Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Watchful Clouds

It's funny how infrequently my comments are approved on io9. I see the many misspellings I commented on in this transcribed Sherlock Holmes story weren't fixed, either. You know, I'd feel like a jerk pointing this stuff out except lazy spelling and grammar seem to be a real epidemic, not to mention the fact that io9 publishes articles deploring lazy writing practices. And in this case, too, I was genuinely curious if the many misspelling were part of the original copy of the recently discovered story. I see this version does not contain the typos and now, like Sherlock Holmes, I wonder if I can deduce where those misspellings came from. The only thing I can think of is that the story on io9 was manually transcribed instead of copy and pasted, for some reason. Anyway, this site makes a pretty good case for the story not having been written by Arthur Conan Doyle at all, as people are also noting in the comments to the io9 story.

Why do I hold io9 to such a high standard? I guess because I genuinely like a lot of their articles and feel the tone of their "geek" reportage is more sincere than most. Gods know I make plenty of mistakes on my blog. I may be in the minority in actually preferring people correct my mistakes in public--I've gotten a few slightly chafed private e-mail responses to public comments I've made pointing out an error. And I've gotten private e-mails informing me of an error I've made now and then. I invariably feel uncomfortable with it. I don't like creating the illusion that I saw a mistake I really didn't but artists and writers seem to feel a lot of anxiety about not looking perfect. Which I think in an odd way leads to more and more problems as people find it easier to simply block their errors out of their minds than to acknowledge someone saw them make a mistake. I feel this urge sometimes, which is a big part of why I like to be corrected in public. That's a peg I would really prefer to be knocked down from because it's the kind that inhibits intellectual growth.

The foot of pride, and all--gods, is the bible influencing me? Well, I don't advocate Jerusalem being razed for typos.

I did take some time off from the Book to listen to a Doctor Who audio play this week, a 2002 Eighth Doctor story called Neverland. As the title suggests, the story draws comparisons between the Doctor and Peter Pan which prove to be so apt I wonder they've never occurred to me before. The Doctor's companion, Charley, voices most of the observations which speaks well for her and her insight. There's also some insinuations of Charley wanting to sleep with the Doctor, which was a surprise and an interesting precursor to the 2005 television relaunch. The Doctor reacts like a kid and there's a funny moment where he introduces Romana and Charley to each other, each woman as his "best friend", and doesn't seem to notice the slightly chilly "hellos" they give each other.

Lalla Ward returns again as Romana though disappointingly in her role as president of Gallifrey, and a very good president, which is close, true, to the academic Romana is introduced as in The Ribos Operation but completely misses the fun inherent in the chemistry between her and the Doctor. The writers should note how the Doctor behaved when he was president of Gallifrey, treating it halfway between a lark and a strategic manoeuvre.

I was amused by a strident line given to Romana about how there're no such things as gods which may have been a nod to Lalla Ward's husband, Richard Dawkins.

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