Monday, February 17, 2014
Which Office Do I Go To To Get My Reputation Back?
Federal prosecutors have dropped all smuggling charges against Joe Lewis II, a well-known collector of Egyptian antiquities. The much ballyhooed case against Lewis and two co-defendants never lived up to the initial hype, stoked by the U.S. Attorney's press office, the archaeological blogosphere and former Egyptian Antiquities Pharaoh Zahi Hawass (who at the time was desperately trying to keep his job). And now, with Lewis exonerated, he's the one who should be asking that famous question, "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"
Posted by Cultural Property Observer at 10:51 AM
Labels: Egypt, stolen antiquities, US Customs, Zahi Hawass
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John H. posted this comment on my blog. CPO modified it a bit to delete some personal information:
“They are against private collecting; they think it’s a sin,” said Lewis, adding that some critics took the opportunity to denounce him, using the charges as evidence that the “world is being looted” of ancient cultural property.
“I think most museums will tell you that collectors like me are important to the protection of cultural property,” Lewis said.
Has he hit the nail firmly on the head. Oh, by the way, the Reputation Recovery Office won't be here:
Are you so really desperate to make it look like people are reading your blog that you rely on trolling two-liners from metal detectorists? [I assume that it was my address Mr Howland for some reason wanted to publicise, perhaps you could tell him to stop this harassment, maybe he will listen to you].
Collectors of course could make a great deal more of a contribution to the protection of cultural property than they currently do. That goes for UK and US metal detectorists as well as those that hunt no-questions-asked for artefacts in the stockrooms of dealers.
Mr. Barford, as noted I edited this post to delete your street because I don't think that information should be made public. It's no secret on your own blog that you live in Warsaw. I'll note that you've posted pictures of offices of the CPRI and ACCG on your blog. So, please don't play the victim here.
I am not "playing the victim", but what Mr Howland is doing here and elsewhere IS harrassment.
[I think we can agree that the offices of public organizations is a different matter from a private residence]
I merely asked what THAT kind of post is doing on a professional legal blog. You deleted the address so you COULD publish a trolling two-liner from a metal detectorist. Is that because nothing more substantive is likely to come CPO's way?
Given the content of your own blog, filled as it is with personal attacks, I'm not sure what your point is about this blog. I've published all of your comments, perhaps with one or two exceptions, which were way over the top, not sure why I shouldn't post Mr. Howland's with the edit to protect your home address. If you have a work address you'd like to publish, please do.
Mr. Howland made a valid point about Mr. Lewis. The decent thing to do would be to at least note on your blog that Mr. Lewis has been exonerated, but something tells me you won't or spin it some other way.
If you were to OBSERVE my blog, you would OBSERVE that throughout my coverage of the case, I have been very sceptical of the value of the case against the collector, but I'd not expected you to OBSERVE anything so subtle.
You might also OBSERVE that I have also been sceptical of the US approach to the fourth man accused, which is a very clear case of overreach.
If there is any single figure in the world most responsible for the animosity between collectors and archaeologists today it is Paul Barford. I wonder if they will engrave that on his tombstone as some sort of badge of honor. Personally, I think it should earn Mr. Barford a place in infamy alongside others of his ilk. He is a scourge and a disgusting display of what mainline academia allows without comment these days. Is collector-bashing really in the interests of organizations like the AIA, CBA, the museum community and a host of regional associations? Indeed of the general public? If they think it is productive, the eventual consequences rest squarely on their shoulders. The Paul Barfords of the world come and go. They do nothing constructive and they are monuments only in their own minds. Fifty years from now, the contributions of ancient coin collectors will still be heralded while the name Paul Barford will be virtually unknown except to a few academics who dwell in the world of minutiae.
For Mr. Barford, I've read what you've written about him and I'm not sure I observed anything resembling sympathy for Mr. Lewis or his position. But if I'm wrong as you suggest, why don't you say as much on your blog. Your blog as well as Prof. Gill's and Rick St. Hilaire's has been strangely silent about this development. Gill in particular should duly note this development given his coverage of the matter.
Wayne, I think you are overstating Mr. Barford's influence. I think the AIA is the party with the real influence and its ideological approach to these issues the root cause of the animosity between collectors and archaeologists. Peter
Arthur Houghton asked me to post this:
"Gentlemen, why is so much being said about someone with so little distinction or worth? It is time to move on and leave behind the refuse of this man's views.
Arthur and Wayne,
I'd say Mr. Barford has quite a bit of knowledge about archaeology (if not numismatics) and a lot of obvious passion, but it's all too often misdirected in personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees (even sometimes others in the archaeological community).
I don't think his blog or any blog for that matter (including this one) has much influence in the end, though it and those of his fellows does perhaps provide some useful cover for the State Department and US Customs doing what they want, words of the governing statute (the CPIA) notwithstanding.
I would suggest however, that the AIA does have a lot of influence, again though more to help justify what State wants to do anyway.
You would think the State Department should care about the interests of US collectors and small businesses, but they are more interested in trading off one thing for another and unfortunately we are one of their chits.
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