There was a comment passed along earlier this week that used one of those words we so often misuse, especially in reference to this hobby like the one we call Sherlockiana. That word: necessary.
It came up in reference to that very common view of the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson of late, that they might be lovers instead of simply friends. It wasn't something viewed as "necessary" by an individual, and I'm sure there are others who might agree that it isn't necessary to their own enjoyment of Sherlock Holmes. And that's a fair statement, if you are only saying it isn't necessary for your own pleasures. But if you're trying to say that it's not necessary for anyone anywhere, well, none of us gets to make that choice. And besides just being rude and intolerant, it's such a basic bullshit statement.
Over the last forty years, I have seen nothing BUT unnecessary Sherlockiana. Articles about Sherlock Holmes and wine . . . not necessary. Articles about Sherlock Holmes and dogs . . . not necessary. Sherlock Holmes's birthday, his income, his ability to play chess . . . none of that is at all necessary to read and enjoy Sherlock Holmes.
A century of other writers telling stories about Sherlock Holmes? That same century of motion pictures about Sherlock Holmes? Even a good 33.3% of the stories Doyle penned . . . no necessary, really. All the good stuff was established early on.
Sometimes a Sherlockian will try to push their will of what they think is good Sherlockian writing upon others by calling it "mandatory" or "must-read," but even that isn't necessary. And while it might feel like we might die without any Sherlock Holmes at all in our lives, that's just the pain of love lost and really not enough of that to kill us. Other drugs are much more dangerous to try to leave behind.
Some Sherlockiana might be rooted in research and as solid as a rock. Other Sherlockiana might be the most ephemeral flights of fancy or fun that can blow away with a morning breeze. How important either of those extremes is depends upon which one of us is involved. The actor William Gillette might be very important to one of us, but practically meaningless to another. The Speckled Pips of San Luis Obispo might be the core of one Sherlockian's world, yet unheard of by some happy soul doing their Sherlocking on another continent. Pate de foie gras pie? Let's not even get into that one.
"Necessary" is a word to watch carefully when it gets anywhere near a hobby swirling around a storybook crime-solver. And one that probably needs used sparingly.
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