Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Million Sherlock March

 Every now and then, you see a comment about the quality of Sherlock Holmes stories not being as good since Conan Doyle quite writing them. 

Of course, occasionally we also make comments about the quality of certain stories Conan Doyle wrote being not as great. But that was Conan Doyle, and we owe him a break or two for his bad later work due to what he created originally. Do we owe the same courtesy to Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss? Well, that's a personal choice. The point to be made in both cases is that behind every Sherlock Holmes is at least one human being who wove a version of Sherlock Holmes into a tale to be told.

People have good days and bad days, vary in their abilities, and so do the Sherlock Holmeses they create on any given day. And that doesn't even account for the varieties of Sherlock Holmeses we have based on individual tastes or the purposes of a story. Sherlock Holmes has been Jack the Ripper. Sherlock Holmes has been a time traveller. Sherlock Holmes has been a sexual dynamo with internal organs that don't quite match our own. And that leaves out all the mice, ducks, androids, aliens, etc. that have been Sherlock Holmes. Yet even a Sherlock Holmes who isn't human has something in common with every other Sherlock Holmes, and I don't mean the goofy cap, the pipe, or the coat.

Every Sherlock Holmes has a human being behind him that thought he needed to be brought into existence. Maybe for profit, often for love, but always for the reason of "Hey, Sherlock Holmes is good! Let's make one more Sherlock Holmes!" Good for what is up to that given creator.

But since Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, and even before Doyle himself stopped writing him, other Sherlock Holmeses started marching into our culture and our lives. You don't even have to seek him out -- he'll come to you via advertisements, Halloween costumes, and other random appearances. As his brother once pointed out, "I hear of Sherlock everywhere."

Have a million Sherlocks come marching into the world since his first arrival in 1887? Maybe not, but I have a strong feeling we'll get there eventually. 

The million Sherlock march continues every single day, like some invasion from an episode of Doctor Who, but less threatening unless you imagine them all at once, which is becoming increasingly easy to do. But it's time to stop rambling and go to work, so I won't be doing it now. Keep an eye out for them, though!

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