Monday, May 25, 2015

The Sherlockian thing I hate the most.

Okay, let's be honest. As much of a Mary Sunshine front as some fans want to put on, if you're a true fan of something, a true fanatic, enthusiast, afficianado, or whatever you want to call it, if you are really into something . . . like, say, Sherlock Holmes . . . there are parts of that field of interest you hate.

Hate, hate, hate.

As much as you love the thing you love, karma demands that a price be paid, and that price is your hatred of the thing that doesn't fit into your love-match with the subject of your fandom. You may keep it quiet, you may hold true to a "live and let live" philosophy, and you may behave the way a perfect lady or gentleman behaves, but deep down in your gut there's always going to be some thing attached to the object of your fandom that also makes you one of the dreaded haters, should you ever let it out.

Now, given the tendencies of this blog, regular readers might think I'm discussing my own feelings about a certain television show. But here's a big "NOPE!" to that. If you want to get to the one thing I have pure unadulterated Sherlockian hatred for, the one thing I've never seen anyone trying to defend, and heaven help them if they did, is a very small thing. A very small thing.

A phrase I first saw on a button, years and years ago.

To me, it's the most anti-Sherlock Holmes thing that exists in our culture, the Calvin-pissing-on-a-Ford-logo of the Sherlockian world, a thing that takes all the goodness that Conan Doyle put into the creation of the world's first and foremost consulting detective and turns it on its head.

And Howard Ostrom reminded me of this thing this morning on Twitter. Like so.

While the name of this new acne product is not that thing that I hate the most, it plainly was derived from it by someone who thinks it's a clever line. Which it is exactly the opposite of, though it is the sort of line used by the un-clever to feel so. The greatest quantum physicist in the world could make the most brilliant discovery ever, but if the rube standing next to him utters that horrendous three word phrase when he's done explaining his discovery . . . invoking negation, the gods of poop, and a condescending use of the first name by a non-familiar . . . well, somehow the rube is certain he just elevated himself above the quantum physicist.

And anyone who thinks that Dr. Watson . . . the Canonical Dr. Watson, a Victorian gentleman and gentle literate fellow . . . would utter such a phrase, as is often implied, plainly doesn't know Dr. Watson.

Sure, times have changed. Modern Watsons in the modern day use Sherlock's first name. It's what we do these days. And modern Watsons say "shit." (Or would, if network censors would allow it.) And if your guy named "Sherlock Holmes" is kind of an idiot drug addict, well, that phrase I hate so very, very much -- "No shit, Sherlock!" -- might actually fit the situation.

But when I first saw it used, on a seemingly harmless little button, all those years ago, we didn't have any modern Watsons who might say "Sherlock" and "shit" and make it seem perfectly reasonable. Back then I was an old school Sherlock Holmes fan in an old school world, and a button reading "No shit, Sherlock!' still had all the fresh, non-cliched impact it was meant to have.

And in that moment, a deep, despicable hatred was born. A hatred that lives on in my Sherlockian heart to this day. A hatred beyond any other reaction to anything else with the name of Sherlock Holmes used in it.

So it's a very good thing I don't need any acne medicine.


  1. Brad, we disagree about the merits of Elementary, but I am 100% with you on this one. It's always bothered me, but I thought I was alone in my distaste for it.

  2. I like it - sometimes - as in the 'You Damn Kid' comic by Owen Dunne - where the boy thinks that his fathers' name is Sherlock for 'I know because whenever daddy says something mommy says "N.S.S."'
    Then again, I am rude, crude and barely a high skool grad-gee-eight.