I don't think of the Baker Street Irregulars of New York much since the coming of Cumberbatch.
Maybe three times a year. In January of course, and then in mid-summer and fall when the letters from Mike Whelan to the membership come out. And in mid-summer, I'm usually bored and looking for topics, so I have to make a comment or two here. So here we are again.
It always feels a bit like I'm getting a lecture when the letters come 'round. There's a lot of talk about accomplishments of the Irregulars, the journal, the trust, the events, what the suggestions for membership should take into consideration, as well as what a current member should perhaps do for the betterment of the Irregulars. They've accomplished a lot with those who are agreeable to the party line. And they should be proud of what they've accomplished. But the lecture part, well, I guess that's management's prerogative in any organization.
It's a minor irritation, and one that soon passes. Like I said, since the coming of Cumberbatch, I don't think of the BSI as much. There's so much else out there that commands the attention of a follower of Sherlock Holmes that turning to face New York isn't as necessary as it once was. Globalism wasn't something that just hit markets or other areas of thought. And if one isn't in synch with particular methods and goals of one part of the Sherlockian world, well, there are others. So many lovely choices.
I've known of ex-patriate Baker Street Irregulars for about as long as I've been a Sherlockian, and I'm sure there some were before that as well. Those fascinating old curmudgeons who made their mark in Sherlockiana then fell away from the fandom. And as Sherlockian numbers have grown, you see those who would have definitely been Irregulars in the 1950s or 1960s who now make their mark without ever seeing a shilling handed to them at a New York dinner. (As well as those who would not have seen said shilling in the 1950s and 1960s due to their gender, but would have certainly qualified.) Some of us, through some twist of personality or personal history, are never going to fit in as insiders. But that's okay -- it's a big world getting bigger by the day.
And in that big world, there are many, many more places for those of us that don't fit into a particular Sherlockian box. While a particular part of the Sherlockian world might not be as fully open and inclusive as a given individual might hope, the Sherlockian world as a whole is proving to be a very open space for individuals of so many backgrounds, abilities, and interests. If you want to follow the faith of Sherlock, so to speak, you have many denominations to choose from.
Even in mid-summer, when things are slow and easy . . . .