Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My hope.

I hope that this year, the Baker Street Irregulars of New York does the right thing and makes Kristina Manente a member.

At this point the certificates are all made up, the script has been written, and the 2015 slate of inductees is surely in place, so I'm doubt this little diatribe will have no ill effect on said lady's chances. Because, ya know, I'm getting a little tired of keeping my mouth shut just for fear of hurting anyone's chances of getting that shilling that so many find important. I'm sure I'm not the only Irregular who has felt anyone they might favor was subtly held hostage to said Irregular behaving along party lines over the years.

The grand pooh-bah of the B.S.I. ran a peculiar little list this year of the sort of folk he was looking for the be suggested for the ranks of the group this year, and the people he hoped for looked like this:

  • promote and nurture Grand Game scholarship
  • diverse, exceptional membership, not elitist
  • kind, welcoming clubbability
  • altruistic volunteerism--giving more than you receive, "society above self"
  • joyful, whimsical environment (see last January's annual dinner)
  • aspirational, not reactionary
  • inherent modesty vs. taking ourselves too seriously
  • extremely high standards--never intentionally settle for less
  • fiscally responsible--sufficient funds maintained to accomplish most, if not all, objectives
  • societal and member Sherlockian charitable generosity 
Now it might be argued that the list itself is taking things a little too seriously. Some of its bits are obvious reactions to schisms that have occurred in recent years. And "fiscally responsible" is just kind of weird, given that we're talking about a people who spend a whole lot of money based on their love of one fictional character. How does that list affect Kristina's chances?

I don't know, and I don't really care. What I do know is this: One can say, with no hyperbole, that Kristina Manente is pretty much the Christopher Morley of a new era of Sherlockiana . . . well, if one is actually paying attention to the modern world of Sherlock Holmes. Inducting Kristina isn't just about bringing one person into an exclusive club, with all its waiting lists, pooh-bah eccentricities, etc. It's about acknowledging, and embracing, a generation of Sherlock Holmes fans that are our future . . . and that the internet exists.

I remember a time when the key thing about being a Baker Street Irregular, official or unofficial, was just a love of Sherlock Holmes, and there weren't so many Sherlock Holmes fans in the world that the group was all that picky. That's changed of late, but I'd hope the Irregular management is still clever enough to grab up someone who could be very good for the organization, like Kristina. 

At least that is my hope. I guess we'll see what happens Friday night.

Editor's note: This is the version of the blog post that does not contain several sentences that began "Fuck the . . ." and peppered "bullshit" and "bastards" lovingly throughout. They're still in my heart, though.


  1. You're kidding, right? You really had me going with that list. Then I realized it had to be a joke. I mean, this a group of *Sherlock Holmes* fans we’re talking about.

    Most of us are familiar with Groucho Marx’s famous quip about not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member. Apparently the BSI only wants members who in no way resemble the man they claim to honor. Y’know, that man who spoke about the “very soothing atmosphere” of the Diogenes Club, which was founded by and for “the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town.” (GREE) Which makes that third “requirement” particularly ridiculous. Two, five, and seven are pretty dumb, too, and I’m not even sure what six means.

    The *only* characteristic that should be required for membership in *any* Sherlock Holmes society is devotion to the Master and the Canon. THAT’S IT! Demanding anything else is just a way for the people in charge to throw their weight around by injecting their personal preferences into the choice of members.

    Truly, “BSI” stands for more than “Baker Street Irregulars.”

    Andarta Woodland

  2. Well, it's Friday night and Kristina made it into the Big-time Sherlockian Institution. Whatever the future of that Sherlockian group holds, tonight the world is a little bit better place.

  3. When Kristina's investiture was announced the only one surprised was Kristina herself. The announcement was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation. With few exceptions, the Babes and other new fandom has been embraced by the Sherlockian community.