Sunday, October 7, 2018

Not exactly the name in print I expected

Some days, you just have to smile at where the road has taken you.

We all have our vices. Mine, for three whole seasons, was writing snarky reviews of CBS's Elementary, for my friends and readers who also had no love for the show, and really didn't want to spend an hour watching it each week. When that seemed to trouble the few fans of the show that kept reading this blog, I tried to put up warning signs, as one does around a bog in Dartmoor, so the moor ponies of their love didn't get sucked screaming into my view of Elementary, but you know fans . . . they just have to see what's up when their show is being mentioned.

I finally gave way after a couple of 221B Cons, where seeing the faces of the room lighting up over their panel discussions of Lucy Liu's Watson and the relationship within the show's brownstone walls, made my heart grown like the Grinch's and feel kindly toward those Elementary fans, even though I still could not fathom why they had any liking for the thing. And after three seasons, I let my Elementary commenting vice go, with the exception of the occasional comments just to release the building pressure.

And besides, you write some books on Sherlock Holmes, you put some articles in various publications, you publish a journal, do a website for a while, give some talks . . . you don't really want to just become "the guy who doesn't like Elementary" for the latter half of your Sherlockian career. Even if, at heart, you are.

But, you go to a Sherlockian weekend or two, see a few friends, they make a few jokes about how much you hate Elementary, and, well, we all get reputations among our friends, right? Nobody else really pays attention to us non-famous folk in our little Sherlockian corners, so that's cool. And maybe you hear that one of the folks who really didn't like your Elementary commentary hasn't really gotten over it, but still . . .  tiny corner of the internet . . . dust in the electronic wind . . . right?

And then one Sunday, your trusted companion comes home with a book. Someone at a meeting for some committee she's on is cleaning out their shelves and says to her, "Here's a book that has Brad's name in it, so you should give it to him." Not too surprising, if one has been around long enough and gotten a footnote or essay or two in a book or two.

But then you see it's a book you hadn't ever picked up . . . and the page where your name appears is on a topic you never were referred to about before . . . and it's Elementary.

Um . . . yeaaahh . . . .

A well-written, well-reviewed book, at that: The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes by Zach Dundas.

"The hardcore Sherlockian world greeted the series with a sneer; one American Sherlockian, Brad Keefauver, continues, as of this writing, to keep a weekly aesthetic deathwatch over Elementary in his blog. 'Sad and lazy, it must be Thursday,' and so forth."

As Howard Ostrom will tell you, even a part-time wrestling fan is not going to object to being identified as "hardcore." But suddenly finding myself in the literal history books (well, one of them, anyway) as the epitome of the Sherlockian who didn't like Elementary?  Whoops.

But, like I said, sometimes you have to smile at where the road has taken you. And since all this occurred in an afternoon when I was going to see the new Marvel-inspired movie Venom, about a writer who must come to grips with his own personal demon who likes to bite people's heads off, maybe that smile has a little bit of Venom toothiness to it. ("And there's one season of Elementary left, isn't there?" I can hear the Venom-voice saying in my head.)

In any case, while my inner angels and demons duke it out, I now have a really good book to read exploring the Sherlockian world, so at least I got that out of the whole deal.

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