Sunday, March 15, 2020

The socially distanced community of Sherlockiana

Hi, Sherlockians.

I doubt that too many of you haven't caught on that things are going to shit very quickly in this pandemic situation. This is the first real weekend of it here in America, and it really feels like the start of something not very pretty at all. The thing of it is, what happens from here on in largely depends upon all of us and our fellow humans. We've already seen some really bad behavior, some really stupid behavior from people who are desperate to do anything to exert some modicum of control over things we have no control over. Even just running out for one last Friday night at the bars, bullheadedly keeping to that vacation, as careless as those acts may seem, are about trying to still feel some bit of control.

Nobody wants to spontaneously jump into being a hermit, which seems to be the best measure for our communities, socializing across distances instead of gathering in person, staying home to find some entertainment without leaving the house . . . but, hey, wait a minute! For a goodly number of us Sherlockians, that was always our way to begin with! Social distancing? You mean there are other ways to live? For those of us outside the major cities, Sherlockiana has always been about social distance.

We have our travellers, our clubbers, our event politicians, but for so many of us, Sherlocking just comes down to what we read, what we study, and what we write. Solo activities. At the end of those solo activities, we do hope to get some interaction as a reward in most cases, finding some way to present our fictions or facts to our friends. But a little alone time has typically been fuel for the fire for us.

And yet, Sherlockiana is, and has long, long been a community.

I was struck by this in reading 221B Con's latest challenge as hotel contracts haven't gotten on board with coronavirus necessities just yet. Hopefully, the situation will right itself, but if not, will this be the end for one of this hobby's greatest annual events? I strongly suspect that the community that has grown up around the con will find a way to answer with a resounding "NAY!" I know I'm on board for whatever I can do. (If I'm still . . . well, this is where the dark side of my personality kicks in, and I will spare you those demons.)

But cover your ears, kids, old Uncle Brad is about to start swearing.

But here's the thing: This fucking hobby was born in the Great Depression. Our forebears survived the Spanish flu pandemic. They held this hobby close through two world wars, where Baker Street itself got blown to shit. And that wasn't just because Conan Doyle wrote some really good stories and some really not as good ones that had the same character in them. It was due to the connections that Sherlockiana gave to its faithful, and even when nature took its course and some of the best and brightest ran out of time, Sherlockiana has gone on.

From a distance.

Our numbers have never been large enough for Sherlockian societies to be as plentiful as Rotary Clubs, scout troops, Legion Halls, or whatever social order you'd care to name. That's why our occasional weekend gatherings are so special. And yet, the rest of the time, we're still doing our Sherlockian thing.  So we can be smart, socially isolate, be who we are, and maybe, just maybe, come out of this with more Sherlockiana ready to go when it's over with.

Take care of yourselves. Use those Sherlock-inspired smarts. And keep an eye on the rest of our community, as we are going to need big fun when this is all over, for sure!

Much love,
Sweary old Uncle Brad


  1. We are the lucky ones, really, because we have the internet and can meet freely with our Sherlockian friends wherever they are, in any number we like, while still keeping our physical distance and, we hope, our health. Alone, in pairs, or in groups, we keep the memory of the Master green, along with our friendships, traveling only as far as a keyboard. -- Esmerelda

  2. It's just the flu. Get over it. Pun intended. (Whadda bunch of pussies out there.)