Autumn had welcomed itself to Holmes Chapel with pride, robust in its orange
poise, strong and grinning with its cunning winds, its breath cold and
A damp leaf fell and touched the very tip of my nose, snapping me from my daze.
I’d been lost in thought for a while,
sitting on the very same park bench I found myself sitting almost every Monday
to Friday, a routine I’d
become frighteningly familiar with.
A few months ago I wrote a post briefly analyzingJafar from
Aladdin. Now I want to talk about another Disney villain: Ratigan from The
Great Mouse Detective (or Basil the Great Mouse Detective, depending on your
Just as Basil is based on Sherlock Holmes, his arch-nemesis
Professor Ratigan is based on Holmes’s arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty. Both
Moriarty and Ratigan are described as “the Napoleon of crime” by their
respective rival detectives, and like his human counterpart, Ratigan is supposed
to have his fingers in various underworld pies. As Basil says more than once
during the film: “There’s no fiendish scheme he wouldn’t concoct—no depravity
he wouldn’t commit.” Indeed, according to the lyrics in his introductory song,
Ratigan’s criminal résumé includes drowning widows and orphans, apparently for sport.
I must say that I find Ratigan a more interesting character
than Moriarty, who was essentially a scowling shadow invented by Doyle to throw
Holmes down a waterfall. Ratigan is no scowling shadow. He is bursting with
personality and neuroses, and besides being a genius he is also a showman.
Ratigan was animated by Glen Keane and voiced by Vincent
Price. He towers over most other characters in the film because, whereas they
are mainly mice, he is an enormous sewer rat. Although he is dressed in a
three-piece suit complete with a cape and gloves, the fabric bulges as though
its seams would rip apart from his massive body underneath. Every scene that he
is in, he dominates, and not just physically. He has a craving for recognition
and intimidates his minions into treating him as though he were royalty.
He has built his lair, appropriately, underground inside a
wine cellar, in an empty cask, and this cask he has transformed into a palace.
It has tiled floors, red carpets, a fountain flowing with pink champagne, and
even a throne. The Crown Jewels—the actual Crown Jewels—are piled against one
wall, plunder from the human world above. Perhaps these were stolen during the
“Tower Bridge Job,” a previous caper that Ratigan mentions; in reality the
jewels are housed in the Tower of London, close to the Tower Bridge, and have
been for centuries.
Inside this lair, Ratigan is king. It is an illusion that he
has carefully and consciously built for himself. One step outside and he is
back in the grimy cellar, but inside he can wear a crown and robes and his
minions, under threat of death, will rush to light his cigarettes and literally
sing his praises.
The Great Mouse Detective is a strange Disney film in that
it only has three musical numbers, and two are sung by the villain. Ratigan
claims the spotlight even here, actually recording one song on a phonograph to
play during Basil’s intended execution. This is diegetic music—it’s being
performed “for real” inside the story—illustrating just how highly Ratigan
“Besides being a great villain, he is playing a great
villain,” Vincent Price once said in an interview about the character. That
hits the nail on the head.
Almost everything that Ratigan does is a performance. The
interesting thing is that he doesn’t want the performance to end. He wants it
to replace the world around him, and masking one reality with another is a
theme that runs through the film.
When Basil first appears, he is dressed in red robes and a
mask with a Fu Manchu moustache—a nod to similar disguises that Sherlock Holmes
would wear to infiltrate places like opium dens. But then Basil removes the
mask and he is Basil again. Later on, he and Dawson (the film’s Watson equivalent)
wear more disguises to try blending in with sailors at a “seedy pub.” This time
it is Ratigan who tears Basil’s false moustache away with the sarcastic remark,
“Really, one would hardly recognize you.”
Ratigan wears a similar disguise, although he would never
admit it. All his gestures are affected. Despite his hulking frame, he walks
with tiny, mincing steps, sometimes even on tiptoe, with his clawed feet
crammed into too-small shoes. He extends his pinky—a classically snobbish
when he disarranges his hair during an outburst, he is quick to comb it back
into an orderly shape with his fingers. Under no circumstance does he wish to
appear as anything less than a perfect gentleman. But this isn’t his true
nature: it is a mask hiding the rat underneath.
Ratigan’s species is codified in the film to represent his
brutal, animalistic personality, in contrast to the mice. No matter how he
might dress, no matter how charming he might attempt to be, he cannot escape
being a rat. Everyone can see through his disguise as easily as they could see
through Basil’s sailor costume.
Using different animal species to represent different
personality types is something that’s been done in many stories. Sometimes the
conceit works. Sometimes it has unsavory implications, suggesting that one
“species” can never accomplish what another “species” might. And sometimes, as
in the famous comic Maus, the conceit breaks under its own weight, and we see
how ridiculous it is to lump all Jewish people together as mice, all Germans as
cats, all Poles as pigs, etc.
Ratigan’s characterization as a rat is what motivates his
villainy. He will commit any crime to scramble into a higher social standing.
He will kill his own subordinates if they refer to him as anything except a
mouse. But he cannot change his species. This almost seems like essentialism
until you realize that the mice in the film donot oppose rats with an easy
one-to-one correspondence. Some mice are noble like Basil and Dawson, but
others are criminals like Ratigan. Some, like the patrons in the pub, are gamblers and drunks with violent tempers. The film also features two lizards: one is Ratigan’s
henchman, and the other is an innocent performer in a variety act who gets
pelted with rotten fruit by a boorish audience.
In the end, the miniature animal-world in The Great Mouse
Detective is just like the world in Maus, where characters cannot be pegged as
good or bad based on their species. And yet Ratigan, like some people in the
real world, does have essentialism ingrained into his mindset—ironically about
his own species. The problem isn’t that others can’t accept him as a rat. After
all, he has loyal followers, and even Basil acknowledges him as a genius. Rather,
the problem is that he cannot accept himself as a rat.
This identity crisis is what fuels his penchant for
theatrics. His grand scheme, which he spends the movie plotting to accomplish,
is to replace the mouse queen with a mechanical duplicate. He would then
control this duplicate and rule the realm by proxy. It is another
disguise—another identity swapped, in this case the queen’s identity—and once
again, nobody is meant to recognize it as a disguise. It is supposed to be the
Of course the scheme fails. Basil sabotages the duplicate,
whose robotics come to pieces before a very public audience at Buckingham
Palace. And once again everyone sees through Ratigan’s false appearance.
The film’s climax is set inside Big Ben. I half suspect that
the sequence was inspired by The Castle of Cagliostro, which also has its
climax set inside a clock tower where the characters scramble amongst moving
gears. Something that many people don’t realize is that the Big Ben sequence is
an early example of computer animation. Computers were used to model the
clock’s interior three-dimensionally, allowing the camera to move more freely
through such a complex environment, and a mechanical arm actually sketched
the sequence frame by frame with a pencil onto paper. As though it were being
printed. Then the animators drew the characters superimposed over the
I love this sequence. It’s one of my favorites in any movie.
It has almost no dialogue—just low music building slowly to a crescendo as
the gigantic gears click and echo inside the tower.
At this point, Ratigan has lost everything. His plot has
been exposed, his henchmen have been killed or captured, he has been outwitted,
and his cape is lodged in the clock gears as he watches Basil escape higher
into the tower. His only way to free himself and pursue his nemesis is to shred
his clothing apart, destroying his civilized persona, and climb the clock on
The moment when he finally snaps is perfect. Everything around
him is clockwork, smoothly and rationally operating, and illustrated via the
computer animation with a draftsman’s precision; but then the camera cuts, and cuts
again, closer and closer to his enraged face, until you can actually see the angry
pen strokes scratched into the paper. There’s no more extended pinky, no more mincing gait,
as he lunges forward with a physical looseness and power he’s never displayed,
fangs bared, claws out.
The confrontation atop Big Ben is meant to mirror Holmes’s
confrontation with Moriarty over the Reichenbach Falls. Once again, I have to give the point to Ratigan. He really is a great villain, and it’s a shame that The Great Mouse
Detective isn’t more widely known.
At some point over the years, Holmes Chapel had stopped being home.
It was now an escape.
An escape from work. An escape from stress. An escape from my own feelings. It
had stopped being a little village I loved and become a mere resemblance of utter
escapism. Holmes Chapel was a place I felt like I could hide, become a child
again. I could forget my responsibilities and my heartache, and I could sip a
freshly made cup of tea that I hadn’t even
had to prepare myself. I could forget everything, if only Susan bloody Lambert wasn’t gazing across the table to me in
the sorry way she was.
Did Sherlock want to elope with John on the stag night?
It seems that Sherlock might have relived a more preferable version of the stag night in the Victorian mindpalace waterfall scene.
John slips a bit from his chair and finally touches Sherlock’s knee.
JOHN: I don’t mind.
SHERLOCK: Me too.
JOHN: Am I a woman? […] Am I pretty?
WATSON: So what’s he like - the other me, in the other place?
HOLMES: Smarter than he looks.
WATSON: Pretty damn smart then.
HOLMES: Pretty damn smart. (*suggestive smile*)
MORIARTY: Ugh - Why don’t you two just elope, for god’s sake!
WATSON: Actually, would you mind?
HOLMES: Not at all.
Then Watson kicks Moriarty down the waterfall.
He kicks down Moriarty, the allegory of Sherlock’s inner demons that were keeping him from openly falling (in love) with John. John kills of Sherlock’s fears and Sherlock falls, while John is watching and supporting this decision.
He would have eloped with John on the stag night. But he couldn’t fight his Moriarty-demons on his own. He needed John’s help for this.
My best friend, Margaret, she was my chief bridesmaid. We were going to be best friends forever we always said that. But I hardly saw her after that. She cried the whole day, saying it was the “end of an era.” I remember she left early. I mean, who leaves a wedding early?
Sending @clemwasjustagirl and I to our rooms is very easy.
Step 1: acquire one (1) henrik holm.
Step 2: place henrik holm in the desired room you would like us to be in.
Step 3: alert us to the fact that henrik holm is in said room.
Step 4: we will gladly see ourselves to said room.
Optional step: Acquire one (1) tarjei sandvik-moe and place him in the room to keep henrik holm company.
In Victorian times, if gentlemen called each other by their Christian names it implied a close intimate relationship (or, in later years, a symbol of changing times).
WATSON: *clears throat* *cocks gun* Professor, if you wouldn’t mind stepping away from my friend? I do believe he finds your attention a shade annoying. MORIARTY: That’s not fair, there’s two of you! WATSON: There’s always two of us. Don’t you read ‘The Strand’? *tosses Holmes his hat* On your knees, Professor. Hands behind your head. HOLMES: Thank you, John. WATSON: Since when do you call me ‘John’? HOLMES: You’d be surprised. WATSON: No, I wouldn’t. Time you woke up, Sherlock… I’m a storyteller – I know when I’m in one. HOLMES: (fondly) ‘Course. Of course you do, John. WATSON: So what’s he like? The other me, in the other place? HOLMES: Smarter than he looks! WATSON: Pretty damned smart, then! HOLMES: Pretty damned smart. MORIARTY: EUGH, why don’t you two just elope, for God’s sake?? WATSON: Impertinent! HOLMES: Offensive! WATSON: Actually, would you mind? HOLMES: Not at all. (Watson kicks Moriarty off the cliff, Johnlockers cheer in joy)
Okay, I know I didn’t have to write out that entire exchange, but I love the scene SO SO MUCH and I couldn’t help myself!
So, anyway, remember that this exchange takes place entirely in Sherlock’s head, but that doesn’t lessen the impact it has any less.
I’m not a Victorian historian (hah!) at all, so I do encourage people to correct me if I make any mistakes in the next blurb I’m writing. There’s a reason that Mofftiss have insisted that the special takes place in 1895, and this is one of the reasons why. The two men using the first names implies that they are closer than is considered “okay” by Victorian standards. In the context of the above text, this is Sherlock CONFIRMING his affections for John, and him confirming that he knows that John knows about it (with the “smarter than he looks” lines).
Completely and totally reaching here, but given the tone of the scene itself, I don’t think that this next bit will be much of a stretch. Replace all those bolded names with something more intimate, like… ‘love’.
HOLMES: Thank you, Love. WATSON: Since when do you call me ‘Love’? HOLMES: You’d be surprised. WATSON: No, I wouldn’t. Time you woke up, Love… I’m a storyteller – I know when I’m in one. HOLMES: (fondly) ‘Course. Of course you do, Love.
Heck, it’s even a bit reminiscent of the bench scene in TSo3…
SHERLOCK: So why don’t you see him any more? JOHN: Who? SHERLOCK: Your previous commander, Sholto. JOHN: “Previous commander.” SHERLOCK (briefly closing his eyes awkwardly): I meant “ex.” JOHN: “Previous” suggests that I currently have a commander. SHERLOCK: Which you don’t. JOHN: Which I don’t. [SOURCE]
… within which it is kind of hinting at previous ‘boyfriend’, ‘lover’, ‘significant other’. Only in TAB it’s made a lot more explicit due to Moriarty commenting on their flirting afterwards.
This scene here is the first step in the Johnlock confirmation arc… well, the entirety of the episode is, but this one solidifies it for me. TAB’s full episode helped confirm Sherlock’s sexuality, while this scene confirms his feelings for John (because, you know, an entire season of him literally pining over John just didn’t make it explicit enough).
Here is my contribution for Sherlolly Appreciation Day 2. I went the canon-compliant route with a fic based on The Abominable Bride (caution: spoilers)
All mistakes are mine, I hope you enjoy it!
There are matters to be discussed.
221B Baker Street.
Dr. Matthias Hooper had not set eyes on the detective in weeks, and it was both a relief and a concern. There was no guarantee that Holmes would keep the doctor’s secret, and if he chose to expose her, the doors to St. Bartholomew’s and every other hospital would be barred to her forever. She stood at outside the door to flat B, terrified, and adjusting her wig and cravat.
“Stop worrying outside the door and enter, Hooper.”
The missive from Holmes clutched tightly in hand, Hooper opened the door to see the man himself seated in a leather chair by the fireplace, pipe in hand. The flat was a mix of rich, dark colors and materials; unmistakably masculine, it was everything she’d expected from Sherlock Holmes.
“Be seated, Hooper. Tea?”
“Tea would be unnecessary,” she answered, seating herself in the plush chair across from him, her posture rigidly straight and her face expressionless. “I’d like to discuss matters, as you wrote in your letter, Holmes.” Her heart was pounding, and she needed to know if he was to be trusted. Pleasantries could wait– they were usually scarce in the dealings between Hooper and Holmes.
“To the point, then. I will not be sharing your secret, Hooper. It would be a disservice the scientific community were they to lose a brilliant mind like yours due to their own ridiculous prejudices. We have not always seen eye-to-eye, but I assure you, I can be trusted in this matter.”
Although she tried to keep her carriage as rigid as before, her shoulders relaxed a bit as the tightness in her chest eased. For the first time since she’d received the note from Holmes, she was able to take a deep breath. It would be another moment before she would realize he’d complimented her.
Holmes narrowed his eyes at her, and leaned forward in his chair, searching her for something. His mouth was set into a thin line.
“Relief. You thought I’d be attempting to manipulate you this evening- that I’d hold your secret over your head until I received something in return for my discretion?” He returned to his slightly inclined position.
“You think so little of me, then? We have not been friendly perhaps, but I assumed a mutual respect between us? Was I incorrect?”
Hooper was incensed at this remark, nearly jumping out of her seat. “Respect?! You have hounded me at St. Bartholomew’s, torn apart my work and treated me like a minion placed there to do your bidding! You, Holmes, have never even hinted at a respect for me!” She was shouting from the edge of her seat.
Not to be outdone, Holmes leaped to his feet, towering menacingly over her. She stood to meet him face to face, glaring right back at the detective.
“I treat you the same way I treat everyone, Hooper! People don’t matter, polite conversation doesn’t matter, The Work– The Work is the only damned thing that matters! And I believed you understood that!”
“Don’t you lecture me about the work, Holmes! I have suffered and sacrificed more than you can imagine for the privilege of my work!” Her voice grew darker and she spoke quietly, looking him up and down with disdain.
“You waltz into my morgue and act as though you’ve more right to the truth than any of us mere mortals. You have gifts with which you were born, perhaps, Holmes, but I have come by my skills with blood and sweat. I will not have you belittle them with your arrogance!”
The detective took a breath, ready to begin his next diatribe, before stopping himself and turning away. He moved to his decanter and began to pour two crystal tumblers of brandy.
Quietly, and carefully, he spoke. “Please. Let us be seated, Hooper.” He handed the doctor a glass, before taking up his leather chair once more.
Hooper was still taken aback by the detective’s abrupt end to the argument, but accepted the drink with a small nod of thanks before seating herself.
“I did not ask you here to argue with you, although it seems all of our conversation eventually becomes debate,” he remarked with a cautious grin. “I do respect you, Dr. Hooper.”
“And I believe that is the first time you’ve used my professional title, Mr. Holmes. For that I thank you.” Hooper smiled and sipped the amber liquid, savoring the gentle burn.
A full grin was now on the detective’s face, and Hooper was ashamed of the warmth she felt at the sight of it. She quickly blamed it on the brandy.
“You know, we’ve more in common than just The Work, Dr. Hooper.”
“Is that so, Mr. Holmes?” she asked, offering a small smile. “I confess I have my doubts, but please, enlighten me.”
“We both agree that Anderson is a complete idiot.”
She couldn’t help but laugh aloud, and Holmes joined her. It was the first time she’d ever heard him truly laugh, and the warm baritone sound that seemed to resonate within her chest.
At that moment, she realized that this was becoming a dangerous situation. She could not afford the feelings stirring within her; she’d fought too hard for what she’d accomplished. Her face sobered as she placed her half-finished glass down on the table beside her.
Holmes noticed the change in her demeanor immediately. “Dr. Hooper I do not wish to make you uncomfortable. My apologies.”
This was all becoming too much for her.
“What exactly is this, Holmes?! You’ve said ‘please’ and offered apologies to me this evening. This isn’t like you- you are not a man that enjoys friendly banter with colleagues. So what do you want from me?” The gruff persona of Dr. Matthias Hooper was back in place, and she’d be damned if she allowed herself to be swayed by– whatever this man was attempting.
She expected Holmes to fight– to be angry and argumentative. That was their way, and there might have been comfort in the fulfillment of that expectation. But instead, she watched his face soften further, into an almost vulnerable countenance. He looked away as he spoke to her.
“I have been unfair and unkind to many people in my life, and in particular to those who offer me the most aid. John Watson has borne the worst of me, perhaps; a man to whom I owe my life many times over.”
His ever-changing eyes met hers. “Hooper– Dr. Hooper, The Work is what sustains me. Without it, I would have no purpose and I’m not sure what my life would become. And that Work is incomplete without you and all you have done for me. You are the one that matters most, and for my past offenses to you, I am truly sorry.”
Hooper had no response, but a wide-eyed look of disbelief upon her face.
“There is something I would like to ask of you, but only if you are willing to offer it. Your secret will be safe no matter your answer.”
She shook her head, attempting to find coherent thoughts once again, but it was a challenge.
“What do you need?”
A genuine smile took over his face, and he looked almost boyish for a moment.
“No one knows your name- your Christian name. None of your fellow confidants in the case of Emelia Ricoletti know it- you never told any of them. They all refer to you as Hooper. And you have no family that I’ve been able to track.”
Dr. Hooper looked down at her hands folded in her lap. Her father had been the last family she’d known, and he had been deceased for a very long time now. As he lay on his deathbed, she’d told him her plan to disguise herself as a male in order to enter the medical field. In fact, he had suggested that she might work with the dead, as none of her patients could potentially discover her deceit.
“I want to know your name, Hooper. Who were you before you were Dr. Matthias Hooper?”
The thoughts of her father had filled her eyes with unshed tears, and Hooper absolutely refused to cry in the company of Sherlock Holmes. She kept her eyes on her hands as she responded.
“I have not heard my true name spoken aloud in nearly 18 years, Mr. Holmes. And my father’s voice was the last to have uttered it. I’m not sure that I want to hear it on any other lips.” She gathered the courage to meet his eyes. “Is there a reason you would like to know?”
His eyes were piercing and his voice quiet. “Emotion and sentiment are weaknesses that cloud the mind and negatively affect The Work. But, for a moment, I want– I want to indulge them. I want to say your name, and I want you to say mine. Not Holmes, but my Christian name.”
He stood, and offered his hand to the doctor. Looking in his eyes, she knew she could not deny him. If she said no, she’d utterly regret it. She allowed him to help her rise from her seat.
Tomorrow would be for The Work, but this moment was theirs.
She hesitated, but he prompted her.
“Say my name. Please.”
It was almost a sigh on her lips. “Sherlock.” His eyes closed at the sound and he was silent for a moment.
“Your name, Hooper. Tell me.” She lay her hands on his chest, and leaned toward his ear, whispering the name she’d not heard in so many years.
All the tension let his body, and he wrapped his arms around her, resting his head on top of hers.
JOHN:“My husband is three people.” It’s interesting. Says he has three distinct patterns of moles on his skin. SHERLOCK:Identical triplets – one in half a million births. Solved it without leaving the flat. Now, serviettes.
Okay, okay…It isn’t technically twins, but come on. It’s the same theory! So it makes no sense for him to say it’s never twins.
Going back to TAB.
The fact that Sherlock thinks (as John) that it could be a secret twin and then quickly tells himself that it’s never twins makes me think there IS a twin.
WATSON:A secret twin? Hmm? You know? A twin that nobody knows about? This whole thing could have been planned. HOLMES:Since the moment of conception? How breathtakingly prescient of her!
Sherlock is shooting down John’s idea (or his own idea of what John might say) because it isn’t clever enough. It’s like he’s arguing in his mind if this could be a possibility. It isn’t brilliant enough for him. It isn’t the answer he wants to hear.
Yet later in the episode we get confirmation that Sherlock thinks John is pretty damn smart.
WATSON:So what’s he like? The other me, in the other place? HOLMES:Smarter than he looks! WATSON:Pretty damn smart, then! HOLMES:Pretty damn smart.
We have seen Sherlock miss the obvious before because it’s too simple. What if Sherlock dismissing the twins is just him dismissing the obvious, which although simple is the most likely to be true.
MORIARTY:I knew you’d fall for it. That’s your weakness. You always want everything to be clever.
So yes, i think twins are going to be involved in series 4!
I would have melted during the BBC Sherlock Suite. Especially when they played The Woman section. Anyway, how much were tickets?
£15 each so super affordable actually, but I was way in back (but in the centre), so obviously I was the cheapest on the scale I think.
I melted during TPLoSH into a nice liquid goo, but during the BBC suite I was actually super tense. I think I posted this before, but I had claw marks in my skin and I had to bite my tongue because I wanted to laugh (?) when I saw so many photos of gay pining trophy husband Sherlock, when I saw the Pulcinella plate, and I wanted to cry during The Woman section and a few other parts. And the entire time, the entire fucking time, I felt the whole thing was a love letter from Sherlock to Watson and it was ridiculously overwhelming. And Mark, fucking MARK. I swear everyone at the BBC knows. They KNOW.
There were a few parts where I was confused why there were playing some of the pieces (I particularly thought Wagner’s The Ride of the Valkyries was a bit out of place. Like maybe Holmes mentioned Wagner in canon but I thought that particular selection was not his style).
What do you think of the belief that certain functions are "better" than the other (e.g Ni vs Si)? Better as in the assets of one function outweigh the assets of the other function. The only reason I ask is because there was an article about N's being better than S's and it discussed N's being more advanced than S's because N's could be S's (a.k.a using the 5 senses to take in information) yet S's couldn't be N's. ?? A lot of it sounded drenched in ignorance but it definitely irked me.
Sounds like crap to me.
Everyone has two OBJECTIVE functions (external information-gathering) and two SUBJECTIVE (based on a personal bias) to work with, so saying any type is better than another type is silly. It’s like comparing apples, oranges, tangerines, and kiwi. Which fruit is best? Well, that would be the one I happen to like the most. In other words… subjective emotional judgment. I like it, and I eat it a lot, therefore it is the superior fruit.
Um… no, it’s just the fruit that I happen to like. It’s my fruit bias. And although I could argue the logic of that fruit being the best due to scientific research, that’s really not what prompts me to make the argument in the first place. It’s because I like that fruit. Here’s another example: Sherlock Holmes happens to be the best fictional detective ever created. I could give you many reasons why, all based in facts and research, but essentially it all boils down to this: Sherlock Holmes is my favorite fictional detective. We all have a tendency to state opinion as fact, but it’s not. It’s an opinion. Subjective to our bias.
You’ll notice a lot of personality types tend to “group” together: intuitives mesh better with intuitives, and sensors with sensors. Why is that? It’s because we like people who are like us, and we seek out those people to hang out with. Part of this is opportunity – people of similar types are drawn to similar things, so they meet other people of a similar type when doing those things. Se-users who join a rock climbing class are likely to meet other Se-users.
Part of it is our natural type bias: the people we can’t understand, we’re less likely to engage with. The pastor of my last church was an ESTJ. He was a really nice person and I liked him a lot, but we spoke two different languages. I’m happy to hang out and BBQ with him, but his very literal, linear, detail-oriented, factual preaching style didn’t appeal to my imaginative needs. I couldn’t “be” him any more than he could “be” me, and we certainly didn’t “get” one another! I baffled him. He straight up said that, since he’d never met anyone with a brain like mine! Naturally not… he was hanging out with School of Mines graduates, and teaching in a traditional-oriented church, which appeals more to Si-dom/auxes.
It is very, very easy to become prejudiced. We think of that in terms of racism or sexism, but it’s a deeper rot than that, and something we are all subconsciously fighting ALL THE TIME. (Don’t believe me? Do you consider yourself to be more intelligent than someone from the opposing political party? Be honest, now.) It’s that moment when we look at another person and think, “I’m better than you because…” And it happens with our functions. “Well, I use Fe, so I obviously care more about other people’s feelings than you do! Fe is more sacrificial than Fi!” Please, tell that to Katniss Everdeen. Fi is just as willing to take a bullet for someone else as Fe is. Fe is not better than Fi, and Fi is not better than Fe. Both are compassionate, but one projects and gathers emotions from outside itself and one contains them inside.
Function bias actually prevented me from finding my true type for awhile, because I figured that because I’m so compassionate, kind, and non-confrontational that I must use Fe, because all the Fi-descriptions made Fi sound selfish and confrontational due to the high emphasis on “let me be me!” It’s not. It can be, but then so can Fe. If Fi’s selfishness comes from “get the hell out of my face, and stop bossing me around!”, Fe’s selfishness can be, “I’m going to smother you with narcissistic protectiveness!” (Narcissism is believing everything revolves around you – or as one therapist I read recently put it: true narcissism is believing everyone else’s emotions are tied to yours, so that in ‘feeling’ their emotions, you are actually projecting YOUR emotions onto them, and making their situation all about you. Please see: Norma Bates.)
Unfortunately, we human beings are all biased, because we all see life in the “first person,” so we naturally think that the functions we use are better than functions we don’t. Just because we don’t UNDERSTAND how someone else’s mind works doesn’t make us BETTER than they are. That’s really what that article boils down to: nah, nah, nah, we intuitives are smarter than the sensors! Are you? Are you really? I know some adult STJs who could argue you into the ground with facts they remembered learning in grade school.
True, theoretical discussions aren’t the sensor’s preferred topic of conversation, but handling important details isn’t our thing as intuitives, either. It’s true, my ISFJ best friend’s brain baffles me, as mine does her, but I both enjoy having her around and need her. I recently suggested taking a vacation together. It was my idea, but she’s the one who did all the research, booked the plane, hotel, and transportation, called up the different restaurants to find out whether their food could handle my dietary restrictions (food sensitivities), and finalized all the dates. While I spun around bored in my chair while she contrasted hotels and found pricing differences, now and again I threw in logical Te-suggestions whenever she was baffled about how to do something. I’m the one who came up with a chart and assigned different activities to each day, theorizing on how long the tours would take. Either of us would have trouble planning that trip alone.
That is how you need to look at the different types: their strengths. Admire them for who they are. Don’t think you are better than they are because of the functions you use. What you lack, they possess. If you waste all your time thinking how superior you are to them, you’ll never get the wonderful opportunity to marvel at the things they can do that you struggle with. Life is not meant to be lived alone. We need each other, and we are all happiest when doing the tasks that our minds are naturally attuned toward. I would have HATED planning that trip, and doing research on it, and comparing hotels, and it would have taken me three times as long due to my tendency not to want to commit. She LOVED it. She loves planning things, and contrasting prices, and picking hotels, and making sure they have what we need. I love that about her.