Thursday, June 28, 2012

Arthur Conan Doyle's Women

We interrupt the scheduled broadcast of 'Justin Bieber: This Is My World' to bring you this important fan-rave.

Reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories has been a revelation in more ways than one. Especially how he depicts his women. So much is made of Irene Adler - 'The' Woman featured in 'A Scandal in Bohemia' - but there are many female characters across other stories, who (whom? - I never know) Holmes respects not just for their 'sensible' nature but also for their brand of instinct and logic. Holmes recognises feminine values and, driven by reason as he is, finds no need to dismiss them like others do unless given due cause.  His women are neither idealized archetypes nor irrelevant pieces of furniture. They're interesting, multi-layered with things to do in the story.

As one reads these stories, one is suddenly - and sadly - aware of how rare this attitude would've been in the 19th century and how it continues to be fairly uncommon in today's world as well.

(Also 1000 extra points for his views on race relations and class distinctions in 19th century England.) 

This Bieber documentary is delightful. I can imagine it being made by someone like this.

Friday, June 15, 2012


BBC One's Sherlock based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes Mysteries
Image Courtesy 'Eat Sleep Draw'

Probably because

“The Implicit Holmes”, Edgar W. Smith, 1946

And then there is inspired retelling of the Holmes' mysteries in the modern age and the logic of why it needed to be done:

Mark Gatiss, writer of BBC One's 'Sherlock':
"This may sound like heresy but really it isn't. Although Steven and I are second to none in loving the flaring gas-lit atmosphere of a lovely old London, it felt as though Sherlock Holmes had become all about the trappings and not the characters.
Also, the original stories are models of their kind. Incredibly modern, dialogue-driven, fast paced and short! What better way to get back to the roots of these fantastic creations than to make Holmes and Watson living, breathing, modern men just as they had been originally?"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Critical Mass

I'm 33 years old and, in my estimation, the strongest I've ever been. My body is healthy, my mind robust and my spirit calmer than it's been my entire history. There's confidence that comes from being here at this point in time and knowing that, as a result, my powers can only grow stronger.
From here on out though, society will try to make me redundant: First as a woman as I approach and then bypass the healthy age to bear children, then as a professional as I cross my sixties and finally, when my body begins to fail, as a valuable member of my community. At each of these stages, I fear that forces will attempt to phase me out in some way or the other.

My innate need to grow will progress in parallel with society's need to set me out to pasture and at some point, I imagine, a deadlock will be reached between these two swelling, yet opposing, forces. I will then, like many others fearful of ageing, be faced with a choice. To concede that I'm redundant and fade way. Or recognize the full weight of my acquisitions - the knick-knacks of experience, scrapes from different falls & nuggets of epiphanies - and hunker down; say 'I'm not moving, bitch' and insist on staying relevant.

Crossroads come up within sight as I try to guess correctly, which choice will gain critical mass first.

jim hamann photography

Sunday, June 3, 2012

'Listening' According to The Vedas (not really)

It may not be news to you but:

There are two types of listening. In one type, information passes through a prism of, not a prism, some kind of internal transmogrification apparatus, where information is brutally converted into genres of thought & feeling we're more tuned towards (or our life-condition tunes us towards). Nothing new ever happens in this kind of listening, we learn nothing and are no closer to comprehending anything outside of us than we're able to look up our nostrils without a mirror. We find it easy to judge others from this place, because we can't tell how their story is different from ours. We are baffled by different behaviours because we never switch this apparatus of preconception off.

In the other type of listening, we're open. There is no apparatus. Information flows into us and lights up new spaces of darkness and we go: "Oh! I never looked at it that way!" The world is then an easier place to navigate, it's easier to decide when to care and when not to. It's more difficult to invalidate someone else's feelings or world views; harder to call them 'stupid'. It's easier to let go of 'shoulds' and concentrate on what's fun. It's easier to learn no matter how old we get. The panic of bafflement gives way to the thrill of exploration. I'm sayin is...When I crack this, I'll give you a buzz.