Wow, a good old-fashioned flame war. I don't know whether to be horrified or amused by some of what I'm reading. To briefly recap, I wrote a well-intentioned post on basic principles of avoiding fake watches, taking care not to hijack or indeed demean someone else's thread (last I heard, this is considered civility). I was immediately informed in a patronizing tone that (a) watch fakery is so complex a topic it is in essence an unknowable art, and, (b) I'm unsophisticated. I demurred, asked for a better set of watchbuying guidelines, and was told once again that there can be no rules in a subject so complex. At that point I made an observation that is cultural, not national (unless you think the Maastricht treaty has made Europe one nation already). I observed that it is characteristic of the last century of European history to see issues as complex, multilayered, and unfathomable, and further to repose faith in autocrats. I'm by no means the first person to notice these trends. Everyone from Luigi Barzini to Umberto Eco (both of whom are, last I heard, Europeans) has written on it. Plus, in this case, it happens to precisely fit the opinions expressed. This then unleashes the standard flood of invective to the effect that I must be engaged in ad hominem attacks (if anything, they're ad culturam) , that I'm a racist (where did that come in, given the racial make-up of Europe?), that I'm xenophobic, and worst of all, that I'm the ugliest thing in the new-age lexicon, a nationalist. I'm tempted to return to the original list and counter each of the horological claims of Mr. Observer, since they at least have factual roots that can be discussed. I'm tempted to make some observations in German or Spanish, my two adopted European languages, to address the issue of xenophobia (the word kulturkampf keeps coming to mind here). I'm tempted to defend the virtues of empiricism, since that is in essence what is under attack in my original post. But I realize at this point we're far beyond that. I've made the fatal mistake of pointing out the cultural underpinnings of a thought process, and for that I won't be forgiven by those wedded to that way of thinking-- their entire way of life is underpinned by it. So I apologize for bringing culture into the discussion. As we unsophisticated farm boys say in Arkansas (last I heard, that's in America), "don't go wrestling with a pig. It accomplishes nothing, other than to irritate the pig."
post #31 of 33
8/16/04 at 3:54am