What if the Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend in New York did not have the BSI dinner any more?
Or even just for one year. What if it just didn't happen one year?
Would people not go to New York on an agreed upon weekend, and go to everything else, see their friends, chat about matters Sherlockian, etc., etc.? Would we hear nothing of interest from those who make it to New York and social media fall silent? Would we have to consider that Sherlock Holmes's birthday happened upon another day, just to make up for the loss with another celebration?
What does that most ancient of traditional gatherings bring to the table that could not happen anyway?
Well, there's the awarding of the B.S.I. investitures and the exclusive invitations that allow new people that thrill of getting in somewhere not everyone gets into. But really, are those doing the Sherlockian community as a whole any good these days? Sure, Sherlockians from previous generations get to check off one more box on their bucket list, but what do those shillings inspire, other than maybe driving a few more articles to The Baker Street Journal from the hopeful?
Yes, yes, I may be asking what some would consider offensive questions here, and I'm not really trying to offend. Provoke, perhaps, if considering such questions provokes thoughtful answers other than "It's all wonderful, I love it, shut up!" (Which is more knee-jerk than thoughtful, really.)
Most traditions have their roots in good purposeful things, but the purposes sometimes get confused as years pass. People forget what the original intent was, or skew it to their own purposes. And sometimes, things that seem so very obvious to one generation, like the importance of a certain musical group or motion picture, is completely mystifying to those who come after. So traditions have to be given hard looks . . . which is why things like "the true meaning of Christmas" get attention year after year.
What is the true meaning of the annual Baker Street Irregulars dinner at this point, and how would the world lose out if it just didn't occur . . . which it doesn't, for many of us. For me, it's been all of fifteen years at this point, which could be one reason that I'm asking these questions. Even if I was to invest in a return trip to New York City, tolerate the current conditions of our airlines, etc., what would be the attraction of that dinner among so many other festivities that are also being held, most with the very same people in attendance?
Come this January, perhaps I'll get to hear some answers. But it's July now, and a good time for "What if . . . ? day-dreams on hot days.