Thursday 27 September 2012

Weißer als weiß: Matthew Bogdanos and Cyrus Vance to Blame?

Arthur Houghton President of the US Cultural Policy Research Institute, writing about the recent text on "responsible coin collecting" on the paid coiney lobbyist's blog makes an odd accusation:
There are elements of my friend Peter Weiss' article that are clear and make sense, others not. As all of us know, however, it was a coerced product, ordered by the court and carefully vetted by selected individuals, some of whom have been acknowledged by Ute Wartenberg. A more germane question, and one that goes to the point of coercion -- and thus a catastrophic loss of the article's credibility -- is who else may have intervened in the article's wording and who may have cleared it for publication. 
Well, I wonder - given the author and the circumstances leading up to its writing - just how much "credibility" this article has anyway. An ancient coin dealer caught with dodgy stuff suddenly being converted to being as pure as the driven snow? I suppose miracles can happen. Houghton however thinks this article is not in the form in which it left Weiss's word processor. He further and names two people he is of the opinion "might" have exercised an editorial hand - Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos and Cyrus Vance.
Could we have a little transparency please? Would Mr. Bogdanos come out of the shadows and simply tell us all, "I did it?" To address him directly, could you man up and let us know exactly what your role was in creating, framing and clearing Peter Weiss' article? 
Does Houghton think Bogdanos wrote the article to which Weiss appended his name?  Why does he consider that somebody who already has over a hundred articles in peer-reviewed medical and other journals and several books to his name is incapable of penning one simple, short article on responsible coin collecting? It's not rocket science.

Why would its author be Bogdanos? A dealer who'd just made several hundred thousand dollars profit from his "Cabinet W" sale could presumably easily hire an anonymous  ghost writer to knock out the draft such a text for a few hundred dollars and could have done a more thorough job. I think he could find such a writer with great ease. No need for any US official to hold his hand.

There are bits of the published text that do not "make sense", but I personally think that can be put down to poor authorship and haste rather than outside interference. I would imagine if several people had been involved in collaboration in writing it, the text would be more coherent and rounded, and cover some of the elements Weiss left out (like site finds). The evidence that the text was not heavily edited after submission (so by the people named in the magazine editor's own text) is contained in that very text where Ute Kagan-Wartenberg attempts to make up for Weiss's omissions. If there had been editorial interference, she'd have just sent the text back with instructions to change it to take account of the points she instead made herself. The evidence seems to me against Mr Houghton's conspiracy theory. (The fact that it is a short article is the reason why the ANS in order to make it look more substantial had to bulk it out with photos obtained from the persons mentioned in the editorial.)

Anyway, I'd like to know what passages both conspiracy-theorists Tompa  and Houghton think have been excised from the original text of Weiss? Maybe, instead of making up conspiracy theories, the CPRI in the interests of transparency can get hold of the original autograph manuscript of this article produced by their mutual friend Arnold-Peter Weiss with any handwritten alterations and publish it on their website? 

Far better though would be for the CPRI to set out on their webpage which elements of the proposals of Weiss are "clear and make sense", with an open discussion of what they consider does not - perhaps with comments from the author himself, rather like a forum piece. Then we will be able to see the CPRI position on responsible collecting more clearly than on the basis of what we have seen from them so far. Can they do that? "Could we have a little transparency please?"

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