I thought the aftershock tremors from Shrefflergate were over.
I thought the manifesto that added the term "elite devotee" to our lexicon was done providing us with new terminology.
I thought wrong, and now I'm a little nervous.
Members of the Baker Street Irregulars of New York were treated to a reminder of that January 2013 scandal this week, along with a brand new term to sit alongside the now-notorious "elite devotee:" The "lapsed Irregular."
Mike Whelan, the Wiggins-in-chief of said group, sent out his 2013 mid-year letter to the membership this week, and came out strongly against the attitude displayed in the infamous article. He didn't name names, he didn't use words as strong as "serious Sherlockian bullshit," which it totally was. But the big man brought the hammer down on not just the writer of the piece, but those involved with its publication.
Referring to them as "lapsed Irregulars," as well as "a tiny group of self-estranged members," he commented on their rampant narcissism, divisive criticisms, "uncivil disruptions" and emphasized the phrase "a final expiration of societal goodwill." Were they kicked out of the Baker Street Irregulars? Hard to say. I don't know if people can get kicked out of the Irregulars, but that's as close to a public exhibition of giving someone the boot from the B.S.I. that I've ever seen.
Later in the letter, Mike discusses the nomination process for new Irregulars and challenges the membership to do two things in the very least: subscribe to The Baker Street Journal and recommend new members for consideration. He comes down on the side of the Free Sherlock movement and the lawsuit to hamstring those who seek to own Sherlock Holmes as intellectual property. And then he does a little more underlining in quoting Edgar Smith:
"More narrowly, a Baker Street Irregular is a member, in good and accepted standing, of that small band of zealots which grouped itself together, one June evening in the far-gone year of 1934, for the avowed and unashamed purpose of keeping green in perpetuity the name and fame of Sherlock Holmes."
Good and accepted standing.
Yes, it seems to be come-to-Jesus time in the land of Irregulars, and to tell the truth I'm feeling a bit like a nervous Buddhist. I mean, in no way was I ever on the side of the elite devotee class, but when if comes to narcissists who seem to produce divisive criticism . . . well, I kind of have to hope that Mike Whelan isn't a fan of the TV show Elementary. And the term "lapsed Irregular" already brought me to the mind of one fabulous Sherlockian. No attendance at the B.S.I. dinner in a long time. No articles written for The Baker Street Journal in a long time. No suggestions for membership in a long time. And the occasional open criticism of the group's membership policy on the internet and elsewhere over the years.
But you won't hear me saying, "First they came for the elite devotee, and I said nothing . . . " because I really don't have a problem saying something. Let's cut to the chase: People get thrown out of places all the time for bad behavior. Kicking people out of a club is just the flip side of hand-picking the members, which has been an accepted practice in the B.S.I. forever. If you can justify one, I think you can also justify the other. In fact, I think giving people the boot might even be more justifiable than only giving select folk the chance to be members.
If they did actually get kicked out, the elite devotees would probably just declare themselves "the true Baker Street Irregulars," declare only shillings issued by a certain past head of the B.S.I. are valid, or some such silliness. People have an amazing ability to reconstruct reality to suit them, especially Sherlockians. (Sherlock Holmes really lived on Baker Street, remember?) I'm sure they'll be fine.
And, ironically, most Sherlock Holmes fans these days don't care a whit about everything I just wrote, and of those that do, a few are going to tell you I don't know what I'm talking about. Which may be the case. I live in Peoria, after all, and don't get out nearly as much as I probably should. But I get these mid-year letters, you see . . . well, at least for this year . . . .