Sunday, 5 October 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Irresponsible Evasion Monkeys

Looking the other way, pretending
not to see the problem (BBC)
Over on a metal detecting forum near you is a nine-page discussion of the sitcom "Detectorists" broadcast on Thursday and made by fellow metal detectorist MacKenzie Crook. For nine pages UK metal detectorists go on about how much they enjoyed the show and thought all the details had been realistically observed, many recognised themselves and their (and spouse's) behaviours accurately depicted on the small screen. Several commentators were especially delighted with the scene at the end where the detecting duo approach a slightly deranged farmer for search permission. Not one comment diverged from that pattern and said it presented any kind of unreal picture. What's more, the nearest we got to any comment on the "responsibility" depicted was that one of the characters threw down his machine instead of laying it gently on the grass. Yet the moment someone from outside the hobby notices that no search-and-take agreement  is signed with the landowner, then the tone changes. One seminonymous "Wal68" informs me:
I have been detecting for over 30 year years. You need to get a sense of humour. It's not a documentary.
Assuming that the fact that this sad character has been detecting for three decades is not the joke,. I assume he did not understand the bit of my text where I wrote that I enjoyed the comedy. "It is not a documentary" - well it is, it is a document of how its writer sees the hobby and nine pages of metal detecting forum comments  suggest that lots of members also see it that way, and are happy seeing it presented in precisely such a fashion.  Nobody commented "but hey, they din' sign any permissins". That forum has  6593 members, at this moment there are 326 users online, that thread has 177 replies and has been read 4357 times. I think the fact that nobody thought of criticising the programme for an "inaccurate portrayal, because no permissins was signd" is indeed a documentation of an attitude among the community as a whole. Check it out while you can, no doubt the thread will soon be hidden now this has been pointed out - always happens.

It always happens because UK's metal; detectorists are irresponsible evasion monkeys. They refuse to take responsibility for their hobby, they refuse to face issues about it, they in fact persistently look away and ignore the existence of those issues, they are in perpetual denial. They love playing the victim, the people raising the issues are just 'persecuting' them (personally) and should be ignored. If they make a reasoned point - simply deny it. If there is evidence cited, hide it wherever possible. That's their only tactic. And we see it once again here. Andy and Lance did not sign a search and take agreement - even though they believe they are on the trail of a fantastic gold hoard, and instead of agreeing with me that it is unfortunate that the programme did not depict that fundamental piece of responsible detecting, we are treated to a childish show of denial.

Of course the NCMD was invited to advise on the programme, had they not behaved in their usual precious stand-offish way there would have been an opportunity to have picked this up and set the record straight. But the fact of the matter is that most metal detectorists one comes in contact with tend  to be quick to take offence and walk off in a huff, rather than deal with issues.  Time and time again this is a pattern which is repeated. And the PAS looks on and still tries to convince us that "they doing good". Yeah.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".   


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