Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Experts" In The Junk Biz - Are They Experts?

We have seen them on TV, quoted in books, and all the rest.


In my opinion, society really holds far too much respect for anyone with "expert" added to their name.

We seem to think these touted "experts" hold all the answers, they are infallible, far more wise than someone else, are "the" authority on the subject (whatever it may be), superior, educated, vastly experienced, etc.

We need to change the respect for the word, really.

Dictionaries haven't changed the definition to the infallible, "god-like-person-who-owns-the-last-word-on-the-subject"..the definition that so much of the public seems to blindly accept as the "truth."

Wikipedia defines expert as:

"...someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be, by virtue of credentialtrainingeducation,professionpublication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual's opinion. (click on this definition for the entire Wikipedia article)

There are those who are knowledgeable and deserve recognition as such who do end up in the spotlight (or seek the spotlight) to help the antiques business/field as a whole, and not 100% for their own ego, financial gain, and to be "famous".

 Seeking the spotlight is not always a mark of a non-expert claiming to be an "expert"...I suppose the moniker of "expert" may sometimes be forcibly or unknowingly thrust upon them by others, slapped in place on the TV screen, magazine article, etc, by the creators of those information vehicles.

Those folks who we respect and have earned our respect for their experience and knowledge who end up in the spotlight and still remain humble are those who I feel deserve the spotlight, recognition, accolades, financial gain, fame, etc.

However, those who seek it solely for attention and to "be famous" and really are not in it to try to help the antiques/junk business as a whole are those who I get very annoyed with. The problem with Reality TV and many other medias is that the producers, writers, and others are in control most (all?) of the time, and  the best of intentions of the person (the "expert") can be twisted, messed up, warped, and thwarted by the meat grinder that is the entertainment machine.

 I am a writer, but I write from the point of view from INSIDE the junk biz looking OUT.  I also have been immersed in it, lived it, for over 20 years. Thus, I consult and consider my experiences in it, past and present. I do try to look from outside in, also, and I know it appears to be a totally different animal than it is. We're an eccentric bunch when we are all taking about our "junk", working with what others see as "trash", digging up items that the public has no education about, nor realization on how those items are linked forever to their pasts, and foundation of who they are now.

The Junk Biz looks very different through Joe Public's eyes...that is, those who have little or no experience in this business.  99% of the writers, producers, casting people, etc have little to no experience in this business. Sure their are plenty of collectors who come in to our stores, attend flea markets, hit the garage sales on the weekend, and even some who are even pretty good friends of ours. The "Set Dec" and "Props" people in the TV & movie biz are probably the closest "relatives" of Junk Biz vets, and some of those folks are former part time and full time peers of ours.  

Even if the casting people do their due diligence, research, etc, they are rarely able to delve beyond the fringes of the Junk Biz,...they are easily baffled by the spin of bullshit of simple fame seekers on the fringes of the junk community. These fame seekers jump in front of the casting people, blocking the view to those deeper in the community who should be the ones featured.

Personally, yes, I'd like to have my own show, though am not a spotlight seeker. Frankly, it terrifies me in some ways...but this business needs a far more realistic projection of it made to the public, and a promotion of history, the business' characters featured, and the promotion of collecting for the sake of history preservation, enjoyment, learning, and not JUST for the sake of making money.

NEWS FLASH: If there are no new collectors being created, it means that there is no true market to consume the merchandise.  It is just not a sustainable market. An item can only go through so many reseller's hands in  "X" amount of time before there is simply no $ left to be made.  And if there are 20 of those items floating around, and only 5 collectors to buy them?  It comes down to supply and demand, which is a pretty simple business principle that so many people seem to fail to grasp in the big picture of the junk biz.

This is not my expert opinion.  

Yes, It is my opinion(s)....

Yes, I have tons of experience in the junk biz.....

I simply do not wish to call myself an "expert".


You know what? 

Color me "Sage." 

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