Lawyers, Christopher Knight, and the Straw Man
Christopher Knight took offense to our brief analysis of his attack on The Art Law Blog’s Donn Zaretsky, Art in America, and blogging in general. His remarks were made availabe earlier this week, but in case our readers missed them, here are his comments:
lambast, verb (informal) “to thrash or scold severely”
Here’s how I lambasted blogging as a critical apparatus in the post to
which you refer:
“…to my knowledge he’s never made a sustained argument explaining
[his position]. Usually it’s just asserted in a quick comment on a
deaccessioning story in the news, in a snarky reference to a quote from
someone else (including me) or even as a stand-alone non sequitur. Such
is the nature of routine blogging.”
Wow! What a thrashing! Call 911!
Routine blogging is not conducive to extended argument, as I know
because I do blog. As I also know, it’s easy to step outside
routine–if one actually has a sustained argument to make about a major
However, Knight must agree that given his use of “quick comment,” “snarky reference,” and “stand-alone non sequitur” followed by the conclusory and unanalyzed “such is the nature of blogging,” one cannot help but make the logical conclusion that Knight believes all blogging is genetically impotent. Here is the direct quote from his LA Times story:
Usually it’s just asserted in a quick comment on a deaccessioning story in the news, in a snarky reference to a quote from someone else (including me) or even as a stand-alone non sequitur. Such is the nature of routine blogging.
We agree with Knight that many times blogging can be “snarky,” and used solely for “quick commentary.” In fact, we at Clancco practice the latter many a time. Yet this must be accompanied by a brief explanation. Those of us that practice law are many times ethically (and legally) obligated to abstain from legal commentary or analysis for many reasons. However, given these restrictiosn, this does not keep many of us from indexing and highlighting the important (and incidental) news surrounding visual culture and law.
We would like to make two suggestions to Knight: one, to not take the emotional and easy way out of what could be an enlightning and productive discussion about the art of deaccessioning, especially given the current crisis. And secondly, that if there is a strawman that was created, it was the classic and predictable one of the “lawyer as ambulance-chaser.” We can guarantee Knight one thing: people, including artists, will never need an art critic in a time of personal crisis; we all know who will be called upon.