Monday, August 13, 2012

Diagnosis: Best and wisest.

It is a glorious thing to see something good spread across the internet. A simple line like “I believe in Sherlock Holmes” going viral, that’s pretty cool. Something a little more substantial, like an article . . . and a very good article at that . . . glorious.
“Stop Calling Sherlock a Sociopath! Thanks, a Psychologist” by Maria Konnikova first appeared on on August 8, at 9:30 A.M.  Three days later, it was being reprinted, with permission, at The next afternoon it was being excerpted by Alanna Bennet at . And this afternoon, it showed up on my Google news feed.
Do a Google search and you’ll find this article blowing up all over the fan world. And well it should.
The writer’s point is to dispute a quip in the first episode of Sherlock, in which Holmes says that he is a “high-functioning sociopath,” not the psychopath that Sgt. Sally Donovan claims him to be. He’s making a joke, and as a psychologist, Maria Konnikova explains exactly why he isn’t a sociopath or a psychopath.
I love Maria Konnikova. She gets Sherlock Holmes. And her article is being read all over the place.
The one place it’s not being read is in The Baker Street Journal, where the last issue featured an article by Lisa Sanders strongly suggesting that Holmes had Asperger’s Syndrome. Lisa Sanders is a doctor, and yet there is a feeling in the article that she’s twisting facts to fit theories. She wants a diagnosis of Holmes, or else she doesn’t have an article. She might even be cherry-picking her Holmes facts from a hundred years too late, with a touch of that “Holmes was SO mean to Watson” bias some folks seem to have.
So who do I believe, Konnikova the psychologist or Sanders the medical doctor?
Well, I’m leaning toward Konnikova, but let me tell you who I really believe. There was this doctor who had actually met Sherlock Holmes and spent a substantial amount of time with him. You know his name. He’s a doctor I’ve trusted since the day I first met him.
And he pronounced Sherlock Holmes “the best and wisest man whom I have ever known.” No qualifiers. No theories.
“Best and wisest.”

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