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Irene Adler

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Leastways, that's what I took away from The Abominable Bride, in large part. That under his show biz bonhomie, S. Moffat is a bit (or a lot) of a misogynist. OR, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he could have been merely endeavoring to reflect the attitudes of the prevailing Victorian male mindset toward such 'progressive' females.

I understand what you mean about SM. I agree but I still fundamentally struggle with understanding creative people (specifically actors and writers) and how they think or how I view them. Meaning, where does the creation end and the person begin or is the creation a reflection of the creator at all? You know all those actors that play bad guys? What do they tap into inside themselves to be so good at it and what does that say about them? When I was young I thought that if two actors had great romantic/sexual chemistry while in character, there must be something between the actors in real life. Of course now I know that is likely bunk but that intangible is so hard to quantify. Don’t you wonder what Stephen King is like to have the kind of imagination to come up with the creepy stories he writes?

 

I have come to believe you can sense patterns in a writer’s work and that it does reflect the writer otherwise the pattern wouldn’t exist which in combination with his interviews is why I agree with you regarding SM.

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I have always wondered whether there's a difference between professional writers / actors and amateurs when it comes to their work and their personality. I know that I can't act or write anything that isn't in me somewhere - does that mean I could never become really good at either or is it normal? Do professionals suppress this sort of personal involvement or do they nurture it?

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I'm pretty sure that for people with reasonable writing skills, the main difference between amateurs and professionals is that the professionals get paid for writing.  ;)   Which I suspect is largely a matter of having a good agent.

 

Well, that plus the ability to turn out new stories pretty regularly -- which a lot of fanfic authors can certainly do!!!

 

So a professional is just an amateur with a good agent?

 

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Yes, please do chalk up my remarks to my low opinion of Stephen Moffat, and not his wife, mother-in-law or women in general, seeing as I am one. 

 

I was not crediting S. Moffat in any way for the achievements of the women close to him, though I was unaware that he married into a family of women who were already powerhouses in the TV industry while he was in short trousers, so thanks for illuminating me.  What I was trying to convey and obviously failing to some degree is that I find it ironic that Moffat is castigated for a weak grasp of female characters (with some justification), when he has surrounded himself with such competent female role models in his own family who are powerful in their own rights.  One would suppose that, looking so close to home for inspiration, he could do a bit better by females in his scripts--and that his women would hold him accountable when he swings wide of the mark . . .as he did, for example, in that whole ridiculous 'Suffragette Black Mass' setpiece in TAB.  I suppose Gatiss must also share some of the responsibility for that.  TAB starts out seeming to elevate the historical suffragette struggle for the vote--a long, bitter, drawn-out battle by several generations of courageous women to secure a basic human right denied to them because of their gender.  I quite like the idea of Mary Morstan as a suffragette--how uncomfortable that would make her devoted, loving, but unabashedly traditional hubby.  But hiding behind the nobility of their social cause, these suffragettes written by Moffat are revealed to be homicidal, vengeful harpies with a decidedly satanic flavor to their secretive activities.  Like the Valkyries, but worse.  This is not how one writes an admiring, respectful, compassionate take on female characters.  Taking the Satanic suffragettes at face value, one might quite nearly assume that Moffat regards women's suffrage as a mistake of epic proportions, and in a very backhanded way, a passive-aggressive slap at women like his wife and mother-in-law--hard-driving professional women forging ahead successfully in a business world traditionally overseen by men.  I wonder if Sue and Beryl gleaned the same and if they expressed their opinions on the subject.  Because as TAB stands, it is not a flattering portrait of the motives of women.  It appears to make women who aspire to operate in a 'masculine' sphere via the vote and careers outside the home, not to mention, demanding the sexual fidelity of their husbands seem quite deranged and untrustworthy.

 

Leastways, that's what I took away from The Abominable Bride, in large part.  That under his show biz bonhomie, S. Moffat is a bit (or a lot) of a misogynist.  OR, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he could have been merely endeavoring to reflect the attitudes of the prevailing Victorian male mindset toward such 'progressive' females.  Seeing as his show was a contemporary retelling, I would have expected to see more contemporary sensibility reflected in this Victorian portion, which was, in the end, just a drug-fueled hallucination by Sherlock.  These waters were very muddled.

 

Better?

 

 

Wow. That is the antithesis of what I got out of TAB. But then I am not predisposed to dislike Moffat. I agree he says some unfortunate things, but watching him speak and reading what he says are two entirely different experiences, imo. "In person", so to speak, I find him very agreeable. But I can't deny that some of the things I've read that he's said have annoyed me greatly.

 

At any rate, I only want to make one other point at this juncture ... the "league of furies" was not a women's suffrage group. I agree TAB didn't do a good job of making the distinction, but a careful reading will show that the references to suffrage were strictly in regards to Mary. The other ladies were banded together to "mete out justice" to "bad" men. I can make a case both for and against that being a misogynistic concept, so I won't bother. :p I just wanted to point out that they are not suffragettes.

 

I have always wondered whether there's a difference between professional writers / actors and amateurs when it comes to their work and their personality. I know that I can't act or write anything that isn't in me somewhere - does that mean I could never become really good at either or is it normal? Do professionals suppress this sort of personal involvement or do they nurture it?

 

I think it's like any other profession; it depends on the person. I know some artists, both professional and amateur, who feel every stroke of the brush has to be an expression of their inner life, or they think they're creating garbage. And then there's those like me who take a far more detached and/or cerebral approach. For me, for example, it's more like a puzzle to be solved; I don't have a lot of emotional attachment to my work.

 

On the other hand, when I worked for a local government agency, my approach to the job was very much a reflection of my personality ... studious, idealistic, prone to overlook deviations from the norm, a terrible procrastinator. Didn't always stand me in good stead in that job, but at least I was being me, not what other people wanted me to be!

 

I'm pretty sure that for people with reasonable writing skills, the main difference between amateurs and professionals is that the professionals get paid for writing.  ;)   Which I suspect is largely a matter of having a good agent.

 

Well, that plus the ability to turn out new stories pretty regularly -- which a lot of fanfic authors can certainly do!!!

 

So a professional is just an amateur with a good agent?

 

On some level, yes! Plus there's some people who just feel compelled to make their living off their creativity, and others who want to keep their creativity for themselves. I spend time with both types; the biggest difference seems to be that the amateurs don't have to make a living off what they do, so they don't. They just do it for the joy of it, instead. I wouldn't mind being in that position, actually.

 

And there's many who like the idea of being a professional creative, but just don't have the skill, or the luck, or the work ethic, or whatever it takes to get there (a combination of those three, plus a variety of other factors, imo.) It's not easy. Or simple. And not even worth it, for some.

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At any rate, I only want to make one other point at this juncture ... the "league of furies" was not a women's suffrage group. I agree TAB didn't do a good job of making the distinction,

Oh, I remember me thinking "oh, people will jump on this". :D

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That's what people DO! :d

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This has probably been discussed before, but did Irene ultimately outwit Sherlock in any way?  I know she managed to stick him with a needle and escape after their first meeting, and she literally "beat" him; but is that really outwitting him?

 

Whether you think so or not, I guess what I'm really deliberating is the ending.  Adler's original story ended with her having got the better of him, but not so with BBC Adler, as far as I can tell.  Ultimately he still outthinks her.  The original Holmes later recounts that Adler was one of the few who defeated him.  Could the same be said of BBC Adler?

 

 

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Well, Moffat likes to say that she wins when he rescues her.

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Well, Moffat likes to say that she wins when he rescues her.

And I like that interpretation. I wouldn't even put it past Irene to risk her life only to see whether she had enough power over Sherlock Holmes that he would come save her.

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In this case not so much to prove her smarts as much as her power to attract though. But yeah, same idea.

 

I like Moffat's idea for how things went from there... That she told him she needed men's clothes to get away, made him strip at gunpoint and then left him naked in the middle of nowhere.

 

I like to think of this Irene as a genuine bad girl. And I think Sherlock finds her exciting because she is dangerous. It's a bit like he responded to Moriarty at first, only with a little more appreciation of the sexual advances. A little.

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Doesn’t it depend on how you define outwit? If you think of it as a game of intellects, then nothing about it seems like outwitting to me. I mean how much intellect does it take to take your clothes off to appeal to a man’s penis or to fake cry so he thinks you’re a damsel in distress? In those instances Sherlock isn’t exactly thinking with the head above his shoulders. The fact that Sherlock can be so easily manipulated takes away from his being so supposedly extraordinarily brillant, a lot more than even the Mary is the best thing ever overexposure.

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This has probably been discussed before, but did Irene ultimately outwit Sherlock in any way?  I know she managed to stick him with a needle and escape after their first meeting, and she literally "beat" him; but is that really outwitting him?

 

Whether you think so or not, I guess what I'm really deliberating is the ending.  Adler's original story ended with her having got the better of him, but not so with BBC Adler, as far as I can tell.  Ultimately he still outthinks her.  The original Holmes later recounts that Adler was one of the few who defeated him.  Could the same be said of BBC Adler?

 

Going strictly by what we see on television (i.e., not counting Moffat's head canon, which I do like), no, I don't think she outwits him in the end.  He guesses her phone's access code and turns her cache of secrets over to Mycroft.

 

Later she is somehow taken prisoner by a terrorist group in Pakistan; Sherlock somehow finds out and rescues her at the last minute.  Judging by the look of overwhelming relief on her face when she hears the text alert, she was clearly not at all confident of being rescued -- somewhere between faint hope and complete surprise.  Therefore I would not call that manipulation.  I would call it the classic damsel in distress syndrome, with Sherlock as the classic hero to the rescue.  That point definitely goes to the hero.

 

Well, Moffat likes to say that she wins when he rescues her.

 

Well, she doesn't get her head chopped off!  Yeah, I'd call that a win of sorts, but I certainly don't think it's her beating him, it's her owing her life to him.  If Moffat seriously wants us to see it as her outwitting him, he needed to *show* us that part, and I can't think of the faintest clue he gave us to that effect.

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I don't think Moffat means that she outwitted him in that she had a more sophisticated plan ... I think he means that she was perceptive enough to realize that the way to "beat" Sherlock Holmes was via his heart, not his brain. Or his gonads, if that's how you prefer to think of it. She made him care what happened to her, and at that point, Mr. "Married to My Work" Holmes was telling himself he didn't care about anybody. He doesn't go around rescuing any old "bad girl", that we know of; no, he reserves that privilege for Irene. So in that sense, I agree with Moffat ... she outwitted him by being smart enough to target his feelings instead of his intellect.

 

Now that I think about it, that's pretty much how everyone beats him; Moriarty, Magnussen, Eurus ... they didn't outthink him, exactly, they just targeted people he cared about. And he ends up turning the tables on Eurus by caring about her, too. Hmm, I think I detect a theme.....

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OK, I see what you (and presumably Mr. Moffat) mean, and you may be right.  But that's changing the rules.  In the original story, Irene Adler beats Sherlock Holmes fair and square by outwitting him.

 

By Moffat's rules (if I understand them), every coy little fan-fluttering woman who ever batted her eyelashes at a man, saying "Oh, you're so big and strong and smart, and I could never do that" is "beating" him by being helpless.  That's manipulation, pure and simple, and I consider that cheating.

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Oh, I don't think those women are winning by being helpless; they're winning by pretending to be helpless. And if their adversary is stupid enough to fall for it.... :p

 

I don't think any of that describes Irene, though. She wasn't getting to Sherlock by playing helpless, she was getting to him by challenging him, imo. His running to her rescue when she actually was helpless it is just the proof that her tactic worked.

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My head is spinning....  :blink:

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Yeah that didn’t make sense to me either. Glad I’m not the only one!

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Maybe I didn't phrase it well? (No, never! :P)

 

My point is, she was never helpless, except one time; when she was about to be beheaded. Prior to that, she'd been playing a game with Sherlock. My contention is that the goal of her game was to get him interested in her (romantically/sexually/intellectually, it doesn't really matter) -- enough so that she could, indeed, "manipulate" him.

 

How do we know it worked ... that she did, in fact, attract his interest? Because the one time she really is in danger, he rescues her. Now, who does he normally rescue? Innocent victims (and we know Irene is not one of those) -- and people he cares about. Mrs. Hudson, John, Mary. Would he rescue Norbury, or General Shan, or Magnussen, if they found themselves about to be beheaded? Personally, I think not. Heck, he sort of beheaded CAM himself. :blink:

 

You could say Irene chose that tactic ... intriguing him ... because it's all she knows. I'm just postulating she chose that tactic because she thought it was the one that would work. And it did, or she wouldn't still be alive to text him.

 

And isn't all criminality cheating of some sort?

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Maybe I didn't phrase it well? (No, never! :P)

 

My point is, she was never helpless, except one time; when she was about to be beheaded. Prior to that, she'd been playing a game with Sherlock. My contention is that the goal of her game was to get him interested in her (romantically/sexually/intellectually, it doesn't really matter) -- enough so that she could, indeed, "manipulate" him.

 

How do we know it worked ... that she did, in fact, attract his interest? Because the one time she really is in danger, he rescues her. Now, who does he normally rescue? Innocent victims (and we know Irene is not one of those) -- and people he cares about. Mrs. Hudson, John, Mary. Would he rescue Norbury, or General Shan, or Magnussen, if they found themselves about to be beheaded? Personally, I think not. Heck, he sort of beheaded CAM himself. :blink:

 

You could say Irene chose that tactic ... intriguing him ... because it's all she knows. I'm just postulating she chose that tactic because she thought it was the one that would work. And it did, or she wouldn't still be alive to text him.

 

And isn't all criminality cheating of some sort?

You're making perfect sense to me, Arcadia.

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Maybe I didn't phrase it well? (No, never! :P)

 

My point is, she was never helpless, except one time; when she was about to be beheaded. Prior to that, she'd been playing a game with Sherlock. My contention is that the goal of her game was to get him interested in her (romantically/sexually/intellectually, it doesn't really matter) -- enough so that she could, indeed, "manipulate" him.

She met him naked, drugged him, made him think she was dead, showed up in his bed, flirted with him, and then told him she wanted to screw him 4 times right before he solved the plane code. So her method of keeping him interested was to make herself a sex object and making him think her life was in danger but how is that outwitting him? By that logic all prostitutes, strippers and other sex workers are outwitting people to pay them for their services. That isn’t true, is it? Not sure it takes high intellect to appeal to a man that way.

 

Also is that consistent with Sherlock’s characterization who is supposed to be turned on by intellectual stimulation rather than the body?

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Maybe I didn't phrase it well? (No, never! :P)

 

My point is, she was never helpless, except one time; when she was about to be beheaded. Prior to that, she'd been playing a game with Sherlock. My contention is that the goal of her game was to get him interested in her (romantically/sexually/intellectually, it doesn't really matter) -- enough so that she could, indeed, "manipulate" him.

She met him naked, drugged him, made him think she was dead, showed up in his bed, flirted with him, and then told him she wanted to screw him 4 times right before he solved the plane code.

 

That's exactly what I meant by challenging him. He must have thought her case was at least a 7! :D

 

So her method of keeping him interested was to make herself a sex object and making him think her life was in danger but how is that outwitting him?

It worked, is how.

 

By that logic all prostitutes, strippers and other sex workers are outwitting people to pay them for their services. That isn’t true, is it?

Not sure I understand. Do sex workers have to trick customers into paying them? I would assume it's just a given; no money, no sex. But I admit this is hardly my area of expertise.

 

In any case, Irene wasn't trying to trick Sherlock into paying her, or even into having sex with her; she was trying to trick him into betraying the Bond Air plan. And she did.

 

Not sure it takes high intellect to appeal to a man that way.

 

Also is that consistent with Sherlock’s characterization who is supposed to be turned on by intellectual stimulation rather than the body?

But that's just Sherlock's characterization of himself, isn't it? At least, in this version; from the beginning, it's clear he's not quite the cold, calculating machine he claims to be. That's part of the fun of watching him, for me ... seeing how the façade gradually unravels. YMMV.

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You're making perfect sense to me, Arcadia.

 

Thanks, Tobe, I'm glad I make sense to someone. I'm not sure I understand myself half the time! :D

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Not sure I understand. Do sex workers have to trick customers into paying them? I would assume it's just a given; no money, no sex. But I admit this is hardly my area of expertise.

 

In any case, Irene wasn't trying to trick Sherlock into paying her, or even into having sex with her; she was trying to trick him into betraying the Bond Air plan. And she did.

Irene’s method of getting Sherlock interested in her was based on sex and his motivation for helping her subsequently was based on his attraction to her. Neither party was engaged in a battle of intellect much the same as the sex trade example I used. So still not sure how Irene ever outwitted Sherlock when none of it was based on a battle of intellect. Pretty sure he wasn’t thinking with his brain at all and she didn’t have to use hers either, just her body.

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I think maybe you're saying that Irene outwitted Sherlock by getting him so rattled that he couldn't think straight enough to realize that he was being manipulated?  And if so, yeah, I see your point --  though I still prefer the way the original Irene actually beat Holmes at his own game, using his own tactics (such as disguise).

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