MISFIT DOC: Cumberbatch As Metaphor: Writers In Conversation

There’s a thin line between vanity and narcissism.

The guy who plays Sherlock was voted the sexiest movie star and more power to him if he’s walking around like the Big I Am. However, you know what I’ve done as of late? Helped people think critically, wrote the world’s most beautiful story and apparently turned someone’s ambivalence into lifelong regret without even lifting a finger. Them’s skills, baby. If Benedict Cumberbatch and I met, he’d have nothing on me when it came to pride in our accomplishments. His ego would be so deflated I don’t doubt he’d lose the ability to maintain an erection. In fact, you wouldn’t believe how many men are erection-less in my presence: that’s not just me boasting either, it’s a simple fact. (If I weren’t desperately trying to come up with a topic for my column, I’d have invested a good half hour trying to smoothly get the word ‘cocksure’ into this and it’d have been fantastic. Guaranteed. Cumberbatch would have fallen to his knees laughing before being mean then later rueful, as you men are so prone to do.)

If you really want to fight, keep insisting cocksure is funnier than hockey puck.

I can’t believe you didn’t think the Cumberbatch thing was funny. That was comedy gold, sir. And anything with cock in it is funnier than something that rhymes with fuck. That’s textbook.

While you do nothing, I go out.

I am not doing nothing, I’m busy writing my column you know, but did you also know

Benedict Cumberbatch is in The Fifth Estate. I heard he was good but the movie so-so or maybe Americans just don’t care anymore because it’s so much easier to believe what you’re told than to think. Whatever. I don’t really see movies much even if the guy from Sherlock is in them. (However, I assume that when you see the film, you’ll imagine him losing an erection. And if you do, even for a split second, I am pretty sure that means I win.)

I thought you liked floppy hair.

Floppy, yes, but it should be curly and not that color. Besides, it’s not necessarily Cumberbatch. I mean, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed, but he’s in this show I’m writing about, so he’s been hovering round my head, which I might add, is not covered in curls. Look, feel free to ignore all future comments about lost erections. And definitely don’t get yourself too worked up over Benedict Cumberbatch’s cock: I think there are enough lonely internet users investing energy in that project already.

Calling me a lonely Internet user was the most offensive part of all that.

What you’re doing’s not an obsession?

My piece isn’t even about him, so I’m not interested in that business. Now I’m not saying Cumberbatch isn’t lovely to look at. In fact, I’d go as far as saying he’s very lovely to look at. But he’s a person, and I, too, you may recall, am a person. I’m sure it might be odd for him, but perhaps a roll in his cold, hard cash might ease the pain. I don’t know, I’ll never know, but I trust he’ll get over it. What am I even saying? Stop distracting me, I’m trying to work, to write. It’s hard enough when I’m not even getting paid. #BilboOut

Did you see this already? Has your heart stopped your writing?

Yes, I saw that. Here’s the scoop on the whole kerfuffle. They seem to have it in for him because he’s a bit of a posh boy and then he feeds into it by complaining about anti-posh bias. Bad move. He should hire me as an image consultant as I’ve got much better strategies on how he should have handled that. Then again, he’s likely quite satisfied with his image so I suppose that explains why he hasn’t returned my calls. As far as the heart symptoms, well, I’ve got to finish this column, so I’m living dangerously, having a fuck-you attitude toward death. That’s the kind of thing Cumberbatch would probably find attractive. (Actually what he looks for in a woman is probably good ironing skills and the ability to make the perfect Sunday roast. I make an okay roast but will not iron, not even if an early morning romp is my reward, and I can cite at least two men to testify to that fact in a court of law.)

Not snarky, just surprised you had the time to think of me.

Of course, I think of you, but to clarify, I am not greedily scouring the web for pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch in compromising positions: I am doing research.
Just don’t forget to eat. 

Right, eat, I’ll remember. Why does everyone connected to this show have to have such long names? Two words I’m sick of typing: Finnemore and Cumberbatch. Next time I need to choose my topic more wisely. Being a writer is hard.

So you’ve finished?

Yes, I’ve been obsessively checking to see if the column is up and feeling a bit sick each time. I want it to be brilliant enough that when I share, Finnemore’s so flattered he tweets ‘Perhaps I can get you a job at the BBC and you can leave that horrible place or I will introduce you to Benedict Cumberbatch and he will give you lots of money.’ Is that so much to ask for? (He’d probably have to abbreviate it to BC to get under the 140 character count, but I’ll know who he means.)

And have you won the internet now?

Of course I’ve not received the amount of likes I want. I want all the likes. (This feeling does not bode well for next week’s poetry reading; I am trying but failing not to think of that.) When I posted the link, I tagged Cumberbatch which led to more readers. Everything else there is poetry. Shall I mention him in every new poem?

Don’t be nervous, it’s just acting.

I wouldn’t congratulate an actor on his performance. I’d congratulate him on his acting. Besides I don’t even give a fuck about the word perform. It’s the word act. Especially how you mean it. Reading my work is not the same as acting in Hedda Gabler. This is a stupid fight anyway because I can’t act, we’ve already established that, but I can read. If you think my reading in a way that makes one weep is the same as an actor performing a role someone else wrote in a way that makes one weep, why, I’m afraid you’re simply wrong. I’m not passing any value judgments here, honestly, I’m not implying one is better than the other; I’m just saying they’re different. Not the same (which is what different means). A really good actor will make you believe it’s not fake, but it is still fake. Cumberbatch really, really seems like Sherlock Holmes, but you know what, he’s not. I’m pretty sure even he’d agree with me on that. When I read, it’s me, I’m the voice. Not fake. Ergo not acting.

What do you want, fame and wealth?

Yeah, I do. Fuck art that deals with complications. All my life I’ve been dealing with complications — look where that’s got me. Bring on the fame and wealth. And the whores. Don’t forget the whores.

If you were rich, you could fly here in your private jet and we could watch episodes of Sherlock and then get us some whores, your treat. 


Christine Brandel is a writer and photographer. More of her work, including the piece that inspired these conversations, can be found at clbwrites.com.

Submit a comment