THREAD TITLE: More from the "National Enquirer" blogosphere
John - John Hooker
qmor_123 - David Knell
Kyri - bystander
Kerry - bystander
More from the "National Enquirer" blogosphere
Message 1 of 24 , Jul 31, 2010
What a hoot!
This moron cannot even read! The funniest thing, though, is that he publishes about something from a closed list to a public blog -- one that purports to be about ethics.
Enantiodromia, real cult behavior!
Of course, I could say something about not trying to teach one's grandmother how to suck eggs (or something), or talk about that fictional "site" in Oxfordshire.
For now, I'll just enjoy the moment. Life is fun.
Message 2 of 24 , Aug 4, 2010
> This moron cannot even read!
I'm terribly sorry for being a moron. I suspect my abysmal stupidity stems from faulty DNA and I blame my parents. I've been bungling through life ever since I was born upside-down but sadly, as you know, I cannot even read so I could not quite get the drift of what was particularly moronic about my latest faux pas.
Now, it couldn't really be about publishing "something from a closed list to a public blog" could it? Both the "neophyte collector" and the "specialist collector" were deliberately kept anonymous, the quotation was a tiny extract of a few words, and to read the Yahoo post I linked to, you would have to be a member anyway. So that couldn't be it.
Was it "something about not trying to teach one's grandmother how to suck eggs"? Hmmm, my grandmother has her eggs poached, fried or boiled. I don't think she'd want to suck them. And I'm sure you couldn't be referring to a hackneyed phrase that would have swaggered about your ability. So that couldn't be it either.
I don't think I could have been talking "about that fictional 'site' in Oxfordshire". If you had paid very careful attention you would have seen that my blog post is dated 22 June and I don't think you mentioned your tiny 23mm purchase until 29 July. I do understand your fixation with this microscopic "monster" and would have read your scholarly explanation of how your inherent intuition confirmed that it came from a fictional site (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ancientartifacts/message/56714) but as you pointed out, I cannot even read let alone handle a thesis approaching the size of War and Peace. At any rate, it is unrelated to my blog post - which was about antiquities in general rather than the narrow circumstances of a specific case - so that couldn't be what sparked the exposure of my imbecility either.
I am therefore left wondering if my clear lack of reading skills has been reflected in my ability to write. Since you haven't actually so much as mentioned the points I made in my blog post, let alone replied to them, I have to question my command of the English language. I imagine it must be all down to my being a moron.
Or it may be just down to my humdrum prose. Not all of us mere mortals have been gifted with an INFJ personality and are instead cursed with the boring mundanity of having to keep a grip on real life and sanity. It can be quite a burden at times and I do hope you can sympathise.
Such is life. If only I weren't a moron, and thus so susceptible to becoming a brainwashed victim of enantiodromia, I might have been able to grasp the position of your clearly superior intellect and perhaps even to march in step with your own enlightened cult instead of that other one. But I am at least comforted that my blog post gave you a "hoot". I don't think anyone has used that term since the 1920s but it is pleasantly redolent of Bertie Wooster - or at least it would have been if I had been able to read the books.
(Proud member of the Noxious Claque, a snake - and a moron)
Message 3 of 24 , Aug 4, 2010
First, I must apologize for my hostile response. Most often I do not engage in such things -- but it does happen. My wife always used to say that I "poke people with sticks". In our business, I used to be the one to handle "problem people" and often my wife would tell such a person "I think I'll have to let John take care of this." The reaction was often "Oh! --wait, I think we can work things out." My employees used to joke about placing a sign on the gate that read "Beware of John".
Most of the time, I do not actually feel any anger and my demonstrations of such are all staged for effect. My wife compared me to a gorilla in that respect -- I'm mostly very calm, but now and again I beat my chest, tear up a few bushes and make a mock attack charge. Whenever I feel real anger, it is fleeting and I recover from it immediately. Many people think this is very strange. I never "simmer" afterward.
Having said all of that, I still do not think that you exercised much due diligence in assigning opinions to me. If you had followed Steve's sage advice about Googling things, you might have gained a very different opinion about how I go about things. I'm hardly invisible on Google. Type this: "john hooker" celtic.
For example, you say:
"The Celtic specialist shrugs that proveniences "can tell us only so much as this sort of material often traveled far from its origins"."
without saying anything about which sort of material I am talking about. This was all about "high status" La Tène art, not a generalization about provenances.
Through Google, you would have encountered this:
This is a peer-reviewed paper and one of the jurors was not only another Celtic specialist, but also a professor of Archaeology and Head of School. One Irish archaeologist wrote to me saying that they had all taken Rynne's paper for granted for decades before I came along.
It's especially germane to this discussion, because I criticize the use of a site-found high status object (torc) to identify the origin of those at that site -- but then, and this is most important, I use the other, humbler, objects at the site to tell a different story.
As you have claimed that I "pooh-pooh the importance of "provenance""
I am really interested to see how you think I have done that in this paper.
Your "object-based universe" theme paints a picture of archaeologists paying close attention to the context of objects within an archaeological site, while the collector is only interested in, say, one of those objects.
Conversely, my paper reveals a collector paying close attention to the context of objects within an archaeological site, while the archaeologist was only interested in one of those objects.
I think that you might have popped a couple of things in the wrong pigeon-holes -- but perhaps the pigeon-holes, themselves, are wrong.
Message 7 of 24 , Aug 6, 2010
I beg to differ. David attacks me without paying any attention to my published work -- all of which gives a very different picture as to how I treat provenances. For him, and other bloggers, provenance is a religious dogma issue. For serious scholars of the subject it is a mixed bag -- some provenances are useful, others are not. Warwick Rodwell has much to say about the illusory dependence on provenance in: "Lost and found: the archaeology of find-spots of Celtic coins", CBA Occ. paper, _Coinage and Society in Britain and Gaul, Some Current Problems_, 1981.
In the same volume, Haselgrove and Collis' "A computer-based information storage and retrieval scheme for Iron Age coin finds in Britain" Inspired me to go even further so I invented the Celtic Coin Index on line.
I do think it is moronic to say that anyone who would do such a thing could have no serious interest in provenances! I mean -- Duh!
What I originally said about some provenances is no different than what Vincent Megaw says in _Celtic Art: From its Beginnings to the Book of Kells_:
"Our knowledge of the Iron Age in the British Isles is also hampered by the nature of the evidence. Burials with clearly datable grave goods are rare; most weapons come from hoards or single finds deposited in or near water, and many ornaments such as brooches are scattered finds. Even that commonest of artefacts, pottery, rarely comes from securely dated sources and attempts to translate relative pottery sequences into absolute dates are largely useless before the first century B.C. Few sites produce evidence for radiocarbon or dendrochronological (tree ring) dating. How much the archaeological evidence can tell us about invasions is also dubious. Those momentous events in early history, the two campaigns of Caesar or, later, the Norman Conquest. have left virtually no traces in the archaeological record, and it is possible that archaeologists have detected too few rather than too many invasions."
I think it significant that this is the only place where this finial is being discussed which does not pay any attention to the real subject matter of its significance; examplars and survivors of the design elements; the discussion of various scientific testing options and so on.
In none of these other discussions, has "provenance as dogma" emerged as a topic of conversation, save that one archaeology professor and a specialist in "Heritage" matters tells me to pay such attacks no heed and that he believes that the object coming into my possession has resulted in it being greatly discussed in academic circles and this would not have happened if it had vanished into some other private collection or museum stores and was thus ignored.
I joined this list, originally, with the hope of discussing methods in typology and especially in the use of cladistics for such. It was not to discuss Ebay fakes or indulge in religious dogma.
Instead, its main value has been mainly sociological.
Message 11 of 24 , Aug 8, 2010
It amazes me that anyone would think that "A specialist collector of Celtic coinage and other artefacts (and editor of the ACCG Newsletter) has grabbed the chance to pooh-pooh the importance of "provenance" by replying with a few comments which belittle the significance of findspots - but completely misses the point." is not an attack -- especially when it followed by "A narrow perspective is all too common among many collectors, particularly it seems among those who collect ancient coins".
As I am well known in the academic world for my cross-disciplinary approach in this subject it would be considered at the very least a faux pas, that is, if an apology had quickly ensued. That there was no such retraction, it is obviously a calculated attack done intentionally to misinform.
The "other side" has fumbled the ball on this one as to its most useful PR function, but the U.K. will not be making such a mistake. I am involved in a discussion about such PR matters with a U.K. "heritage specialist" and a plan is being formed.
Remember, too, that the comments about archaeologists "detecting too few invasions" is not my quote but is Vincent Megaw's -- A professor of archaeology and a leading expert in Early Celtic Art!
Message 17 of 24 , Aug 12, 2010
Re: More from the "National Enquirer" blogosphere
qmor_123Aug 12, 2010
> David attacks me ...
I used part of your post anonymously as a springboard for discussion and criticised it. I referred to you as a "specialist collector"; you referred to me as a "moron". Spot the difference?
> Your "object-based universe" theme paints a picture of archaeologists
> paying close attention to the context of objects within an archaeological
> site, while the collector is only interested in, say, one of those objects.
> Conversely, my paper reveals a collector paying close attention to the
> context of objects within an archaeological site, while the archaeologist
> was only interested in one of those objects.
> I think that you might have popped a couple of things in the wrong
> pigeon-holes -- but perhaps the pigeon-holes, themselves, are wrong.
On the contrary, you are the one popping things into pigeon-holes. It's a false dichotomy.
> As you have claimed that I "pooh-pooh the importance of "provenance""
> I am really interested to see how you think I have done that in this paper.
Context - that word you hate. You may have examined sites with the Dobunnic equivalent of a fine-tooth comb in every paper you have ever written - but that is not what prompted my blog post and you are still (deliberately?) missing the point.
A new list-member ("neophyte collector") mentioned the importance of provenance: "The collector needs to ask for provenance from the dealer before getting the item" (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ancientartifacts/message/55549).
A responsible person might have replied that provenance, in the almost universal sense of meaning an object's modern history, is very important because it gives the collector an opportunity to avoid contributing to the ongoing wholesale destruction of the archaeological record. It is not always available for minor items and in those cases the collector must exercise their own judgement based on due diligence. The person might *then* have gone on to mention the far less usual sense of provenance in the collecting world, an object's actual findspot (its provenience), and to remark that its loss was deplorable but that artefacts could be of value even without it.
But you didn't. Within 90 minutes of her post, like a bull at a gate, you had dashed off a reply that did *precisely* what I said on my blog. You "grabbed the chance to pooh-pooh the importance of 'provenance' by replying with a few comments which belittle the significance of findspots" and not only overlooked the wider significance of findspots but also completely ignored the usual meaning of "provenance" in the collecting world.
And I'm sure the collector was interested only in La Tène torcs - not anything like Apulian pots, Egyptian antiquities, Roman lamps or anything outlandish like that. Even humouring you for a moment that "high-status La Tène metalwork" is a case apart, why would any responsible person giving advice to a brand-new collector enquiring about antiquities in general advise them that provenance doesn't matter because he is under the impression that it doesn't apply in his own particular interest? It's rather like a learner driver asking if she should be careful not to hit pedestrians and the teacher telling her, "Hell no! Drive as carelessly as you want! I live on a remote uninhabited island so pedestrians are non-existent. Take my advice and don't worry about them!"
Are you really totally oblivious to the bulldozing of sites such as Ratiaria and the destruction of literally thousands of other sites around the world? (http://ancient-heritage.blogspot.com/2009/08/ratiaria-appeal.html) If so, or you just don't care, do you really think you should be offering advice to new collectors about provenance?
Hmmm... Was your reply merely irresponsible? Innocently naive? Unintentionally cavalier? There couldn't be a hidden agenda could there? Nah ...
Oh wait ... there's that thing called "context" isn't there? ...
Context - that word you hate. It's a concept that applies not only to artefacts but to people as well. And you have a rather easily accessible context (oodles of it online). You contributed your modestly-named "Hooker Papers" to the ACCG propaganda machine, you grabbed the chance to edit their Newsletter in 2009, and you have a long history of attacking professional archaeologists (a bit bitter?), or twisting their words to suit your own agenda (e.g. your scary warping of Haselgrove to discount the archaeological record - Moneta-L, 11/5/10, republished on ACCG), in various lists stretching back for years.
Indeed, you are so keen to diss the importance of provenance and context that you are still coming up with irresponsible claptrap such as "I see nothing wrong with buying an unprovenanced item if it can tell us things apart from that detail [the "detail" being the importance of where it came from]" (Ancientartifacts, 8/8/10). Try telling that to historians looking at bulldozed sites in Bulgaria and wondering what thoughtless people bought the goodies.
A good deal of that online context about you appears to be the result of an ego that would make lesser mortals blush. I do understand your self-effacing claim that you "know more about the coins of the Celtic Coriosolite coins than anyone else in the world" (Moneta-L, 30/7/08) but perhaps more to the point are your taunting threats to anyone daring to criticise you in lists or blogs that "I was trained and used as a political weapon in the early seventies" (Britarch, 6/9/03), "I was trained and long ago worked in this sort of thing ... and you have no concept of how good I was at it! Feel very fortunate that I have long retired from this activity ..." (Moneta-L, 24/7/09).
Gosh! I'm trembling! But it appears I am not the only person you consider to be a moron. I gather the term applies to pretty much anyone who is not John Hooker - and you must feel it's incredibly easy to hoodwink us - but despite your professional PR training, and at the unlikely risk of deflating your gloating confidence in it, I should mention that there are one or two of us in the lower orders who dare to question your concocted image. To a few of us, your posts are about as subtle as a whore in spandex - but not half as much fun.
> [David's blog post] is obviously a calculated attack done intentionally to misinform.
No, I gather that's your own area of professional expertise. You're the professionally trained spin-doctor. I just dared to comment.
> I joined this list, originally, with the hope of discussing methods in
> typology and especially in the use of cladistics for such.
Yeah, right. Gimme a break. Of course it is pure coincidence that you made a total of only four posts (all in 2007 and none of which discussed methods in typology) and then posted zilch for nearly three years until the MOU affair earlier this year. Here is your intimidating response to Robyn when she exposed you: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ancientartifacts/message/53607
> It was not to discuss Ebay fakes or indulge in religious dogma.
Oh, I think it was precisely the latter - as long as you could preach your own (deviously intermingled with scholarly stuff to impress and fool the great unwashed of course). Dave Welsh has been making a pig's ear out of proselytising converts for the ACCG lobby so you, the PR expert, thought you'd have a go.
These arguments on the politics of collecting tend to go round in circles and get nowhere - and I do get tired of the constant stream of ACCG propaganda, whether blatant or attempting to be subtle. I decided not to actively participate on this list for that very reason back in May. Rather than preach my point of view and ramming it down the throats of unwilling list-members, I felt it more thoughtful to restrain my thoughts to a separate blog.
I have answered John Hooker's protests here because he raised them here but I have no wish to prolong a tired debate. This post may elicit a sneering but superficially polite response that characteristically rivals the length of the Kama Sutra, offers more pseudo-erudition than Wikipedia and drops more names than the London phone directory - or, if the gods are kind to those still on dial-up connections, it may not.
I do apologise for the length of my own post and will try to refrain from posting again. I'll leave other list-members to judge John Hooker, his real agenda and his logic.
The blog that started this pretend indignation:
Message 19 of 24 , Aug 12, 2010
Quite the conspiracy theory you have going there!
You had written:
"A specialist collector of Celtic coinage and other artefacts (and editor of the ACCG Newsletter) has grabbed the chance to pooh-pooh the importance of "provenance" by replying with a few comments which belittle the significance of findspots - but completely misses the point".
Which was a complete misreading of:
"I have asked for provenance a couple of times -- but to no avail. As I am aresearch collector rather than a hobby collector, my main responsibility is to the truth of the data rather than any background to the object. Most of what I collect is Celtic "high status" decoration -- and provenances can tell us only so much as this sort of material often traveled far from its origins".
Perhaps spotting a hint of the truth, you then say in message below:
" Even humouring you for a moment that "high-status La Tène metalwork"
is a case apart, why would any responsible person giving advice to a
brand-new collector enquiring about antiquities in general advise them
that provenance doesn't matter because he is under the impression that
it doesn't apply in his own particular interest?"
Of course, I didn't say anything like "provenance doesn't matter", and said that I had asked about the provenance of an item a couple of times to no avail! I gave a very short version of what Vincent Megaw had written about the problems of the La Tène period.
I am truly amazed that no one here can tell the difference between what I said and what was reported about my opinions!
It is important to be specific with new collectors as it will set them in the right directions for critical analysis. All you are doing is using them to prop up your fanaticism and dogma.
If you had done your research, you would have seen that I have made many thousands of find spots available to the world here:
One other point -- did it not occur to you that I stopped talking about typology because no one was interested?
It seems that no one here is interested in the Plastic/Disney style finial at all. Elsewhere it gets good discussion and no flames. That says something too.
Fair enough, I'll leave this list out of the news loop on this subject and only post when I have something important to say about Ebay.
Message 23 of 24 , Aug 13, 2010
John has already apologised for calling me a moron. No big deal - I've
been called worse.
What bothered me was his use of this list to push ACCG political
propaganda - but hey, I don't have sleepless nights about that either. I
figure the members of this list are adults who can make up their own
minds - which is why I don't push my own point of view here except in
response to personal attacks or particularly misleading or offensive
posts by other people.
John has posted on other lists about his 'finial' and I understand he is
looking forward to reaping a large profit from it at auction after it
has been duly 'legitimised' by being published in an academic journal.
But academic publication must follow certain procedures and a
pre-release of images might jeopardise that. Without academic
publication behind it, the item would attract far fewer bidders in the