Friday, October 18, 2019


As I've written about the past weekend, the emphasis tended to be on the fun and excitement. There were also some very thoughtful moments, including Tim Johnson's touching and very honest overview of where we find ourselves these days, in Sherlockiana and out of Sherlockiana. I really appreciated the work he put into that presentation, because honest is hard.

It's easy to be honest about something outside of ourselves. We react, we put our reaction out there, and then we defend the truth of that reaction against all comers. "But I didn't like that portrayal of Sherlock Holmes!" we say, and it's the truth. We didn't like that.

That's the easy honesty. The harder honesty is looking within ourselves to see why we had that reaction. It's the thing that separates adults from children. There was a point, this past weekend, where a very, very small thing went sideways, and I fell into a pout. Nothing anyone got to really see, but sitting in my room at the end of a long day, I decided the world just didn't like me and I should just spend Saturday night in my room and hide. But I got up, put on my big boy pants, and made myself go down . . . and have a good time. Which I did. It's not the first time such a thing has happened, and I've learned that sometimes it's just me.

Of course, this doesn't mean that every view I have of everything is just me. There are certain aspects of this hobby that I know have some serious negatives. Sometimes our egos seem to need to put down others (or even sometimes raise them up) to keep ourselves at a level we crave. Sometimes we over-react and then base so much on that over-reaction that we can't seem to step back. And sometimes, well, most of the times, we just love Sherlock Holmes and Sherlockiana too damn much.

That last one is our strength, and our weakness.

If you've ever dealt with a true narcissist, you know that their worst attribute is that they absolutely cannot see that any world exists outside of the one their own perceptions build for them. You have to see the world exactly how they do, you just have to.  Their truth is the only truth. We're lucky in that there really aren't that many true narcissists out there, but we all have our moments. I mean, Sherlock Holmes is the greatest guy ever, but he's fictional, so who's the best person in reality?

Well, you are! 

Now, if you took that as less of a "You're the best!" positive affirmation and more of a literal truth, you're might be in danger of not getting this piece, and maybe we should all watch out for you. Of course, it just could be a lack in my writing skills and not that you're truly a narcissist, as well. (But, again, all the narcissists are going to go, "But, of course!" to that opening.)

The rest of us, the 99.9% non-narcissists, are generally good people who might occasionally get something wrong and need a little empathic honest conversation in that moment. We can sympathize and yet still be honest when we need to be. Those are the conversations we probably need the most of all, as lately we're getting some pretty brutal views of what happens when those conversations don't happen.

And by "empathic, honest conversation," I don't mean punditry, pontificating, or laying down the law. Actual conversations with caring mixed with honest views of the facts. Something Sherlock Holmes was really good at. One of the things I love most about the much-maligned movie Holmes and Watson is that it uses Sherlock Holmes to skewer people who are so in their own heads thinking they have all the facts, and are even supported by adoring crowds in that view, while being as clueless as can be. The comedy is in that Will Ferrell is a horrible Sherlock Holmes while actually showing many of the traits of Sherlock Holmes pushed to their limit. Watson has to be nearly hanged before an honest and caring conversation can be had with that Holmes. 

Tim Johnson, in his riff on "Hum" last weekend, made the point much better than Holmes and Watson did, I think, and had a few more fans than that movie this weekend. And it's one we should keep considering as we move on to Sherlockiana of the 2020s. (Did you notice we're just a few short months from a new decade? We are!)

1 comment:

  1. New decades, like centuries, begin with '01. I was one of those wet-blanket (nitpicking bastards) that insisted the 21st century began in 2001. I will compromise... we are a few short months from the '20s.