Thursday, July 4, 2019


Looking over one's Sherlockian endeavors, past and present, one question always arises: "Why?"

Yes, yes, we love Sherlock Holmes, et al, but reading and watching Holmes would be enough, if that was all there was to it. Why do we have this need to do something more? Why write articles that a hundred people might read. Why give a talk to a room with a dozen people in it? Why throw things out on the internet with no guarantee of any audience at all?

Dreams of obtaining fame and fortune via Sherlock Holmes are only for the most naive among us, even though some glimmer of that mirage may still flicker in the back-brain of even an old hand. So why do we go that extra mile? Why do we work on bizarre niche projects like ultra-rare-pair fic, chronologies, or deep, deep trivia?  Love of Holmes, yes, but what else? How much of what we do would we do if we were on a desert island with no hope of human contact ever again?

Some of it, perhaps, if we have the time and resources. But a large part of what we do comes from the human connection, I suspect. Not fame, fortune, and the adoration of the masses, but simply to have one other human being go, "Yes! That makes perfect sense! I love that, too!"

It's about acceptance, really. No matter how strange an idea one puts out there regarding this oddball detective guy, you can usually find at least one Sherlockian to accept your thoughts on the matter. And why not? The core of the Canon itself is one regular-seeming British ex-army medico accepting a complete weirdo as not just a friend and companion, but a room-mate. It's all about acceptance.

I was really struck by this fact as we came to the end of Pride month, and the many, many LGBTQIA folk we see represented in Sherlockiana of late. But then, Sherlockiana has always been an accepting community of varied lifestyles of its members. Many of the first folks I met from each of the alphabetic list at the start of this paragraph have been Sherlockians, going far back before the last decade's wave. Sherlockiana accepts those outside the majority fence, because it's a part of the very identity John H. Watson gave us, whether he was gay or straight.

Which is why those little corners of our hobby where acceptance wasn't freely practiced have always irritated just a little more. The gender-specific clubs. The exclusive "right kind of folk" clubs. We don't have many of those, but the ones we do have stick out like a Big Mouth Billy Bass on the wall at 221B Baker Street. And a few folks do seem to get upset when you point that out.

Today, here in America, it isn't just "America Day." It's Independence Day. The day when a young nation stood up to tyranny and said, "Nope!" It was a day when the people of this part of this continent decided to part ways with a king and country that said acceptance was conditional. "You pay your taxes, you bend the knee, then we'll keep accepting you as a part of our empire." Acceptance, you see, is something that you can give yourself. It's the first step toward declaring independence, accepting that you yourself are worth the struggle.

I like where this hobby is headed, when I step back and look at the big picture. The ideas are growing wider, the diversity is getting more varied, and Sherlock Holmes isn't even always a British white dude all the time now. And I think I can accept that.

Happy Independence Day, fellow Sherlockians!  (Even if you're not American, it's still the day we beat those aliens that one time, right?)

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