Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The damn hat.

For the past week, my news feed has held on to the same annoying story whose headline begins "'You're Sherlock Holmes, wear the damn hat,' Freeman's Watson says for fans . . ."

Most of us are familiar with that line from the Christmas special preview at this point. But after a week of seeing that headline day after day, it finally struck me how ludicrous it is.

Why would fans ever need Sherlock Holmes to wear that deerstalker cap?

The deerstalker is to put on people who aren't Sherlock Holmes, to say "HEY! THIS PERSON IS PRETENDING TO BE SHERLOCK HOLMES!" The deerstalker is for symbolizing Sherlock Holmes when only inanimate objects are present.

And, to be honest, after all these years, the person who springs to mind when I see a deerstalker?


It's so much of a cartoon trope that I can't help but associate it with the little plastic action figure of Snoopy with deerstalker and magnifying glass, that always sat next to the little plastic figure of Garfield with a deerstalker and magnifying glass, that sat next to Mickey Mouse with a . . . .

The deerstalker is the way most children encounter the fringes of Sherlock Holmes's legend for the first time. From Daffy Duck to Angelica Pickles to Pinkie Pie, the deerstalker is passed on from one cartoon generation to the next. It's such an outlandish piece of headgear that you practically have to be a cartoon character to comfortably wear one.

Even Sherlock Holmes has a hard time making that thing cool any more. Want to say the Cumberbatch Holmes made it cool? Well, Kitty Riley quickly took that down, posing as a Sherlock fan with one, quickly enough.

I'm wandering now, but the point of this whole rant is that there is not a Sherlockian in the world who needs the deerstalker hat to recognize Sherlock Holmes. Putting that cap in "for the fans" is the most ludicrous statement I've heard in a while, as it isn't the fans who take to the deerstalker -- it's the non-fans, who recognize Holmes by iconic symbols alone.

Watson going "Wear the damn hat" in the upcoming Christmas special is a cute line, but what the Christmas special is doing for the fans isn't the hat. It's the entire Victorian era.

That hat? Even Conan Doyle and Sidney Paget working together couldn't sustain that one.


  1. Well after all, he is just a character playing someone named Sherlock Holmes. Why shouldn't he wear the hat? He is not Sherlock Holmes. And if someone closer to the times, Paget, found it possibly exceptable, why not.
    "It's such an outlandish piece of headgear that you practically have to be a cartoon character to comfortably wear one." It is not uncommon to see the hat still used in Scotland, and worn proudly.

  2. Snoopy, Garfield, Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck, Angelica Pickles...in deerstalker cap... I have them all. I had never heard of Pinkie Pie...looked it up...I'll try to pretend I never saw that.

  3. I'm just gonna leave this here - The Bizarre Animated Appearances of Mr Sherlock Holmes: http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2014/01/bizarre-animated-appearances-mr-sherlock-holmes/