Tuesday, May 10, 2011


There have been a lot of inspirations for the Toobworld concept: "The Incompleat Enchanter" by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague deCamp, "The Magic Umbrella" by Marvin Kaye, and the "Cineverse" trilogy by Craig Shaw Gardner. And there was also the research done by the Mythopoeic Society and the Baker Street Irregulars into the minutiae of Tolkien's and Conan Doyle's work, respectively.

As an example, the birthday for Sherlock Holmes was never stated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but Christopher Morley was able to extrapolate that it was January 6.

Here's how the City Room blog of the New York Times described the process in 2009:

Another argument for Jan. 6 was made by William S. Baring-Gould, who produced the first annotated Sherlock Holmes collection. He and others have argued that “The Valley of Fear,” the final Sherlock Holmes novel, starts on Jan. 7.

Mr. Holmes seems to be a little cranky at the beginning of the story and snaps at Dr. John H. Watson. But why would he be in a bad mood? Because of a hangover. Why would he have a hangover? He must have been celebrating the night before. What could he have been celebrating? Certainly it was his birthday.

So I try to do the same thing with the trivial nuggets I pick up along my own path of Toobworld research.

My latest theory concerns the reason for the antagonism between Secret Service agent Peterson and former FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III in the season premiere of 'Doctor Who'. (That's right! Despite that mini-marathon of blog posts last week, I'm still not done with the two-parter of "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day Of The Moon".)

To me, it looked as though there was bad blood between "Three-Part Canton" and Peterson even before the security breach caused by the Doctor's arrival in the Oval Office. And since the Time Lord was able to slip the police box right past Peterson, that only put him deeper into the defensive.
But I think their antagonism, based on their remarks (especially Canton's), showed that there already was no love lost between them.

And I also think "love" is the operative word.

First, based on what has been shown during the first season of 'Covert Affairs', there are certain bars favored by members of the intelligence community in the nation's capital. Some would be frequented by the CIA only, others by the FBI. There may be others which cater to both the Secret Service as well as the FBI.

And it's not like agents go to these bars only to hobnob with each other; if you're working with someone for a full 8 hour plus shift, do you really want to extend that relationship into your downtime?

So it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that some agents might meet in these common bars with friends of theirs from outside of work, perhaps even with family members.

What if Secret Service agent Peterson had a brother, who came into town to visit his older sibling? Wouldn't it be likely Peterson would take that brother out once he was off-duty, perhaps start off at the bar he liked to frequent as a way of showing the brother what he did in his off-hours?

Now, let's go back to one of the last scenes in "Day Of The Moon", after the Doctor and his Companions departed the Oval Office, leaving former agent Canton Everett Delaware III alone with President Richard Nixon.

As he left, the Doctor urged the President to allow Canton the chance to get married, which was the reason why he had left the FBI. At the time, his desire to marry was at odds with the Agency's policy and with the Law.
Nixon assumed the most likely obstacle - "This person you want to marry... black?"

Canton replied, "Yes."

Nixon: "I know what people think of me, but perhaps I'm a little more liberal than—"

But Canton cut him off: "He is."

That revelation was something Nixon wasn't ready to deal with.......
So that got me thinking - who was it that Canton wanted to marry?

What if Canton was in that same bar on the night when Peterson brought his brother in for a drink? Having a professional acquaintance, perhaps Peterson saw Canton barside and brought over his brother to introduce him to the FBI agent. Maybe he thought it might impress his brother.

Imagine his shock when it became obvious that his brother was more than impressed!

The anger that he felt toward Canton because of the relationship that developed between him and Peterson's brother may have been rerouted from how he felt towards his own flesh and blood. Instead of accepting the fact that his brother was a homosexual, he instead blamed Canton for leading the brother down a path he must have seen as aberrant - as if his brother had a choice in his sexual orientation, and despite the fact that the brother was just as much into Canton.

And Canton was not the type of man to be lenient towards Peterson because his thinking was fast becoming outdated. (The Stonewall riots had just happened that previous month.)  I'm sure he would have reveled in the opportunity to show Peterson up.
And that would be why Canton and Peterson were already at odds with each other, before the Doctor even showed up.

This is all predicated on the suggestion that Agent Peterson had a brother, of course.....



Hugh said...

I didn't know that was how Holmes' birthday was calculated, and it seems a bit sloppy to me. After all, 6 January is Epiphany, often a source for parties and celebrations (for 12th Night, or Old Christmas, or just an excuse for one last holiday blowout), so the hangover did not have to come from a birthday celebration. And Holmes isn't the type to necessarily celebrate either.

Toby O'B said...

That was the first argument put forth in the blog item, and it was the first time I heard of it. But I've known Morley's splainin for decades now and always liked it, so I wanted to highlight that one.

Sean Levin said...

It also had to do with the fact that TWELFTH NIGHT is the only Shakespeare play Holmes quotes twice in the Canon.

Toby O'B said...

LOL! Also quoted in that opening argument from the City Room blog.....

Toby O'B said...

Here was the preceding paragraph from that blog post about Holmes' birthday:

So why Jan. 6?

Paul Singleton, a Sherlockian scholar and actor in New York, said Christopher Morley made the following argument: Sherlock Holmes quotes Shakespeare often, but the only play he quotes twice is “Twelfth Night.” “He determined that Sherlock Holmes was born on the twelfth night, which is January 6.” (That date would coincide with the night of the 12 drummers drumming from the famed song. The drummers’ labors costs, incidentally, are used to calculate of gifts forms a good consumer price index).

And here's the url for the complete post: