Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
The Importance of Accuracy in TV and Movies About Computers
Discuss the spectrum of realism in the media’s portrayal of those in the world of computers, such as hackers or security experts in Mr. Robot, visionaries and coders in Halt and Catch Fire, all the way back to films such as Tron or War Games. Is accuracy as important as story, or even more desired in the past ten years? Perhaps speculate on how these shows impact people’s views of computers and how important they are to society.
True, but for U.S. fans of British TV, it often works in reverse. Sherlock is a good example. Not only did those in the states have to wait 2 years or more for a new series, but then watch it on PBS, which used to edit it for content! I finally resorted to just buying the DVD’s. This was true for many shows I love, such as Wallander and Doc Martin. Now we have BBC America and can watch many shows when they air in the UK–at last!
Great choice! In many ways, I would call him even more Byronic than Byron. He is so damaged by his early years and the abuse by Hindley that he really has no “good side”, even in his love of Cathy. Granted, her rejection contributed to his rage at the world, but he was headed that way already. He is the ultimate, self-destructive anti-hero.
He’s an interesting choice! Both actors who played Linus were cut out to do that. Harrison Ford, especially, is the handsome, often self-serving man of action, who ultimately saves people. The character of Han Solo was very Byronic! After all of his “Me first” talk, who shows up to help Luke destroy the Death Star?
This is a fascinating topic, with good examples for the most part. I would tend not to call any hero or villain “Byronic” without a good deal of action on their part. Contrast Byron himself with his friend, the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelly. While the latter had many rebellious, anti-social traits (he was kicked out of university for publishing a pamphlet supporting atheism) and not-so-nice relationships with women (he left his wife Harriet to traipse across Europe with his lover, Mary), he was never the action hero that Byron was. Byron tried, under his own command, to oust the Turks from a fortress in Corinth, Greece and died of sepsis or malaria, depending which story you read. Shelley went sailing on the Gulf of La Spezia, Italy, and drowned. The cause was debated but was most likely a sudden storm. At his funeral, Lord Byron said of Shelley, “”I never met a man who wasn’t a beast in comparison to him.”
Though I agree that the Byronic hero persists, I would have chosen different examples. Christian Grey is far too repressed and mechanical, physically. For a sexual bad-boy, I would pick Spike (William the Bloody) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He becomes a vampire deliberately, loves to fight, just for the hell of it, is reckless and violent yet highly sexual, even seducing the Slayer herself. He is redeemed after nearly raping her due to her rejection of him, by traveling to a mysterious cave and doing battle to regain a soul! Later he even sacrifices himself to save the world, literally going down in a blaze of glory. In true Byronic hero style, he gets reincarnated.
For me, the ultimate Byronic hero is Sherlock Holmes. Despite his gentleman’s lifestyle (in the books) he is both very cerebral and a man of action. He is also a chick magnet, and in the BBC’s Sherlock, apparently a dude magnet too! Unlike Spike, he doesn’t take advantage of women or really notice them until Irene Adler shows up.
He seems to fight as a good man but we are told by Lestrade in the first episode that he is not one yet. He also warns Moriarty, “I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for one second that I am one of them.” He then does a swan dive off the roof to save three friends, stages a fake suicide, dismantles Moriarty’s network and returns somewhat sheepishly. In true Byronic fashion, he risks his life to save England, this time from a re-enactment of the infamous Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament! Now that’s a Byronic hero.
Still, it’s a fascinating topic! I’d like to know if it’s possible to be a computer hacker and a Byronic hero at the same time….?
I love this concept of thin-slicing! There have been other versions of it proposed before, most notably in regard to difficult tasks such as learning to play music or competing in athletics. In these fields, those who are very adept often talk about going into “The Zone”, a sort of trance in which they allow the body to take over because it actually performs better without so much mental intrusion! This clearly doesn’t work as well in human relationships, at least not for Emma. I have always seen her as a fairly smart but sheltered and hence misguided young woman who will learn by experience. My only argument involves Mr Elton and his continued wooing of her. To me, it was his fault and his elevated view of himself that caused him to pursue her, not her missing what he was about. She did get almost everyone else wrong, however!
I agree with your take on third wave feminism and suggest that there are no “waves” in feminism at all, any more than there were in the Civil Rights or Anti-War movements, for example. I see these as a continuum of experience, learning, activism and yes, some periods of setbacks, such as we are going through now in the U.S., not just with anti-feminism and racism, but a general backsliding toward uneducated, nationalistic jingoism. I believe Hunter S. Thompson predicted it, calling it “The New Dumb”! Let’s not let it win!
Very informative review and thanks for the salute to San Andreas! I ruined my kid’s Playstation, I was so addicted to it. He got me my own game and console for my birthday and I ruined them too! When GTA IV and V came out, I was allowed maybe 10 minutes on #V and that was it–he could see the addiction! Lucky for him, it was no San Andreas, despite the awesome graphics. And as someone else wrote, playing THREE people? Much too confusing! Give me CJ or Tommy Vercetti.
I have loved this version of Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock since the first episode and in many ways, have been disappointed lately (post series 4) at how much the writers paid homage to the fan-fiction and little in-jokes about who’s gay and who isn’t, not to mention Sherlock and John’s love lives (together or apart).
Scandal in Belgravia comes at one of the shining moments (for me) in the series, when we realize that Sherlock is capable of emotion and even love, whether or not he feels that for Irene. I was originally put off by her role as a dominatrix since it felt unoriginal and that lifestyle has never appealed to me.
Then I realized that I was being too judgmental, luckily! By not judging and simply absorbing a very well-drawn, complex character, not as a woman, a sex worker (as Mycroft calls her) or even as a feminist—whatever wave it is—I was able to enjoy the episode much more. It was confusing, complex, multi-layered and did not leave us with a pat explanation for anything, which is a big reason why the show is so great (or at least in Series 1-3).
This appealed to me because, back in the days when I was exploring second-wave (this term is really too narrow!) feminism, I was irritated by the strident attempts to define men or women as this or that thing, or having these qualities, as being better or worse than one another. It is true that there are some apparent inconsistencies, such as her statement to John that she’s gay and thinks he is, yet she is obviously attracted to Sherlock. Even so, who cares? Can’t people experiment? If anyone would, it would be Irene!
When I read the original story long ago, it really bothered me that after all Irene’s cloak and dagger running around and outwitting Sherlock (no small feat!), her only desire is to run off and get married! Yes, it was the end of the Victorian era, but other authors, such as John Galsworthy in “The Forsyte Saga”, created memorable, independent women in the 1880’s, who did not depend on a man to live a full life. I can safely say that Irene’s version of an “adventuress” made up for the rather uninteresting Irene Adler of 1892!