Autistic!Sherlock Holmes – An Analysis

June 16, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’m essentially copy-and-pasting my original response from my tumblr to here:

In general I count Sherlock Holmes as Autistic. There are characteristics from ACD canon, even before terminology for Autism existed (though Autistic people have always existed, we most likely were labelled something else during the Victorian Era). Canon aside, I count him as Autistic because I relate to him in that regard.

Out of the four depictions I’ve seen (BBC, Elementary, Guy Richie, and Granada), the answer of which gave Autistic portrayals vary:

– BBC: Purposefully on the Autistic spectrum, in text, and through admission of B. Cumberbatch. In which the diagnoses reveal was executed and the direction it’s taken from Cumberbatch, the creators, AND a significant portion of fandom, is to me, deplorable, and a huge reason why I left that fandom.

– Elementary: No mention of being Autistic from anyone on the cast, or from the writers. However, considering that they take loads of things from the ACD text, sometimes subtly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were doing that for their portrayal of Sherlock being Autistic.

– Granada: During the production of Granada, the numbers of diagnosed Autistic individuals were rising and gaining worldwide attention (I was diagnosed in 1991, right around when Jeremy Brett was ailing in health). Even with that, Granada was first and foremost an ACD rendition based in Victorian times, so an analysis of Autistic Sherlock Holmes at that point in history could not have been possible because Victorian society did not know the word Autism. I wish that Jeremy Brett was still alive, for many reasons; I would love to ask him about all that, because from what I remember, no one ever did.

– Guy Richie: This rendition is the only one out of the 4 that I do not think has an Autistic Sherlock Holmes. This is because, in my opinion, of a combination of RDJ’s acting, the text for the film, and I did not see him as Autistic, could not relate/familiarize with him as an Autistic individual.

These different portrayals of Sherlock Holmes are important in the Autistic community, and these kind of dialogues are valuable.

Which setting is this portrayal in and when are they filming it?

How does this relate to what the world knows about Autistic people?

Does society not know about Autism at all, or does society have extremely erroneous misconceptions about Autism and Autistic people?

How does this show in the portrayal of Sherlock Holmes? Does his characteristics from ACD canon show off as valid, or are they dismissed?

If said portrayal does say the A word, and attach it to Sherlock Holmes, how many people watching it will discover themselves? How many people will scoff and claim that those people don’t exist? How many people will continue on and not realize what was just said?

How society views Sherlock Holmes is how society views us.

How society views Autistic Sherlock Holmes is how society views us.

With Sherlock Holmes, we are reminded that the most remembered character on Earth is one of us.

With Sherlock Holmes, we are reminded that society doesn’t like us.

Without us, society wouldn’t have us.

Without us, society wouldn’t have Sherlock Holmes.

You see, society wants to get rid of us while still profiting from Sherlock Holmes, in a capitalist way, as well as have that beacon of good versus evil, the idealization of logic without keeping the history, or the people, that made that happen.

When I say I will fight for the right for Sherlock Holmes’ neurotype and autonomy (while still critiquing his bag-of-dicks tendencies because he’s an extremely problematic motherfucker)

I do not say that with a light heart

I fight for his Autistic autonomy

Because I fight for my Autistic autonomy


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