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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Butturini's London, the saga continues

Over on AD Coleman's Photocritic International web site we have the lastest salvo in the saga of London and it's pretty funny, and also a... well... let's say it's deeply researched and heavily footnoted.

Dr. Dennis Low was involved in the original twitter fight, and like everyone who proposed that maybe there was a little nuance here, he was labeled a racist and sneered at roundly by the ignorati who were trying to stir up a bunch of shit. This is particularly wild because Low is ethnically Chinese, grew up British, and thus presumably has a passing understanding of racism in several of its styles and manners. Apparently this has not sat well with Dr. Low who, if this lengthy article is any indication, has been on a slow boil ever since.

A little background. The original supremely dumb twitter fight wound down with essentially no result beyond raising the profile of the book, selling a couple hundred more copies of it, and getting the publisher out from under the remainders scot-free. Afterwards a guy named Moritz Neumüller decided, for reasons that defy comprehension, to try to make an Academic Scholar Thingy out of the twitter fight. He wrote a very long and fairly sloppy article which boiled down to "there was this book, and some randos on twitter decided for reasons unknown to start a fight about it, the end." This thing was published, for other reasons which also defy comprehension, in some European Journal of Photo Thinkity-Thinking.

Dr. Low decided to write an equally lengthy, somewhat less sloppy, article saying in effect that Neumüller's piece is sloppy, and laying out a lot of the background and the underlying personal relationships behind the twitter randos, as well as correcting some factual errors, and challenging some ambiguous material.

In the end the whole thing is absolutely wild, because, just to review, this is literally just a dumb twitter fight about nothing, prosecuted by idiots nobody cares about.

It makes for some fun reading, though, and AD has mentioned in the comments that he's gotten some emails from the principals, which make for some delicious imagined reading. Given the character of these men, one can just imagine. "Highly problematic" "potentially damaging to your career" "extremely poorly researched" "racist" "racist" "racist" "it would be a shame if you got labeled a racist" and so on, the usual drill of barely hidden "comply or we'll email your boss" trash these morons specialize in.

As a bit player in the drama I find the apparently endless soap opera very entertaining. I get a few shoutouts in Dr. Low's piece, which is nice. Being called an "American journalist" makes me laugh every time.

It's almost Victorian in its character, the kind of brutal takedown couched in the language of scholarship that they were so good at in those glorye dayes of yore.


  1. Paul offers up a belated mea culpa (trying to be charitable here) ... "Trolling is a form of compensation for anger and sense of underachievement."

    Yes Paul, yes it is, and -- Bravo!

    As for that 'sense of underachievement,' maybe try approaching life with a sense of humilty instead? Just a thought.

    1. "trolling" is not a word that means anything to these guys, beyond "someone I don't like is saying something"