Monday, November 4, 2013

Which one are you, where do you fit in?

As with anything, we usually categorize our place in what we do and the things we enjoy and hope are good at.
Whether it is a hobby, a skill or a job, we rank somewhere. It may be a self ranking, or it may be placed on us by someone else. We may place ourselves in the same place that other people place us, or we may place ourselves higher in rank or lower.
In sports we have different rankings by how big your school is, or by region. We also have amateur (who's lines are somewhat blurred) and professionals (who are sometimes beaten by armatures.)
Some groups or organizations have set up lists of standards that determine where we stand in certain rankings within said group.
Some groups just decide whether or not we are ready for whatever rankings they have determined qualify us to be part of their group, and may even change their system to exclude individuals.
There may be one group that participates in something you like that thinks you deserve a very high ranking in their eyes, while just around the corner another group participating in the same, may think you deserve lower.
Unless it is a mathematical equation deciding the ranking, it's mostly just a point of view.
But, none-the-less, we as humans participate voluntarily in some sort of ranking system whether we realize it or not.

Sherlockians have lots of rankings, and can usually be pretty vocal about it, especially if someones ranking system differs from their own. We rank our favorite stories. We rank chronologies. We rank what makes good scholarship and what makes bad. We even rank what counts as Sherlockian scholarship. Some of us can even get offended if the ones doing some of the rankings don't see our work fit to be included.
It's all a matter of context.

But let's play anyway and see where we set ourselves.
This is by no means anything more than fun and my opinion, which is apt to change whenever someone else presents a point I like better than my own.

For most Sherlockian observers, the highest Sherlockian or Holmesian ranking, or recognition, most would agree would be being accepted and invited to join a group like the Baker Street Irregulars. I think this would be especially true for anyone who has a more scholarly interest in the Canon of Sherlock Holmes.
But even up at these lofty heights can be found even more seemly hard to obtain heights. 
Here would be the purists, the ones who consider the works of Doyle and the study of Holmes only possible at a literary level. How the works hold up as literature. No 'Playing the game' for them. The books are all about the content and how it applies to Doyle. 
I don't think I know any of these. At a scholastic level, they are way above me. I dangle way to many participles and use way to many comas to travel in that rarefied air. My hat is off to them however. They keep the works pure and true and are a wonderful back bone to all of us who travel near by.

Just below them can possibly be found the Sherlockian/Doylean Purists.  These are the ones who have made there name in the world of Sherlock Holmes by Playing the Game. But playing the game only as far as facts that can be proven. No speculation. Just the facts, man, no filling in the blanks. 

Just below them could be the Sherlockians who are willing to speculate a little more about details not completely factual. This perhaps would be the most populace group. They would perhaps suggest that if we can find enough clues close enough to our theories then perhaps we must be right or it could be so. But to be on this level you must have a talent for presenting things in a scholarly manner. (Separating the wheat from the chaff as it were.)
This group would probably be the harshest on people who don't see eye to eye with them.

And of perhaps equal but different ranking are the Sherlockians who have found a scholarly why to explore the world of Sherlock Holmes in other media besides the books, yet are recognized as authorities, enough so as to get them invite to join the BSI or like minded group.
Also in this group would be those who have been recognized for contributing in some other why to the world of Sherlock Holmes or Doyle that sets them apart from others, i.e actors, politicians, etc.

At this point our ranks starting falling out of the ranks of groups like the BSI.
Next we find the group that aspires to make it to the BSI. These are the ones hoping some day to prove they have what it takes. They run scion societies. They start other scholarly groups. They organize major events.
They collect rooms full of books and memorabilia. ( I think many of us fall near this group, even if we won't admit it.  ??) They can be at it for years and still never make it. Many find their energy is well spent, eventually.

Just below this group would be probably the largest single group, (well at least till Benedict Cumberbatch came along) and that would be those who are really involved in the world of Doyle and Holmes, but on a more local level. They are content in the world they participate in and don't wish to achieve loftier heights, so to speak. Or know their own limitations. They enjoy Playing the Game for the games sake, in a social no-expectation atmosphere. 
They can even have their own levels within their groups. Some Playing the Game a little purer than others. Some willing to accept all things Holmesian, while others have their limits. Some are flamboyant in their participation, while others reserved. (I think I place myself mostly here.)

Next would be, perhaps, the group that is now being called 'fans'. The ones who have come along recently on the tails of the RDJ movies or the popularity of 'Sherlock'.  They are only in it for what their chosen source material suggests. Many, hopefully will move beyond this level and start realizing the real works of Holmes and Watson. But if they don't, that's OK also.

I must admit, I am not sure where I would place cos-play Sherlockians, I am to unfamiliar with them.

This is rather a simplified investigation of Sherlockian levels, and within each one, they can be broken down even more.

Let me know your thoughts and I may yet add more.

Whatever level you place yourself at, I hope you are having a lot of fun with it.


  1. I am in the same league as you: Playing the Game in a reserved manner.


  2. We still have to have some boundaries after all.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. According to your system I'm closest to an out and out purist as I don't play the game.....I'm comfy with that. :-)

    1. As you should be, you are great at what you do.
      Thanks for stopping by.