Dianne Glave: Ministry & Church

Archive for the ‘novel’ Category

PBS’s Sherlock: What no Redemption for EVIL Moriarty?

I shouldn’t say this but I will: Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ meanest baddest adversary, is one of my favorite characters on television and film. I root for Sherlock too because he’s one step away from being the meanest baddest too, perhaps a mirror of Moriarty’s evil nature. So you ask, WHY?

Sherlock Holmes has become part of our modern mythology, much like the Greek gods and goddesses of ancient times. Moriarty is the twentieth and twenty-first century Hades, the Greek God of the underworld. Does it get more evil than Hades? Yup, Moriarty.

So can Moriarty be redeemed? I keep hoping so though I’ve seen many incarnations where he never comes back from the evil edge.

I’ve seen many incarnations on television. There’s the Moriarty in Star Trek: Next Generation. This Moriarty was not redeemed. Don’t remember? Take a look:

Being a sentient holographic image FOREVER is worse than death!

I gladly revisited Moriarty this weekend because of PBS’s Sherlock. Briefly, I went back mentally to the Sherlock Holmes in black and white films of the 1930s and 1940s starring Basil Rathbone,  the more recent incarnation starring Robert Downey, Jr and the television show House loosely based on Holmes. All of the versions, except House who was actually a Sherlockian Moriarty, had their own glorious Moriarty. No happy ending . . . No redemption . . . At least for Moriarty.

I have to say though that PBS’s version has been the most compelling because this Moriarty is damaged, co-dependent, attention-seeking, and oh so crazy. He is Jim Moriarty. He’s the CRAZY uncle, the engine that drives the dysfunctional family; strangely, even in his nuttiness he’s missed when he skips the family BBQ.

I was hoping by the end of the second season of PBS’s Sherlock, that THIS Moriarty would be redeemed. Partly, because Moriarty’s co-dependency was fueled by Sherlock’s desperate need to have a sibling in which they mirrored one another’s sadness, mental illness, and brilliance. Ying and Yang, with Sherlock’s crazy Ying, one block from Jim’s nutty self-absorbed Yang.

And partly because I so wanted Moriarty to live on, to be redeemed even when I know in EVERY version of Sherlock vs. Moriarty that Moriarty has to go, I mean die. Don’t we all deserve redemption? Would it be the worst thing in the world to re-write some of the greatest mysteries written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle where the bad guy, where Jim Moriarty finds some grace, justification, and sanctification? I’m all for it.

Watch both seasons of Sherlock even though you know the answer. Season 1 is available on DVD. Sherlock is compelling TV.

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why are among the three books that have unequivocally changed the way I treat people. The first is The Bible. I grew up with it, and consciously and subconsciously it defines what I do and say. The second is Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, non-fiction. Ehrenreich, an upper middle-class woman, decided to experience for herself how the lower class lives. Granted she often cheated renting cars when she got into a bind. Yet and still, I learned about how the working class like waitresses rely almost entirely on their tips, living from week to week in housing that could be pulled out from under them if they get the flu. To this day I carefully consider my tip because it could mean a night on the streets for someone.

Back to Thirteen Reasons Why, the third book. The novel tells the story of  Hannah, a teenage girl in high school. She commits suicide. Yes, she commits suicide. Before Hannah kills herself, she leaves behind thirteen cassettes, to be distributed by mail to thirteen people who contributed to the cascade affect that led to her death. Clay Jensen, another teen, is one of the thirteen who gets the cassettes. Both Hannah and Clay share in telling the story in first person. Clay, particularly in the beginning, does not understand why he’s on the list of thirteen and why Hannah even after death is holding him responsible. It becomes very clear throughout the novel the role he played briefly as a boyfriend that spoke disrespectfully of Hannah to others; his actions and words served as a catalyst for others to abuse her.

I tell you, I read the first half of the novel in a single night. It entered my subconscious in such a way that I slept fitfully. I wondered the next morning how my actions, both big and small, have hurt people. I could think of at least 100 ways. I’ve hurt people, and if I could go back and rectify it I would.

Though the first half of the novel was a quick read, I am struggling with going back to finish the second half because I so felt Hannah’s pain. I know I will go back because I need to find out if Clay was able to do right by Hannah even if she couldn’t be there to thank him.

Like most peopleI think about how tough I had it in high school. I know things are worse these days in and outside the schools. Girls have been impregnated and given birth at less than ten years old. Young couples are in abusive relationships that seem to be accepted as the new normal among their peers. Children in middle school are experimenting with drugs. Children bully other children with verbal and physical abuse that has mushroomed on-line.

Asher writes around the edges, which on first read is milder than these examples. Yet and still, when a young girl like Hannah is identified as “best ass” on a list floated around school the damage has been done. She’s an object, not a human being once she’s been labeled.

I really hope to use this book with teens and young adults in the church in a group setting. I think a fifty year old woman or a ninety year old man would benefit from the reading. We could discuss how we see ourselves in the characters and how we see others. We could ask one another how we have wronged others or been wronged. How could we change? And we could turn to the The Bible for insight on abuse, love, kindness, forgiveness, and more in relationship to the novel.

So as I finish the novel, I suggest you order the E-Book or paperback. It will change your life. That sounds trite doesn’t it? Doesn’t matter. Trite or not, this novel will ask you to be more careful with the feelings and lives of others.

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