Links of Great Interest: CONTINUING A TREND OF CAPS.

SIGNAL BOOST: What a crappy, tacky, EMBARRASSING  move. Sounds like Jada deserved her prize, and that her school can’t handle a student’s critique!

Signal Boost: From Casey:

From Amazon Watch, please sign this petition to protect the
indigenous people of Brazil by stopping the Belo Monte Monster-Dam:
(there are other petitions to sign on the site, too)

Signal Boost: Time to pass the hat!

What the hell?? Nonprofit sterilizing clients since 1997.

Whitney Houston may not be played by a black actress. What. Maybe they mean Rihanna?

Why I am a Male Feminist

On Misogyny and Rape Culture in Geekdom.

Navajo Nation sues Urban Outfitters. About gotdamn time!

Albany to bar condoms as evidence of prostitution.

From Casey:

From the Daily Mail (more like Daily FAIL), a “controversial” new
study says that having runway models larger than a size zero would
“encourage unhealthy eating habits and worsen the obesity epidemic”.

From Jenn:

Lucy Lawless was arrested along with six Greenpeace New Zealand companions after they boarded a Shell-owned oil-drilling ship to prevent it from leaving port for the Arctic.

From Raeka:

This might be better on What Privilege, but it was such an
interesting link I had to send it.

A story of love!

Oh wow. A series of FB messages from a girl who got a new tattoo. It looks like elaborate trolling.

Response to homophobic, classist, and racist Smith alum rant.

LGBT language FAIL. I’ve interviewed T before here. He responds to reader concerns here.

From Nuri:

I found this kinda sexist

From Azzy:

New findings suggest that “privilege promotes dishonesty”.

A senator I can get behind!

From Casey:

From Shakesville; Utah has passed a bill allowing schools to abolish sex ed class and those who keep the courses are prohibited from teaching about how to use contraceptives because “sex outside marriage is devastating”.On racebending

The anniversary of the 228 incident

On human trafficking, and immigrant transgender women.

From Casey:

From the Freakin’ Awesome Network Forums, current WWE Champion CM
Punk and Chris Brown are having a “Twitter war”. It’s gotten to the
point where WWE is acknowledging it on their TV programs and website
so people are starting to think Brown will be involved at Wrestlemania
in some capacity.

Does the gender binary still have a place in modern Wicca?

Rush Limbaugh calls a politically active and aware woman a slut. Also he wants to watch feminists have sex.

From Casey:

Bronies on DeviantArt are bawwwing about how awful and MEEN people
are for calling out Derpy Hooves being an ableist character.

From Casey:

Apparently, CBS casted Lucy Liu as as Watson in their own version of
Sherlock called “Elementary” and everyone (besides me) is upset about
it. Basically, they’re saying “I’m not trying to be sexist BUT HOW

Woman denied communion at mother’s funeral.

Gorgeous revamps of Disney ‘ships.

FB lawsuit.

The changing demographics of Christianity.

More on Derpy.

Single parenthood—–> child abuse!!!

I guess entrapment only is a “thing” when you’re legally an adult.


  1. Casey says

    HO-LEE SHIT. That Bakhtanians guy is like the (literal) king of the neckbeards if he thinks NOT sexually harassing people when you play Street Fighter is like being in North Korea. And LOOOOOOOOOL at him (and Rea) saying Starcraft is ~so~ much better when it comes to this sort of thing. *coughs and points to the Starcraft2 article on this site*

  2. Quib says

    I’ve watched 3 different reality t.v. shows about tattooing actual human beings with permanent images, and somehow shows about “nerd culture” are worse than all of them!

    It’s entirely too bad Limauggh didn’t make his request last week, because then I could have made videos of what my periods have been looking like, and get some opinions on whether or not it’s worth paying money to keep that nightmarish business from ever happening again. I’m hopefull month two birth control will make ’em calmer instead of just predictable, although I’m very sad to report taking contraceptives hasn’t increased the amount of sex I’m having at all.
    Of course, no one on his side is saying anything with the least bit of substance beyond screaming at people for being women, so there’s a limited value in engaging at all.

    I sort of harumphed at the Lucy Liu casting, but only because it looks a lot like a “quick! add tits!!” move. Well, also because Do we really need make Sherlock all over again just to put it in America?

    Byron Hurt is cool!

    • Maria says

      I really hate it when people say that a particular move is like a quick-add-tits or a quick-add-brown when a canonical character is cast as a woman or POC. I mean, have you seen Lucy Liu’s career? She’s not hurting for work. If it was a new character, then yeah, maybe I could see that… or if she was being cast as Irene Adler, who’s now been re-written as an unstable bisexual or as an ingenue. As is? I’m looking at the character bio and seeing that it’s the kind of bio normally presented for a male sidekick; I’m seeing a fairly powerful Asian-American actress cast for the part; I’m seeing fans FLIP THEIR SHIT over a book series they may or may not have read, and a TV series that, to be frank, I KNOW some of my USian friends only fanwank to because of its “quintessentially British nature.” Sooooo… yeah.

  3. SunlessNick says

    Jada Williams’s treatment is appalling.

    Whitney Houston may not be played by a black actress. What. Maybe they mean Rihanna?

    I sure as hell hope they mean not necessarily American rather than not necessarily Black.

    I’m seeing a fairly powerful Asian-American actress cast for the part; I’m seeing fans FLIP THEIR SHIT over a book series they may or may not have read

    Some of the comments in the linked article are definitely thick with the misogyny. But I have to admit to being pretty purist when it comes to adaptations; I don’t like the idea of a female Watson any more than I like the idea of a modern Holmes, or an Irene Adler who’s in love with Holmes, or a Holmes who ways “elementary” all the damn time.

    Those things aren’t alike from a feminist perspective of course, but when it comes to Holmes and Watson, I’d be more intrigued by a version that flipped both rather than just the sidekick.

  4. Casey says



    **How long has the whole Holmes/Watson “ship” been around or teased at in the series, anyway? I thought Sherlock Holmes was asexual.

  5. Fairfield says

    Reading the article about how the priest treated Barbara Johnson at her own mother’s funeral just about broke my heart. How do you even begin to justify treating someone like that? I hope she gets a lot of support.

    As for the Sherlock casting nontroversy, I can understand why some fans are huffing and puffing but honestly, this is great casting — Liu is fantastic and it’s an interesting take on two characters that, in my opinion, transcend gender. Sherlock is the brilliant detective but with flawed interpersonal skills, Watson is the loyal friend, able to see in Sherlock what no one else can: great humanity. Nothing of that is specifically male OR female. But fanbois will bleat. Bleh.

    Isn’t this similar to the fanboi furore over the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall in Thor? And yet, despite all their nonsense, Elba was easily one of the best things about Thor.

    I wish that I could say that Bakhtanians, or people like him, are rare in gaming but they’re not: that rhetoric is endemic. As Casey said, it’s in Starcraft, but it’s also across the entire 360 community, PSN, almost everywhere, basically.

    Oh and try to avoid the recent cinema release Project X, it’s utterly horrific by all accounts, complete and utterly male gaze/priveledge focused from start to finish with absolutely NO redeeming message whatsoever. Here’s a review that hints as to why it’s so dangerous:

  6. says

    Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of valid criticisms of Liu’s casting, along the lines of “Oh, so you just happened to cast an Asian woman as the version of Watson that’s a failed surgeon instead of a veteran war medic?” Also, “Why cast a woman in the touchy-feely-caretaker role instead of the unstable-genius role? Or both?”

    But most of the criticisms have been exclusively her race and gender, as if Joan Watson was somehow less Watson than John Watson.


    I don’t know if the NY Times article about language trends among young women sexist itself, or if it’s just reporting on a social phenomenon that is sexist. I mean, I pick up a patronizing attitude of “Look! It turns out women aren’t annoying after all!” but I honestly can’t decide whether that patronization is supposed to be directed at women or at people who think women are annoying.


    I “love” how The Pill is inherently sexual to jackasses like Rush Limbaugh, as if there were no possible other reason to take it, but not one peep about Viagra. It really says something when a pill to make uteri menstruate properly, prevent ovarian cysts, clear up acne, and prevent pregnancy is seen as more sexual than a pill to make penises erect.

    I’m getting really tired of “sex” meaning “female sex”.

  7. NN says

    How in the world could that lady who made derpy be an advocate for disabled people and yet have never heard the word “ableist”. What bullshit.

  8. sbg says

    I believe only Rush Limbaugh could take “I would like access to contraception” and make it “I want to be paid to have sex.”

    That man has serious logic issues.

  9. Juliana says

    ^ Ugh, I know. Especially considering one of the writers pointed out he uses viagra. I hate these freaking double standards.

    Also, all of the comments on the CBS Lucy Liu thing seem to be along the lines of “Great, now there’s going to be sexual tension/DRAMA”. Because you know, that’s all female characters are good for.

  10. Nialla says


    Unfortunately, based on previous experience with network TV series, that’s all they think female characters are good for, so I don’t think it’s odd for many to expect it. TV writers rarely see any other way to deal a male and female relationship that doesn’t involve sexual tension.

    I don’t really see why they’re bothering to make the connection to Sherlock Holmes at this point. It’s not in London, and Watson’s a disgraced surgeon instead of a doctor and war veteran injured in the line of duty (and a female Watson could have been a doctor in Afghanistan in the modern setting). Why not be like the many other shows who homage it quite openly (House being one of them with House and Wilson’s last names being homages to Holmes and Watson) instead of using the names with one genderflip?

    Seems like they’re riding the coattails of the success of Sherlock at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if they changed the name or lessened the connection to the source even further later on though. They’re getting attention with it now, and that’s what they want.

    Since it will be episodic television versus the movie length style of Sherlock, I expect it to be much more procedural, like many other CBS shows. Nothing wrong with that, I watch some of them, but with the potential for 20+ 45-minute episodes versus 3 90-minute movies per season, it’s a totally different game that will be afoot, no matter the genders involved.

  11. sbg says

    Also, Jada Williams is the kind of student teachers should encourage, not try to stifle, FFS. That her observation was one people didn’t want to contemplate themselves should make them wonder why they don’t want to think about it, which is what education is all about. She, at thirteen, has a firm grasp on something I wouldn’t have even considered until well into adulthood, because of my own privilege.

  12. Maria says


    I hear what you’re saying, but you’re ignoring the racialized aspects of fandom responses. When you see images of white, British Victoriana Watson, white British Victoriana Watson, and then Lucy Liu in contemporary clothing with a gun, and the caption reads, One of these things is not like the other? They’re not just talking about her being a girl.

  13. Quib says

    It would definitely be ideal for progressive and activist groups to be visible and pervasive enough that everyone has a chance to be familiar with their messages, but there’s still more work to be done. It isn’t reasonable to expect every person in, or connected to oppressed groups to be aware of all, or even most, parts of related activism.
    “Abelist” is kinda specific vocabulary, and while it’s fair to criticize not knowing it, I don’t think it’s any kind of proof of insincerity or lack of involvement.


    Sorry, I really did not mean to criticize the actress, or her abilities. I’m not sure how best to, or if I can, separate that from “in the process of Americanizing an existing franchise, the production company cast a person known for being exceptionally attractive for a role that is not typically a sexy one, and that looks like an attention grab”.
    I also think it’s important to recognize and acknowledge that a person getting a job is not responsible for that job taking advantage of them, or the means or reasons that created that job.
    While I’m not following this series beyond reading about it on blogs, it seems like a fair question to ask “Are they giving her this part because they think she is the best possible Watson, or because they think adding her picture will make the series new and sexy?”

    And now, I remember the 30 seconds of the Pilot of the American remake of ‘Spaced’ I managed to stomach, and I want there to be a law against Americans copying British t.v. series.

  14. says

    Jada Williams is a hero, just for pointing that out.

    I loooove the study on privilege and dishonesty. I think while poorer groups have more incentive to lie and cheat, they get worse results for using those methods – often losing hugely. So they learn, “It doesn’t work for me.” Privileged people don’t get bad results from lying and cheating, so they are more likely to engage in those behaviors. It’s not rocket science, but I’m glad these researchers went to so much trouble to demonstrate scientifically something that’s intuitive to any keen observer of human nature.

    I also love that they noticed Prius drivers being more unethical than most. My first thought was “cyclists” – while loads of cyclists are careful and reasonable, many drive in ways that are unethical, illegal and even deliberately traffic snarling, and I’ve always suspected it’s because they think they’re saving the Earth, so they should be catered to. They may even think they’re rightfully punishing the horrid car drivers. Of course, a lot of cyclists around here are exceedingly wealthy – they either don’t need jobs, or they were given a company for their 21st birthday so it’s okay if they swan into work looking like they’ve just been bike riding. And of course, you just know they’d fire the receptionist if she did the same thing instead of showing up in a lovely dress and looking cute.

  15. says

    The sterilization link was interesting. There is a lot going on with that organization, and some of it does seem nefarious. It does need to be investigated, and the organization should consider the changes that have been suggested by CARA (Communities Against Rape and Abuse) and BPP (Black People’s Project). If they are sincere about their mission, beginning that conversation will only help everyone involved.

    Yet I think it ties back into the current birth control conversation. Why is birth control so expensive? Who should pay for it?

    What if someone wants to have their tubes tied or a vasectomy and can’t afford it? Do medicare or medicaid pay for that? I’m not sure they do. Planned Parenthood could fill that gap, but their funding is continuously under attack. Part of this is also because of the historical abuses that happened in the public sector.

    Like the author of the link, I too support the rights of men and women to become parents when and how they choose.

  16. says


    My problem with paying addicts to get sterilized is that it seems to presuppose that all addicts will forever be unsuitable for parenting. This is not true – a lot of addicts get the help they need to recover, and many recovered addicts can make very good parents. Meanwhile, an awful lot of really horrid parents are NOT addicts. It’s just not the right approach, singling out addicts this way.

    I don’t think Planned Parenthood is in trouble for non-profit abuses. I think they’re in trouble because the Republicans need strawman targets like them. It’s usually Republicans, and specifically Skull & Bones types, who run the non-profits that get investigated for abuses. This goes back to the link about privileged people being more likely to be lying, cheating hypocrites than less privileged people.

  17. Nialla says


    I hear what you’re saying, but you’re ignoring the racialized aspects of fandom responses. When you see images of white, British Victoriana Watson, white British Victoriana Watson, and then Lucy Liu in contemporary clothing with a gun, and the caption reads, One of these things is not like the other? They’re not just talking about her being a girl.

    I’m quite aware that some responses are based on racial and gender issues, history of the series, etc., but not all of them are. Flip the coin and realize that not everyone is coming from that POV, so please don’t lump them into one. I actually like the idea of having a female Watson of color, but having seen too much American TV, especially broadcast network shows, it doesn’t bode well. I’m seeing a lot of people saying things along the line of “You don’t want a woman/POC in this role because you’re ___ist!” which isn’t accomplishing much other than wank.

    I’ve never really cared for any of Liu’s work until she was on Southland, but it was more about me not being interested in the type of stuff she was in than her personally. I think she’s doing an excellent job there, and could do a fine Joan Watson as well, but I’m still very uncomfortable with the change from military doctor to disgraced doctor. There’s no need for that change except to “depower” her in a sense. Maybe the writers will change their mind on that point before filming begins. That would improve things a lot, IMO.

    I’d also be a lot more comfortable if American shows wouldn’t adapt foreign shows while the original is still on the air. Once wasn’t a problem, mainly because Americans rarely had a chance to see the original. Now that we do, or at least many of us do (and if not, we can still know details online), it’s rather irritating sometimes. At least this one is using a different title, so I won’t have to be skimming news articles and trying to figure out which show it’s talking about. Sites that use “Being Human (UK)” and “Being Human (US)” in titles or early in articles are much appreciated.

  18. says

    The American Sherlock Holmes series is not an adaption of the British series. I don’t know why everyone thinks it is. Sherlock Holmes is actually a book series, written in the 1880’s by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (I thought this was common knowledge…?) Both the British and American TV shows are adaptions of that original work, not one from the other. I mean, new name, new character histories, new character demographics…what do the shows have in common, besides the “X set in modern times” trope?

    As for why Americans are choosing to make this adaption now, I’m sure the success of the British TV show had something to do with it. I’m also sure the success of the Hollywood films had a lot to do with it, and the fact that crime dramas in general are big right now. It’s overly simplistic to point at a single factor as the main reason for their decision.

  19. JT says

    As a budding cycling enthusiast, I can assure you we aren’t all that bad!

    Plus, even if a cyclist is being an asshole and I’m in my car, I try to remember that she is squishy while I am encased in steel. So I am extra careful, douche-iness notwithstanding.

    Liking the Dr. Nerdlove site and currently archive binging. I only wish the comments weren’t so infested with “but but but it’s haaaaaard talking to girls like they’re people how will we ever procreate now??” Nice Guys. Oh well.

  20. Casey says

    JT: Liking the Dr. Nerdlove site and currently archive binging. I only wish the comments weren’t so infested with “but but but it’s haaaaaard talking to girls like they’re people how will we ever procreate now??” Nice Guys. Oh well.

    Yeah, that’s why I just read the articles and run. The last time I deigned to read the comments, some asshole was wanking about how it’s ~UNFAIR~ they can’t be upset by (presumably negative) blanket statements made about straight white men because “the PC feminist womynz will tell you you can’t be offended because you have fucking privilege”.

  21. says

    Sylvia Sybil, because the difference between “homage” and “rip off” is whether you put your own new twist on the old material rather than just re-hashing it. Setting Sherlock in modern times was the British series’ unique twist, and the American version is ripping off that particular idea (as well as adapting the novels). It’s like “the Saracen character” in Robin Hood – the Robin Hood stories have been done a million times and they themselves are not copyright protected or anything, but Robin of Sherwood (UK) created a “Saracen” character who becomes one of the merry men, and then US filmmakers stole that idea for their movies, and then Robin Hood (UK) stole it again (this time with a gender flip, yawn).

    So, while you’re right that they are ALL ultimately pulling from very old source material, they’re also ripping off each other’s ideas, and I don’t know how anyone else feels, but I get really tired of the lack of creativity.


    Er, perhaps you missed the phrase in my comment “while loads of cyclists are careful and reasonable”?

  22. says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Enh, I disagree that setting something in modern times is a unique twist. That goes at least back to Shakespeare, whose works were often rewrites of older tales/themes. And it’s certainly popular; there are dozens of examples on TV Tropes’ Setting Update page.

    I do get that American TV shows have a history of ripping off British shows. But if two different adaptions only have one non-original trope in common (and it’s the only thing I’ve seen that they do) then I don’t see it as a rip-off.

  23. says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Setting *something* in a new time period is not unique, but setting Holmes in the 21st century was. And it’s significant because the forensics and profiling Holmes was pioneering is now in relatively widespread usage – that posed an interesting challenge: what could Holmes contribute in a setting where the contributions Doyle originally wrote for him are now fairly standard?

  24. Quib says

    It’s more to over all attitude in the entertainment industry of “Let’s do exactly what was just successful!” that’s got me annoyed.

    The immediately preceding British series (is it even accurate to say it “preceding” when it’s ongoing, and only in something like its second season?) is the most egregious and easy to criticize, and I do know that it’s not set to be a direct remake, but I think it still counts as copying.

    Ironically, I think a direct remake, like The Office is more at liberty to be novel and innovative, where the producers are sort of obligated to put a new spin on the characters and premises, as opposed to an instance where they’re trying to stay true to the same source material.

    On the language article, I think where the sexism comes into play is where they talk about “women and girls”, not a subset, or group of female humans, but all or them, and still treat them like small, insular, pocket of society. Even within a specific age group “young women” aren’t a small, outside influence on society, they are society.

  25. JMS says

    Setting Holmes in “modern times” isn’t unique to the BBC Sherlock; the Basil Rathbone Holmes solved tons of cases directly related to World War II, and he wasn’t supposed to be 120 at the time—they just hand-waved away his canon age and sent him trotting around the globe on 1940s ocean-liners and what-not. (I haven’t seen all the Rathbone Holmes-in-modern-days films, so don’t know if he ever went on a 1940s-style plane…)

    There have been a few other “modern Sherlock” radio, TV, and film incarnations since. The BBC Radio series Second Holmes, for instance (which is terrible). Also props to the animation series Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, in which a cryogenically frozen Holmes is decanted in the future (which is actually kind of wonderful).

    I think it is most likely that the BBC Sherlock was the direct inspiration for the upcoming US one with Lucy Liu (whom I love, and who has definitely been very complex and far from “just a glamour figure” in Southland), but I also think the BBC Sherlock is just part of a long history of making Holmes and Watson into whatever we want them to be.

  26. says

    I think I can refine the point here. Homages are okay. The problem is, there’s a big power dynamic coming into play when you talk about US film/TV makers ripping off the intellectual contributions of other cultures, inside or outside a framework of “coming from earlier source material.”

    Example: Star Wars was very much a visual rip-off of the British Dr. Who of the 70s and a story rip-off of Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. Neither of them sued Lucas for stealing their ideas and adding nothing original (and Lucas considered buying the rights for the Kurosawa film, so he wasn’t unconscious of what he was doing). But then Lucas turned around a year later and sued the hell out of the original Battlestar Galactica for, um, having space ships? He alleged it looked like SW or something… as if SW looked nothing like Dr. Who or Trek or WWII fighter planes, and nobody had ever had a spaceship in their TV show before.

    So I guess what I’m really fucking sick of is the American entertainment attitude that it’s okay for us to appropriate the work of filmmakers in less successful entertainment cultures, but it’s not okay for anyone else to engage in ripping off. Especially those heathen movie and music downloaders, who will for sure be the ruination of our society faster than serial killers, the nuclear bomb and those unwed mothers put together.

    Does anyone understand what I’m saying? It’s part of American imperialism. We have been ripping off British TV for so long (Archie Bunker, at least, but I think it goes back further), and sometimes we pay them for the privilege. I dunno, maybe it’s part of the Special Relationship now – CIA gives them info, they give us entertainment because god knows nobody in Hollywood has the creativity of an empty pool basin.

    But nobody paid Kurosawa for Star Wars (and it really, really IS nearly a shot for shot remake – do not argue with me unless you too have spent about six hours watching a scene from SW and a scene from HF and taking extensive notes). And American film/TV makers routinely scour non-English speaking films for stuff to rip off. Even if there are no real victims here (and in a nod to the current discussion, I’ll happily acknowledge this latest Holmes thang is not the very best example of the problem), it remains that Hollywood thinks they are entitled to appropriate the work of other cultures in the same way that misogynistic men think they’re entitled to order women on the street to smile – we should all be flattered by it, I suppose.

    And that’s what pisses me off about this, and why I staunchly support any variation on the argument that Hollywood and US TV makers need to stop “borrowing” from other cultures, and should at the very least be thought of jackasses for doing it.

  27. MaggieCat says

    Jennifer Kesler:
    Does anyone understand what I’m saying? It’s part of American imperialism. We have been ripping off British series for so long (Archie Bunker, at least, but I think it goes back further) that it’s now acknowledged with a laugh as something we do.

    One of my favorite stories about this very phenomenon is what happened to Gilbert and Sullivan when they brought H.M.S. Pinafore to the United States. International copyright law was basically nonexistent at the time* which lead to something like almost 200 unauthorized productions none of which payed a cent in royalties between the official UK premier in May of 1878 and the *authorized* NYC premier in December of 1879. At some point during the US production someone suggested making the H.M.S. Pinafore the U.S.S. Pinafore and Gilbert got his snark on by rewriting the lyrics to “He is an Englishman” on the fly:
    He is American!
    Though he himself has said it,
    ‘Tis not much to his credit,
    That he is American.
    For he might have been a Dutchman,
    An Irish, Scotch or such man,
    Or perhaps an Englishman!
    But in spite of hanky-panky,
    He remains a true-born Yankee,
    A cute American.

    The relevant original lyrics?
    He is an Englishman!
    For he himself has said it,
    And it’s greatly to his credit,
    That he is an Englishman!
    For he might have been a Roosian,
    A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
    Or perhaps Itali-an!
    But in spite of all temptations
    To belong to other nations,
    He remains an Englishman!

    (emphasis mine)

    And yet, the guy who made the suggestion apparently missed the sarcasm and said it was brilliant. *headdesk* A few minutes later (I assume it took Gilbert that long to stop calling him an idiot in his head) Gilbert pointed out that “such words might disturb the friendly relations existing between the United States of America and the United Kingdom” and ended by declaring that “as long as H.M.S. Pinafore holds afloat she must keep the Union Jack flying.”(source)

    *(In fact their next one, Pirates of Penzance, opened on Dec. 30 in England and Dec. 31 in NYC and sent 4 touring companies trained by G&S around the US that spring specifically to avoid a repeat of the problem.)

  28. Cassandra says

    I find the whole lady in a traditionally male role in Sherlock Holmes ‘controversy’ rather hilarious, as I recall recently talking to a friend how I was disappointed by the Moriarty in the British Sherlock as I had been hoping they would mix it up with a female Moriarty. Am I the only person who thinks that would have been too cool?

    I don’t like it when people cite tradition as a reason to do anything, but most especially in fiction. It’s fiction. It’s a chance to do something different and noteworthy – take it.

  29. Quib says

    Now that you mention it, I am kind of at a loss for a Battle of Wits between female characters. Hanna (the movie from last year) came sort of close, but the battle was more a tactical, physical one than a strictly mental one.
    …I need to read more.

    Putting a female character in the role of the Watson, the outsider who isn’t special and asks questions on behalf of the audience, isn’t particularly new. (I hear there’s a British series that makes a habit of it). I don’t see any problems with an Asian, female Watson, but it’s not like “finally! the narrator who needs things explained can be a woman”.


    I remember that cartoon. The ’90’s were a weird, weird time.

  30. Alara Rogers says

    I appreciate this concept, but honestly… I want a female Holmes. Watson’s role in the story is generally to look at Holmes in amazement, and provide support, backup and all those petty logistic things that Holmes is too much of a genius to think of. In other words, Watson is *already* a woman. :-( Or at least, fulfills a role that we 21st century Westerners are already very comfortable seeing a woman in.

    I want to see a story where the star is an abrasive female supergenius and there’s a *man* providing her backup, support, and explaining her to people who just don’t get her. Because if it was a full-on genderswap, two women, then great, we have a supergenius woman, but once again we have a woman in the role of providing emotional support. Just once, I want to see a woman be the genius who can’t be bothered with the petty shit, and a man be the one who gives her emotional support and logistic backup. I’d even be okay with him rescuing her, physically, from time to time, as long as it wasn’t every time and as long as she was shown as not completely useless in a fight… because every wizard needs fighter-class characters to protect him or her, but that doesn’t subtract from a good wizard’s badassitude.

    So yeah, this is great, and a step in the right direction, and I want to slap any woman who is whining that you can’t swap Watson because what about the HoYay? Jesus H Christ on a pogo stick, people, there is no shortage of stories in which two equally badass men, or a badass man and a supporting man, have such a close relationship there might as well be sexual tension. But how many damn stories are there, actually, where the woman in the couple is actually the narrator, the POV character, and one of the two stars of the story? That isn’t *about* a romance? I mean, I got X-Files, and Dark Angel, and… and… drawing a blank here, people, help me out…

    But it’s not enough. Watson’s role is one we already see women in. (CF X-Files; if Scully wasn’t Mulder’s Watson, I’ll eat my hat. The furry one.) There are *no* stories in media with female supergeniuses who are also assholes, who have *men* backing them up. (I actually don’t know of any in novels, either. Well, ok, Mad Skillz, but she wasn’t an asshole so much as her mind was too advanced to get along with other humans.)

  31. Tristan J says

    Alara Rogers,

    There’s Bones, actually. Like, right down to the letter, you’ve described the show Bones – she’s a genius anthropologist who doesn’t get people and finds general social interaction frustrating and tedious, he’s a laidback ex-Marine FBI agent who keeps having to explain how people think to her and how she thinks to other people. They fight crime!

    (I mean, in practice I find the show to be a badly written, formulaic, neo-conservative pile of crap, but it’s something, and theoretically someone more talented than the Bones people could use it to pitch a better show running on the same idea)

  32. Casey says

    Tristan J,

    Besides Bones, I think In Plain Sight has a dynamic of “main character is a woman and the story’s from her POV and she’s got a male companion/sidekick/right-hand-man”. I think another USA show called Fairly Legal has that dynamic as well but it’s a lot more problematic since the main female character is white and her emotional support is a black guy so they’ve got an iffy master/servant relationship.

  33. SunlessNick says

    Alara Rogers,

    I want to slap any woman who is whining that you can’t swap Watson because what about the HoYay?

    Besides, Watson was married for much of the run (Mary Morston from the Sign of Four). It would be nice to see an adaptation that remembered her – whether she gets genderflipped along with Lucy Liu’s Watson, or is still a woman.

  34. Ara says


    I can’t watch Fairly Legal because I’m studying mediation in college and I’m instantly caught up in “mediation does not work that way!” (Even more scarily egregiously than CSI is about forensic science.) But from the few episodes I saw, her secretary wasn’t registering as the same type of emotional support guy that you get on Bones or In Plain Sight– he just tries very hard to keep her schedule.

    I *love* the way the dynamic is done on In Plain Sight, though! They actually got very explicit about it in something like the fourth episode, when Marshall told her that he felt like he was the keeper of a large dangerous animal and spends half his time protecting her from the world and the other half protecting the world from her. (That episode also featured him being shot and her having to do most of the gun-wielding that eventually got them out of there.)

  35. Casey says

    Ara: But from the few episodes I saw, her secretary wasn’t registering as the same type of emotional support guy that you get on Bones or In Plain Sight– he just tries very hard to keep her schedule.

    Oh well I suppose it’s not as bad as I thought it was, the commercials for the show just left a bad taste in my mouth and I’m sick of how generic all the USA “original” programming is; they all tend to bleed together to me, besides Psych and Burn Notice, at least. Plus I’m sick of how thin and generically attractive most of the main female characters are on those shows, I saw a mash-up ad for In Plain Sight and Fairly Legal and all I could think was “THEY’VE GOT THE SAME FUCKING HAIRDO”.

  36. sbg says


    Though I wasn’t thrilled with the last season of IPS, I’m sad that this is the last season of IPS. I love Mary and Marshall, and I love that she’s clearly the lead and he’s clearly the support.

  37. Ara says


    I haven’t seen the last season yet (I’m at a school which has three TVs on the entire campus; my TV watching is somewhat intermittent), but from the commercials I could tell that it got kind of odd. The other thing I really loved about IPS besides Mary and Marshall was the interplay between Mary and Eleanor (I’m sad they got rid of her!), because Eleanor was unwilling to put up with Mary’s behavior, but neither of them let that animosity get in the way of actually accomplishing stuff. And it’s really rare in shows featuring someone like Mary for anyone not designated as a villain to call the lead out on the crazy behavior.

  38. says

    I’ve been thinking about it, and The Closer also has that female eccentric genius/male emotional support dynamic. The program consistently shows that Brenda is a difficult person to get along with, but that she’s more or less tolerated because she gets results. Lying to get what you want is a great trait in an investigator, not so much in a coworker or a friend.

    However, Brenda has several men who interface between her and everyone else: her underling Sergeant Gabriel (especially in the first season), her boss Chief Pope, and her boyfriend/husband Agent Howard. I wonder if spreading that role out across two or three people was done on purpose to avoid making them seem like sidekicks? I don’t want to say “emasculation” because overall the show’s fairly non-sexist, but perhaps the writers realized that the emotional support character is typically viewed as weaker.

  39. Coudtigress says

    Jennifer Kesler:

    And that’s what pisses me off about this, and why I staunchly support any variation on the argument that Hollywood and US TV makers need to stop “borrowing” from other cultures, and should at the very least be thought of jackasses for doing it.

    Idea for a possible column/topic someday, ASSuming that it’s not been done elsewhere on the web already (or even on this site): the differences between homages, appropriations, and outright theft from other cultures. As an aspiring writer/artist who’d like to use not-Western ideas/myths/people/things/ect. in her work, I’d like to know where the lines between proper usage and wrongful appropriations are when I do the research to figure out cultures (and people/sexualities) that aren’t my own. In other words, a roadmap telling me where the political landmines and ethical quicksand pits are located would be appreciated. Or if such a thing’s already been done, telling me where it’s at so I can look it up myself.

  40. says


    You know, I haven’t seen it, and I personally wouldn’t feel qualified to attempt to spell it out for everyone. But this would make a great open thread, and I’ll put it together soon. Because I’m thinking there are a lot of nuances – for example, what if SW had featured some Asian actors in prominent roles as a sort of acknowledgement of the source material? I’m not sure that would’ve helped, but it’s an example of sort of a far-out way to at least, I dunno, give your stolen material a constructive purpose (i.e., employing Asian actors in a movie that’s not about The Issue Of Being Asian or pseudo-karate). It would be really interesting to have a free for all discussion where we brainstorm like that – so long as everyone, particularly white USians, is prepared to see their ideas shot down.

    Great suggestion!

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