Saturday 30 August 2014

Intelligently weighing facts and circumstances

Wayne Sayles June 24, 2014, 3:30 pm

Wayne Sayles likes to appear to be seeking dialogue, just not on his blog. I queried the name calling and admonition to go and "get ***ed" used there on Thursday, August 28, 2014 regarding myself, and posted a link to my answer to the point made there about the Syrian sanctions (trying to make out that bolstering the licit trade was an attack on it) and nothing else. It was not posted, but this was his reply:
By the way, I routinely block posts from certain agitators in my comments section for that very reason. This blog is not a forum for debate.
Well, we can discuss it here on this blog as part of the ongoing public heritage debate if Mr Sayles would like to say why he thinks stopping stolen, looted and smuggled artefacts coming to the UK from Syria is an attack on legal collectors and dealers. I do not get the point made of his blog, and I am sure I am not the only one eager to hear a more detailed exposition of the dealer's point of view. That's unlikely, but not - you understand - because he has any problems articulating such ideas. Oh no, no it's our fault:
I went through a phase of indignant rebuttal to archaeo-blogger polemics but realized that it was consuming time, energy and enthusiasm better directed toward more worthy endeavors. It is a futile confrontation. I try to ignore them and reach out to those who are capable of intelligently weighing facts and circumstances.
Like metal detectorist John Howland he means. He's unlikely to attract them to a little brown blog which allows no debate. What he actually means is he really has no answers to the questions which the archaeo-bloggers urging responsible collecting are raising. Especially as he is trying to make people believe that when we argue for more transparency and accountability in the antiquities trade in order to force out the dodgy dealers, what we are instead doing is characterised as "an effort to clamp down on legitimate collecting". It takes a specific mindset to appreciate how trying to reinforce the legitimacy of the legitimate trade is somehow an attack on that (very same) legitimate trade, rather than being an effort to clamp down on the illicit antiquities trade. These are nothing more than weasel words of a dealer in denial.

Clamping down on the illicit antiquities trade is surely something one would have thought that the collectors Sayles claims to represent would be all for, though it might make some shady dealers and their shadowy business partners rather unhappy perhaps. So on whose side is Sayles and his weasel worded denials? I think those "who are capable of intelligently weighing facts and circumstances" do not blindly buy dugup antiquities on the no-questions-asked market. They come to sites like SAFE, David Gill, Rick St Hilaire, Donna Yates and mine for the "facts and circumstances", rather than those of the weasel wording ageing shopkeepers moaning that nobody's listening to him any more.

Intelligently weighing facts and circumstances, it seems to me that the reader can really come to only one conclusion why US dealers are behaving in this manner, and why.


Nathan Elkins said...

The notion that Mr. Sayles and Tompa search are after genuine dialogue is pretty laughable. As you and others have pointed out, their blogs of full of little more than vitriol and personal attacks - hardly the way to have a "genuine dialogue", especially when you forbid the posting of contrary opinions. They also attempt to compromise the employment of those in the academic community whose opinions and work their fear or disagree with. Again, hardly a way to have a "genuine dialogue". As I have stated and written before, you can't have a dialogue with commercial interests whose sole purpose is to maintain a damaging status quo. The reasons they seek to maintain it is obvious and that they seek to maintain is apparent by their own tactics and statements. If there is to be a constructive dialogue, the obstructionist commercial interest must be circumnavigated. There are indeed many collectors and dealers who disagree with these people and their goals. It is unfortunate that they are rather quiet as such agitators represent the trade badly. But it is often true that more productive dialogue can be achieved quietly, without the attention of internet rolls.

Paul Barford said...

Yes, that is a point that came out very clearly in the commenting following the publication of a text referring to your Biblical Archaeology Review article.

It became clear that there was a discrete group whose sole concern was to deflect discussion by a series of trollish tactice which coin dealers and metal detectorists share. As I said at the end: "I think if you look through the sixty-odd comments above, one can see clearly who is interested in discussing the issues Elkins points out, and who is putting a lot of effort into deflecting attention away and discouraging further discussion of those issues. What collectors and dealers are doing here is not controlling the debate, but alienating themselves from it".

You are right, this sort of behaviour only ensures that when the direction of change is discussed, it will largely be done behind the backs of people like this and those they claim to represent. Serves them right.

Nathan Elkins said...

wow, typos in that comment of mine! I'd like to blame the new keyboard at least for "internet [t]rolls".

Paul Barford said...

I'd like to think you were justifiably angry at the travesty of the non-arguments of the no-question-asked-purveyors.

Nathan Elkins said...

no doubt.

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