After reading your post, I'm tempted to quote the philosopher Pee Wee Herman -- there seems to be a projection problem. It is true that Tarot history is not a subject that appeals to most Tarot enthusiasts. Many of them love the fictional "history", also known as folklore or pseudo-history, but for many of them the real history of Tarot contradicts their religious beliefs.
debra wrote:I'm sorry to see that people raced over for a bit of destructive fun on the AT tarot history and iconography forum. ...
The sudden and temporary influx of anti-history posters to the Historical Research forum is a recurring phenomenon. It is an open question which posters are the invaders, which are the defenders, and who is intent on destroying the values that make historical discussions possible.
debra wrote:Members whose views I found most interesting and informative have been discouraged from posting. The tarot history topics pursued here seem narrowly defined....
Those who want to make sure that Tarot's real history continues to be largely unknown are anti-historians. Anti-historians support "interesting" and provocative (which you might mistake for "informative") discussions which are outside the narrow boundaries of history. If history is the point of the forum then anti-historians, like you, should be actively discouraged.
History, done right, tends to be boring.
So naturally, the most interesting posters tend to be full of shit.
debra wrote:I don't see that the forum has developed a consensus on tarot history among people with superior methods and expertise. I see some people basically ignored, and others intimidated and battered by relentless personal attacks in a macho game of dominance. This has nothing to do with academic rigor or scholarly discourse.
In part, this reflects the lack of any consensus among online Tarot enthusiasts. Few people know or care much about it. Of those who do know a bit of Tarot history, many are captivated by a pet theory or two. The consensus itself, to the extent that it exists, is about the facts rather than theories. This is the reason why history per se is such a tedious, pain-in-the-ass subject -- remember high school?
As for people being ignored or badgered, it is not a "macho game of dominance". Some things are not being appropriate for historical discussions. For example, in Robert Swiryn's huge thread last year, Mary attempted to gently guide him elsewhere WITHIN 24 HOURS! She attempted to explain to him that his idea might not be an historical theory; it might just be a fun story. He initially rejected this possibility. Over time he seemed to agree, even as he continued to present the material as Tarot history.
People like that can be ignored, they can be asked to shape up, then can be told to at least attempt to make sense and offer evidence and arguments, and they can be verbally abused to shut up. Some of these idiots will not ever shut the hell up, so threads are closed. It's not macho dominance, it's just good housekeeping -- a feminine virtue, if we are going to indulge sexist slurs. When the feather duster won't suffice, sometimes you have to clean crap off with a scraper.
On the other hand, consider Huck and myself on the question of his 5x14 Theory. I think that he's completely mistaken, addressing questions that are answered much better without his speculations. He thinks that I'm a blind follower of an old regime, out of date and out of touch with supposed new findings. He's much more knowledgeable than I am about many areas of Tarot history, but IMO he doesn't understand them clearly. We are not going to agree on the 5x14 Theory. So when he posted another round of ramblings about Chess, and Ross thought it worth commenting on, I had to laugh and point too -- it is silly on the face of it.
Still we co-exist, and have done so on Aeclectic, LTarot, and here. This is partly because neither of us is promoting Tarot from Atlantis, or even from Albigensians. His theory is an historical one. That is, he defends it with historical facts. Also, our co-existence is partly because Huck and I both believe strongly in freedom of expression. If I say something rude, then people are free to judge me based on my comments and to consider, on my behalf, whether they may be as factually accurate as they are rude. (Some people value truth more than manners.)
Beyond that, we try to not take it personally. Naturally, it may be impossible for many Tarot enthusiasts to "not take it personally" when someone mocks their origin myths, and I admit that when Huck denigrates playing-card historians with lines like, “there is virtually nothing really opposing [acceptance of the 5x14 Theory] beside not being good enough informed, not looking precisely enough and personally motivated dreams”, I sometimes take offense on their behalf. (There are few defenders of the playing-card historians, so I take their part from time to time, defending them against Huck's charges of ignorance, sloppiness, and bias.) But if, someday, Huck discovers a manuscript describing the Ur Tarot (the way Marziano's text described a newly invented game), and if it turns out that he was correct all along, it won't impact any personal spiritual beliefs of mine. For me, Tarot is not part of some "greater truth" about the world, so I can accept what the evidence tells us.
debra wrote:As for the future of this forum: I see a naive and limited view of disciplinary research.
You seem to be looking in the mirror again.
debra wrote:First, tarot history is of no particular interest to historians for good reason. And it interests us for our own individual reasons. Dummett got into it as a distraction from what he thought was really important. Some people come from an interest in divination or an occult (or occult-ish) motivation. Others don't.
Your point being that you have an excuse for hating Tarot history and being blinded by bias, whereas people like Dummett are ideal, disinterested researchers who can approach the subject objectively?
debra wrote:Second, in the history and the humanities, identifying logical fallacies in someone's work is not how you get to the truth. Much of what is presented as historical evidence here is not impressive. Often what is presented here as rigorous logic, airtight argumentation, and examination of meaningful evidence does not exemplify objectivity and good judgment.
Identifying both logical and factual errors in other people's papers is a huge part of academic publication. If an author so much as fails to acknowledge their assumptions, someone else will publish a paper doing so for them. Close reading, fact-checking, and tearing apart chains of logic are pretty fundamental in academic scholarship.
Again, you seem to be looking into the mirror. In YOUR world, where Tarot is part of people's religion, truth is of a different nature -- objectivity be damned.
debra wrote:Third, tarot history should be interdisciplinary and here it is not. Almost no one demonstrates expertise or training in art history. The people who consider themselves real historians tend to give the actual images and physical printed cards only superficial treatment. So claims to know the most important parts of the tarot history story are incomplete at best.
So... you and yours are held to no standard whatsoever, but we "historians" must have training and expertise?
This seems oddly elitist -- LOL -- demanding credentials?
However, I do like your point. The idea that art history, an interdisciplinary approach (as promoted by Warburg and his "school", people like Panofsky, Gombrich, Wind, Seznec, Saxl, Katzenellenbogen, et al.), attention to the details of the cards and comparison of those images with related images from the entire world of pre-Modern European art... I agree that the iconographic approach is a valuable piece of Tarot history. In terms of published authors, Gertrude Moakley is the pre-eminent example. Let's see... who in the world of online Tarot enthusiasts has promoted THAT point of view? I'm pretty sure it wasn't you, Debra, nor anyone you find "interesting".
debra wrote:Fourth, some participants on the forum have a peculiar and distorted vision of academic exchange. If someone is exploring a line of thinking you don't believe, and you've asked relevant questions, given good reasons for thinking they are mistaken, and have no interest in helping develop that perspective--that's where scholars and intellectuals stop. To persist, to ridicule, to get angry or frustrated that one person doesn't take your point--this has nothing to do with knowledge or truth or learning.
Clearly you don't know much about scholarly exchanges outside of journals. It is a cliche that the more petty the squabble the more vitriolic the exchanges can become.
debra wrote:I'm sorry to see intensified efforts to establish the "agree or shut up" approach. Do you all really want to abandon the original promise that "The forum encourages freedom and independence of view, together with tolerance and care of others"? I hope not.
Values routinely conflict.
You and the other anti-history enforcers, folks who prefer to discuss how Cathars taught Kabbalah using Tarot cards in the temple of Kneph, want everyone to "feel welcome". That's a value, and it's a great value for a social club. To me, introducing those fantasy topics in a history forum is no different than introducing Mayan prophecies or ancient astronauts into the discussion, or introducing a turd into the punch bowl. I think that these "interesting" folks are the ones being rude. There are endless places for banal chit-chat about the pop-culture fantasy du jour, with or without Tarot as a conversation piece.
(Edited a bit for clarity... LOL -- hey! It was worth a try.)