Thursday, March 22, 2018

Celebrities versus characters

I love Sherlock Holmes. I'm sure you do, too. If you're going to the trouble of reading this obscure little blog, you must love love love Sherlock Holmes, as do I.

But Conan Doyle? That guy?

Well, Doyle worship has never been something I've gone in for. If his bios are readable, I might read them. I study up on him enough to give a talk to the general public as needed. But if I could pretty much ignore that guy, I would.

He was one of us. A human being who had moments of brilliance and moments of stupidity. He loved with all his heart and he got pissed off at minor irritations. He could be a helluva a good guy and a total asshole. Sherlock Holmes. Fairies.

I thought about Doyle this morning, seeing some fans unhappy with J.K. Rowling for not lining up with who they thought she should be. In the history of Sherlockiana, most of us have been blessed with a hazy view of Conan Doyle as a historical figure. He's not on Twitter. He's not being interviewed on television. His approval of William Gillette does not have us looking into Gillette's private life and personal failures as a human being. Doyle gets a pass we wouldn't be giving to a living author that created a fan phenomenon.

You can see a touch of distance in the writings of Sherlockians that were penned when Doyle was still alive. There may have been more than one reason for the fanciful game of pretending Watson wrote the stories and that Doyle, the wacky ghost-loving celebrity, was only his agent.

But Sherlock Holmes?

Everything we know about Sherlock Holmes is contained within one volume of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. We know his weak spots. Cocaine to combat boredom. That weird Steve Dixie moment. You can decide if you love Holmes based on a total package with no surprises. You're not going to go to a con and wander into the restroom after Sherlock just had a moment of digesting a fiesty fast food burrito. No dick pics are ever going to turn up from his courtship of the maid Agatha. Sherlock Holmes is the best kind of human for one simple reason: He's not human.

If we married every celebrity we had a mad crush on, we would get some hard life lessons very quickly. Learning their humanity through the public prints takes a little longer, but it comes around eventually. We'd like to think there are real people out there as magically delicious as Sherlock Holmes or Harry Potter, but once we're grown-ups, we have to face the reality of other grown-ups who aren't as reliable as our favorite fictional characters. (Especially in the voting booth.)

I love Sherlock Holmes. For reasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment