Thursday, February 21, 2013

Equality! Freedom! And the one barrier left!

This from the website of The Baker Street Journal:
"We deplore and condemn the idea that proper appreciation of the stories of Sherlock Holmes should be limited to a small, elite fandom.  Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world, and we applaud all who share the devotion of The Baker Street Irregulars to the memory of the Master Detective, regardless of age, sex or the medium in which they express their views."

This from :

"The characters of Holmes, Watson, and others are fully established in those fifty ‘public-domain’ stories. Under U.S. law, this should mean that anyone is free to create new stories about Holmes and Watson."

And now this from Sherlock Peoria:

"We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of Sherlockiana. There is one sign the B.S.I. can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and acceptance. General Secretary Wiggins, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Baker Street Irregulars and eastern Sherlockiana, if you seek liberalization, let all come to the B.S.I. Dinner. Mr. Wiggins, open the Dinner. Mr. Wiggins, Mr. Wiggins, tear up that invitation list!"

Hey, it worked for Reagan . . .

And there were probably some people in Berlin who freaked out at the time Reagan made his "Tear down this wall" speech, the way a few do whenever I bring up the idea of an open and democratic Baker Street Irregulars. But even a wild radical like myself has to recognize one inherent problem in a B.S.I. with no invitation list, a problem which I'm sure is why the society kept itself male-only for so many years, and that's this:

The spouses.

We are a bookish people, we Sherlockians, and I suppose more than a few of us meekly reply, "Yes, dear . . ." and turn back to our Holmes tales upon occasion. My theories on the original "male only" B.S.I. rule always came back to the idea that somebody couldn't get out the door for an evening out with the guys without bringing their domineering better half, and depended upon the club's rules to keep their wife in check.

Now that the B.S.I. dinner is open to both genders, that logic still holds, and the thing that would cause the greatest rise in the dinner's attendance with a completely open invitation list would definitely be those who either wanted (or were forced to) bring their beloved significant other of whatever gender.

Will spouses one day be the final barrier left between us and a free and open B.S.I.? 

Don't look at me, I'm just a guy who has to fill blog posts . . . wait . . . what's that dear? Excuse me, folks . . . .


  1. Or their spouses could actually get interested in Sherlock Holmes and earn a dinner invitation... There are a handful of Sherlockian couples who receive invitations to the dinner.

    Not sure why a membership-based society has to have an open invitation policy for its annual dinner, when it already welcomes spouses to things like the lecture and cocktail reception (during the BSI Weekend) and other BSI events and expeditions (Silver Blaze, the UCLA film gathering, etc.). I personally believe that the BSI has a nice balance between open invitation and exclusive gatherings.

  2. Geeze, Brad. Haven't you watched Laurel & Hardy in SONS OF THE DESERT?

  3. Here, have some Sherlock casting news:

  4. Who are these women who won't let their men have time out with the guys? My dear husband leaves every year for four or five days on a scuba trip to Cozumel with the guys, and I just look up over the top of the canon and wish him a fabulous trip... I do put the book down when he comes home, however.

  5. If there's one thing that gets to me about the Holmes fandom, it's the attitude towards wives. I have heard so many times about how Mary Morstan was a saint because she tolerated Dr. Watson running off with Holmes when no other wife would. The male-only clubs existed so that the men could get away from their nagging wives and spend an evening with the dudes. I won't deny that there are *some* wives who insist on spending every moment with their husbands (just as similar husbands exist), but this antiquated mentality really needs to end. Just because this fandom has its roots in the Victorian era, doesn't mean we have to act like we're still there.