Thursday, December 29, 2016

Passing judgement.

"And yet I wanted to find one man of judgement to whom I can tell my terrible story, so that when I am gone all might be understood."
-- Eugenia Ronder

So much in that one line these days. Gender dynamics. "Who tells your story." And judgement . . . something that was once sought out, but is now just one more undocumentable field in which even the most idiotic can claim to have skills. 

Judging is an interesting thing. When I was a kid, I remember my farm-based cousins taking their livestock to the fair to be judged every year. Animals don't get offended when you judge them, so far as we know, and when you're being kept as livestock by another species, well, that species has probably earned the right to judge you. What does this have to do with Sherlockiana?

Well, I was feeling rather judge-y today, seeing some of the upcoming tweetalongs for the three-years-in-the-waiting next episode of BBC Sherlock. And that could have been what today's blog entry was about. But why risk irritating folks who find such things pleasurable, right? I mean, Elementary still exists, if that was all I wanted to do.

Yet judging things has been a part of Sherlockiana as long as their has been Sherlockiana. Rating stories. Reviewing pastiches, whatever their medium. Making commandments of what must or must not be included in a "proper" Sherlock Holmes tale. Choosing Sherlockians to attend a private dinner or join a private club. Some people really love the judge-y parts of the hobby, most certainly when they get to be the self-appointed judge.

And that can be a lovely thing, if you can be sufficiently entertaining at it. But then people might have to judge how entertaining you're being, and . . . oh, the worm suddenly turns!

I think that's why I like returning to the Canon when my Sherlockiana wanders too far off what feels like the appropriate path. The Canon of Holmes is our source of truth, Sherlock-wise, and when you're down to the truth of things, there is not much need for judgement. And in those cases where judgement might be needed, as in the disposition of a murderer the Yard has missed, well, Sherlock Holmes is there to provide it.

He was, after all the "one man of judgement" that Eugenia Ronder knew to head for. John Watson, while not on her radar, was most certainly one as well, being consulted by Sherlock on multiple occasions regarding such things. We do enjoy watching those two pass judgement, something we will allow them to do before any other human beings we know.


Well, first, this is where we get back to truth. Sherlock Holmes was better than any man alive at discerning the truth of a situation, and as much as we love our opinions, we should always love the truth more. It's what made Sherlock Holmes famous, pulling truth from confusion like a magician pulling a something from a something else.

And second, we like to see Sherlock and John passing judgement for what they don't do. While they may pass judgement on those who willfully or accidentally head down a criminal path, they don't pass judgement on us.

There might be a lesson there. And, by the by, if you judge that I misspelled judgment for this entire blog post, you might be half-right . . . and not Conan Doyle.

1 comment:

  1. ... like a magician pulling a (something) from a (something else). Wow, could I go wild filling in those blanks! But I will keep it Sherlockian. Like a magician pulling a pipe from a deerstalker cap. Want to end the year off right.