Thursday, April 14, 2016

Future non-issues . . . I hope . . . and what happened today.

Today was a good day for considering what women mean to Sherlock Holmes.

First I ran into where a Sherlockian of the old school was asking that now-ridiculous question: "How much of this new bunch of female fans are going to stick around when the show [Sherlock] comes to an end?"

That one I can answer: More than the total number of Sherlockians in the world before Sherlock went on the air. A lot more. How do I know this? I mean, really know this?

a.) I've seen them. Listened to them. This idea that we got a bunch of teeny-boppers fawning over their Teen Beat fold-out posters of Benedict Cumberbatch is nonsense. As much thought and research can go into Johnlock (or whichever) fanfic as an article in any Sherlockian journal you'd care to name. There are Sherlockian lifestyle choices being made that match anything you saw thirty years ago, and I mean life and style. Those habits that stay with you the rest of your life. So much tea.

b.) Sherlock has actually come to an end. Multiple times. The Sherlockians that came to us via Sherlock know how to get by for years without a new episode. Years. The same way readers of the Doyle Canon get by without new Doyle . . . using imagination, camaraderie, and fun. They've been trained in a boot camp that makes them natural lifetime Sherlockians.

Which brings me to to said female-oriented issue that came up today: That somehow cleavage nullfies Sherlockian status. A very sex-negative, Shreffler-quoting slut-shamer actually called a Sherlockian writer a whore in a Facebook post for not being as uptight as she. Yep, this actually happened in our lovely, friendly Sherlockian world: One supposed Sherlockian called another a whore in a public venue, then had the gall to call that person out for not having "grace of expression" a sentence later.

We've had "class-hole" Sherlockians for quite a little while now, those who believe fervently that they're better than the Sherlockian rabble, and I tend to think this person has been hanging with that bunch. This isn't just about women. This is about Sherlockians not behaving as this person thinks Sherlockians should behave, and using their own gender to try to spank them for it, which makes it just that much worse. We're in the midst of a culture shift, in case you hadn't noticed, and there's a big chunk of gender-work going on right in the middle of it.

Some might say there's no place for social justice discussion within the borders of a relaxing, get-away-from-it-all hobby like Sherlockiana, that is should be our safe space . . . and it is, within the confines of your sanctum sanctorum, you can arrange your 221B room to your liking, put what books you like on the shelves, watch what movies you like. That's the safe space. Keep your headcanon as you would like. But if you're going to venture out into the world of other Sherlockians . . . other people . . . whether online, at a con, or at a local club meeting, it's then you have to start thinking of how this world works best for all of us.

And that's not easy. You can look back through these blogs and find me guilty of all sorts of mind-crimes against my fellow Sherlockians and a few verbal assaults as well. I can be not only wrong, but a little mean when the spirit takes me. But I'm trying. Trying to keep the mind open and the spirit kindly. Some folks are doing quite a bit better, like @Mazarin221b did today on Twitter.

After the little whore-calling incident came out, she came up with the hashtag #Canontits (and later #221Boobs came along) to show support for her sister in Sherlock Holmes. Suddenly, Sherlockians with the appropriate anatomies started pairing up their Canons and their decolletage to stand up for a woman's right to be a woman and a Sherlockian. It was a very cool thing. Not because I'm thirteen and am just hypnotized by such displays ("I've seen a few nekkid ladies in my day, sonny!"), but because I'm a Sherlockian and it makes me proud to see the way our camaraderie should work . . . rallying around a fellow fan even if it's doing something you might normally be a bit timid about.

But the babes (said with real respect and a lower case "B" to differentiate from the podcast crew) who leaped into the fray today don't need my pride in them, my approval, or even me blogging on their side. It looks like they have matters well in hand. I'm proud of them anyway.

And that kind of folks are a.) Some we want in Sherlockiana, and b.) People who aren't going away any time soon.

And with that, he put on his S(her)lock t-shirt in honor of them, and went out to mow the lawn, satisfied that the Sherlockian world is in good hands.


  1. Despite being pigeonholed as an old school as an old school Sherlockian, I agree with the sentiments expressed 100%.

    1. I wasn't putting your pigeon in that hole, Howard! Everyone knows you're a film school Sherlockian.

  2. See, I've been traveling for two weeks (one of those travels included 221b con) and I missed these shenanigans. And my chance to Flash for Fandom.

  3. I've arrived late to the tempest, but Brad's comments strike me as pertinent and particularly perceptive. To generate harm in response to harmlessness is never appropriate. I can only hope that there will be apologies and acceptance, so this great game can continue in the spirit we all love and enjoy.