The economics of Sherlockian life sure take a lot more thought than they did in the 1980s. But then, it's not just us.
Before I got into Sherlock Holmes, my first love was Marvel Comics. As a kid with a five dollar a week allowance, I could afford to buy every superhero comic Marvel put out, every month. Now, as an adult with a good job, with many a Marvel Comic costing that same five dollars by itself, I can't replicate what I did as a kid without some major impact to the household budget.
And when I got into Sherlock Holmes in college, and came out of college with a starter job and a starter paycheck, things were much like they were with the comics. I could afford to buy every Sherlock Holmes book that was newly published without putting any real dent in my household budget. And as the eighties went along, I also started subscribing to every periodical as well. Not a problem. Now, making over twice what I did then, I subscribe to very few journals and choose my book purchases with care. I could probably do more by sacrificing some other things, but even the guy who writes about Sherlock every day he can isn't that obsessed.
This is a very different world from that of twenty or forty years ago, but not without some changes to fit the new landscape. While the older generation makes its literary mark by gathering and publishing the works of the past in volumes collectors can archive for reference, much of the younger seems to be following a different path . . . building up their writing and networking skills. Publishing fanfic in the internet, helping beta that work, and enjoying same costs not more than an internet connection. But whether it's the free side of the hobby or the collector-with-means side, I'd like to see the person who manages to read everything. Because there are surely as rare as hen's teeth.
We have more opportunities than ever before and less resources to take advantage of those opportunities, old and young alike. And our awareness of those inequities is greater -- we know exactly which of our friends is flying across country (or an ocean) to a Sherlockian event. So where do we go with this?
Well, for those of us that were around in 1985, acknowledging that the world is a different place than it was in 1985. Figuring out who we want our audiences to be and look at their situation. Maybe even just showing a little empathy toward Sherlockians who aren't in our immediate circles, and think a little less of ourselves as times get tougher . . . a direction they sure look to be headed.
Sherlockiana is a community, like any other, and the same principles apply. Common sense, 'tis true, but also something to think upon now and then.