Thursday 8 April 2010

More on ad Hominem Arguments & Character Assassination in Discussions of Responsible Antiquity Collection

This post on an ancient artefact collecting forum gives a good idea of what goes on there whenever the parameters of responsible collecting are mentioned. Somebody (collector Peter Mahler) had accused the preservationists of being objectionable, in reply Adrian White wrote the following:
In my experience with this group it is generally the pro-collecting people who are the rudest and most obnoxious. For example Mr. Barford, who is often accused among other things of ranting, writes the most level headed and polite posts. It is the Kevins and others who, for example, tell him to 'crawl back into his hole' etc. who are the ranters and 'howlers'. This is because in my view his arguments are unanswerable - he is dedicated to preserving the ancient past for scientific study - it's as simple as that basically. All the rubbish about the 'archaeological elites' etc. is just so much smokescreen to hide the greedy self interest of the 'collecting elites'. The 'pro' group can't find an honest argument to support the rape of ancient sites so they have to resort to ad hominem arguments & character assassination, often couched in sneering or rude language. On another topic it would be nice to be able to read some posts without having trip over glaring spelling and grammar mistakes. It's not that hard really to compose a simple sentence in English and punctuate it appropriately.
Why not register and take a look what collectors say about collecting and what kind of people collect antiquities? After all, it is the common heritage they are appropriating bits of for themselves, claiming to be curating it as "stewards" for us all, so who are these people to whom we entrust it? Take a look.

A typical example of that sneering approach from the pro-collecting "internationalists" is the following from Californian coin dealer Dave Welsh who seems not to have twigged that there is a tradition in the western world of the "April Fool prank". he writes:
This sort of tactic has often been ascribed to the "trolls" who infest Usenet newsgroups ... and apparently derive some sort of perverse pleasure from creating false expectations that they are dead or otherwise defunct. This is however the first case I know of in which an individual widely regarded as a pest in Usenet newsgroups has attempted to create the impression that he is not a real person.
It was satire, Dave. Now quite what a Usenet newsgroup, I do not know, as far as I am aware I do not belong to any, that sounds like a concept from the prehistory of Internet communication. So, to what degree is it "trolling" to talk about responsible collecting with collectors who claim (all) to be responsible and ethical and "doing nothing wrong"?

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

Wow! Simply incredible... Yet, certainly not surprising...

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