Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Better living through Elementary.

Well, Mr. Elementary may not be the Sherlock Holmes I want or need, but apparently he's raising somebody's standard of living. A mention by Stephen Colbert on last night's The Colbert Report brought the thought up.

In her article, "Who Needs a Raise When You Have TV?" Virginia Postrel writes on

"Too tired for an intense cable drama -- which you prefer to experience in immersive weekend marathons of at least three episodes each -- you stream a first-season episode of 'Duck Dynasty' from, then run last week’s 'Elementary' from your DVR queue." 

The argument Ms. Postrel uses that example to start making is that modern standards of living are not being adequately measured as the all of the fabulous video we now have at our disposal is not being factored in. Being poor isn't as bad as it once was, it seems, because we now have more TV to watch.

"Yeeeee-haaawwww, Ma! We'uns got Duck Dynasty and Elementary!" (Sorry for characterizing the economically challenged as hillbillies. I grew up on The Beverly Hillbillies . . . which seemed entertaining enough for our standard of living at the time.)  The classic "bread and circuses" metaphor from the Roman empire comes to mind, though I don't know where Virginia Postrel thinks the bread is coming into her equation.

She also apparently thinks Elementary is what you watch when you're "too tired for an intense cable drama," and then only after you've squeezed in a Duck Dynasty and are probably getting really sleepy. Not sure how murders make you sleep better, and I'm not sure how many people actually put procedurals into the part of the evening usually reserved for Leno and Letterman. Perhaps Virginia Postrel's imaginary person is a big Lucy Liu fan who sleeps better just knowing she's still in the universe every night.

But then, Sherlockians have considered the ripple effect that Sherlock Holmes has had on our world as a beneficial force for over a century. So in the end, I guess even Elementary raising standards of living should come as no surprise.


  1. If "Duck Dynasty" can be considered as having raised our standards of living, then I'll give you that "Elementary" must have as well. Although I wonder from what depths those standards have been raised.

  2. 'The Beverly Hillbillies' are ageless - I can still watch them. Will the same be said of the other two in fifty years?