Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sherlock Holmes, hero for a hateful day

"This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie."
-- Sherlock Holmes, not liking people in "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor"

"What is it that we love about Sherlock Holmes?" a great Sherlockian once asked as the theme for an essay of warm Sherlock fuzzies. Well, let's be honest. Sometimes we just love Sherlock Holmes because he thought the rest of us were foolish dullards. Not because we think that we are particularly dull or particularly foolish . . . but those goddamn other people.

So here we are mid-winter, post-SH-birthday, amidst a governmental break-down in both the US and the UK, and all those other people . . . even some of our friends . . . are just . . . ugh.

It's a great time for Sherlock Holmes!

Because Sherlock Holmes wasn't the guy who liked everybody. He cared about people. He tried to help those poor sods whose foolishness got them into this mess or that. And his prime mission in life was calling the world on its bullshit. (Yes, we can call such things "mysteries," but, really? A demon-dog with eyes aflame? A league to promote keeping redheads alive? A man who'd leave Mary Sutherland at the altar? Bullshit! Bullshit! And, c'mon, she wasn't that bad . . . bullshit!)

My apologies for being a bit swear-y tonight, I'm in that sort of mood. Humanity just needs to get its act together right now, including me, the swear-y blogger who should be working on other projects, and the cat on my lap that wants to bite my arm as I'm typing. We're all in a bit of a mid-winter mood right now.

Which is why this, too, is a good time for Sherlock Holmes. The detective who could end a successful case with "What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable." Murder was an awful thing, not a puzzle game, and Sherlock Holmes got that. Murderers suck.

One might almost think that finding a literary hero that gets "in the dumps at times and won't open my mouth for days on end" is not a healthy option, but all of those very human, very unsociable qualities, that make Sherlock Holmes kind of a jerk are qualities that the rest of us tend to possess as well. The fact that he can stir himself to rise above them, to help humanity, and put forth, as Deadpool would say, "Maximum effort!" . . . well, that just makes him more of a hero for us than we could hope for, a hero who gets it.

And gives us the hope that we might rise past our lower attitudes as well. Any quest for the facts can take you down a dark road. Some people do things that make them unworthy of the time it takes to deal with their social summonses. Bad days are gonna come.

On those days, we still have Sherlock Holmes, bless him. A truly beautiful misanthrope who manages to get the job done despite it all.

And on we go toward better days, where he's good to have around as well.

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