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June 25, 2018 6:28 am  #8181

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate


December 20, 2022 8:46 pm  #8182

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Took me forever to find this thread again!  I'd been thinking of posting because I came across a blast from the past: do you remember youtuber Rebekah who did a series called TJLC Explained?  Well, I just noticed that she had been back to her channel and updated a year or so ago.

It seems that she had quite a difficult time when Series 4 aired, but has more recently gone back and reviewed the whole of Sherlock and put together some updated videos about TJLC, and has also written fanfiction of an alternative take on S4.  I had a read of some of it.  She does not claim (any longer) that Johnlock is the end game, but is putting the case that it was a valid reading that sadly, didn't come to pass.

I've quite enjoyed watching some of the new videos and remembering those days!  She includes things like M theory, Extended Mind Palace (I think it was called), the secret episode, the drinks code and all those ideas and theories that were going around.  A nice little bit of nostalgia (even if I don't agree with a lot of what she says!).

Last edited by Liberty (December 21, 2022 10:00 am)


December 21, 2022 5:51 am  #8183

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

I read this in bed earlier and had a real quandry about replying.
I don't really want to open the old wounds...
but it does remain very raw for me.
But if I could attempt an answer in at least a few parts.
Possibly get my rants over and try and respond to at least one point!
Bottom line was, the topic raised the head of the worst side of the fandom.
I was just discussing the issue with my youngest, recently.
I now actually view the Johnlock fury, as my first view of this horrible, modern world we are now in:
you know, either the woke or broke thing.
Very much driven by the media and social media in particular of course.
But it belongs to  those with an arrogant sense of entitlement, who simply cannot accept when they are wrong and even apologise.
It is so tribalistic and everything is seen in simplistic terms of black/white, right/wrong and you are either a goodie or a baddie.
Specific to the Sherlock fandom: if you weren't a Johnlocker, you were a homophobe...I won't fill in the dots for people, of how that echoes with some current views surrounding sexual politics.
But it dehumanises, is unhelpful and is just plain vile.
Anyway, all of that said:
well at least this particular contributor has the grace to accept that she was wrong about the intention of the show.
Further, yes, taken in isolation and certainly at the beginning...
(to borrow from John)it's an easy mistake to make.
But not only as the show developed, we also had interviews with the team to prove the opposite...but of course, they were all liars.
Then when the Mob didn't get what they wanted: well, it's just because the team 'did it wrong' and were queerbaiting.
I honestly don't know how people can think this kind of behaviour is acceptable...
the biggest irony is that the Johnlockers just really were not paying attention.

Last edited by besleybean (December 21, 2022 5:42 pm)


December 21, 2022 8:49 am  #8184

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Ah sorry, BB, I didn't mean to open up old wounds! It was just a surprise coming across these new videos and I was remembering fondly: of course, all that you say is true!

Funnily enough, Johnlock/TJLC was not my first experience of this! I was involved in a similar sort of situation many years ago, where it felt as if in the part of the particular fandom I was involved in, my opinion of the writer's intent brought up similar accusations.  Mostly it was good natured debate but quite hurtful sometimes when you are seen, as you say, as a "baddie" (until eventually, I was proved right). So I think maybe the TJLC thing felt much easier for me as I was practiced and prepared! (And I do feel that on this forum, at least, it was more good natured).

You are spot on about tribalism.  I won’t get started on the current debate you mention as it has caused some tension (I have friends on both “sides” and suspect if I am on a side it might not be the same one as you, so I avoid this subject as much as I can with people I like!), but again I think you are right that it has turned into a black/white moral war. I think a result of extremists on both sides, and the media happily playing along and stirring things for stories!  They have made it “binary”!

I watched another video recently (or half-watched if I’m honest – it was interesting but I was listening while I did other things, so it might be worth a rewatch) by Rowan Ellis which was vaguely related to this, more about shipping people in fandoms and what’s behind that.  But I remember the moral aspect was mentioned: that as with Johnlock, some people get caught up in the feeling that it’s morally right (because obviously representation is right, etc – it becomes a cause).  I’ll see if I can find it, because I think you have hit on something important with the moral right/wrong, black/white component.


Last edited by Liberty (December 21, 2022 8:50 am)


December 21, 2022 9:12 am  #8185

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Found it!  Hopefully this should start at the section on "moral superiority", but if not it's starts at about 43:50 (it's a long video!).  The video is mainly about real life celebrity shipping and outing, but I think some of it applies to TJLC too.  Particularly the idea that the people are constantly giving clues that have to be interpreted by the real fans who understand.  That came up a lot in the TJLC Explained videos, the idea that the team were leaving lots of hints and clues that all lead to one outcome of Johnlock. 

Last edited by Liberty (December 21, 2022 9:12 am)


December 21, 2022 5:47 pm  #8186

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Actually you made me think of something else, that I hadn't really thought of before...
the other link with current, raging conspiracy theories.
I suppose the recent batches are on Climate change and Covid.
Or maybe I am the only one, who visits sites filled with flat earthers and Illuminati nuts!

Last edited by besleybean (December 21, 2022 5:48 pm)


December 24, 2022 12:48 pm  #8187

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

I don't seem to visit these sites, but some odd things come up in my feeds!  Anti-vax stuff, etc. Funnily enough one thing that came up in my feed the other day was a new video with Tim Minchin about confirmation bias: he was talking about how social media encourages this by sending you more of the same.  There does seem to have been a lot of conspiracy theories doing the rounds, now that you mention it.  I have a friend who got sucked into one during the pandemic.  I think it maybe made us more vulnerable.

I'm still watching those TJLC videos and I think the main idea is that characters are generally stand-ins for John, Sherlock, or the writers.  Mycroft is supposed to be stand-in for the writers, so things he says are to be interpreted as coming direct from Moftiss. Other characters are mirrors for John or Sherlock so what they do/say is seen as representing John/Sherlock's true feelings, etc.  I'm not buying it, but it's kind of fun to watch.


December 24, 2022 3:50 pm  #8188

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

I think it can be interesting to see how other people have interpreted things, even if it's not how you interpreted them. I think that's often what makes something good, when different elements have different layers to them that give them different meanings depending on how you look at it. Obviously it can be unfair to see one person's opinion as objectively 100% correct and someone else's as 100% wrong. Maybe it's because I only got into Sherlock between series 3 and 4's release, and mostly just discussed it here on this forum, but I never got the sense that the arguments around it were that cruel. I guessed I only saw a certain side of the fandom, and approached it with curiosity even if I didn't necessarily think what certain people predicted would happen. I'm sorry you have upsetting memories about it, besley.

I think it can be fun to predict things, but I don't mind when predictions are wrong. It can be fun when you're right, though. Perhaps some people take fun to a darker place, or place too much importance on trying to be right and equate it with being "better." 

I think there can be a lot of division now, as you said about social media, Liberty. I think the majority of people are not that extreme, though, even if social media tends to amplify the most extreme views. Maybe I'm being overly hopeful, and maybe I'm just plain wrong. But I still think a lot of people don't actually agree with extreme views. Maybe I just tend to follow the more nuanced voices and disregard many others. There are obviously real-life people who are extreme, politicians who are actually affecting people's lives, who do hold extreme views and are acting on them. But a lot of people don't agree with them, even if they can't always stop them from doing what they do.

I have been subscribed to Rowan Ellis' channel for a while, but I haven't gotten around to watching that recent video just yet. I think it's OK to read your own things into a person's art, even fantasize about certain things being true. But of course when you attack someone for not living up to it, especially when that person is a teenage actor as is the case for that actor from the Heartstopper series, then that's not fair. Sexuality is so personal, it shouldn't be someone's obligation to share it with everyone. I know that, historically, particularly in the 80s, it was a political thing that people found really important. They wanted people to be out so that they could show how gay people were everywhere, were people you knew and loved, who deserved to be cared for instead of ignored. But now I think there's a bit more understanding of it being important to be in a safe situation before coming out and in one where you are not forced to come out against your will. Though obviously, as in the case with the actor, some people still need to learn that. Nobody owes coming out to you.

I think visibility is a bit of a double-edged sword. If it happens faster than actual public understanding of your group (as has happened for trans people, as I'm sure you folks in the UK are painfully aware of), then the level of danger can be heightened, putting more of a target on that misunderstood and underrepresented group's back, even if it helps people to know that there are others like them around and proud of who they are. Or for people who are not from that group to see that group as human. Increased representation is art is, overall, a good thing, when it's done with care and compassion and love. That hasn't always happened, but things are always changing and evolving even with bad examples. Of course it's a good thing to want things to become more diverse and accepting. That's a good thing to want. But if you see someone as wanting it over the reality of a living person's life, which they can't control or change, then that is unfair. And if you can only see one path for a story to take as being artistically valuable, then that can be unfair too. If it ends up perpetuating a harmful stereotype, then of course it's OK to criticize it and point out problems with it. I think a lot of people on Tumblr in recent years have been recognizing, with maturity, that you can love something and still point out things you think could have been better about it. Nothing is perfect, because people aren't perfect.

The YouTuber Verity Ritchie has made some videos talking about "good" vs "bad" representation, and how she would rather see complicated people with queer identities represented in interesting stories than just having queer and trans characters always being pure and good. She's very thoughtful and does lots of good research (always including the articles she cites in the videos) into media and film. I think overall she takes a different tack than Rowan does in some of her own media criticism videos, but I think the two views can intersect and coexist. After all, a lot of people don't want characters from various groups to be portrayed in monolithic ways.

I suppose I'm rambling and probably went in a few different directions in terms of arguments. Sorry if it's too much. I just haven't had a chance to discuss anything like this properly in a while, so perhaps I went all in!

Last edited by Yitzock (December 24, 2022 4:04 pm)

Clueing for looks.

December 26, 2022 12:59 pm  #8189

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Well, I've enjoyed your rambling, so I'm glad you did! 

I posted a rambling reply but have deleted as I don't want to stray into controversy too much, and also I was going way off topic.  But thank you for your points.

I will watch those videos you recommended.  I still haven't finished the new TJLC videos but will watch all for completeness. 


Last edited by Liberty (December 26, 2022 10:15 pm)


January 2, 2023 3:16 pm  #8190

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Glad you found something worth reading! I think I saw your previous reply before you deleted it, but I understand not wanting to be too off-topic. I might check out those videos you mentioned just to see what they are like. It can be fun to revisit things in a new perspective, or see others revisit things.

Clueing for looks.

January 3, 2023 8:34 am  #8191

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

To be honest, it probably doesn't matter too much if we're off topic as so few of us checking in here now!  But I'm also aware that I was straying into currently controversial issues!  Yes, the videos are fun.  She has clearly looked very closely at the series and put in a lot of work, even if it goes off on the wrong track!


January 5, 2023 11:07 pm  #8192

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Even published analysis of films by certain writers and academics can occasionally be a bit wild or audacious (I encountered something like that during my grad school research, not a conspiracy like Johnlock, but just an interpretation of a film character that was perhaps reaching a bit but was still an interesting idea), so I think there's validity even if you don't agree at all, insofar as it's interesting to see how people can interpret things differently from how you ever imagined.

Clueing for looks.

January 6, 2023 7:56 pm  #8193

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Yes. I've found it hard to get my head round because it's just not my academic background and kind of a different way of thinking about things.  I do feel that there is some sort of truth, which is what the creators intended, but once art is out in the world I can see that it does kind of become something else and is more open to interpretation. It's really interesting when there are film adaptations of books, for instance, and things are changed.  My instinctive feeling is that it should be absolutely true to the book in the every detail and I feel uncomfortable about the changes, but of course it's not a transcription to a visual form, it's a separate piece of art.
Maybe the TJLC series works better now it's been shown as being a valid interpretation rather than showing what the writers were planning.  One thing I don't like about it is how reductionist it is, though. If everything is about Johnlock, if every character is representing John, Sherlock, or the writers, then I think an awful lot is lost and you're just left with repetition.


January 7, 2023 6:12 pm  #8194

Re: Johnlock: The Official Debate

Yes, I think it's kind of limited in its view in that way. I think everything will represent the writers in some way, because it's coming from their minds, but not in the way TJLC says it. And I think when a show or film has an ensemble cast, even if Sherlock isn't as much of an ensemble as some other shows, it's reduction to see their stories only serving that of two other characters instead of some broader theme.

I remember finding the conviction that some people had about being certain of their predictions quite interesting, even if I don't agree with it.

Clueing for looks.

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