Wednesday 26 May 2010

"Messy, murky issues clouding the market"

David Gill's "Messy, murky issues clouding the market" on the Miller article I discussed here earlier is worth reading. He picked up a couple of aspects I overlooked.

Wayne Sayles (for that is who no doubt hides behind the initials "wgs") has replied on the original article using precisely the kind of muddying rhetoric to which Gill refers:
It is glamorous to argue for the retention of national treasures. However, few who read this sort of "news" realize that the laws and administrative processes designed to prevent genuine travesties are indiscriminately and capriciously being applied by bureaucrats, in nationalist countries and in the U.S., to some of the most innocuous and incidental types of objects from the past. This returns us to the cloistered elitism of the Middle Ages, where the common man is fed only institutional propaganda. Under the guise of "protection", state politics and special interests have taken culture and its heritage away from the very people who create it and rightly cherish it.
No, that is looters, Mr Sayles.

(The looters from whom western collectors indiscriminately and [directly or indirectly] buy the things they collect).


Unknown said...

I've seen this odd argument before: that museums, and public ownership, are "elitist", whereas private ownership of antiquities by wealthy collectors is "popular". Again a failure of imagination faced with the notion of the public-- a willed failure, a political one

Paul Barford said...

Well, of course those buying "three pounds of broken Roman bits [looted from near Vidin]" or collectors of "Roman grot" coins are not the richest of people I guess, but the position is still an elitist one, getting hands on things taken from others and preventing them from proper access to the heritage of their own lands.

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