arthur conan doyle

The Jim Moriarty Mixtape Playlist

While re-watching the previous episodes of Sherlock in anticipation of the new season this past Sunday, I noticed that über-villain and super criminal Jim Moriarty often listens to his headphones, leading me to ponder his ultimate mixtape playlist…

  1. The Thieving Magpie by Gioachino Rossini. What else is there to listen to while you are breaking in to steal the Crown Jewels filmed with a cinematic wink to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange?
  2. Testify by Rage Against the Machine. Actually, I think pretty much any RATM song suits the “consulting criminal,” but this just seems a perfect match. Runners up: Killing in the NameBulls on Parade from the aptly named album Evil Empire.
  3. Send Me an Angel by Real Life. For all those cozy moments when Moriarty tells Sherlock that, unlike him, he is on the side of the angels.
  4. Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon. Mutilating old ladies and warnings of potential evisceration warm this international criminal’s heart.
  5. Antenna by Kraftwerk. Richard Brook, or is it Reichenbach? All those zeros and ones, and the elusive all-mighty computer algorithm that controls everything. German plus computers obviously equals Kraftwerk.
  6. Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. The song that Moriarty is listening to on his headphones right before that infamous rooftop scene.
  7. Fever by Peggy Lee. Partly, because I imagine him listening to this at the end of a day full of dastardly deeds and also, for any of you fans of the second option to how Sherlock faked his own death in the first episode of season 3.
  8. Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Moriarty mocks Sherlock’s playing of this solo violin Bach piece.
  9. Killing Moon by Echo & The Bunnymen. It’s always been Moriarty’s endgame for Sherlock to kill himself and what better song to make that psychotic Irishman flash his sly smirk.
  10. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. Because he doesn’t let getting thrown in the tank get him down.
  11. Money by The Sonics. “Give me money/that’s what I want”. Simple lyrics tell it all. Power, money, and attention.
  12. I am the Walrus by The Beatles. Just because, really.

The quandary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Disintegration Machine

disintegration machineIt doesn’t matter how many times I read Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Disintegration Machine,” do I constantly bat the quandary back and forth in my mind. It is set up perfectly for an ethical and technological debate that we can even have this very day.

“The Disintegration Machine” is a story featuring Doyle’s famous character Professor Challenger. The professor is described as a lion of a man with a full beard and a rotund physique. One day, he is interrupted by the young journalist, Malone, to go investigate a machine designed by Latvian inventor, Theodore Nemor.

Matter dissolves and returns to its molecular or atomic condition. By reversing the process it can be reassembled.

Always the skeptics, Malone and Challenger only believe the machine’s capabilities once Malone is zapped into invisibility and correctly restructured à la Star Trek-styling. The somewhat cantankerous Professor Challenger even has a go but is ultimately annoyed when Dr. Nemor decides to re-atomize him with certain features missing, e.g., the Professor’s oft described lion-like beard.

courtesy of Wikipedia.The three men discuss what the endgame will be for the disintegration machine and Dr. Nemor discloses that an unnamed European country has purchased the exclusive rights to the invention, which has the ability to be utilized as a disastrous weapon. With the cunning wit of a Doyle protagonist, Professor Challenger is able to fool Dr. Nemor into entering the machine and with the flip of a switch, the doctor is disintegrated. Professor Challenger pleads ignorance to how to re-materialize Dr. Nemor and when questioned about it by Malone, replies,

The first duty of the law-abiding citizen is to prevent murder…I have done so. Enough, Malone, enough!

These final moments are what lie beyond the surface of the story. Doyle has posit the idea of murdering one to potentially save further lives down the line. Does investment in one act, that when investigated alone would appear to be horrible, evolve or negate if it is for the greater good? Also, Professor Challenger does not take an iota of a moment to discuss anything with his bright acquaintance Malone. Instead, he acted cunningly and swiftly and made a decision that often lies somewhere in the grey area. Doyle makes the decision quickly with his story but leaves the reader to have a personal philosophical debate regarding the quandary.

“The Disintegration Machine” is available for free in the public domain at Feedbooks.