With a couple of big finale events in the past month, we've been deluged with a lot of different "I don't like . . ." opinions. It's all familiar turf by now. Fans that didn't like the turn the story took. Non-fans who proudly flaunt their non-participation. Outrage junkies who proudly outrage that other people are having outrage about something they aren't outraging about. We have such a diverse rainbow of hues and shades of "I don't like . . ." these days that it's truly astounding.
And we've seen it all in Sherlockian fandom over the last century. With such an ancient fandom, we've been a bit ahead of the curve on so many things as our world turns more geek-y by the minute. So maybe it's time we get ahead of the curve on doing better with it all.
Rolling through podcasts this morning as I worked, I heard a nice line from Penn Gillette that went, "When it comes to any sort of art, the person who likes it is always right." As we've brought the Doyle's Rotary Coffin society to live with its motto "No Holmes barred!" a lot of us have been thinking hard about our Sherlocks and what it is that makes us like or dislike a Sherlock, and how it's really okay that other people like Sherlocks that may not be to our taste.
"But I really have reasons for not liking this Sherlock!" one might protest. "I exist! My thoughts are valid! Other people agree with me!"
Yes, yes, and we need to feel like we're not alone in the universe. We need to find common ground, to relate with each other. But here's the thing: Do you want to hang out with a bunch of people who are just bitching about a thing all the time? Or would you rather hang out with enthusiastic lovers of a thing and soak in that radiant happiness? I have to worry about anyone who would choose the former.
If you work in a field, creating Sherlock Holmes stories, constructive criticism, analyzing what seems to work and what doesn't work is important. And even if you enjoy Sherlock Holmes, just figuring out what aspects of Holmes you enjoy so you can get more of that, is important. But those are matters we all have to decide for ourselves, and not try to decide for the human race as a whole.
One of the things I have long loved about 221B Con is that I can walk into any panel discussion, even of something I've never tried or understood, and hear why people love that thing. And I can share their joy, even if I may not yet find joy in that thing myself. If I instead went "Well, I am never going to read or watch XXXXXXX!" in some weird moment of pride of my purity of ignorance, I would completely miss out on adding that joy to my life. And none of us needs less joy.
We're moving into a future that seems to have a near-infinite number of Sherlocks in it, and I'd guess that every one of those Sherlocks exists because at least one person enjoys their story and the turns it took. And with all those Sherlocks, our Sherlockian potential for fun is growing to about as much fun as we can possibly hold in our little human brains.
Breaking "I don't like . . ." habits can be hard. But as I'm learning every day, the rewards for working on that are really pretty cool. Like Sherlock Holmes, whichever one you think is cool.