On Sunday night I did something I’m not proud of. I deleted a blog post. Something I’ve done only twice before, when I unintentionally hurt people with what I’d written. It’s one of my Rules of Blogging – if I feel strongly enough to write something, then I stand by it, no matter what shit may come my way. I may be persuaded to think differently of a subject after I’ve blogged, I may change my mind entirely. But the blogpost stands, as do any comments, no matter how nasty, personal, or twatty they may be (other than the really sick ones, thanks Richard Dawkins fans!). If I write something, then it’s part of me.
I can, and do, write about anything. My depression, graffiti, self-harm, Blogfest, miscarriage, Ed Balls, attempted suicide, music, my children, Page 3, ATOS, religion. Bloody hell, I can even write about a trip to Notcutt's or indulge in a bit of wanky short storyness It’s all there. I’m happy to discuss. If you think I’ve got something wrong, leave a comment, I’ll more than likely reply. Talk to me on twitter. Or even email me if you like.
I will put the post back up, eventually, when I’m feeling a bit less bruised. Considering some of the posts I’ve written in the past, I didn’t think it was all that controversial, and I’d hoped that people in Public Archaeology would see it as an opportunity for discussion. Some – most especially James Dixon of the Public Archaeology 2015 project did, and I enjoyed reading his thoughts. Community Archaeologists broadly welcomed it, and saw it as reinforcing the idea that real people can make a real difference to archaeology. People, ordinary people like me, saw it as an expression of their views, and agreed with it.
But a minority, a small group of Public Archaeologists saw it as… well, I don’t know really. But made it clear that they didn’t think much of what I had written, or the idea I suggested; that they form a clique that’s offputting, or that the public have any right to express their thoughts on Public Archaeology. Instead they directly and obliquely discussed my blogpost without involving me in the discussion. Which rather proved my point. That I, as a twatty blogger, A Member Of The Public, am viewed as inferior, am not welcomed to Public Archaeology, and have nothing to contribute to it. I disagree on the first point. I am better than no one and no one is better than I. The second point has been proven, by a number of people calling themselves Public Archaeologists, who sneered at the idea that someone outside of Public Archaeology could have anything to say that was worth their time and attention. And on the third point… I think it is not so much that I have nothing to contribute to Public Archaeology, as that some Public Archaeologists have nothing to offer me, The Public.
The academics, the scientists, the scholars… They can pin a butterfly down, label each and every part, discuss the DNA, talk about habitat, diet, mating behaviour. But when they scrutinise it as intensely as they do, do they ever take a moment to reflect on the simple complexity and beauty of a butterfly in flight? Or do they feel that would be beneath them? Because it certainly feels to me that some Public Archaeologists see this Member Of The Public as beneath them. And for that reason, Public Archaeology, I’m out.