Sunday, December 18, 2016

It wasn't an award for gaslighting! Honest!

We all know that facts aren't what they used to be, of late.

There are even those narcissists and other manipulative sorts who like using a little ploy called "gaslighting," wherein they try to convince their prey that noooooo, reality didn't happen the way they remember it. It happened the way the manipulator said it happened, regardless of what the actual facts were. Not a good thing at all, this gaslighting business.

And as I was contemplating matters of Watsonian dates this morning, and an article I wrote back in 1983 on the subject, I was reminded of a fact that sounds a lot different now than it did then . . . I was the proud winner of Sherlockiana's first "Gaslight Award" in 1984.

Um . . . yeah . . . "gaslight."

The award's inaugural announcement was printed on the inside cover of the March 1983 issue of The Baker Street Journal. Gaslight Publications, "in gratitude for continued success and support from the Sherlock Holmes community," was creating the award for "a monograph of permanent value to the study of the Sherlock Holmes Canon." A very grand pronouncement, that, though unfortunately, the phrase "Gaslight Award" didn't quite have the "permanent value" itself of the works it sought to reward.

The article that I eventually won the award and its one hundred dollar prize with . . . a bit of a debacle in itself . . . was a piece published in the June 1983 issue of The Baker Street Journal, called "Upon the Relative Reliability of Watson and Wilson." It put forth an idea I've been touting ever since, that Dr. Watson is the ultimate source of truth when it comes to dating the cases of Sherlock Holmes. The piece's logic was pretty sound, its facts quite factual. No gaslighting to it at all.

But now?

Well, if you ever find anything in this blog's essays disagreeable or totally delusional, you've got all the ammo you need to discredit the writer of same: "Everybody knows that Keefauver is the original winner of the Gaslight Award! You can't go by what he says!"

Yep. That's the kind of resume material I've got in Sherlockiana. (We won't even get into the part where the award's creator was later suspected of murder by local law enforcement.) But I guess I shouldn't talk . . . some folks actually had their work published by "Gaslight Publications" before it went out of business. And I don't think they were gaslighting anyone either . . .

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