Saturday, June 29, 2019

When fandoms run the world

Something fascinating happened this week that I don't think most folks realized has a bit of a link to our Sherlockian world's potential.

There was . . . and I hope I don't lose you the minute you read these words . . . a couple of presidential debates this week. And one of the candidates up there on that stage had one word under their name, describing their current job: Author.

No past in politics. No past in leadership. Just an author with a fan following.

And that fan following gave that person all that they needed to meet the requirements to be included as a viable candidate for President of the United States. Because, as we've seen very recently, in a large field, an unlikely candidate with a fan following can shove their way into the mainstream.

A fan following. As much as the old curmudgeon contingent likes to harrumph about how inconsequential fans are, we're seeing something exactly the opposite in the real world. Thinking about this for a moment . . . if Benedict Cumberbatch or Neil Gaiman wasn't British-born and had a whim to get on a presidential debate stage, we could have put them there.

Not saying they'd be viable candidates. Not saying that would be the best idea in the world.

But it legitimately could have happened. That's the world we're living in now.

More than a decade ago, I had some fun with a "Sherlock Holmes for President" campaign at local and Sherlockian weekend gatherings. Pure silliness. But we're reaching a point where that kind of silliness starts to seem like it has potential to affect our real lives. Sherlock Holmes, were he able to walk onto a stage, could work his way up to running a country, because he has fans.

People have long compared sports team fandom to political party fandom, and maybe individual politicians have had fandoms since politics was a thing. But it seems like we're seeing something new here. Or maybe just something very old that we didn't realize the power of.

Fandoms! Who knew?

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