The View from Sherlock Peoria
And Now A Word For Their Sponsor . . .
WARNING: THIS WEEK'S COLUMN QUOTES EXPLICIT LANGUAGE. SAINTED MOTHERS, JUVENILES, AND THE GOOD CARTER ARE ASKED GO READ DON HOBBS'S BLOG INSTEAD. OR BUCK UP.
With a shower of "awesome"s, the Baker Street Babes announced their podcast's first official sponsor this week: The Baker Street Journal. The ever-spontaneous Babes then followed their announcement with a "fuck"-laced gush, opening their tribute to John H. Watson with that trademark enthusiasm that has separated them from the ever-aging Sherlockian establishment from the get-go. Linking The Baker Street Journal to the Baker Street Babes is a brilliant move by the publishers of the Journal, one with the potential to net them a surge of new subscribers.
The big question their move raises is this: A year later, after pulling in a crop of newer, younger, podcast-listening subscribers, will the BSJ be able to keep those readers for a second year? Will a generation used to the immediacy of tweets, blogs, and podcasts find the ponderous pace of a quarterly journal worthwhile? After starting their subscription with the the spring issue and facing such hoary BSI rituals as that gawdawful annual current events poem, might they feel like someone was jerking their chain?
I really love this move on the part of The Baker Street Journal. I'd really like to see it succeed. But for the BSJ/BSB connection to truly benefit the Journal, it may need to step back from its traditional conservative hubris and try to serve the interests of the readers the Baker Street Babes bring in. And what is the primary interest of those new readers of the BSJ? Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It's that simple. They really don't care about Important Literary Scholarship. They really don't care about The Ancient Organization. The Baker Street Babes have done nineteen podcasts so far, and has either of those been the theme of a one of them?
I enjoy the Baker Street Babes podcasts because they take me back to an earlier time, before things became capital "I" Important in the whimsical world of Sherlockiana. Their questions, like this week's "Which Dr. Watson would you go on a date with and where would you go?" is the sort of thing that draws out the fans and shows you how diverse and imaginative they can be. By accepting the BSJ as a sponsor, the Babes have done the ancient journal a great service, giving them sparkle by association. Even I have been struck with the impulse to re-subscribe to the BSJ, after dropping my subscription last year. But I'm still a little cynical. The BSJ can't just kick some bucks toward the Babes and then take its traditional route of believing everyone will automatically see how wonderful it is, whatever its contents are. The Journal still needs to give us something to get excited about.
And if I wind up coughing up the near forty bucks for a subscription again, thanks to the endorsements of the Baker Street Babes, this old Sherlockian is apt to be crankier than ever if it's the same Journal that wore out it's welcome before.
Your humble correspondent,
Past 2012 Columns