So, I did something awful last week. I picked up a romance novel. (I blame Jim Butcher (for not being fast enough with Peace Talks and Mirror Mirror) for this slip.) Reading this novel proved why I’ve always avoided that genre like the plague. Fact that it was a poorly written novel to boot did not do much to help. I’m not averse to mush. I enjoy a good chick lit as much as the next person (off the top of my head – Remember Me, The Boy Next Door, I’ve Got Your Number) provided that the protagonists aren’t, well, unbelievably stupid! The lead characters are a tenured professor who believes that virginity equals innocence; scratch that, he believes that an unbroken hymen equals innocence and a twenty three year old who was able to get into Harvard yet has trouble accepting the fact that people who pass out after having one too many drinks might not be able to recollect all the events that occurred during their drinking binge. As a last resort, I tried giving voices to the characters in my head (with the ‘Professor’ being played by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Strange) but even that couldn’t redeem the book for me.
Isn’t it curious that Benedict Cumberbatch always gets to play the arrongant, snobbish character that excels in whatever it is that he does? Take Sherlock for example. Or Khan. Or Dr Strange. Or Alan Turing. Why are all his characters portrayed to be so haughty? Does it come with the territory, an undesirable side effect of genius? Does excelling at your field of choice automatically allow you to treat everyone else with disrespect.
Speaking of Alan Turing, I always pictured him as this super genius who gave us the CAPTCHA (for the uninitiated, it is the box of squiggly letters/numbers that you are supposed to enter on webpages before doing certain actions to prove that you are an actual person and not a robot). Oh, on a side note, he also happens to be the one who cracked the Enigma during WW II ending the war at least a couple of years earlier than it would have lasted otherwise. So, I assumed that he was a celebrated war hero/brainiac who went on to do cutting edge undercover work on AI. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he was prosecuted for being a homosexual and finally committed suicide at the ripe old age of, wait for it, 41!!! Which made me wonder, why couldn’t we be a little more tolerant of people’s personal choices?