Thursday, 9 July 2009

"Wise not to respond"?

I was having a look through Wayne Sayles’ “ancient coin collecting (sic) blog” and was struck by one comment sent by coin collector Bill Donovan from New York. It was appended to a text by Sales about the Euphronios krater, in which as far as I could see my name does not appear once. So it is very odd to see that he wrote...

It is hard to decipher all the arguments, because behind a facade of logic sits an irrational foundation. When you try to argue with someone or something who holds an irrational viewpoint (which they are probably unconscious of) you get drawn into their insanity. I think you are wise not to respond to Paul Barford, for the reason mentioned above.
Wise not to be drawn into my insanity, into my irrationality? Anyone would think that instead of the effects of the no-questions-asked antiquities trade, I was discussing FEMA prison trains, thought control chips inserted into citizens’ heads, conspiracy theories about the personal life of a US Secretary of State or whatever. According to MR Donovan there is a mere facade of logic in my position, but the underlying foundation does not fit what Mr Donovan considers rational. Mr Donovan is very proud of his artwork, let us watch and listen to him talking about it on his blog “inkstained hands” (caution: contains coins and topless video scene). The "rationality" Mr Donovan seeks apparently looks a bit like this, or maybe this, or as seen here and here (etc.).

The author of this art considers it the “wisdom” of the proponents of the no-questions-asked market to avoid answering the questions and points raised by their critics. Instead of dismissing a position by pretending it is "based on an irrational foundation", what would be even more wise would be to do what the critics of no-questions-asked collecting are doing to the arguments of its proponents. We are consistently exposing the irrationality at the core of their own arguments and stubbornly-maintained positions. After all, if critics of no-questions-asked market really are using irrational arguments, it should be easy to chase them (us) off the field of public debate on the heritage. There would be no need for all the personal attacks and glib platitudes that substitute in the pro-collecting rhetoric (I use the term loosely) for proper reasoned debate. Mr Donovan might do well to try to articulate that "irrationality" he sees in the archaeological resource preservation case - if he cannot put it into words, maybe (please) in the form of a cycle of colour-clash cartoonic artworks.

Photo: When it comes to accidental art, I personally prefer something more like this.

1 comment:

Paul Barford said...

I see that Bill Donovan continues his accusations that calls for ethical collecting are irrational “I agree with Peter Tompa and Wayne Sayles, you seem biased and irrational”. and adds: “I am also an American collector (Afghanistan War Veteran)”.
Oh great, let’s all fall at the feet of the Mighty Gum-Chewing Warrior with his big boots and guns and thank him for going to foreign lands and beating up tribesmen. Apparently that is supposed to be some kind of justification - but I cannot think for what....

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