Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Formerly of the Canon, now of Twitter.

On of my favorite residents of the Twitterverse is a real character named Tween Hobo. I had always enjoyed the tweety frolics of such silly folk as "Drunk Hulk" and "KimJongNumberUn," but Tween Hobo always had a little more personality. So I was delighted to read Alena Smith's blog "It's Who You Don't Know: Fictional Characters on Twitter," and get a bit of the inside scoop on Tween. It's also a great article on how Twitter can serve as a new form of fiction, with characters living there and interacting like a giant roleplay that requires no costumes. What does this have to do with Sherlock Holmes, you ask?

Well, I don't follow Sherlock Holmes on Twitter, fictional or non. But if I wanted to, there are plenty of choices. Haven't really found the Sherlock Holmes to follow yet, but I wander through them every now and then, hoping that someday one will jump out and show himself as The One. (Yes, I'm the Morpheus of Twitter.)

But, interestingly enough, Irene Adler is an even more popular guise, and a veritable army of Irenes can be found living in the Twitterverse. Most of them seem quite charming, and you could fill up your entire feed with the women. Mycroft Holmes . . . no shortage. Professor Moriarty . . . tons.

We had rules about this, back in the day, when you used to pick a Canonical pseudonym after joining a Sherlock Holmes society. No Sherlocks. No Watsons. Some buffoon would always wander in and want to declare himself Sherlock Holmes . . . usually the last person you wanted to socialize with. And people went out of their way to pick fascinating characters in less-than-starring roles. Without the rules of those societies of old, everybody wants to be one of the big name characters -- for many folks, those are the only ones they know, having appeared in the popular films and television.

And that makes it very hard for any one of them to stand out from the pack.

So I started searching for lesser characters who have decided to take up residence upon Twitter.

There's just one Isadora Persano, who seems quite an interesting fellow even though he doesn't tweet much on dualism or what that remarkable worm was. The couple James Phillimores seem to like sports more than disappearing after going for their umbrellas. Looking up Violet Hunter gets me Dog the Bounty Hunter as my first listing (Curse you, Paid Tweets!), but none of the others seem to be the Violet Hunter we know as Holmes's client. Hugo Baskerville apparently likes to join Twitter over and over again and not tweet anything. And Jephro Rucastle isn't there at all.

It seems to me like the folk of the Sherlock Holmes stories are missing a bet by not taking up residence on Twitter like Tween Hobo has. Oh, wait . . . Dr. Grimesby Roylott seems to have made a . . . well, he had a heated run back in December for a few days, then cooled off. He should have paced himself a bit and patiently awaited his more than six followers.

Looking up Canonical characters on Twitter can get quite addicting. There's only one Garrideb (Bhupen Garrideb), sad to say for anyone looking to find a set of three. Mary Sutherland . . . well, apparently that's a popular name, but not the Mary we want in there. Hatty Doran . . . one, who signed up and never tweeted. On and on you can go. In fact, I just have to force myself to stop and actually finish this blog.

Like I said, the Twitterverse seems to have great potential for someone who wants to have fun exploring a Canonical characters thoughts and reactions to the world around us. It makes me even toy a bit with the possibilities for re-forming the Dark Lantern League, that hardy band of Canon escapees from the early 2000s, in a looser Twittery form. But that's down the road a bit. Moving from the Canon to Twitter is a journey that begins with a single tweet.

That said, it just might be that one more Canonical figure of note joined the Twitterverse last night, and has been trying out his or her Twitter-legs. If searching for Canonical characters on Twitter tempts you as much as it does me, I'll give you a few days to find him or her before identifying same. And let me know if you find anyone else from the sixty stories I need to be following, in any case.

There might be some fun to be had there.


  1. OK, Brad, this post was the bait that finally drew me into the "Twitterverse." Instead of going kicking and screaming, I entered with much curiosity on a canonical scavenger hunt. I found the Grimesby Roylott you speak of. There are a number of Sherlocks, but @SHolmesEsq seems the cleverest of the lot. That might be why he has TWO Watsons who partner with him. He also had a Mycroft attached to him for a short time a few years ago who started out promising but faded quickly.

    In response to your challenge, I found TWO recent additions--one male and one female--but the date you give indicates that you must be referring to Mr. Jabez Wilson. Eugenia Ronder joined on Reichenbach Day, not the day before this post, which would have been April 29.

    So...do I get a gold star? Or, at least some tobacco from the Persian slipper?