A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
I’ve got a bone to pick with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is not about the quality of his writing, which is nothing short of superb. In fact, I would say that next to Ray Chandler, he is probably the greatest mystery writer of all time. But writing mysteries should be left at just that - writing mysteries. It should not venture into the realm of bullying.
Yes, I said it. Bullying. Sherlock Holmes was, in every sense of the word, a bully. I mean, just look at how he treated his poor assistant, Dr. John H. Watson. This was a man who Holmes, on many occasions, referred to as his “best friend” (his holm-ie, if you will...good lord, that was excruciating to read back). The two men lived in the same flat together (don’t get any ideas, though - they were likely just looking to split the cost of rent, which I imagine was quite steep in Victorian era London, at least if the cost of rent in Boris Johnson era London is any indication). Furthermore, not only was Watson a war veteran - he was a frickin’ Royal Army surgeon! This is not one of those situations where the prefix “Dr.” is used when someone has not, in fact, obtained a medical degree or PhD of some sort (I’m looking at you, Dr. Dre and Dr. Seuss); this is a man who is more than deserving of the title.
And yet, judging by the way his so-called “best friend” Sherlock routinely dismisses his efforts at assisting in various cases with taunts of “Elementary, my dear Watson!” (“dear”...how much more patronizing can you get?!?), it is as if he is nothing but a simpleton, an average Joe - possessing no more intelligence than any old dunce off the street.
Why is this? Why would a man treat his closest companion so poorly? Surely, there must be a reason for this.
Well, of course there is, and I will tell it to you - because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a sadistic little prick who hated the surname Watson. Maybe he had a really mean math teacher with the last name growing up - who knows? All I can say is that there exists no alternative explanation as to why a man would craft a relationship based on such routine displays of horrid cruelty towards another man.
As Maggie Thatcher would say, “there is no alternative!”