"Here is an advertisement which will interest you" [ENGR]
In our real life, we work in the advertising and marketing industry. As such, we see a good deal of new technology and interesting widgets — some of which have no bearing on my work with clients, but which nevertheless are fun to pass along.
Today I happened upon the Advertising Slogan Generator. Simply plug in your word(s) of choice and you'll be greeted with a familiar advertising phrase incorporating that word. Here are some sample slogans you get by inputting "Sherlock Holmes." Can you identify the original slogans and their brands?
For those who are truly enamored of this sort of thing, the Web site gives you an opportunity to buy a T-shirt with your favorite slogan.
Drop us a note an let us know what results you get!
What awesome little tools! I particularly like "Sherlock Holmes Tested, Mother Approved."
Readers of the BSJ blog may be interested in the BSJ Gas-Lamp written by Philip Shreffler some years back on the difference between devotees and fans. Seems the fans have taken over...
For someone who doesn't like to have 'BSI' after your name, you sure are pushing the elitist angle...
I am not a member of the BSI, and so should not have "BSI" after my name. The BSI is supposed to be the Sherlockian elite, so it is reasonable to note the flood of fans who have been invested, and the relative absence of devotees. Somehow I can't see Christopher Morley in a Sherlockian t-shirt...
But you WERE a member. And I'm not writing this blog for Christopher Morley nor for the elite.
You wrote "...someone who doesn't like to have 'BSI' after your name..."
I wrote "I am not a member of the BSI, and so should not have "BSI" after my name."
What I wrote is true. What you wrote is false and irrelevant.
You used "elitism" as a criticism. I suggested that for the BSI it should not be a criticism. Everyone knows that you are writing for the fans; you seem to have no choice.
But even fans of Sherlock Holmes should read Shreffler's editorial to grasp the distinction between fans and devotees.
I doubt it's possible to press someone who's been, I happen to know, actively involved with the BSI since the 1960s, into failing to notice the way it has changed over the years, or intimidate him with the bogeyman word "elitist" from remarking upon it. The BSJ Gas-Lamp by Philip Shreffler mentioned was in fact deliberately titled "The Elite Devotee," and the fears which prompted it seem greatly justified today, nearly 20 years later. Presuming that it's allowable to quote from a BSJ editorial so out of tune with Irregular policy and practice today, it begins:
"In all of my writing and speaking about the cult of Sherlock Holmes, I have scrupulously avoided using the word 'fan' and have employed 'devotee' instead. Though there is little practical different in these words' definitions, there is, I think, a substantial difference in what they connote. 'Fan,' in fact, is an informal word (derived from 'fanatic,' as it happens, not that it matters); 'devotee' is a word unto itself and is therefore by its very nature more formal. I like to think of Sherlockians -- we >ought< to think of Sherlockians -- as devotees, not fans.
"'Devotee' suggests the Old World gentlemanly and ladylike milieu in which Sherlock Holmes lived and, later, from which the Baker Street Irregulars were born. 'Fan' (regardless of when or by whom the word was early used) suggests the more casual, less proprietous ambiance associated with life in the mid-to-late twentieth century. A Sherlockian's allegiance here should clear.
"And when the press labels organized Sherlockiana as 'elite,' it does so because that refers not to one's financial status but to one's intellectual and behavioral devotion (hence, devotee) to that time 'before the world went all awry.' The Sherlockian cult as an >elite of devotees< is envied precisely becayse it is capable of preserving in actual practice a gentler, more civilized world -- to which the 'fan' may aspire but which he has not subsumed into his life."
The Gas-Lamp, well worth reading in its entirely, appeared in the March 1988 BSJ.
You know, there are some who are taking this far too seriously. I simply posted something mirthful that I thought could be applied to Holmes. After all, scholarship throughout the years has been applied to various vocations of Sherlockians (I would note that advertising has been selected before, by Nelson Lofstedt's "221B Madison Avenue" in The Best of the Cabs, and Thayer Cummings' "Sherlock Holmes and Advertising" in Vol. 1, No. 4 of the BSJ (1946).
And it was Dorothy Sayers who said that our little game should be played with one's tongue firmly planted in one's cheek.
For God's sake, lighten up. This IS just a hobby, after all.
Scott, you err in applying what Dorothy Sayers said about Sherlockian mock-scholarship to "fan" hijinks as cautioned against by the editor of the Baker Street Journal in 1988. You're correct that Baker Street Irregularity is a hobby, but I for one would >never< call it "just" a hobby, nor would Sayers, I think. It's a hobby that, properly practiced, calls for both intellectual and social skills, and can be ruined by the wrong approach. Let me give the rest of Shreffler's March 1988 Gas-Lamp:
"The true Sherlockian devoteee presents him- or herself as a gentleman or a lady when representing Sherlockiana publicly and, one hopes, at all other moments as well. The fan feels no such compulsion. The devotee is acutely aware of social etiquette; often, too often, the fan has only the vaguest awareness that there are such injunctions. The devotee, mindful of the earlier times that saw the genesis of Sherlock Holmes and the Irregulars, turns out in a suit or a jacket and tie (depending upon the occasion) -- or in commensurate attire if a lady; the fan contents himself with his blue jeans and slogan tee-shirt. The devotee is a person of language, of words; the fan is more commonly a person of half-ideas, half-expressed. The devotee is comfortable in genteel, dignified Sherlockian surroundings; the fan (dare we suggest this?) is at home at a science-fiction convention.
"Do Sherlockians (and should they) straggle uphill against the prevailing social tide of public behavior? Yes, they do. And, yes, they should. For the Sherlockian is devoted to the world where it is always 1895 >and< always 1934. As Basil Rathbone is quoted in this issye as having observed about early meetings of the BSI, such convocations were affairs of 'protocol' at which members were on 'their best behavior.' That rather expresses it."
-- Philip Shreffler, "The Elite Devotee" (The Gas-Lamp), BSJ March 1988
. . . Unfortunately, I think Shreffler would say that his final paragraph is close to null and void today.
Jon, I think you're letting your distaste for the behavior of a few cloud your judgement of the Sherlockian world at large. Most of the informality in the Sherlockian world you occurs online; in social interactions, I would argue that the majority of Sherlockians still conduct themselves as you've described.
Certainly, there are some who don't know how to behave in a socially-acceptable manner or who don't meet your dress code, but let's take a moment to separate the two. The former group is a minority while the latter (also a minority) is probably more representative of the society in which we live. I would agree that a degree of gentility in social graces is warranted.
But being a devotee doesn't necessarily relate to appearance. According to Shreffler's Gas-Lamp, the devotee should be wearing a jacket and tie "when representing Sherlockiana publicly and, one hopes, at all other times as well." In this day and age, the expectation that a Sherlockian devotee dresses formally at non-Sherlockian events it simply ludicrous. Look around you. We don't live in 1934 - any more than the early Irregulars lived in 1895. Was there a call for them to wear frock coats, spats and change their clothes according to the time of day? No. Did that make them any less devoted? Certainly not.
Let's keep this in perspective. The hallmark of a good Irregular has always been the degree to which one can trade witticisms while maintaining, shall we say, a healthy input of spirits. The best Irregulars have been able to handle both concurrently. I think the complaint inherent in the comments from you and Don, as well as in Phil's editorial, revolve around those who can't even handle themselves while sober. Fine. Point taken. But that doesn't mean they can't enjoy the Sherlockian world and express that interest to others.
Scott, you're attributing Shreffler's comments to me. I'm sympathetic to his view, but mine is a bit different. I'm less concerned with apparel or even sobriety than I am with the unmistakeable decline of the BSI's intellectual level. It's lower than it was when I came along in 1973, and lower then than it had been 20 years before that. A lot of it has to do with great differences in education in the years since World War II, and the BSI's reduced ability today to attract men (or, in more recent years, women) of the same caliber as it once enjoyed, people who if not writers themselves are successful figures in demanding professions, who got a kick out of applying their mental skills to the Canon's problems.
Everyone in the world can, and should, enjoy Sherlock Holmes, but the BSI from its start was >intended< to be a coterie of elite devotees (to use Shreffler's term), and to this day no one can join it on his or her initiative. They must be "tapped" as fraternities and sororities do. The question is, what's the basis for the decision to tap someone? Being able to play the Game as Morley, Smith and Starrett saw it, the mock-scholarship that they and Dorothy Sayers esteemed, is no longer required for BSI membership; it's been a long time since the person in charge of the BSI was a contributor to our literature, and in recent years two winners of the Morley-Montgomery Award have never even been invited to the BSI annual dinner. I think the consequences of these trends are pretty evident.
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