Monday, 13 January 2014

Clever clogs (although actually they are the stupidest of the shoes)

I just watched the new series of Sherlock. He’s terribly clever, isn’t he? But as Confucius said,  ‘Some are clever. Some are beautiful. Try too hard to prove either and you become neither.'

Actually no, he didn’t say that at all. I did. I just thought it sounded better coming from him. 
I recently went to the French Institute or l’institut Français as some might say. Those ‘some’ being the Brits who insist on making a tragic three-part drama series (one for each syllable) out of saying the word ‘aubergine'.
Anyway, I was last at ‘l’institut’ fifteen years ago to see Au Revoir Les Enfants. It’s set in a French boarding school that hides Jewish boys during the German occupation - the message being that racism doesn’t exist until it’s planted in your brain, and even then, good people will rip it out like a weed.
In the last minutes of the film, the young Jews are discovered by the Nazis and their certain fate is death. As they are led away silently in front of the entire school the kindly priest (and purveyor of Junior Weedol) who has provided refuge is taken away too. As he turns back, he smiles lovingly at his pupils with his kind, creased eyes as some of them sob. He pauses, about to speak, but my friend jumps in, beating him to it and exclaims at the top of his voice  “AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS!!” 
I roll my eyes at the same time as the credits. He’d ruined the climax of the film with his clever-dickness. Mostly dickness. Perhaps he’d just got carried away but he was eternally one of those people who had to tell you how clever he was. And did always suffer from premature ejaculation. Verbally.
How do we measure ‘clever' anyhow?  IQ tests only gauge particular types of intelligence and depend on specific cultural references. They always have the ‘What’s next in the sequence?’ question eg. ‘Salt, tequila…’ a lot of people would pick ‘lime’ next, but I’d be looking for the ‘be sick’ option.  And as for the ‘Which is the odd one out?’ section – racists!
Sherlock would get Trivial Pursuit cheeses for deduction and factual knowledge but is bound to fail on emotional intelligence which is why he is incomplete without Watson. And the programme would be vastly improved if he and others didn't reference how clever he is every fucking minute of the show. Yeah alright Narcissus, get on with it!
He would however be popular with a quizzer friend of mine who is saddened that we carry fewer facts in our heads these days because we can just Google them. Bloody know-it-all computers! (Apart from when they get it wrong).
‘They’ can even beat ‘us’ at chess now. Not that I’ve ever played – the only time I have ever monitored kings, queens, bishops, knights and commoners is watching a royal wedding.  

Apparently computers win when there is a time restraint but given more time humans can still triumph. And even if we can’t, sod it, there’s always Twister. 
Besides, they’re no good with feelings, are they, those smart-arse computers? Actually a few of the little fuckers fake it quite well nowadays by having stock responses to various phrases.  

 Siri on my iphone was quite charismatic when I experimented by telling him I was unhappy. First he offered to tell me a joke starting ‘Two iphones walk into a bar..” (Everyone's a comedian!) And then when I told him again he suggested listening to music and consoled me “Sadness is a part of life, as I understand it.”

Sherlock Holmes and others better watch out, the computers are getting good at being human.


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