Friday, 20 August 2010

Talking Rot About "Rot at the Top"

On Wednesday 18th August (so a full day after my own post on the topic) an ACCG-affiliated Moneta-L member wrote an odd "contribution to the debate" about US cultural policies. It is called " CPAC Outlaws" (sic):
Hi all, Extralegal: not regulated or sanctioned by law. (Webster's) unveiling-executive-branchs-extralegal.html

or, (if you choose to avoid the main point):
Anyone who has had anything written about them by Barford et al. will be familiar with how everything is twisted to their own ends. It's obvious now that the rot goes close to the top!
Tunnel vision: *2* *:* extreme narrowness of viewpoint*: narrowmindedness*; /also/ *:* single-minded concentration on one objective (Webster)
Here it can be seen to what extent ACCG members feel the need for a "balanced bibliography" in their discussions of portable antiquity issues. At the time this was written there were (at least) FOUR texts on the topic of this paper, two enthusiastically welcoming it (Fincham and Tompa), one which the author of the forum post attempts to persuade coineys "misses the point". But one text is not mentioned at all, even though its author is specifically mentioned in that post. A day earlier "Barford" had posted a text on this blog which suggests that there is no "pattern" unveiled, no rot at the top has been "unveiled". How typical that the coiney propagandist does not tell the coiney forums that this fourth text is out there proposng a different view of Adler and Urice's production.

The connection between what Adler and Urice claim to have "unveiled" and collectors and dealers having "anything written about them by Barford et al." is unclear to me. Let it be noted however that typically n0-questions-asked collectors/dealers accuse "archaeologists" or specific groups of them of something or other, but most frequently without backing that up with any kind of reference where the reader can check the truth of the assertion. I make assertions about no-questions-asked trade and collecting of artefacts based not on fictional generalisations and stereotypes as in their case, but referring to specific cases made available through the wondrous properties of the internet and other media. At the basis of what I write is a reference to where any reader who so cares can check out where I got the information from and, more importantly see it for themselves in its original context. Whether or not "everything is twisted to [my] own ends" can of course be judged by the reader.

As is my prerogative as a blogger, I present my own personal 'take' on what I see, but I am not shy of indicating where I saw it, why should I be when it is what I am writing about? The author of the above-mentioned forum post however apparently does not want HIS readers to be aware that there was a fourth text he did not mention - still less explain where my analysis of what Urice and Adler wrote is wrong, and indeed intellectually dishonest.

When are the no-questions-asked dealers' lobby going to engage in honest and open debate of the issues and not shut their own discussions away on closed-access forums like Moneta-L and AncientArtifacts, and fob the rest of us off with their habitual glib denials, avoiding uncomfortable issues and feelgood propaganda?


David Gill said...

My post expanded reflected on one aspect of the paper, the Egyptian coffin seized in Miami. The draft article (it is not a finished piece of research as far as I can see) contains a series error as it misidentifies the importer; I reflect on this here.
Best wishes

Paul Barford said...

"Serious" I presume. I think they are intellectually dishonest over at least one point (see my comments earlier) and the question is of course whther their error over the identity of this individual was deliberate or not. Are they trying to conceal the identity of the importer who it seems has been in trouble over illegal imports before, or is it a careless mistake? In either case, can we trust that the rest of the presentation is accurate?

Coineys do, but that does not mean to say that the thinking public does.

David Gill said...

you make a good point about carelessness by the authors of the draft article. What other inaccuracies are lurking their piece?

Paul Barford said...

Well, more to the point to establish a "pattern" really requires them to show that the cases they discuss (literally FIVE between 1996 and 2008) are a substantial portion of the cases where confiscations were involved. I.e., that they are not missing out hunks of information on cases which conform to those laws. As we know from the newspapers it is simply not true that there have been little more than "five" cases in that period. There have been about four or five in the last month or so.

They have not demonstrated that there is a "pattern" (still less, have they "unveiled" it). What they've shown is that there are isolated incidences, and I really do not see why that is surprising.

If they want to see law upheld, they really ought to look at the sentencing of the Four Corners looting cases and the sad little plea bargains that are being allowed there making a mockery of ARPA.

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