BBC: Sherlock

July 26, 2010

WARNING: This post contains spoilers! Do not read if you haven’t seen this yet!

The thing about the original Sherlock Holmes stories is this: They were aspirational.

People who read them admired Sherlock and — especially kids — wanted to be him.

This is a vital point and central to the charm of the original stories.

It doesn’t matter that Holmes at one point injected cocaine or smoked a pipe or cigarettes.

Conan Doyle came to recognize the hazard of cocaine and weaned Holmes off it.

Tobacco had a socially-acceptable aspect to it up until the past few decades and anyone who has done it understands its mentally-stimulating effects.

So, how does the modernized Sherlock that just aired on the BBC yesterday measure up?

While all of it — script, acting, direction — was absolutely brilliant, I think it’d take a very, very strange person to look at that Sherlock and say, “I want to be like him.”

This new Sherlock has been corrupted — both by our modern age of knowing too much and by our sordid modern age itself.

He is no longer a brilliant scientist, he is a borderline sociopath — a self-admitted one at that!

Yes, he’s smart, yes, he can see what us mere mortals stupidly miss — but my god, who the hell wants to be a prick like him?

There was another modern take on the story of Sherlock Holmes, in the movies, called Zero Effect. And while that character was also corrupted, he was also endearing and emotionally vulnerable because of his social ineptitude.

The only vulnerability in the BBC Sherlock was challenging his overbearing ego.

Really, I wanted to push the pill down his throat near the end.

None of this is to say I didn’t like it. It was really magnificent. Dr. Watson is now a real human being. Lestrade is still one-dimensional but perhaps they’ll do for him what they did for Watson (although with them also bringing in a secondary police official, it could be they’ve written him off as an inept patsy again). Mycroft was a surprise I should have seen coming.

As for the storytelling — it brings TV into the Internet age, perfectly keeping the attention of harried multitaskers by multitasking itself at points. I won’t say more because that would be too big a spoiler.

I really did cheer (inside) when Holmes did things like telling someone to shut up when he wasn’t speaking and telling another character to turn around so he wasn’t looking at Holmes. Really, really brilliant touches and things I could personally identify with too!

But that really wasn’t the Sherlock Holmes of the stories.

And that’s a great big problem here. I feel as if I’m watching a revision of history. A 1984-ish version of Holmes.

But I will keep watching.

And once you’ve seen it, so will you.

But I won’t feel clean doing so.

And that might be due to seeing too much of myself in this new Sherlock.

“How smart we are—how aptly we put things!”

Seeds by Sherwood Anderson


You Can Quote A DVD But Not An eBook

July 26, 2010

Something bugged me about the new Copyright Office decree.

I went back and read it all again.

So basically it’s OK to crack open a DVD in order to quote it — but if an eBook prevents the copying of any part of it for quoting, you’re still prohibited from doing that.

What is wrong here?

What Feeds A Revolution

July 26, 2010

Ex-Officer Avoids Jail Time in Arrest of Times Square Bicyclist

The former officer, Patrick Pogan, had faced up to four years in prison, but will avoid any time behind bars. He also will not be placed on probation.

In April, a jury found Mr. Pogan guilty of filing a criminal complaint that contained false statements concerning a 2008 collision with Christopher Long, who was participating in a Critical Mass bike ride. Mr. Pogan’s complaint alleged that Mr. Long knocked him to the ground by intentionally steering his bicycle into him. But video footage of the episode, which was a viral presence on the Internet, showed that Mr. Pogan remained on his feet, while Mr. Long flew to the pavement.

He assaults a citizen with impunity, lies about it, and walks out of court a free man with no punishment whatsoever.

What was the good of having a video record showing him violating his duty and outright breaking the law?

What was the good of bringing this to court at all?

And what kind of jury would acquit this guy of outright lying? Were they even allowed to view the video or was that quashed in court?

This is absolutely disgusting.

July 26, 2010

U.S. Copyright Office – Anticircumvention Rulemaking

July 26, 2010


Google Books Project Moving Forward

Peter Leonard, above, a doctoral student in Scandinavian studies at the University of Washington, and UCLA professor Tim Tangherlini have received $45,000 to create tools for large-scale literary analysis through Google Books. Their subject will be 160,000 Swedish, Danish and Norwegian texts that are part of the 12-million-volume Google Books collection, an assemblage the blog Tech.Blorge called “a grand world library, a Library of Alexandria on Steroids.” (photo: Mary Levin/UW)

And this is when Google and metadata/metacontent supremacy begins.

July 26, 2010

By granting all of EFF’s applications, the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress have taken three important steps today to mitigate some of the harms caused by the DMCA.

EFF Wins New Legal Protections for Video Artists, Cell Phone Jailbreakers, and Unlockers | Electronic Frontier Foundation

July 26, 2010

Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. Without showing a link between ‘access’ and ‘protection’ of the copyrighted work, the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision does not apply.

Ruling on DMCA could allow breaking DRM for fair use | Electronista