Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Women are never to be . . . oh.

The First Lady is being profiled on the television, The Serpentine Muse came in the mail today, and I’m just home from a dinner party where differing gender views on the subject of time was a conversational highlight. In the quarterly Muse, an article by Robert Katz had the sentence “We started off our program with Susan Rice confirming that, without question, the greatest Sherlockians are women.”

And although I’m not sure what Susan’s evidence for this conclusion was, these days, I find that I sure can’t argue with it.  Maybe things were different in 1943. I wasn’t around then. But with the present tense “are” in that statement, like I said, I cannot disagree.

Most successful author of Sherlockian fiction of the last decade? A woman. Most impressive new Sherlockian of the neo-Sherlockian movement? A woman. The author of Sherlock Holmes for Dummies? A man.

Hey, wait a minute . . . .

When I started out in this hobby, those who claimed to be the biggest Sherlock Holmes fans in America purposefully kept women out of their club. I always wondered if they were so afraid of their wives that they had to stick that rule in just to get to go out to eat without them. (“But, honey, I’d like to take you, but there are rules!”) Now I’m starting to wonder if they had glimpsed the future and were just trying to cling to their little sausage fest as long as they could.

Because in the future of Sherlockiana? Boys, I hate to tell you, but we’re the minority.

Have you looked at who is buying the books these days? Who is writing the mystery novels? Who is out there on the internet talking about our Sherlock?

I don’t have definite numbers for you. I’ve just got my own observations. And the Sherlockian landscape of fifty years in the future is going to be a very different thing from that of fifty years past. The pendulum swings. We’ll still see some notable male Sherlockians, I suspect, because the female ones are probably going to be nice enough to let us come to their dinners. But gender base of the predominant Sherlockian culture?

Well, by fifty years from now, I bet a Lucy Liu Watson won’t require a male Sherlock Holmes standing next to her. Because after the greatest Sherlockians are women, all that’s left is the best and wisest person we have ever known to evolve as well.

But y’know, I bet that Ira Adler will be one handsome and clever fellow. Time to lay out the welcome mat for him and get ready to embrace supporting character status, guys. We've earned it.

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