The Politically Correct Nature of 21st Century Sherlock Holmes

I have been watching the 21st century incarnation of Sherlock Holmes with the BBC/PBS show called “Sherlock“. I am waiting to observe the new series of another modern day twist on Sherlock Holmes with “Elementary” to come on CBS this fall. Assuming that “Elementary” is going to have a similarity with “Sherlock” being in the 21st century, then one of them is going to be that Sherlock Holmes is PCed. Let is take a look at what PCed in action first.

Sherlock Holmes injected cocaine or morphine into his veins on a regular basis, and would smoke lots of tobacco. This comes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s own writing of Sherlock Holmes. In the television show “Sherlock”, Holmes does not smoke cigarettes but uses nicotine patches (around 3-4 at one time). They try to “imply” that Holmes has drugs in his apartment when the police do a drug search. They never found anything in their search of his apartment. So the worst we have is knowing that Holmes uses nicotine patches instead of smoking tobacco and at least implied that Holmes has drugs in apartment, but do not know if he has injectable cocaine and morphine This is the 21st century Sherlock Holmes from “Sherlock”. No doubt, the Sherlock Holmes of the 21st century to appear in “Elementary”, will himself not smoke tobacco or inject cocaine and morphine into him.

The Sherlock Holmes portrayed by Jeremy Brett at least smoke tobacco.  I cannot really say if they did the scenes where he would inject cocaine or morphine into his arms. Might have, though. Assuming that the Holmes of Jeremy Brett did not inject cocaine or morphine, then that late 20th century Holmes at least smoke tobacco. Granted, one less thing of Holmes is taking away in television depictions of Sherlock Holmes.

The 21st century is not much different from the days of Doyle writing of Holmes, or the supposed historical time frame that Holmes is placed. There is still tobacco for smoking, still cocaine for injection, and still morphine for injecting, in  each of those time frames. The 21st century is no different from the 20th century , or the 19th century in this respect. So what is bringing about this difference in which these things that were available to Holmes of the 19th century, 20th century, and 21st century? This is where some Political Correctness comes into play.

The community is like Dr. Watson, they do not approve of Sherlock’s drug use, but it is what helps to make who Sherlock is. “Again and again [Dr. John Watson] had registered a vow that he should deliver his soul upon the subject [of Sherlock Holmes customary use of cocaine and morphine]; but there was that in the cool, nonchalant air of his companion which made him the last man with whom one would care to take anything approaching to a liberty. Sherlock Holmes great powers, his masterly manner, and the experience which Watson had had of his many extraordinary qualities, all made Watson diffident and backward in crossing him.” Dr. Watson did not want to take anything from Holmes that would be approaching to a liberty, of Holmes it would appear.

“I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation.”, says Sherlock. Holmes smokes tobacco and does cocaine and morphine when the dull routine of existence comes about. The dull routine of existence comes about when there is no mental exaltation without the drugs. But Holmes appears to be able to not need any artificial stimulants to achieve mental exaltation. Now the 21st century version of Holmes appears to still come into the dull routine of existence, and so he would be using some artificial stimulant, which happened to be cocaine and morphine, in the 21st century. If nicotine patches are all they have, then something is seriously deficient.

Could this be part of the drug policy, or war on drugs, where trying to run a counter-campaign against the image of doing drugs would bring up to audience members? They do see someone doing them, and they can come to have a strong like for that character. Maybe try to be like them, or similar to that person. Kids are taught to Say No to drugs. Crack is whack. D.A.R.E. to say no. There are even examples of where it has been discussed, seriously, that movies that have characters that smoke a cigarette get a certain higher rating, i.e. Pg-13 to R.

We try to teach the kids, or on tv, that your actions of what you take into your body have costs now or into the far future in some instances. So we have campaigns against cocaine use, morphine use, and tobacco use. Even Dr. Watson brings this up to Holmes, and Watson is a medical doctor and knows what constant use of these products has on a person. When these medical things are described to Holmes, he says, ” Perhaps you are right, Watson. I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one. I find it, however, so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment.” This is part of what makes Sherlock Holmes who he is. He does not care about secondary action, it is a matter of matter of small moment to him. A starving person might not have any eatable food and all of a sudden have a serving of eatable food. It matters little whether that eatable food is pork or a pear, or Purdue Chicken Nuggets or Taco Bell burrito. All that matters is that they serve his need, which is being eatable. They lacked something that they wanted and eventually  obtained what they wanted and lacked. The cost of obtaining what Holmes wanted is of little use to him, as he points out.

But hey, someone would have to pull a Helen Lovejoy. Won’t someone please think of the children!?

This is the biggest nonsense ever. Sherlock Holmes is a character who is not like the “average person”. He is cold and unemotional in his analysis of things, and so his interactions with others are of the same. He will say things that hurt other peoples feelings, and Holmes does not intend to. He takes substances to change his dull routine of existence, and they bring about clarifying his thinking or mind. He highly prizes his mental facilities, and even likes to enhance them by any means necessary, and secondary matters of what happens from their being used other than he wants are of little consequence to him. This becomes Holmes own decision, his own liberty on the matter, and even Dr. Watson does not try to approach this liberty of Holmes. But now Holmes is having some of his liberty approached not by Watson, but by production teams and writers of these 21st incarnations of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes cannot be who he is, or act out who he is, without being encroached upon, in the 21st century.

Even fictional characters are not free from being censored, or being directly changed by the political correctness of the 21st century. Fictional characters have rights, too, you know.


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