Monday, March 17, 2014

Pick your own reality . . . it may not be mine.

Ah, history, you royal pain in the ass.

As a devout Sherlockian, I love history on most days. History lets us expand the world we find in the Canon of Sherlock Holmes to encompass the entire Earth of the Victorian era. It makes the decades of 1880 through 1910 (and some parts beyond) a virtual playground for us, seeking connections to Sherlock Holmes's life from the nitrate cliffs of South America to the tattoo styles of China. So much fun to be had; it's why we call it our Game.

But occasionally, even within our own ranks, we have those folks who seem to love history just a wee bit more than Sherlock Holmes. And another of those moments rolled into my newsfeed this week, and sitting there as a daily buzzkill, waiting for the next big Sherlock story to come along and displace it. This latest dead bird in the punchbowl comes in many flavors, one of which was:

"The real Sherlock Holmes revealed: Historian finds Victorian investigator Jerome Caminada . . ."

So, yeah, not even dignifying that by adding a link to it. Why? Because a.) Some author is using Sherlock Holmes to promote their history book, b.) We all know, by Conan Doyle's own words, where the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes came from, and c.) IT'S NOT THE REAL FUCKING SHERLOCK HOLMES!

Please excuse my language, children and schoolmarms of the internet, I can be a bit passionate in my fandom. And I didn't use foul language at all before listening to Baker Street Babes podcasts, so you can totally blame them. (Wink.)

"Real" is one of those evil words people like to use as a tool to demean something else. "Well, it wasn't a real relationship." "The vacation's over, back to real life." "I'm getting real, here!" Some days, I think we could do without it, it gets used to pompously.

But the great thing about Sherlock Holmes is that he was, is, and will forever be the real Sherlock Holmes. He's as real as real can be, in the best way. I've got hundreds of books on my shelves that proclaim his existence as Sherlock Holmes, whether you like to think of him as myth, legend, or prototype for homo superior, and not a one of those books say, "Oh, by the way, his other name was 'Jerome Caminada.'" Nope.

I bet if we could resurrect smelly old historical Jerome Caminada, even he would go, "I'm Jerome Caminada, isn't that good enough for you? Why do you have to call me this 'Sherlock Holmes' thing?"

Like I said, Sherlock Holmes is the real Sherlock Holmes. And for an hour and a half at at time, Basil Rathbone or Benedict Cumberbatch can even be the real Sherlock Holmes to us. And if outright swearing wasn't enough to convince you how much I hate this "real Sherlock Holmes" publicity trick, I will even allow that, for some folks, Jonny Lee Miller is the real Sherlock Holmes for an hour each Thursday night. But Jerome Caminada? Sorry. He's the real Jerome Caminada.

So as much as I love you, history, tonight I'm calling you a pain in the ass for giving one more writer fodder to drag out that "real Sherlock Holmes" line again. Cut it out!

1 comment:

  1. On a similar vein is the term 'the Sherlock Holmes of.' Every country has a detective who is TSHof their country. It is the obscure jobs that get me. I have (someplace) a list of some of these. Any job which has anything to do with tracking something down makes someone TSHof that field. At least, in these cases, no one claims to be the REAL SH.