Monday, June 24, 2019

Toward a larger Sherlockian faith

"No Holmes barred," states the motto of Doyle's Rotary Coffin. "All Sherlock Holmes is good Sherlock Holmes," say the Baker Street Babes. It's almost like there's a movement within Sherlockiana these days, foist upon us by our over-abundance of major media Sherlocks. So many Sherlocks well all know, so many Sherlocks for each of us to choose as our favorite. If our common bonds of Sherlockiana were to stay intact, acceptance of different screen Sherlocks was bound to develop.

Musing during mowing tonight, as I tend to do, I couldn't help but see a parallel to Universalism and the path that particular religious outlook. Universalism, if you've never run across it, is the idea that everybody goes to Heaven. Everybody. And once that thought entered the denomination, it was followed by the acceptance of other religions as just as valid faiths as well. If everybody went to Heaven, you could be a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Wiccan, or even an atheist, and that was okay.

So now that we're starting to accept other Sherlocks as valid Sherlockian choices, perhaps there's room to accept our other choices as Sherlockians as well.

More than one Sherlockian who's been around a bit has remarked that Sherlockiana lot a little fun when things became "important" at some point. The word "scholarship" said with tongue in cheek began to be occasionally replaced by a more serious pronunciation. Enough time past that Conan Doyle went from celebrity to historical figure, and attention to him went from paparazzi press to academic professionals.And as that transition slowly took place, the word "pastiche" took on uglier and uglier tones. And then came pastiche done for the sheer joy of it, not passing through publishing houses or editors, but just made available for reading to anyone who might find pleasure in it. And a few folks started to get uppity about fan fiction.

Is an essay accompanying a manuscript reproduction more important than a two-hundred-and-twenty-one chapter novel of a Sherlock Holmes in a world with three genders? Both are giving pleasure to someone. Both have a proud author behind each, happy to put their work out there. And important?

Let's be serious here: Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character. The only importance in anything to do with him is how much he means to each of us, in whatever way he brings us joy. Whether it's as a reason to explore history's fascinating little corners or to explore the relationship between two human beings who are so, so different. Both have value. Both have use.

Importance, value, significance. There are a lot of paths to finding objects that you could use those words to define using Sherlock Holmes as a tool. There are a lot of paths to finding things within ourselves that you could use those words to define using Sherlock Holmes as a tool.

Yes, I said Sherlock Holmes is a tool. Don't let your love of him turn you into one. We all have our moments, but there's no reason to commit to it as a lifestyle choice. Because, like the Universalists, I think we'd all like to believe that every Sherlockian can get into that Heaven we call 221B Baker Street, no matter who they are, no matter how they enjoy spending their time with Holmes.

All Sherlockiana is good Sherlockiana, I think. Even those hollow chocolate Easter bunnies, created by someone in the candy business whose only outlet for their love was holiday candy. Somebody should learn that person's story someday. I'd really like to hear it.

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