There's a new Sherlockian game that some of us are playing these days, as found in a tweet to me this evening, which began "Not sure what the new Sherlockian trauma is this week . . ."
Social media is a lovely communication device, and gives us much we might otherwise miss. It also has a habit of giving us thoughts without context, non sequiturs, and entire conversations we seem to have walked in right in the middle of. And, as happened this evening, one sometimes finds that there is a lot of strong backlash going on to some event one has no clue about. At which point one gets to play the new Sherlockian game I mentioned: "Find The Cause Of The Disturbance."
It's mystery-solving time!
Sometimes, it's enough to go, "Oh, it's that sort of thing. I know that one."
Some elder Sherlockian is has decided to puff up his gatekeeper pretense and make some pronouncement about the whole of the hobby -- that was my first inkling, seeing a mention of the ever-unpopular phrase "real fan" somewhere down my Twitter feed.
A little further along, I come upon some kudos aimed at the younger writers among us, which bolsters that case.
Ah, and then a report of "people saying scholarship in Sherlockiana is dying and the good ole days are done."
Yup, we've had those assholes as long as I've been in Sherlockiana, going on forty years now. Thanks to medical advances, they're actually living longer. The ones that don't seek out the good new stuff and then complain because nothing that comes walking in their door is as good as things once were. The ones that aren't currently, and probably never did, try to contribute to Sherlockian culture, outside of maybe collecting somebody else's writings (which has been a classic path for calling one's self an expert in the field without actually working in it). And the ones whose vim and vigor glands just can't produce the necessary juices for them to get as worked up for anything as they once did.
Those guys have been around forever. And with the internet, they're always finding new audiences to get a reaction out of.
Were Sherlockians always this emotional? Trust me on this, having been the target of a snail-mail flame war in the 1980s, I can safely say that yes, some of us always have been. We love our Sherlock Holmes, and that emotion can cause all sort of other emotions to spin out of it, as with any other love affair. Jealousy, anger, betrayal, rejection . . . oh the list goes on and on. And as with the normal arena of romance we have our (and most of them males at this point) elderly spinsters who might be a little bitter that they never quite got to be the belle of the ball.
I don't know if I'll ever know the full details of what raised a ruckus on the web this week or which one of our lovely jerks started this snowball rolling. I don't need to know. It's good to see the number of folks that come up against it and extol the better angels of Sherlockiana.
Sadly, I'm just another one of those cranky old bastards of Sherlockiana who tends to gripe about stuff . . . I just have a slightly different target. But I do love to see the positive energy of so many of the "kids" coming up. They always do my heart good, both in their attitudes and their incredible creative energies, serious research, and the new Golden Age they've brought us . . .
. . . for those whose eyes are open enough to see it.
There is no mystery to that.