Sir Arthur Conan Doyle VS George Bernard Shaw


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Adam Went

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Hey all,

Is everybody here familiar with the public disagreement between Sir ACD and George Bernard Shaw following the Titanic sinking? If so, any opinions?

As always, i'm siding with Sir ACD. :)
 

Jim Kalafus

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George Bernard Shaw was correct.

Conan-Doyle, even before his tragedy in WW1, was showing signs of mental slippage. Shaw's, although seemingly the minority opinion, was the correct one. No matter how beautifully you wrap a box of feces, it is still a beautifully wrapped box of feces, and no matter how loud you trumpet that a disgraceful event was really a glorious moment, it is still a disgraceful event....

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...and, no matter how often, Arthur, you declare in public that this photo proves conclusively that there are fairies at the foot of the garden, it doesnt and there arent.

In a debate, NEVER take the side of an adult who believes in fairies. You never win. Particularly when the fairies are flat, obviously paperboard, the little girl is both bored looking AND looking away from the fairies, and their wings are perfectly captured while the waterfall is blurred....
 

Adam Went

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Jim:

To be fair, Doyle didn't come out with his theories about spiritualism until well after this debate with Shaw.

Also to be fair, photographic and physic experts far more knowledgeable than Doyle were fooled by these teenage girls. It was only in the 1980's, when they were quite elderly, that they admitted it was a trick.

The fact that he stood up and devoted his life to something he believed in doesn't show "mental slippage" - regardless of one's personal stance on spiritualism, it's impossible to have anything but admiration for the way Doyle poured his time and money into a minority cause and was still fighting for rights of mediums in his final days when he was struggling to walk or breathe. He would be much happier to be remembered for his spirtualist work than for Sherlock Holmes.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Hey, sorry for the delay, i didnt see you'd posted here.

>To be fair, Doyle didn't come out with his theories about spiritualism until well after this debate with Shaw.

Yes, but the deterioration of his critical judgment that allowed him to stake his personal reputation on supporting the existence3 of fairies based on some really poor photos was already very much in evidence in 1912. Shaw lowering himself to enter ANY form of serious discussion with Conan-Doyle was akin to....ohhhhh....Elisabeth Schwarzkopf entering a sing-off against Madonna.

>Also to be fair, photographic and physic experts far more knowledgeable than Doyle were fooled by these teenage girls

Uhhh...no Adam. The photographic and physics experts called in as skeptics were SELECTED by the spiritualist magazines in which the articles proclaiming the photos as genuine appeared. That is like taking the word of a physician who attempts to downgrade, somewhat, the dangers of smoking, who has been hired by the tobacco industry and who is writing for a tobacco industry publication.

The reason that so little debunking appears in the initial 1916-1925 press is that to anyone who doesnt howl at the moon the photos were/are so obviosly bogus that discussing them, no less debunking them, wasnt necessary. In certain cases, they are so obviously fake that belief in them COULD be used to establish a case for mild retardation on the part of he or she who accepted them:

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That Conan-Doyle, a producer of rather simplistic fiction of the "See there, he has a sloping forehead, he is obviously a villain" variety (you once asked if I'd read Holmes. I hadnt, but subsequently tried) would join the TITANIC WAS A GLORIOUS CHAPTER IN ANGLO-AMERICAN HISTORY chorus is hardly a surprise. What IS a surprise is that Shaw, a brilliant and accurate cynic, would deign to continue the debate.

>it's impossible to have anything but admiration for the way Doyle poured his time and money into a minority cause

It's VERY possible to have quite a few reactions other than admiration. I'd have sympathy- after all, he did lose his son- but on the other hand his Titanic opinions indicate to me that he would have wholeheartedly accepted the fairy photos had he seen them in 1912. He was going to bat for frauds who were knowingly robbing the grieving families and fiancees of those killed in the same war as his son. What is admirable about that? You know about my POCKET OF DEATH, right? I attend mediums with salvage from the Empress of Ireland, Lusitania, Andrea Doria, a coin that was in a relative of mine's pocket when he was in a fatal car accident, and a large medallion necklace that took a bullet in a fusillade that killed the wearer during a 1970s drug dispute, all concealed in my jacket pockets. I say nothing. Guess what? Not a single medium has EVER sensed vibes relating to the deaths of close to 3000 people emanating from my pocket. You'd think it would be like a fire alarm sounding from within my jacket. Odd that Conan-Doyle performed "stringent" tests of mediums and had so many successes, while I have performed an equally stringent test and have not had one even come close. BTW...my Empress of Ireland silver finger bowl, clealry marked Canadian Pacific RAILROAD, has yielded some VERY detailed readings pertaining to things which might unfold around a RAILROAD, yet nary a mention of a sinking ship. Hmmmm...almost as if they read the logo and create a story to fit it. That's my other test.

Perhaps he avoided mediums with sloping foreheads, they obviously being the villainous ones.
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I am not fond of mediums, and I am not fond of proponents of the TITANIC BATHED IN GLORY myth. I think I may have mentioned, in passing, my feelings about Mrs. Brown. They expand outward and cover much of the disaster. I champion ANY voice that proclaims the events of April 14/15 a being disgraceful and the ensuing orgy of nationalistic adulation as being sentimental rot.
 

Adam Went

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Jim:

You ask why George Bernard Shaw would bother himself with such a discussion - well, he and Arthur Conan Doyle were actually friends. Just because he was friends with people didn't stop him from becoming involved in several public debates with them.

"Uhhh...no Adam. The photographic and physics experts called in as skeptics were SELECTED by the spiritualist magazines in which the articles proclaiming the photos as genuine appeared."

Not correct. Some of the photos had already been published before the experts examined them - not in a spiritualist magazine, as you say, but in The Strand. Much of the investigating of the photos was done, aside from Doyle who was a qualified doctor in his own right, by the likes of James Gardner and Fred Barlow, both authorities in their own fields.

"That Conan-Doyle, a producer of rather simplistic fiction of the "See there, he has a sloping forehead, he is obviously a villain" variety (you once asked if I'd read Holmes. I hadnt, but subsequently tried)"

Perhaps, but in it he has created probably the most enduring fictional character of all time. Not a bad effort for something so "simplistic", eh?

"It's VERY possible to have quite a few reactions other than admiration. I'd have sympathy- after all, he did lose his son-"

He lost his son, brother, sister, mother and brother-in-law in the space of 5 years. What he did was offer comfort to many thousands of grieving widows and families who had lost loved ones in the war - I am no spiritualist, I am very much on the fence when it comes to that sort of thing, but there is absolutely no harm in easing the suffering of those people.

Everybody, even the most ardent spiritualist, will admit that there's fraud mediums out there. That's nothing new or surprising.

Plus, this is without mentioning the many other brilliant things he did during his lifetime - fighting for people who were falsely convicted of crimes, being a pioneer of England's civilian army, being responsible for the provision of floats to navy officers involved in the war, fighting to save victims of TB in the Boer War, among other philanthropic deeds. To have personal beliefs over spiritualism overshadow all the great things he did is nothing short of disgraceful.
 

Jim Kalafus

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"The worst I think or say of Mr. Shaw is that his many brilliant gifts do not include the power of weighing evidence; nor has the that quality -- call it good taste, humanity, or what you will -- which prevents a man from needlessly hurting the feelings of others."

THIS quote, from the seniscient one one himself, regarding Shaw, creates a beautiful case for rejecting anything Doyle had to say, later, about spiritualism.

Shaw was speaking the truth. The disaster DID provoke an orgy of romantic lying. The captain was NOT particularly heroic, the band playing DID help foster a false sense of security, and the entire affair WAS treated like some grotesque drama by the general public.

Shaw weighed the evidence. Conamn-Doyle did not.

>You ask why George Bernard Shaw would bother himself with such a discussion - well, he and Arthur Conan Doyle were actually friends.

I did not ask if there was a social connection between them. I wondered why someone of Shaw's status would bother to discuss anything with someone of Conan-Doyle's status. It's like the kitchen staff at the Crillon swapping recipes with McDonalds....

>Perhaps, but in it he has created probably the most enduring fictional character of all time. Not a bad effort for something so "simplistic", eh?

The two Holmes stories I tried reading simply did not engage. I managed to get thru them, but was left with no desire to complete the series. They do not function well as detective work in our era and, I tend to suspect, did not function particularl;y well as such in their own era either. They had the same quality of DETECTIVE LITE that suffused the TV show Murder, She Wrote...I can understand why people enjoyed them on a pop culture level, but I cannot believe that anyone took them seriously.

>the most enduring fictional character of all time

Oh...well...no...there was that Dickens guy, who created a few fictional characters who have endured longer, and in better books, too. That Shakespeare fellow apparently dabbled in fiction, Walter Scott may have tried his band at it, Goethe; Jane Austen...and, if we want to get technical, there's that entire Beowulf thing to ponder.

>Not correct. Some of the photos had already been published before the experts examined them

I am correct. I never SAID they were first published by Spiritualist magazines. What I said was that the investigations were LAUNCHED by Spiritualist magazines; the experts were selected and presumably paid by Spiritualist magazines; the evidence is about as trustworthy as medical reports about smoking in tobacco industry house journals.

>Much of the investigating of the photos was done, aside from Doyle who was a qualified doctor in his own right

What does being a doctor have to do at being qualified to examine photos? As I have already said, the drawn on paper and cut flat quality of the fairies is so poor that one can make a case for believers being afflicted with either mild retardation...

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...or such a pathetic will to believe that they would overlook something glaringly obvious. The fairies were paper, and their features two dimensional.

Now, I will give Conan-Doyle the benefit of the doubt and concede that he probably wasnt mildly retarded. I will allow that he was a naive creature who when confronted by something he WANTED to believe in, was able to suspend ctritical judgment and rush in with a whole hearted, and completyely wrong, defense. His take on the fairies was moronic; his take on the Titanic bordered on pathetic. Either can be used to negate the other.... his wholehearted public endorsement of cardboard fairies undeerscores the lack of critical thinking that makes his take on the Titanic disaster the losing side of the debate, and his pompous dismissal of Shaw's valid points (above) is great evidence of why he should not be trusted on either fairies or mediums.

>but there is absolutely no harm in easing the suffering of those people.

There was a HUGE amount of harm in emotionally manipulating grieving people.

>Plus, this is without mentioning the many other brilliant things he did during his lifetime

All are tainted by his endorsing fraudulent mediums; publically coming out in favor of fairies, and supporting the GLORIOUS TITANIC myth. Particularly chilling is your first example:

>fighting for people who were falsely convicted of crimes

One sees many a JACK HENRY ABBOTT case lurking there. If he brought the same level of analytical brilliance to social crusading as he did to the Titanic, fairies, fraudulent mediums and his fiction, suspects that a lot of cons with heartwarming cock-and-bull stories won his favor, while a lot of cons with sloping foreheads didnt.

Going back to the Titanic...if one examines the evidence, there is SCANT support for anything approaching glory, while quite a mountain of material which fairly shrieks "disgrace." Woolner and Steffanson essentially killing the "cowards" at C by pulling them out of the boat, and then crossing to port, seeing empty seats in D, going down to the submerging promenade deck and jumping into the spot(s) that should have been occupied by Edith Evans, about captures the sordid quality of the entire affair. I could probably rattle off twenty easily documented disgraces for every GENUINE moment of heroism, but this will suffice. The point is, the evidence was THERE. Shaw saw it and commented on it. Conan-Doyle got swept up in the BE BRITISH CRIED THE CAPTAIN orgy of sentimental rot, and chose not only to ignore the evidence, but also to get snippy when Shaw pointed it out.

One might also point out that it was Conan-Doyle who withdrew from the debate, with the lines at the top of this posting. They REEK of the standard "I know that my opponent is actually correct and I cannot win this discussion, so I will very quickly wrap myself in the shroud of moral superiority and then withdraw" dodge....
 
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On the question of mediums, it's noteworty that no claims made by any of them have ever stood up to close and objective scrutiny whenever they have made themselves available for such.

Not one.

Likewise with any number of so-called psychics who, for all their asserted powers, have never seen it coming when they were arrested for fraud.

Some links to check out from The Skeptic's Dictionary:

Mediums: http://www.skepdic.com/medium.html

Spititualism: http://www.skepdic.com/spiritul.html

Be sure to follow the links in the articles.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Interesting, too, that Conan-Doyle's contemporary, Houdini, DID employ rigorous standards, had a slight grasp of how illusion works
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, and did not find a single medium who came close to receiving a passing grade. Meanwhile, 'stringent' investigtors working with the Spiritualists did find..ahem...legitimate mediums.

Funny how after his death, Conan-Doyle "came thru" several times with various mediums, including Eileen Garrett, and spouted generalities that his supporters held as conclusive evidence of life after death and mediumship. Houdini, who took a scientific approach even to death, left his wife with a code sentence that only she knew. If there WAS life after death, that sentence would be proof. Not surprisingly, although Houdini DID come thru at many seances, no one ever got the code sentence correct, or came close.

If you want to see fairies, you see them. If you want to find glory in a disgrace, you find it.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Here's my proof of psychic photography. taken in the dining room of the Hotel Turkey. Now, is this the ghost of a murdered servant girl, or is a piece of elastic from my sock dangling in the NO FOCUS ZONE? It could be either. Either way, it's more convincing than the fairies were....
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Adam Went

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Jim:

"the band playing DID help foster a false sense of security,"

Oh yes, them sacrificing their own lives for the sake of trying to keep the passengers calm and orderly was not in the slightest heroic - instead, they should be somehow blamed? I thought you'd do well to beat your theory about Molly Brown, Jim, but I must congratulate you - you've done it!

"I did not ask if there was a social connection between them. I wondered why someone of Shaw's status would bother to discuss anything with someone of Conan-Doyle's status. It's like the kitchen staff at the Crillon swapping recipes with McDonalds...."

I wouldn't mind betting that if you polled a couple of hundred people now, more would have heard of and read the works of Arthur Conan Doyle than George Bernard Shaw.

"They do not function well as detective work in our era and, I tend to suspect, did not function particularl;y well as such in their own era either."

Then you would suspect wrong. A Holmes story in The Strand magazine instantly meant it would sell out and then some, which prompted the publishers to make Conan Doyle the highest paid writer of his time to continue churning them out. 'Nuff said.

"Oh...well...no...there was that Dickens guy, who created a few fictional characters who have endured longer, and in better books, too. That Shakespeare fellow apparently dabbled in fiction, Walter Scott may have tried his band at it, Goethe; Jane Austen...and, if we want to get technical, there's that entire Beowulf thing to ponder."

Last time I checked, Dickens, Shakespeare, Scott, Goethe (never heard of him/her, btw) and Austen were all real people - I said fictional characters, Jim.

The very fact that it is now 123 years since the first Sherlock Holmes story appeared ("A Study In Scarlet") and yet there has just been a successful movie released, with a second one slated to begin filming later this year, with a new BBC TV series just starting to go to air called "Sherlock".....hmm, I think I make my point. Haven't seen any remakes of the above authors for a while though (for the record, I'm a huge fan of Dickens as well.)

"All are tainted by his endorsing fraudulent mediums; publically coming out in favor of fairies, and supporting the GLORIOUS TITANIC myth."

An extremely close-minded and disappointing view.

I'll be honest. I hate armchair critics. I believe that if you genuinely want to have a swipe at somebody or something that they have created, then you must better it yourself before you're in a position to do so. Be that writing, music, or whatever. So, Jim, when you've created a character as universally famous as Sherlock Holmes, get back to me and i'll gladly eat a large slice of humble pie. Until then....

Michael:

True enough, but to be fair, the discussion is supposed to be about the debate between Shaw and Doyle over the Titanic, not about whether mediums and fairies exist or not.
 
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>>Meanwhile, 'stringent' investigtors working with the Spiritualists did find..ahem...legitimate mediums. <<

What's even more interesting is that it's not all that common for scientists to expose these people, but entertainers and mentalists such as Harry Houdini...or a contemporary example... "The Amazing" James Randi.

This really isn't much of a surprise as one might think since these people are trained magicians and carnival types who know how the tricks are pulled off.

>>True enough, but to be fair, the discussion is supposed to be about the debate between Shaw and Doyle over the Titanic, not about whether mediums and fairies exist or not.<<

However, that's the direction it ended up going in an apparant attempt to justify or refute a particular viewpoint.

>>An extremely close-minded and disappointing view.<<

What's closed minded about it? The myth is the myth and the hardcore and sometimes damned ugly reality is the hardcore reality. Recognizing that in opposition to the highly romanticized mythos is anything but closed minded. Shaw may not have been popular for it, but he was ahead of his time and he wasn't wrong.

That's all the justification he needs.
 

Jim Kalafus

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A classic bit of Shaw:

if vociferous journalists will persist in glorifying the barrister whose clients are hanged, the physician whose patients die, the general who loses battles, and the captain whose ship goes to the bottom, such false coin must be nailed to the counter at any cost. There have been British captains who have brought their ships safely through icefields by doing their plain duty and carrying out their instructions. There have been British captains who have seen to it that their crews knew their boats and their places in their boats, and who, when it became necessary to take to those boats, have kept discipline in the face of death, and not lost one life that could have been saved. And often enough nobody has said "Thank you" to them for it, because they have not done mischief enough to stir the emotions of our romantic journalists. These are the men whom I admire and with whom I prefer to sail.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Continuing:

But no excuse, however good, can turn a failure into a success. Sir Arthur cannot be ignorant of what would happen had the Titanic been a King's ship, or of what the court-martial would have said and done on the evidence of the last few days. Owing to the fact that a member of my family was engaged in the Atlantic service, and perhaps also that I happen to know by personal experience what it is like to be face to face with death in the sea, I know what the risk of ice means on a liner, and know also that there is no heroism in being drowned when you cannot help it. The Captain of the Titanic did not, as Sir Arthur thinks, make "a terrible mistake." He made no mistake. He knew perfectly well that ice is the only risk that is considered deadly in his line of work, and, knowing it, he chanced it and lost the hazard. Sentimental idiots, with a break in the voice, tell me that "he went down to the depths:" I tell them, with the impatient contempt that they deserve, that so did the cat.
 

Adam Went

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Ah yes, another man of words, and bland words at that.

I should just add for the moment that there is a reason why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is SIR Arthur, while George Bernard Shaw is, well, just George.... ;-)

And Jim, if you want to read a brilliant Holmes story, get hold of a copy of "The Hound Of The Baskervilles".
 

Bob Godfrey

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Shaw was an active Socialist and this is reflected in many of his writings as well as his attitude to 'honours'. He was offered a Knighthood and rejected it, as he did many other honours including the Order of Merit. Only at his wife's insistence did he accept the Nobel Prize for Literature - but not the cash award that went with it.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Oh yes, them sacrificing their own lives for the sake of trying to keep the passengers calm and orderly was not in the slightest heroic - instead, they should be somehow blamed?

Not blamed, but not praised either. Shaw was correct. They created a false sense of calm, and sent a mixed message. The crew should have requested that they stop ~ what they were doing was the exact equivalent of having staff members in a hotel lounge distributing canapes while, at the same time other staff members are saying "There is a fire. Evacvuate." The thought, even if it perceivede at a subconscious level, is "How serious can the fire be? They are still handing out canapes." Which is why during emergency situations the muzak, and all other positive forms of stimulous are turned off or curtailed. You dont WANT a sense of normal. You want people to leave the room.

As with Molly Brown, a million people calling something dangerous glorious doesnt make it glorious. it just reenforces the fact that humanity, in general, likes schlocky stories.

> wouldn't mind betting that if you polled a couple of hundred people now, more would have heard of and read the works of Arthur Conan Doyle than George Bernard Shaw.

Even if true, meaningless. If you polled a million people, you'd probably discover that MOTEL 6 has more name recognition than Parker Meridien, and McDonalds more name recognition than The Four Seasons, but what's your point?

>Then you would suspect wrong. A Holmes story in The Strand magazine instantly meant it would sell out and then some, which prompted the publishers to make Conan Doyle the highest paid writer of his time to continue churning them out. 'Nuff said.

Again, WHAT is your point? Murder, She Wrote was highly rated, Angela Lansbury highly paid, the spin-off novels highly popular, and the show fun to watch in a Scooby Doo for adults kind of way. It was brilliant as entertainment but somewhat lacking as art. Nobody mistakes it for brilliant detective fiction. So, too, Holmes.

>Last time I checked, Dickens, Shakespeare, Scott, Goethe (never heard of him/her, btw) and Austen were all real people - I said fictional characters, Jim.


And, I too, said "fictional characters," in the opening line about Dickens creating them. Then there was a period. (.) The idea ended with the period. I then listed authors who predated Conan-Doyle who dabbled in fiction and created characters that have endured longer than he who you refered to as THE MOST ENDURING FICTIONAL CHARACTER OF ALL TIME. Romeo and Juliet (Believe it or not, the character was not created for Leonardo di Caprio ~ Shakespeare wrote it with an eye on Leonard Whiting) might contradict you on that point. So, too. might Goethe's YOUNG WERTHER.

>The very fact that it is now 123 years since the first Sherlock Holmes story appeared ("A Study In Scarlet") and yet there has just been a successful movie released, with a second one slated to begin filming later this year, with a new BBC TV series just starting to go to air called "Sherlock".....hmm, I think I make my point. Haven't seen any remakes of the above authors for a while though

WHAT is your point? There have been about seven reinventions of Scooby Doo since 1969, but that does not make it great detective fiction. If polled, more people could outline Scooby Doo storylines than Sherlock Holmes storylines, but it would be remarkably...callow....to claim that the most enduring fictional character of all time is a talking animated dog, based on popularity, name recognition, and numerous artless remakes.

>I'll be honest. I hate armchair critics. I believe that if you genuinely want to have a swipe at somebody or something that they have created, then you must better it yourself before you're in a position to do so.

REALLY! I rather hate people who use that inane, and immature, line of logic, but that's just me. Strange to say, I've NEVER heard it used by someone with a defendable position. I've only heard it used by people who have run out of things to say who feel themselves to old to yell "MOMMY!" and then dissolve into tears while saying "THEY'RE PICKING ON ME!"

By your line of reasoning, the fact that I have never designed a plane means that I have to remain neutral on the DC-10 exploding cargo doors. Does the fact that I have not been taught to cook Cantonese mean that I have to remain uncomplainingly neutral about a tin of rancid takeout? You have never designed and built a car. Does that mean that if you buy a new one, and the same thing keeps going wrong with it, you must remain passive and uncomplaining? If you go in for the exam all men must face after 40, and the doctor nicks your bowel wall by accident leaving you swollen up as if pregnant, expelling foul pus from a place you'd rather not expel out of, do you say "I cant complain about his work- I'm not a doctor?"

No, you do not.

Employing your own logic, then, if one cannot offer negative criticism, one also cannot offer positive criticism. YOU have not created an 'enduring fictional character' so therefore you are not qualified to praise either Conan-Doyle or Holmes. And that ends this particular tangent. Moving onward....

The faieries, and the Titanic debate mutually support one another, and can be vailidly paired. Those who blame Conan-Doyle's dementia on losing his son might want to examine the Titanic exchange. The same intentional disregarding of THE OBVIOUS, and creepy defensiveness towards critics, which manifested itself in the FAIRY INCIDENT is there in Titanic debate. BEFORE his son died he was showing definite signs of being a loosely wrapped package.
 

Mark Baber

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Doyle didn't come out with his theories about spiritualism ...

4 August 1923: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sails from New York for Liverpool on
Adriatic II (Capt. Beadnell) after telling reporters that he has received no
communications from U. S. President Warren G. Harding since the latter's
death two days ago, explaining that "[a]t the present time we have no
instruments with which we can call to those above. The spirits there have to
call down to us." (Source: The New York Times, 5 August 1923.)
 

Jim Kalafus

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"Dearest Warren: Your wife allowed you to eat unrefrigerated crab meat in summer. After the gastric distress set in, she forced you to walk up 99 steps, unsupported, in withering summer heat, because it would not look "presidential" for you to be assisted. She did not allow you to rest, and while dedicating the stadium at Pepperdine University, you seem to have suffered a heart attack in full view of the crowd, after Florence insisted that you not cancel your appearance there. From what I read, she insisted that you walk to the podium, while in a state of gastric collapse, then stand in Los Angeles summer heat, until you grabbed at your chest and then slumped. Instead of going to the hospital, you were put on a train to San Francisco in a state of near collapse, and after the 430 mile train ride, Florence insisted that you WALK to your waiting car, lest the public see the president of the US being carried out on a stretcher. When you arrived at the Palace Hotel on Market Street, Florence again insisted that you walk. Miraculously, you DID make it thru the lobby, only to keel over and die in your suite.

Warren, dear Warren, WTF? I've tried contacting that call girl who died at your party on K Street when she got struck in the head by a bottle, but she wont give me the time of day. Now, you will not talk with me, either. I'm not one to spread gossip, but am REALLY curious about the circumstances of your death. What do YOU think? Did Florence accidentally kill you while trying to protect "the dignity of the president" who must never appear weak in public, or did she inflict a singularly torturous death upon you as payback for fathering an illegitimate child named Elizabeth Ann in a coat closet, and for the entire dead call girl affair?

Warren?..... Warren?"

A.C. Doyle, August 3, 1923.

I mean, REALLY! What the hell? Why would Conan-Doyle expect to hear from Harding in the first place?
 

Adam Went

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Bob:

To be fair, Conan Doyle was reluctant to accept his knighthood as well - it was only at the insistence of his mother, to whom he was close to throughout his life, that he did so.

Jim:

"They created a false sense of calm, and sent a mixed message."

Yes because it would have been so much better for everybody on board to be rushing the life boats and demanding to get off the ship instantly at 11.45 PM....sheesh.

By the time the launching of the boats was in full swing it was clear to everybody that the ship was in a lot of trouble, only people who were in denial or shock could think otherwise and that would have been the case whether the band were there or not!

They could have tried to save themselves when they saw the situation was hopeless, but they played on until the last minutes - THAT is heroic. How can you possibly have no compassion for people of this sort? It defies belief.

"WHAT is your point?"

Quite an obvious one, I would have thought. You have seen fit to criticise Conan Doyle and compare him to George Bernard Shaw, I was simply responding to that.

For the record, Conan Doyle didn't go much on Sherlock Holmes either, he felt that detective fiction was one of the cheapest forms of writing and that his Holmes stories were taking away from his more serious novels - and he probably had a point. And yet, there he is, embedded in popular culture FOREVER, Jim. Same can't be said of any of Shaw's characters.

"So, too. might Goethe's YOUNG WERTHER."

Still haven't heard of it. Though I have heard of Werther's throat lozengers. Same thing?

Though I maintain that Sherlock is definitely one of, if not THE most enduring fictional character of all time - backed up by things like:

"He (Holmes) is a valuable asset to the British tourist industry, known to 87 per cent of visitors to Britain, and is one of London's major attractions - indeed, Japanese and Russians often cite him as their main reason for visiting the city."

(From Russell Miller's "The Adventures Of Arthur Conan Doyle, p. 3-4)

I'd be delighted if you could point out any other fictional characters that can better that, Jim (backed up with statistical proof, if you can.)

"REALLY! I rather hate people who use that inane, and immature, line of logic, but that's just me. Strange to say, I've NEVER heard it used by someone with a defendable position. I've only heard it used by people who have run out of things to say who feel themselves to old to yell "MOMMY!" and then dissolve into tears while saying "THEY'RE PICKING ON ME!""

Jim, please, you're behaving incredibly childishly.

It's nothing so sinister, it's just as I said it, I don't like armchair critics. You can say whatever you like about Doyle's work but when you criticise it in a joint effort with personal attacks on him, his other work in life and, most of all, his mental state (where on earth did you get the idea that he had dementia?), that's where I will be defensive - he is, after all, the person I consider to be my role model, something I've quite freely admitted in the past.

So, if you don't like his work or how he went about things - prove how it can be done better. It's as simple as that.
 
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