Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A cult of celebrities.

I like to think that age is moving me closer to a perfect Zen state. It's a lot more positive thought than the idea that forgetfulness is coming easier. I finally got around to listening to the latest episode of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, Episode 56: Sherlock Peoria, and found myself entertained by the fellow they were talking to this month. Seemed like somebody I'd like to have dinner with, even. (Or maybe just if Scott and Burt were there, too. But then again . . . .)

Being a Sherlockian has always been a great opportunity for playing at being a celebrity. Perhaps there aren't as many publications now as in the 1980s due to the internet, but if you wrote a story or article, you could always find someone who would publish it. If you really wanted to try public speaking, it always seemed like there were a lot of opportunities to speak on Holmes in front of a friendly crowd. The dynamic has changed a bit with the shift in technology, but there are still opportunities out there, if you're willing to put forth the effort. People start to recognize your name, and eventually you'll run into one of the real, actual celebrities in our number and they'll know who you are -- and that is an amazing moment.

But here's what makes the Sherlockian community truly fun, and something I hope carries over into our new suburb, the Sherlock community as it grows and stabilizes: Everybody else is just as much a celebrity as you are. (Except for those, who I mentioned earlier, who actually are celebrities.)

If you're at your workplace or a family reunion and you go, "Hey, I've had a book or two published," you might have a few notches on your interesting belt compared to the person next to you. But in Sherlockian circles? I have to stop and think who hasn't been published in book form at some point or another. Maybe just as a part of a collection. Likewise with speaking in front of an audience of fifty or more people. Or is a well-known member of a great Holmes club.

Stay in the Holmes hobby long enough, and at some point, you'll impress your parent or guardian or somebody of non-Sherlockian significance in your life, trust me on this. You know why? Because Sherlock Holmes fans actually are pretty impressive people. Even the truly weird ones. (Owning forty cats may make you a bit of a social hazard, but in its way, it's still impressive. And yes, I knew a Sherlockian who owned forty cats.)

When I was new to the Game, I imagined that getting to join the Baker Street Irregulars of New York would be like ascending to Olympus in a way, and getting to walk among the gods of Sherlock Holmes world. What I didn't realize then was that just being an active part of the Sherlockian community was actually that step to Olympus. And it doesn't just exist in New York at one time of the year. It's world-wide, 24-7.

So anyway, I was listening to this podcast today and enjoying the Sherlockian I heard on it. Seemed like a kind of impressive fellow. But then, aren't we all?


  1. Couldn't agree more with your sentiments, Brad. When I first saw Peter Blau - Peter Blau, of all people! - circulating at BSI events, with his stack of the previous year's BSJs in hand, attempting to get them autographed by every Sherlockian in attendance who wrote for it that year, I realized that we all have some degree of celebrity or status within the Sherlockian world. It is what we make of it for the benefit of others - not ourselves.

    Very glad to have you on the show. And for those who are looking for a link, it's:

  2. I enjoyed the podcast with Brad very much. I recall meeting him at a Sunshine State Sherlockian Scion Symposium in St. Petersburg many years ago, and had the pleasure of contributing to The Holmes and Watson Report that was introduced at the meeting where Ben Wood received his second shilling from Tom Stix.
    Carl L. Heifetz aka G. Norton, Esquire

  3. Whenever I meet a famous (or famous-to-me) Sherlockian, I'm usually all quiet, because I don't want to be annoying (and because I can never think of anything to say. I'm better online). But at the Norwegian Explorers this past month, I was amazed to see everyone doing the autograph thing...and not getting their heads bitten off. I may be able to work up the nerve to do it next time....


  4. Of course, you could say that if everyone's a celebrity, then no one is a celebrity...

    As in everything, there's a great chain of being. At the top are the Blaus and the Asimovs et al. At the bottom are folks like, well, Yours Truly, who is nowhere near in the same exalted league as the greats.

    There are popes and there are cardinals and there are village priests...