Sunday, July 6, 2014

The mouth of the Baker Street Irregulars.

Who speaks for the Baker Street Irregulars on the internet?

I mean, here I am, blogging all my silliness like a kid trying to get attention, and do you ever see a response from a representative of the group? Sure, there might eventually be some off-hand remark in The Baker Street Journal three months from now, like "some internet parties have been saying . . ." or "the Wiggins does not suffer fools lightly," but the two events will be so disconnected that only a handful will realize there ever was one.

I commented earlier on the lack of B.S.I. presence on the web, when I was looking for some basic history of the club, like who ran it from what date to what date. But when you consider that a young Sherlockian looking for info on the club on the internet as today's young Sherlockians do, they're getting more and more likely to run into my blatherings than something official from the group itself.

Yes, I am (for the moment) still a member, but as many a B.S.I. will tell you should you ever find one, I really don't know what I'm talking about, just trying to make sense of it from a distance like everyone else. And there does seem to be a communication gap, even within the group itself. Take, for example, one bit that the group's commander-in-chief wrote in his mid-year letter to the membership (think "State of the Union" on paper):

"Two recommendations reached me in the recent past which were unique and worthy of noting to the membership. Both missives were the BSI equivalent of 'selfies.' Both individuals had received inexplicable advice from the same Irregular source to self-recommend for BSI membership. It would be surprising to me that any Irregular wouldn't be aware of two old adages: 'one cannot pursue the Irregular Shilling... it can only pursue the individual' and 'the harder one pursues membership, the more elusive it becomes.' These types of entreaties fall into the same category, in my opinion, as individual 'campaigns' or very personal, less objective, recommendations. They are not helpful." 

While I think he just made those "old adages" up, the point is that nobody seems clear on B.S.I. membership policies except for the new adage, "Don't displease the guy making all the choices!" A little web presence might have helped that issue and not gotten those two good Sherlockians placed on the B.S.I. Santa's "naughty" list.

Are the Irregulars possibly afraid to speak up these days for fear of displeasing the "benevolent dictator" by saying something that goes against his wishes? Is that the true reason that Jon Lellenberg was unceremoniously declared outside the ranks of the Irregulars actually the fear that something he said could be taken as official word of the club? Because, let me tell ya, Jon can speak as authoritatively about the Baker Street Irregulars of New York as anyone. Love him or hate him, the man knows his stuff. (Side note: Some wags have suggested that Jon's new status should have XBSI as the letters after his name. I'm thinking "Free BSI" might be more appropriate.)

Some years ago, when the internet was blossoming, there was a chap whom I remember thinking would be the perfect voice for the Baker Street Irregulars on-line, and it seemed for half a moment like he might become that. But that never came to pass, and now he's just a great voice for Sherlockiana on-line, which always seemed to me a great loss to the Irregulars. And again, my personal theory has always been that somebody wanted to remain in tight control of who was speaking officially for the B.S.I.

So here I stand now, *a* voice of the Baker Street Irregulars jabbering away on the interwebs. If somebody wants to step up and start setting the record straight for the group, giving it more than some passive aggressive sniping on Facebook back channels, I'd be delighted to see it. And maybe I'd actually shut up a little bit.

A little bit. I'm a Sherlockian blogger, after all. I have to ramble about something to do with Sherlock Holmes. And the Baker Street Irregulars falls well within my purview. But I shouldn't be the loudest voice on that subject, not by a long shot.


  1. How about 'the knowledgable Sherlockian, formally known as B.S.I.' for Lellenberg, ala Prince's 'the artist formally known as Prince'. As for the B.S.I., in a world where it is always 1895, what is this Internet you speak of? Sounds like black magic. Why are you poking those ancient dragons with a stick son, they may awaken from their long slumbers and spurt flames in your direction. I'm thinking you are safe as long as someone doesn't send them snail mail of your blasphemy. Keep up the great blogs on the B.S.I. and "Elementary" Brad, I'm going to need snitches they make me laugh so hard.

  2. To be right, since writing our (French) record on the BSI (in 1996), appeared a website that provides precious historical information in English. I forgot to mention it. Mea culpa.
    Thierry Saint-Joanis (SSHF, BSI, SHSL, JHWS, etc.)