Monday 1 August 2011

More on the "Naxi Affair" Incited by a Washington Lawyer

We have seen the "cultural property lawyer" Peter Tompa of the Washington firm Bailey & Ehrenberg ("experienced attorneys with solid reputations...") throwing out various accusations addressed to the Roosevelt family, the Library of Congress and the Rubin Museum about their exhibition of some antiques bought in China in in the 1930s. When pulled up about these statements he points out his weasel-wording to Lucille A. Roussin:
Dear Ms. Roussin - The blog posting you reference did not indicate I thought the material was stolen; it indicated that under various theories espoused by SAFE members it could be deemed stolen. The reference to the exit of the material was taken from a Newspaper article that was used as publicity for the show. I've already given Ms. Ho an opportunity to post a response to the blog. I have no objection to posting this letter as well. I’m sure you agree that the reader can draw their own conclusions.
Yes, indeed we can Mr Tompa. All is now quite clear. A US lawyer is here behaving like a little boy pulling little girl's pigtails in the schoolyard. Tompa now says, "I certainly don't personally believe the artifacts were stolen and am happy that they were put on display", so what on earth was the point the provocative blog text was supposed to be making?

Tompa says "some repatrionists (sic) might consider [these items] "stolen"..." well, first of all I am not clear what the term "repatrionist" covers. Is this somebody who considers items illegally exported should return to the country from which they were taken? That is what the 1970 UNESCO Convention covers. But then which "repatrionists" (names, references) consider that the items Tompa was writing about fall under the measures of the Convention? What are these "various theories espoused by SAFE members" (names, references)? Can Mr Tompa actually point to anything concrete that would justify writing what he did? Readers can indeed "judge for themselves" whether this is additional evidence that (rather than confirming a "solid reputation") Peter Tompa's "Cultural Property Observer" blogging is just an exercise in fog-generating provocation and white noise lacking in any substance or justification?

Vignette: Billy Bunter.

1 comment:

David Gill said...

"Yellow journalism" springs to mind.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.