of Mrs. Hudson's Unexpected PregnancyDeduction: The Curious Case of Mrs. Hudson’s Unexpected Pregnancy

The Sherlock Holmes stories were roughly released around 120 years ago; they were released serially and not all in the same years, so that’s why I say roughly. People talked differently back then. Also consider that Sherlock is British and not all of us are British. Why do I point that out? Well, Mrs. Hudson gets knocked up in the Sherlock stories. I know, I wasn’t expecting it either. I mean, who’s the daddy? Is it John? Is it Sherlock? Probably not Sherlock. Lestrade? Moriarty? Mycroft? Haha! Mycroft, he wouldn’t know what to do with a woman. Moriarty knocking Mrs. Hudson up would be a neat twist to the story. I kind of figured Mrs. Hudson was too old to have babies, but maybe she’s only like forty.

What? What do you mean that’s not what went on?

Oh, ok, well, apparently in the Sherlock stories getting knocked up means that someone woke you up by knocking on your door. See that’s totally not what I was thinking when the story says Mrs. Hudson was knocked up.

That’s ok. We say things differently in different countries. I hear that in England they actually say “up the duff” instead of “knocked up.” Honestly, neither of them are a good description for an unexpected pregnancy.

Let’s move on. This has been a great example of how language usage is different between countries that speak the same language, but also of how language evolves. Words that mean one thing today, may not have meant the same thing 120 years ago, such as the word “nice.”

The word I really want to go after is “ejaculate.”

Why? Well, John, who is our narrator of the Sherlock stories uses this word quite a bit. When I read this word, I don’t think of the same thing that John meant. I think of something entirely different, that often has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

It would be a good idea to explain what the word meant to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Arthur was a doctor and would have been familiar with the usage of the word that we’re thinking of, but that’s not how he was using it. He was using it in the old-fashioned Latin sense.

The good old-fashioned Latin definition of this word is, “to utter abruptly.”

Ejaculate is from the Latin Ejaculari, which means “to shoot out.” The “e” part of that means “away,” or, “out.” Like the word “eject.” The jaculari part of the word means “the hurl a javelin.” Somewhere along the lines someone decided to put an “e” in front of “jaculari” to create the verb “ejaculari.” Then somewhere along the line after that, it came to be a word that would define sudden outbursts, you know, like Freudian slips. I get why the word means what it means in the medical sense.

The problem with all of this is that we use the word ejaculate almost purely to mean expelling a substance rapidly from the body, mainly semen. None of us go around saying the word “ejaculate” to mean an outburst.

For example, if you were recounting a story to your friends you would say something like, “Well, then Tiffany blurted out that Andrea was fat and then that’s when the fight started.” You would not say, “Well, then Tiffany ejaculated that Andrea was fat and that’s when the fight started.” It just sounds dirty. If you did say that, you would be using the word correctly, but everyone is going to look at you and think you’re a pervert. It’s not exactly PC to use the word how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used the word, at the very least, it’s not to be used in that manner in polite conversation, but for the life of me, I don’t know how you would use the word “ejaculate” in polite conversation at all. This is not a polite conversation.

Here’s a tip from me to you–if you cannot imagine saying a word or a phrase to the Queen of England then it’s probably not polite conversation.

So how grievous is Arthur’s usage of the word ejaculate? I have a tally of how many times each form of the word appears in the Sherlock stories.

  • Ejaculation-7
  • Ejaculated-14
  • Ejaculations-1
  • Ejaculating-1

That’s a total of 23 usages of some form of the word “ejaculate.” Let’s compare that to me. This post is the most times I’ve used the word “ejaculate” in my writing. I actually don’t recall writing the word “ejaculate” in relation to anything, except the Sherlock Holmes stories. I just haven’t had the need or occasion to use the word very often.

So, yes, words change meanings over the years. We have to remember that people talked a heck of a lot differently 120 years ago. It’s the whole reason reading Shakespeare seems so odd. They talked all kinds of screwed up when Shakespeare was around. In fact, English has evolved so much we have three major versions of it old English, Middle English, and our modern English. The word we’re talking about isn’t even English, it’s Latin. So somewhere in history the true English word that means the same thing as “ejaculate” has fallen out of favor. I tried Googling the Old English word for ejaculate for you guys by the way, but I came up empty. So if one of you out there know it please comment.

So, no, John isn’t talking about having lots of orgasms, but if you wanted to read it that way, go ahead, it injects some humor into the whole series.



 
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Mockingjay Part 1 Movie Review

Mockingjay Part 1 Movie ReviewMockingjay Part 1 Movie Review

Thanks to a Regal gift certificate I was able to go to the theater to see Mockingjay Part 1. If you didn’t know this movie is based on the book Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and is part of The Hunger Games series. There will be four movies, even though there are three books.

Just as an aside, I did see some neat movie previews, Cinderella being the chief of those, but I also saw a preview for Insurgent. I did not have a favorable review of the movie Divergent because it was just terrible compared to the book. Fans of the Divergent series better pray to the movie gods that Insurgent is better than Divergent.

Summary

The movie opens on Katniss in medical care. She has been rescued from the hunger games. Peetah isn’t there. He was taken captive by the capital. Katniss is in District 13, which still exists. It turns out the District was bombed by Panem, but District 13 survived. They dug down underground and built an entire society below the earth. President Coin wants Katniss to be their symbol. She and Havensbee are planning propaganda films. Beetee can probably break into the capital’s communications and get the videos shown to everyone.

Katniss isn’t too good at acting and is taken out to one of the districts where the capital has unleashed its force. A hospital is bombed while she is there and Katniss is outraged. She agrees to fight with the people against the capital and President Snow.

The entire time Peetah is broadcast on television, but he doesn’t seem himself. He ends up warning Katniss that District 13 is going to be bombed. Everyone is able to survive. A rescues mission is staged to get Peetah out, but Peetah is not the same a Katniss remembers.

Observations

The atmosphere of the movie was great. I mean it wasn’t happy-go-lucky, I mean the film makers did an amazing job of creating an atmosphere of warfare and revolution. There were atrocities. There was anger and grief. The acts ordered by President Snow are horrendous. I loved the people who rebelled. They banded together under a symbol and fought back. This was depicted so well in this movie. I’m honestly going to say that this was the best movie installment yet.

Differences

Obviously, there are going to be two movies out of one book and that’s a big difference. I don’t recall that Finnick talked on television in the book, but I could be wrong. There is obviously some background stuff missing. The makeup team is missing. Some of the relationships and friendships aren’t as detailed in the movie as they are in the book.

What I liked

Just as Harry Potter appeals to children, but also tackles deep social issues, The Hunger Games also serves the same role. The Hunger Games appeals to teenagers. All these little kids running around wanting to be Katniss have no idea what that really means. Katniss is a symbol for a downtrodden people to get behind and follow. They take back their country. They rise up. They realize that they do not have to be peaceful. They don’t want anymore children sacrificed. They rise up. They sing together. They bomb a dam. They march together. They’re just not going to take anymore.

Honestly the scene with the people singing and marching on the dam is amazing. It’s a scene of true rebellion and revolution. Those people marched together. They banded together for a greater cause, one that would make the country a better place for their children on down the line and they risked their lives. True patriotism, in my opinion, is not about always sticking with the government, but about being willing to risk everything to make your country a better place.

Remember guys, we’re all here because of revolution. Our history was made by revolution. Our history was made by people who stood up and quit taking crap from corrupt ruling parties.

I liked District 13. I’m a fan of the Wool series by Hugh Howey, which is a dystopian series about people who live underground. District 13 made it easier for me to imagine the silos of the Wool series. I imagine that one of the silos would look much like the living quarters of District 13.

What I didn’t like

I really, really liked this movie, it’s the best one yet in my opinion, but it’s a little light. It’s a little light on Katniss. It’s a little light on Peetah. It’s light on Haymitch. It’s light on romance. It’s light on Katniss’ relationships with her family. It’s light on a whole heck of a lot. The entire movie, although great, seems like an introduction to the real action and the real problems. It almost doesn’t seem a movie in and of itself. It’s suffering from lacking a bit of meat, although, it’s nowhere near the vicinity of Divergent.

There is action in this movie and there isn’t action in this movie. There is warfare and destruction in this movie, but it’s a safe type of destruction. Look, the destroyed District twelve is full of bodies and bones, but otherwise, the movie is lacking on the downright dark side of warfare. I’m not a big fan of movie blood, but honestly, I think the message might have gotten across better with a little more blood, but I do understand this is a movie generally appealing to teenagers and younger children and they didn’t want to put a bunch of gore in it.

Parental Advice

There isn’t a lot of cussing. There is no nudity of course. Plenty of parents take children younger than 13 to see this movie, you could too if you really wanted to. Of course, they’re not going to get it. They’re not going to get the deeper meanings in this movie. They’re going to see Katniss shooting her arrows and making eyes at Liam Hemsworth. They’re not going to see how terrible the whole thing is. They’re not going to see a brutal ruling power that people are risking their lives to dethrone.

With all that said, The Hunger Games series may be a good dialog to open with children about the idea of corruption in government. I may be weird, but if I had kids, I would want them to know that governments don’t always do what’s best for the people and sometimes the people have to take their country back. A healthy respect for authority is good, but a healthy questioning of authority is also good.

Overall

I have my beefs with this movie, but it really was good.

 
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Deduction: Men are kind of StupidDeduction: Men are kind of Stupid

I wasn’t going to write about this, but I had a commenter leave me this very long and winded comment about  feminism, women, domestic violence, and the fact that men are also stereotyped against. I thought about it some more and the Sherlock stories definitely have a male stereotype that is sexist and repeated over and over and over again. The men of the Sherlock Holmes stories, besides Sherlock, are kind of stupid. There’s no getting around it. They’re idiots.

There are male stereotypes, even in our modern-day world, that depict men as idiots. We say that men are terrible with directions. We say that men can’t take care of the house or the baby. We say that men would screw up everything a woman did. We say that men are clueless when it comes to their interaction with the opposite sex. We put down men more than we think we put men down. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve read where the male character of a story is all like, “What’s this hot flat thing? It burned my shirt. What do you mean I put the baby’s diaper on backwards? Look, I’m not going to ask for directions. This isn’t the ghetto; it’s just a scenic detour. Those aren’t prostitutes either.”

Yeah, men can be stupid, but to be fair women can be stupid as well. Everybody is stupid at one point or another. We get into this argument as to whether men are really clueless when it comes to certain things or they know they’re expected to be clueless when it comes to certain things so they just don’t try. How much of your husband being inept at changing the baby’s diaper is really his lack of intelligence? Could it just be that he’s always heard men are bad at that sort of thing and acts on that societal expectation?

The Sherlock Holmes stories are just filled with idiotic men. I mean filled. Sherlock, seems to be the exception, but even he sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong. He doesn’t get that he shouldn’t be in some situations. He doesn’t take social clues. John Watson is a doctor, but sometimes I wonder how the man is alive. He always seems so surprised when Sherlock figures something out. Doctors are detectives. If you’re a doctor, you have to rely on your education and knowledge to figure out what is wrong with somebody. It’s not just luck. Doctors really are detectives. I often think that the show House is an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes in a way, maybe I’ll explore that idea one day.

In many of the cases Sherlock comes across there is only a problem because some man was an idiot. There are several cases of men carrying around items they should not be carrying around and those items are lost or stolen and then all chaos ensues. The Adventure of the Second Stain, The Naval Treaty, and The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet. What is so hard to understand about leaving something in one place? If something is that important, you don’t carry it around with you from place to place. You lock it away in a vault somewhere, with a guard. Why did these men think this was a good idea? Oh, clearly, this object of great value to my client and/or country is so valuable that surely it would be safer with me than in a vault somewhere. That’s a man being stupid and also arrogant. He’s arrogant to such an extent that he’s become stupid.

We have these others stories of idiot criminals. Hide the pearl in a bust of Napoleon. Shove a jewel down a goose. How is that a good idea? A goose moves around. A goose could get run over. A statue made for sale, might get sold, and then you would have to go looking for it. These were both men by the way. Again, this sort of goes back to the idea that if something is important, put it in a safe place.

Even the mastermind male criminals who are quite smart seem kind of dumb. Moriarty gets close enough to a waterfall for Sherlock to push him over. Milverton apparently doesn’t go armed to his negotiations and also apparently doesn’t suspect a woman of trying to kill him.

We could go on. We could talk about the men who are stupid enough to think they won’t get caught. There’s the student who cheats on his test, for example.

Another one I really like are the men in the Sherlock stories that are so stupid they believe that someone will pay them to copy out of the encyclopedia. This happened, or rather very similar circumstances, happened in two Sherlock stories. In The Red-Headed League, a man believes other red-headed men are paying him lots of money every year to copy out of an encyclopedia. In The Stock Broker’s Clerk, another man believes that some guy is paying him lots of money to copy out addresses. In what world does a person get paid to copy out of the encyclopedia? The monks who copied the Bible didn’t even get paid to copy it. They did it for free because it was their duty. People don’t pay you, or anybody, to copy out of the encyclopedia, no matter how good the job offer sounds.

Moving on, it’s not only the bad guys who are idiots in the Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve already spoken of John and how I don’t think he’s exactly as smart as he should be, but let’s talk of other people. Let’s talk about Stanley Hopkins. Stanley is smart, but not smart enough. He misses things that Sherlock finds and Sherlock calls him an idiot. Well, he doesn’t come out and say that Stanley is an idiot, but it’s implied in his insults. Sherlock constantly looks down on Lestrade and he’s a smart guy too.

Basically, the idea is that every single man in the Sherlock stories, besides Sherlock, is an idiot. All these men more than prove this. They do quite a few stupid things.

Now, conversely, the women of the Sherlock stories are guilty of being too gullible, but none of them are straight-up depicted as unintelligent, not a one. All of the women of Sherlock Holmes are smart. They know what they’re doing. They may seem clueless as to what’s going on, but they really know what’s going on.

Why is this important? Well, it’s important because the women of the Sherlock Holmes stories, although guilty of being gullible, are never depicted as being stupid. The men of the Sherlock Holmes stories on the other hand, are kind of idiots. In fact, without the idea of male stupidity, the Sherlock Holmes stories would be rather sparse. Remember, the only villain who ever truly outsmarted Sherlock was Irene Adler.

There wouldn’t be a Sherlock Holmes consulting detective without the stupidity of men.

What does all of this mean? All of this means that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created an entire literary world based on the idea that men are dumb and they’re going to screw up and the world needs a man like Sherlock Holmes who happens to be smarter than all these other men to straighten out all this stupidity, but you know, the women, they’re smart and pretty.

So, do shut up Anderson, you’re lowering the IQ of the entire street.



Deduction: Men are kind of stupid, depiecting men as unintelligent, john watson, men are stupid, men screw up, sexism, sexism against men, sexism in sherlock holmes stories, sherlock, sherlock holmes, The Red-Headed League
Essays, Sherlock Holmes
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Deduction: Married Women Should Tell AllDeduction: Married Women Should Tell All

For the past three Deduction posts we’ve talked about how progressive women seemed in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but that’s come to an end. We have to talk of other things now and those things are not as nice as the things we were talking about. We’re going to talk about a bit of sexism, but do realize, we’ve already been talking about sexism a bit in the Sherlock Holmes stories in the previous posts.

This post is about secrets in Sherlock Holmes, specifically secrets that married women keep. Why only married women? Here’s the thing, every story concerning Sherlock contains multiple secrets kept by everybody. Men have secrets. Women have secrets. Sailors have secrets. Sherlock has secrets. Everybody running around in all of these stories has secrets, but apparently not John because Sherlock figures out everything about him and even what he’s thinking from time to time. We’re going to talk of the secrets of married women because things are a bit lopsided.

We’re going to reference two stories in particular The Yellow Face and The Adventure of the Dancing Men. We’re going to be speaking of Effie and Elsie respectively. Why their names both begin with E I don’t know. There are multiple marriages that Sherlock steps into during his mystery solving. Sometimes the husband is dead and Sherlock is trying to figure out who killed him. Sometimes the husband is missing, but he’s really a panhandler. Sometimes the husband plays on some sports team and his teammates want to know where he’s at. The point is, there are lots of marriages that Sherlock finds himself around.

What makes Effie and Elsie’s stories stand out is that a husband comes to Sherlock Holmes and tells him that his wife has a secret and he must know it. This doesn’t happen in any of the other stories. A wife does come to Sherlock concerned about where her husband is in The Man with the Twisted Lip, but she simply wants to know where he is. She’s not there to find out his secrets, even though she ultimately ends up finding out his secrets. A woman never comes to Sherlock and asks Sherlock to figure out her husband’s secrets. It’s only men that do this. It’s only men that see fit to go to a private detective and ask him to stick his nose all up in his wife’s business.

In The Yellow Face a man finds that his wife asks for money when she usually never asks for money and she leaves the house at strange hours. When he asks her about all of this, she promises that she will tell him what is going on. In The Adventure of the Dancing Men Elsie gets strange drawings of dancing men. Her husband demands to know what it means, but she tells him that she cannot tell him our of fear. It also just happens that both of these women are American; I don’t know if that contributes to all this mystery any.

In both cases, I believe these women would have told their husbands these secrets of their own accord had the husband just backed down. If the man had been patient and waited, these women would have opened up to their husbands and said, “Yes, my kid from my first marriage is still alive and she’s black,” and, “Well, those dancing men are a secret code used by a crime family I used to be associated with, but I live here now and I was afraid to tell you about this because I didn’t want anybody to get hurt.”

These men couldn’t wait. They felt it was their right to know everything, and I mean everything about their wives. They couldn’t just let their wives have one little secret, ok, one big secret. None of the women in the Sherlock stories do this to their husbands. None of them. It’s only the men that demand to know secrets of their wives.

Oh, but women, we know these men have their secrets. This was the 1800s and early 1900s; men had their secrets. Women assumed that their husband to be had secrets and didn’t ask too much about them. Women knew their husbands had probably been to a brothel. They’ve probably had a lot of sex before they met their wife. They might have a gambling problem. They might have an alcohol problem. They might even have this entire secret family, but do any of the women demand of Sherlock to find any of this out? No, they do not.

Having a kid is a pretty big secret. I guess formerly belonging to a crime family is also a big secret. Those are big secrets. What’s also a big secret is having syphilis you caught from a prostitute down by the river. Do you think any of the husbands told their wives about this when they were married? Probably not. It’s a double-standard and it’s sexist.

The man should know everything about his wife, but the wife should just accept that her husband has a past that she shouldn’t know about. That’s essentially what we’re getting from these Sherlock stories.

I’m a woman. I’m married. I honestly don’t ask about every event in my husband’s past. I’ve asked about a lot, but I just assume the man had a life before me and what’s in the past is in the past. I don’t tell my husband everything about my past either. Should I? I’m not a marriage counselor so I don’t know, but you know, if I did have a kid, I’d probably have to tell him that I had a kid. Likewise, if my husband had a secret kid, he better fess up.

People used to be really accepting of the idea that husbands might have illegitimate children running around. They would call it “sewing wild oats.”  If you were a woman you just expected that your husband had gotten around a bit before you were married and maybe he had a kid, or two. If you were a woman, you were supposed to be above reproach, always. They better not catch you alone with a man before you were married. You better still have your hymen. Don’t laugh at jokes. Behave like a lady. Don’t even hint at the idea that you might be anything but a sweet little angel ready for a future husband to deflower.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stays with this idea. Men are wild and women should be mostly sweet, even if they’re the villains, you still have to feel sorry for them. Women are simple creatures and should have no nefarious secrets. Really, Arthur, really? Arthur wrote some of these women to be so intelligent and even devious, but in the cases of Effie and Elsie, he writes them to be with men who are demanding and can’t let their wives have anything to themselves. They even got another person, two in fact, involved in their married life.

Look, I don’t know about you guys, but I would be ticked off if my husband ran to someone else and got them involved in a dispute that he and I were having. It’s none of their business. Seriously. None of your business. If two strange men showed up at my house because of some secret I wouldn’t tell my husband I would be ticked off. First of all, your husband is supposed to respect you as a person, which means if you don’t want to talk about it, you don’t want to talk about it, end of story. This also means that a man should have enough respect for his wife not to embarrass her.

I say embarrass because Effie and Elsie were embarrassed by their husbands dragging John and Sherlock into their lives. Elsie wanted to hide her past. She didn’t want everyone to know that she came from a family of criminals. Effie wanted to let her husband in on her black daughter lightly. She didn’t want it to be this huge shock. They would have released the information of their own accord to their husbands when the time was right in confidence that their husbands did not tell anyone else. When the husbands brought John and Sherlock in, they embarrassed their wives. Sure, the wife might have warmed up enough to the husband to tell, but he forced the truth out.

There are two problems with forcing the truth out in these situations. The first problem is that everybody knows and the wife gets embarrassed. The husbands know now. John and Sherlock know now and all of their readers know now. All the people who read John’s summations of cases now know that Effie whoever has a black child from a previous interracial marriage. It’s nothing to be ashamed of today, but people were ashamed of it in the past. People are going to stop Effie in the street when she’s out with her daughter to ask her if she was that woman from that story. The husband has essentially ruined life for Effie in England by forcing this secret out.

The second problem with forcing a secret out is that the wife isn’t going to trust the husband. Would you trust your husband with any little confidence after he pried a confidence out of you? The husband crossed a line. It would make it very difficult to open up to him after that. The wife is not only embarrassed, but feels her trust is betrayed. The husband doesn’t trust the wife enough to let her take her time. The wife is going to think, “Well, I can’t even hint at this thing, because he’ll pry and then try to force it out of me, so it’s just better if he doesn’t know at all.” Forcing one secret out is going to breed more secrets. The wife is going to become more closed off to the husband and it’s his own darn fault.

In the end I think it’s stupid that wives were expected to tell everything to their husbands, but the men were not expected to tell everything to their wives. I also think it’s stupid that Sherlock got involved in these cases; he had no right to be there.



Deduction, Deduction: Married Women Should Tell All, effie, elsie, john watson, married men demand to know secrets, married women, secrets and married women, sexism, sexism in sherlock holmes, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, the tale of the dancing men, The Yellow Face
Essays, Sherlock Holmes
One-elevenbooks

Deduction: Women can be Independent Deduction: Women can be Independent

We know this. You know this. I know this. Women don’t need a man to live life, right? Yeah, of course I’m right. There are plenty of women living it up on their own making decisions and doing things their way. They don’t need a man. Having a man is nice, but not necessary. Let’s roll back the clock about a hundred and twenty years though. A woman needed a man. That was beginning to change, but a woman needed a man. In the Sherlock Holmes stories, we see some women doing some awfully independent things and it’s refreshing.

I find that the Sherlock Holmes have an interesting view on women. In many aspects women are key players in many of the Sherlock stories and they’re doing things a woman might not do in the day and age.

I would like to start with a few examples. In the story The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist, a woman rides a bicycle to and from the train station by herself. In A Scandal in Bohemia, Irene Adler not only travels by herself, but runs and entire household and will sometimes dress as a man. In several others stories women have independent wealth, that suitors are trying to steal, including Violet from The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist. Another point we can look at is that several of the women Holmes deals with have jobs. They’re working women. They’re not women of wealth who sit around all day doing nothing.

Why is a woman riding a bicycle to and from a train station in the late 1800s and early 1900s a big deal? It’s a big deal for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that she’s alone. She doesn’t have a chaperone. I cannot stress what a big deal this is. Even if you were a poor women, most likely, someone tagged along with you when you went somewhere. You did not go to a place by yourself. The second reason this is such a big deal is because it’s a bicycle.

Here’s what Susan B. Anthony said about bicycles:

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

Susan B. Anthony was a women’s rights activist if you didn’t know. She even had her own dollar for a while, but I haven’t seen one in years. Why did Susan say this about bicycles? Susan said this about bicycles because bicycles allowed a woman to go a place on her own. She could get on a bicycle, under the pretext of getting some fresh air and/or exercise and ride off alone without a chaperone. It’s a big deal. Women now had the means to get on a bike and ride to see their friends, or boyfriends. A woman could go to the store by herself. She could ride out in the country, by herself.

I know we as woman may not appreciate a lot of the solitary time we have, especially if we’re single women living alone, but appreciate it. You need to appreciate it. Before a certain point in history a woman was hardly ever alone. You lived with your parents. You dated the man you married with your parents watching. Your friends came to visit you at your house and you visited them at their house. You went out of the house with a chaperone. You had a waiting maid if you were from a wealthier family. When you did get married, someone was always there. There was a maid. There was your husband. There was your passel of children. If you were of any standing in society you participated in little groups and church outings. You were never alone. Thanks to women’s rights movements, you can be alone. You can go places by yourself as a woman.

With the bicycle and other things going on, it became more acceptable for women to be out on their own. Violet could ride her bicycle in peace. She could go to and from her job on her bicycle. It was still a bit dangerous as we found out, but that bicycle gave her the independence to be alone and make up her own schedule.

We’re going to talk about Irene Adler again. Irene is really amazing. She travels alone, she does have a maid, but she travels without a male chaperone. She goes all over Europe it seems. She has her own household. What is significant about Irene and her own household is that she isn’t married. She does get married, but she’s not married when we first meet her. She ran this household by herself. That was uncommon. Women usually lived at home or with relatives until they were married, unless they had to work, of course. Irene was of a station that she probably didn’t have to work and could have lived at home. Irene’s smart of course, which I’ve already explained is really neat. The last thing about Irene is that she dressed like a man to follow Sherlock Holmes to Baker Street.

Women did not dress like men, ever, seriously. Men more often dressed as women than women dressed as men. If you know anything about theater you’ll know that men have played women’s role for a heck of a long time, consider especially early Shakespearean and Roman theater. Women did not wear pants. Going back to the bicycle thing, women started to wear bloomers, basically really long panties, with the advent of bicycles. Women couldn’t ride a bicycle with a bunch of petticoats they got caught in the wheels. Women switched the bloomers. Let me tell you, it was quite the scandal. People were like, “Don’t hang your bloomers on the clothesline. People are going to think you’re an immoral slut.”

Bloomers were a huge deal to people. They were outraged. They were outraged at one piece of clothing that you’re generally not going to see. Let me repeat that again. A whole bunch of people were losing their minds over the fact that a woman changed what kind of underwear she wore. If people were that upset about a woman changing her underwear, imagine how upset they would be if a woman just walked in the place dressed like a man. Think about it. Irene dressing like a man is quite progressive.

Moving onto money, we’re going to talk about two facets of women and money. There were several women who had their own wealth in the Sherlock Holmes stories. This is a big deal because women had not been previously allowed to actually have their own money. You could say, “Hey, I’m leaving this money to my daughter,” but almost always that money was entrusted to another male member of the family or husband. The women didn’t just get her hands on her own money to buy the things she wanted. There are several women, including Irene Adler, who have their own darn money in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Men are always trying to marry them for it. Dude, marry her, she has money.

There were also women in the Sherlock Holmes stories that worked. They’re mostly governesses, but they had their own jobs. Being a governess was really one of the only acceptable professions for women at the time and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stuck with the societal tradition here. He doesn’t write about a woman who is a banker or whatever. The women who work are governesses, which is basically a private teacher. Still though, the general consensus was that women shouldn’t be working. People hired governesses seemingly as a necessary evil. The fact that Sherlock runs into several women who are governesses and manage their own money is impressive. The fact that these women appeal to a private detective on their own is even more impressive.

Going back to that chaperone thing, women didn’t call upon men by themselves, usually. These governesses we run into show up at Sherlock’s house by themselves. They don’t bring a man. They don’t bring a maid. They show up and express their concerns on their own. They hire a private detective on their own. Lots of women do that today, but this was also highly unusual during the time period.

The women of the Sherlock Holmes stories are more independent than other women written by other male authors at the time in many aspects. I’m not saying Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a straight-up feminist because he just wasn’t and we’ll get into that in later posts, but he wrote women to be more independent than the time period seemed to allow.



Deduction: Women can be Independent, feminism, independent women in the sherlock holmes stories, irene adler, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, susan b anthony, women and bicycles, women with their own households, women without chaperones
Essays, Sherlock Holmes
One-elevenbooks

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