SocraticGadfly: Jeff Kloha, Hobby Lobby, #BlueAnon, Gilgamesh

July 27, 2021

Jeff Kloha, Hobby Lobby, #BlueAnon, Gilgamesh

Trust me. As normal with a post like this, I'll tie all threads together.

I blogged a little over a ago about the breaking of the Dead Sea Scrolls scandal at Hobby Lobby-owned The Museum of the Bible, and how the man dealing with the fallout is old seminary classmate Jeff Kloha, who now prefers the full Jeffrey. I then added to that an initial follow-up post a couple of months later about the first specifics of the Augean stables clean-up he faced.

The Department of Justice got a court ruling today that Hobby Lobby must forfeit the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, which means that it sounds like Jeff Kloha has more Cleanup on Aisle 6 to do. Right?

The details? The tablet was shipped to the US in 2003 by Jordanian Antiquities Association, without proper paperwork but with the claim it was found in miscellaneous rubble in 1981. In reality, like much other stuff the Green family got its mitts on, it was looted from Iraq. There is no honor among thieves, and we'll see how much remorse there is.

But, not so fast. There's also politics involved.

Some of this on the political side is a #BlueAnon dogpile on the Green family. Hobby Lobby surrendered the tablet a nearly a year ago, after federal authorities ruled to that end a full year ago. Let's ALSO note that Hobby Lobby supports its return to Iraq. That may not be "remorse," but it's an acceptance of reality. The actual court ruling is more icing on the cake than anything, though it gives the feds leverage if there's anything Hobby Lobby tries to keep its hands on.

In fact, it's arguable that Christie's (yes, THAT Christie's) is at least as big a villain as Hobby Lobby.
Christie's, the international auction house from which Hobby Lobby bought the item, previously told CNN that "any suggestion that Christie's had knowledge of the original fraud or illegal importation is unsubstantiated."
Christie's can use the weasel word "unsubstantiated" all it wants. And, yes, "weasel word" it is.
The second-biggest villain overall, not so much with Gilgamesh but with the Dead Sea Scrolls mentioned in my first link? As I said there and in the second link, the "specific effects"? It's pop biblical culture magazine Biblical Archaeology Review. Herschel Shanks has long turned a semi-blind eye to advertisers who might be peddling stuff like this behind more legit stuff. And, with stories accepting as factual the forged James ossuary, he's added fuel to the fire on more than one occasion.

Re Hobby Lobby, Christie's and looted Iraq, there may be plenty of people who aren't hard-right conservative Christians who willingly bought larger or smaller sums of ill-gotten booty pilfered from Iraq, and some of it may have sifted through Christie's hands.

Related to that? I want to hear NOTHING from American do-gooders claiming we should hold on to it because ISIS will just destroy it. First, that would be yet another form of thievery. Second, that's why much of the rest of the world hates American do-gooders. Third, destruction of antiquities has been happening since the rise of civilization. Fourth, Christians have done this in hte past. The Iconoclastic Controversy. Worshipers, led by ex-priest pastors such as Karlstadt, shattering stained glass in the early Reformation. Some "Mark of the Beast" types (generally ignorant) destroying things related to that alleged mark today.

So, the idea, from one apparent BlueAnon do-gooder on Twitter, that it would have been better had it been stolen on the QT, is laughable.

No, really! The "HL" in his Tweet, part of a thread from a now-muted person, goes exactly down that rabbit hole. 
Besides, quis custodiet ipsos custodes? That's true on everything from antiquities to importing exotic plants and animals to a new country or continent. I tweeted back to the guy exactly on that line:
There may eventually be a blank space there. Twitter, in its usual literalism, said that last sentence was encouraging suicide or self-harm and forced me to delete it. I of course screenshotted it first.

And yes, IMO, that's what it boils down to. I thought of Juvenal's maxim shortly after that. And, see what I said above about Christie's. They may have sold Iraq antiquities to other buyers who made exactly that argument. Or, Christie's senior staff, with their attempt at plausible deniability, may have internally made that argument themselves, that selling these items got them out of Iraq.

No, per the Wiki link, the phrase doesn't come from Plato's "Republic," though the idea behind it is raised indirectly. Plato's answer on how to guard them? The heart of the fascism behind the "Republic" — mind control through the Platonic Noble Lie. No thanks, as I've said about St. Anthony of Fauci, on masks and herd immunity. I don't even consider his "gain of function" a Platonic noble lie. More like a Jesuitical one, or just a plain old grubby one.

To put it another way, also in terms of philosophy, and again, basic Ethics 101? "Two wrongs don't make a right."

To put it yet one more way, in terms of geopolitical issues? Mr. Davis has a mindset of neoliberal colonialism. That's what "American do-gooderism" taken abroad is. "Ugly American" stuff, normally.

And, per other people thinking "why can't it just stay here," whether out of ignorance of the law or neoliberal colonialism? The law says it goes back to where it's stolen from. Oh, and on Twitter, if you don't know the law on something like this, per the old maxim, it's better not to Tweet and remain silent rather than Tweet and remove all doubt of your ignorance.

As for the value of Gilgamesh? It's at least partly behind the tales of Moses' birth and similar birth stories around the ancient Near East, as well as some documents from Qumran (which tie back to Hobby Lobby's larceniousness as well as to why Kloha was hired) and to the Iliad and Odyssey. Arguably, it's connected indirectly to just about any later epic tale in the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean.

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