A Letter to the Sherlock Fandom
You may think that this is a lot of text and too long to read but I implore you to try so that you can better understand these points of view.
I apologise if this isn’t as eloquent or measured as I intended it to be but I am honestly so angry at the Sherlock fandom right now. Not all, obviously, many are conducting themselves amazingly no matter their opinion on the episode. However, there are a large (and loud) number who are not and not only are these people making the rest of us look bad and acting as if they speak for the fandom as a whole, I fear that they are doing (and may have already succeeded in doing) irreparable damage to what could have been a great community.
There are several points I wish to address in this post so I will try to dissect each one individually to the best of the ability.
No matter what you thought of the episode it is NOT okay, or even productive, to harass members of the cast or crew in any way (whether it be through social media, through official complaints (which can actually have further effects on their professional lives also which are definitely not yours to mess with) etc.). It started with Amanda back when season 3 was announced and that was just downright cruel and now it seems the lesson has not been learnt. They have worked hard on this show and even if it did not turn out as you personally expected it or wanted it to you cannot hate them for having a different view of where things should go than you. I have seen many people on Tumblr saying things along the line of ‘it our show anyway we can do what we want and it can be what we want it to be’. No. It is their show, we merely enjoy it - they created it and they have final say on what happens. I for one would not wish to see a world where the fans get to decide what happens as that would only ever cause further divide in communities and result in one section of a fandom having superiority over the others which is already happening in the Sherlock fandom with some Johnlockers/TJLCers.This harassment also extends to the harassment of other member of the fandom - labelling someone as homophobic because they don’t ship a same-sex ship is not only detrimental to the LGBT+ cause it puts up further barriers for the normalisation of non-traditional relationships.
On a similar topic, complaining to the BBC because you didn’t like the episode is not only petty but also counterproductive - these people are not asking for change in doing so they are calling for an end to the show and a witch-hunt in which those who created it are to be mocked in a public sphere. I have seen many people proudly posting images of their complaints and encouraging others to do the same and even petitions to a similar effect and it saddens me that people have become so arrogant in believing that the show is theirs and they were owed more that they would stoop to such levels. You were not owed anything. You didn’t like it, deal with it, move on.
I cannot express how much I dislike this term. Sometimes, yes, the teasing of fans with a potentially queer couple is done in an interpretably malicious way. With Sherlock, this is not the case. The cast and crew have said from the start that Johnlock (the main ship brought up in such discussions) was not going to happen. If you missed that and were not aware - fine; but if you knew this and then continued to be upset that it wasn’t happening - that is on you. It is not queerbaiting if there was never any potential for the relationship in the first place - especially when neither character has been canonically stated to be queer.
Fetishisation of Gay Relationships and the Anti-Straight Trend in the Progressive Community
Wow, that was a long title. I have seen many of the aforementioned complaints to the BBC, petitions and Tumblr posts claiming that by not making a ship such as Johnlock canon they have let down a large portion of the community who are LGBT+ and have not given them the representation they deserve. Whilst representation is good and everyone does deserve to be able to see someone like them on television, as I said before, we have known from the stat that this was not going to happen with these characters. If you didn’t understand that clear message - again, it is on you, not the creators who have always been honest about the future of such a ship. You can be upset that they did not become canon in the same way that you would for any other ship but you cannot claim that you have been robbed of representation, misled in any way or owed better because you were never promised it in the first place.
As for the title of this section, I have seen a common trend in fandom communities towards making canonically straight characters gay, which whilst harmless if not taken to the extreme (as I feel some members of the Johnlock community have) actually highlights a double standard and serious problem that must be addressed. If one were to take a canonically gay character, strip them of their identity and make them straight they would be called homophobic in an instant. However, when it is the other way around, no one complains. Heterosexual is an identity too and to keep classifying it as separate from the others, in a class of its own, is only going to slow down progress and make it harder for true unity to occur. By stating that two characters, one of whom has categorically stated that they are not gay (and of course only one would be enough) have to be gay because of they way they interact (via your personal interpretation - often though tinted lenses) you are not only arguing that two men cannot be simply very good friends without harbouring romantic feelings for each other, you are also denying John of his own self-proclaimed identity.
The Bad Side of TJLC
(The previous paragraph is also relevant to this section and thus again I must state that whilst shipping two characters is fine, outright ignoring their identity and labelling them yourself is not.)
On paper, TJLC (The JohnLock Conspiracy) is not too harmful, you can speculate as much as you want. Where it becomes harmful is where people delve into the realm of delusion. There are many TJLCers who wholeheartedly believe that Johnlock is already canon or has to be canon and it is these people who appear to harbour the strongest negative beliefs about the recent episode and who are doing the most damage to this community.
I have seen countless posts recently along the lines of the following: 'clearly we know more than Moftiss’, 'how could they not see it was so obvious’, etc. Such arrogance as to your own beliefs is extremely harmful to the wider community. You do not know more than the creators of the show, the show is as they intended it to be - anything that you find within the show (with your TJLC-tinted glasses) that supports your predetermined theory is simply you putting two and two together and making five. It was not intended and therefore not symbolic of your beliefs and so your interpretation is no more than that - an interpretation not fact.
Believe it or not, for those of us not in the TJLC community, JohnLock was not obvious - for someone like me, when I first heard of this ship and TJLC I was incredibly surprised because I saw no romantic connection whatsoever - just two friends; and that was all that they were intended by the creators to be. If you were aware of the cast and crews comment of the subject and still deluded yourself into believing that TJLC was true - that was on you. No one else is to blame for your beliefs not lining up with the facts of the show.
Your ship does not rule this fandom and you do not speak for the whole fandom so those of you saying they didn’t give the fandom what they wanted - you are wrong. They didn’t give you what you wanted. You don’t speak for me and you don’t speak for the countless others like me who actually enjoyed the episode and/or are not in any way JohnLock shippers.
Sherlock Holmes and the Delusion of the Fake Episode
For those of you who still believe in some way that the episode was a fake one, that a new episode will come out and say that it was all a dream etc. Again, you are deluding yourself and this is not healthy and will only lead to disappointment. It is what it is. Failure to accept reality for what it is and move on from there, living in a constant state of denial is a serious problem.
I have so much more to say and honestly not the words to say it without going off onto too much of a tangent right now. I may add continuations (in fact I most likely will once I can formulate sentences again) to this if I think of anything.
I know that one post on Tumblr isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference and the fractures in this community may never heal but I honestly could not hold this in any longer.
You are welcome to ask questions or for clarification on any point made or any point you wish me to address.