Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mr. Geldof Cedes the Field...

[UPDATED]

Geldof:

I'm getting a mixed message here that 1- I'm full of crap and should be ignored on all points and 2- I'm apparently a tool of some complex conspiracy orchestrated against the authors. I also get the impression that, at this point, nothing I say will turn this around and apparently that was my fault from the start.

Firstly, I wrote this (ill advised) review on my own, for my own reasons. I have never met, not conversed, with Mr. Cvet.

Yes, the review was poorly worded, yes, it's uncharitable and clearly was considered provocative and inflammatory (and I'm not arguing that it wasn't, and I should have toned that down). I did not think I needed to establish my credentials for this review given the place and that my issue was mostly with method. Hauke was the wring example, (ie. I was wrong on Hauke) but I don't think there is any point in me offering an alternative example. Apparently I have lost all credibility with the authors anyway. Yes, I should have been more specific in referencing my claims from your work.

No, I am not picking a fight over some sour-grapes over being beaten to the punch at publication (I am not your competition, I'm one of the marginal readers of your work and the work of others in your field).

How about this. I will surrender the field to the authors. I will leave the review as a monument of arms for the authors enjoyment. I will own my mistakes as readily as I will own my successes. I will now crawl back to my ivory tower and I will stay out of your playground.

If you want, you could have the review removed by reporting it to Amazon as abusive.

My reply:

Re: 1, I never implied that you should be ignored on all points. re: 2, the fact that you wrote an MA thesis on the English longsword texts (and did not declare such) says quite a lot. It's also very unlikely that two such theses would exist within the incestuous circles of academia w/out the separate authors being aware of one another's work. It's just a little too much of a coincidence for me to let go. Given the misleading nature of your review, its admitted inflammatory elements, your failing to disclose your bias (and previous work - something that I know for a fact is standard academic procedure), and your unsupported statements, I have no reason to take you at your word. 

None whatsoever.

I do not have a degree, Mr Geldof. I actually have to FIGHT to be taken seriously. And, whereas your academic background gives you a certain cache, perhaps, it DOES NOT give you carte blanche to make a lot of aspersions WITH ZERO SUPPORTING EVIDENCE.

Understand?

-B.



Geldof: 

I do understand your frustration with academics (I am a late entry to it, I was 34 when I finished my BA) and I would not have commented on this book if I did not take it seriously.

I honestly regret that I took the confrontational tone that I did. I did not reference my own work, particularly the thesis, because it is unpublished and thus can't be checked against my words. I did not articulate my primary concern (the practice of citation and the choice of editions) sufficiently and I let myself write with less care because of the forum. I would have written this differently if I had spent more time thinking about its potential effect.

And as incestuous as the academic community is, it is also a very slow moving one. You would be surprised how hard it is to keep track of what other people are doing if it isn't published.

James Hester's thesis was from the University of York, finished in 2006. I only learned about his work in 2009 at the Kalamazoo Medieval conference. I finished my thesis at the University of Saskatchewan in 2011. His dealt with Harley and its technique. Mine covered all three but focused exclusively on the technical aspects of their production and 'text strategies.' 

And, the 'dabbling' in historical martial arts, mentioned in the review of Hand and Wagner, is the SCA, where I was active from 1991-2010. That was, and is, my only contact with what could remotely resemble the HEMA community.

My review was dismissive, and, I admit, that's unprofessional and reflects poorly on me. I let my frustration over some aspects of your documentation get away from me. I hope, if it's possible, to chalk this review up as a wash. I am prepared, if you are amenable, to write a revised review, for the authors themselves, and remove this one in the spirit of interdisciplinary peace.

My reply:

Fair enough. You've provided me with enough info to take your word that you're not connected w/ Cvet (who gave a faux review to a different - though related - published work I was involved in. Namely, Masters of Medieval and Renaissance Martial Arts. A far from perfect book, to be sure).

As we have hashed this out here, and you've shown some good faith, I'm willing to let the matter rest.

Fair enough. You've provided me with enough info to take your word that you're not connected w/ Cvet (who gave a faux review to a different - though related - published work I was involved in. Namely, Masters of Medieval and Renaissance Martial Arts. A far from perfect book, to be sure).

As we have hashed this out here, and you've shown some good faith, I'm willing to let the matter rest.

If, however, your assertion is true, and there are three missing plays from the Ledall...then I would of course be most interested to get a transcription of those. And would be willing to edit the responses to your review to a more pleasant effect. As well as give you credit on a possible Second Edition.

-B.

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