Sunday, 24 October 2021

Personal: Why Barford May Seem to be a bit of a Bastard

           Real Bastards
I'm just trying today to deal with two long (other people's) texts on disparate topics today and catch up with my emails. Last week, a reader/colleague castigated me on a comment I made here a few days ago. Maybe he's right and I should edit it. But as far as the criticism went, I made the point that in my view the web-persona expressed here actually does not correspond totally with the real Paul who is "quite nice really" (people say). He commented that "I'm not always quite so keen on the sometimes overly aggressive 'Web-Barford' persona!". I thought about this, responded, but then cut it out of the mail, which was rather long anyway, but thought I'd put it up here to set this blog in its context:
"[***], thanks for that comment. I recognise that “Web Barford” may or may not be counter-productive. IT's too late to change now. Some people like it and engage with it. As you know, he exists to counter the effects of the current, existing and entrenched fey wishy-washy, laissez faire approach of the majority of the UK’s 6000 jobsworth archaeologists and heritage professionals (PAS and CBA in particular) towards “metal detectorists” and collectors in general. It seemed to me when I started this, 20 years ago, that the English speaking public was getting from them a very one-sided and wholly benign vision of the hobby, instead of the more complex nuanced one they deserve. So I thought it might be of use to occupy the other end of the spectrum. Odd, isn’t it, that nobody (nobody – correct me if I am wrong) advocating a middle road and a true responsible approach has started up any substantive resource at all sincerely promoting that. At one end of a spectrum of views, we have a mass of “Helsinki Gang/Bonny and Suzie” wishy-washy, “wouldn’t it be nice” crap, and a flood of the  one-sided, superficial “partnership is producing wonderful results, look (but not at that, that and that)” misdirection waffle. There’s Barford and Heritage Action (and HAPPAH) at the other end shouting about needing to see both sides of the coin (“for example, look at this...”), but nothing in the middle (“yes this and this are good, but what do we do about these problems?”). That’s not (I would argue) my fault. I do not see any evidence that would suggest that if I had not started my activities, those realistic, robust “middle way” approaches would be out there now.
But it's not too late. There is a (real) world of issues out there to face.


Brian Mattick said...

Detecting without reporting is plundering. How is criticism of that "overly aggressive"?

If ever the charge gets you down, look across the Channel. Wall-to-wall Barfords.

Dorothy King said...

You are a nice guy. But you also have the right to be sarcastic on the Internet. Both work for me (don’t care whether they do for others).

Paul Barford said...

Thanks Dorothy, oddly enough, I just thought about you two minutes ago as I made another coffee. Weird.

Basically, if someone does not like what I write they can just go to the other stuff, there is far more of it to choose from. Anyone directly criticised here always has the right to reply.

Dorothy King said...

I think people are getting too into their own echo chambers. I know I was just getting fed up with people misbehaving because of lockdown stress and got ratty at people who didn’t deserve it (including you).

But it’s a weird state of current culture which slightly worries me. People want just praise and adulation (Instagram influencers), and anyone who disagrees with anything is labelled a “troll” - and anything they disagree with is now re-defined as “hate soda jerk” (that’s the auto correct for “hate speech” 🤯).

There’s a difference between discussing and arguing, but that distinction is now lost on people. Or so it seems.

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