America's Stonehenge Demands I Remove Post for Reviewing "America Unearthed" Harshly
This afternoon the publicist for America’s Stonehenge, the likely colonial era set of root cellars claimed to be a pre-Columbian site (often attributed to the Phoenicians), sent me an email demanding that I remove a January 2013 America Unearthed review referencing the site due to what the publicist determined were “inaccuracies” that “bordered on slander” some three years after the fact. I present his laundry list of complaints below, followed by my comments keyed the numbers in the complaint.
It is perhaps noteworthy that Mark Eddy, who is associated with the fringe “Exogeny Network,” is not a historian, and has only a surface understanding of the difference between fact and interpretation, chooses to complain for the most part about my understanding of the episode of America Unearthed rather than America’s Stonehenge. Also: slander is spoken defamation; libel is published defamation.
I will not be removing the review for the following reasons:
1-3. According to my notes, the episode in question did not clearly specify who the characters were meant to be or the years in which the reenactments were meant to occur. My impression of what seemed to occur is how I saw it (I even used the word “presumably” to indicate my uncertainty); the issue has no bearing on America’s Stonehenge as a business and is an issue with America Unearthed, the only party that might legally object to my description of their program, though the First Amendment would prevent this. If I misinterpreted it, that is more likely the fault of the production design than my ignorance. I’m happy to acknowledge that the character was meant to be Robert Stone rather than William Goodwin, the preceding owner of the site, if that is indeed the case.
4. Rudeness isn’t a crime. Kelsey Stone is, I believe, younger than me, so in the time-honored tradition of age hating youth, he’s a “kid” relative to me. If not, he’s still much younger than Scott Wolter.
5. Plymouth State University archaeologist David R. Starbuck, writing in The Archaeology of New Hampshire (2006), states that William Goodwin moved some stones and that many individuals over the intervening decades attempted to “restore” the site to its presumed original condition. Granted, it is not entirely clear from Starbuck’s text how much of the movement he attributes to Goodwin himself, but other books state the same thing, including James Hafnor’s Strange But True, America (2009), Curtiss Hoffman’s People of the Fresh Water Lake (1990), and George Sullivan’s Discover Archaeology (1980). It is hardly a minority opinion.
6. Quarrying techniques were not relevant to my review, which was not a history of America’s Stonehenge but a review of a television show. If you want to play that card, then the issue that arises is that the quarry marks, as Starbuck notes, are of a “post-1830s origin.”
7. The carbon dating of the site was done on a piece of charcoal that is not clearly associated with the stone construction. All it proves is that someone was there at a particular period and had a fire. Again, my review is not a comprehensive history of the site, and it wasn’t relevant to my review, which is why I exercised my discretion in omitting it.
8. The alignments are only relevant if one can (a) prove they were done purposefully and (b) prove that the rocks have been in position since 1800 BCE. Since, as Starbuck notes, many stones have been moved in the past century, this is not certain. It is not my job to “prove” the alignments don’t exist; it is the claimant’s job to prove they are purposeful and relevant.
9. I was 16-year-old kid at the time. You’re seriously going to blame me for being a goofy kid and taking a picture in the mid-1990s? Guess what—I also touched Mark Twain’s typewriter in Elmira against the rules when I was 15. Yes, I was bad to the bone.
10. The question of whether the “sacrificial table” is a soap-making stone is one of archaeological interpretation, for which I have archaeologists who say that it is one and a self-interested, self-promoting business that says it is not.
11. This point has nothing to do with any alleged libel and is a matter of interpretation. If my judgment is that diffusionism is not supported by evidence, you may agree or disagree based on what you consider the strength of the argument. No one is forcing you to accept a conclusion. Listing a bunch of sites that you feel is superficially similar is not the same thing as demonstrating that I somehow libeled America’s Stonehenge in following the generally accepted archaeological conclusion that it is a colonial era site.
12. I imagine I must have watched whatever video was on offer back in the mid-1990s, though I don’t remember it. I’m not sure, though, how more versions of the same claims would impact my review of a TV show. If the claims aren’t convincing at first glance (a prima facie case, for fans of rhetoric), the audience isn’t required to try to make the claimant’s argument for him.
Finally: All of my comments were directed at the supposed archaeological site of Mystery Hill, not the business operating as America’s Stonehenge. From what I can remember, America’s Stonehenge operates a fine and upstanding tourist attraction, and I recommend all of my readers to visit it for themselves. Unless America’s Stonehenge would like to claim that its business is advocating a particular type diffusionism and not selling access to the Mystery Hill stone site, I don’t see how I have defamed them in any way. I know from the books I bought at the gift shop 20 years ago that the site offered different perspectives on who built the site—Irish monks, Phoenicians, etc.—so “colonials” ought not to be in any way at odds with their business model, nor can my conclusions be considered outside the scope of their alleged aim to explore all possibilities. But, if they’d like to argue otherwise, they can surely try to explain why only one point of view is acceptable to supposedly open-minded purveyors of possibilities.
12/30/2015 02:03:17 pm
Here's the uploaded documentary on YouTube
12/30/2015 02:52:45 pm
does that alignment with the UK stonehenge really check out ?
12/30/2015 02:10:57 pm
Seems the fringe community is following Philyaw's lead in making questionable legal threats in attempting to have blogs/reviews taken down from the web. I for one carry most adequate insurance for intentional torts backed by a major insurance company that would readily defend such frivolity at their expense. Many that own homes may carry such protection without even realizing it. A good thing to check up on.
12/30/2015 02:31:26 pm
I do believe that is the best whine-y bawl letter I have ever read on this blog. I LOL'd hard. Which made the letter itself far more entertaining than any of the wacky crap ever shown on AU. (/golf-clap)
12/30/2015 02:35:18 pm
Don't these belly-achers know that they are wasting time
12/30/2015 04:08:53 pm
Of course they do. To be fair to Mark Eddy, he IS the publicist, so it's in his best interest to "defend" the public image of his boss's enterprise.
12/31/2015 01:56:27 pm
Naaa... not wasting time. It was triple investment in proving that the site was long overdue for another debunk, that Jason's original review was justified, and that they need a good lesson in the Streisand Effect.
12/30/2015 02:36:42 pm
"9. I was 16-year-old kid at the time. You’re seriously going to blame me for being a goofy kid and taking a picture in the mid-1990s? Guess what—I also touched Mark Twain’s typewriting in Elmira against the rules when I was 15. Yes, I was bad to the bone."
12/30/2015 03:37:55 pm
True confession: many years ago, I very lightly touched a priceless Cezanne painting in NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
1/4/2016 05:48:58 pm
Tony: When I was about 28, I was at the Louvre and I touched Venus de Milo's butt with my hand intentionally, and the guard got mad at me. I am the worst person in the world!
12/30/2015 02:47:35 pm
i used to live near a fake stone circle. Well, fake in that it isn't really made by an ancient briton. of course in it's own terms, whatever they are, it's absolutely authentic. people sometimes sneak in at night to shag, apparently.
12/30/2015 03:21:18 pm
A stone circle was built in Llandudno in Wales for the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales 1963s
12/30/2015 08:08:04 pm
how many of these things are there ?
12/31/2015 10:21:48 am
on a side note.... did you have any trouble reading what I wrote up there ?
12/30/2015 02:52:45 pm
12/30/2015 03:23:23 pm
For a mound to become "prestigious" does it have to pass some sort of exam with flying colors?
12/30/2015 03:39:24 pm
Ah, poor little man, Dennis was disgusted. Maybe, what he should do is hold his breath until he turns blue. That would show his critics the total level of his "disgust".
12/30/2015 09:44:22 pm
As an Ohio Archaeologist I can tell you that professional archaeologists working in Ohio do NOT think Adena or Hopewell mound's arrangements, features, and iconography are related to "transatlantic" contacts. These mounds are expressions of ancestral Native American beliefs and practices. Ohio archaeologists do not believe the things Mr. Eddy wrote about archaeology in our state. Hang in there, Jason Colavito, you are doing a great service here.
1/2/2016 10:57:37 am
Kevin - I agree with you on the Mr. Eddy report. As a resident of Ohio, I am very proud of our Historical Society and academics like Marta Otto, Brad Leper and the many people in our state that defend the facts of find at our historical sites. I support Jason Colavito and his 1st amendment rights.
12/31/2015 03:01:42 am
Fallacies a plenty, my favourite argument of his communication must be:
1/1/2016 05:57:15 pm
Good memories. This is the review that brought me to this site, after I realized I couldn't be the only person who was flabbergasted at Wolter's obvious bs.
1/2/2016 10:48:04 am
Dan - Not sure if this reply is in line, however I have been to Stonehenge in England and the one in the USA. I have also visited the many circle of stones in Canada and USA. The so-called America Stonehenge may have some look a like with the common Stoneheng in England, however their seems to be some major differences. In the USA Stonehenge, Where are the 30 stone made windows that track the moon, the wooden poles outside the circle, the trench outside the circle, the flat ground, and many other observations. If their was an American Stonehenge it would better be represented by claiming the Newark, Ohio octagon mounds that were verified by Astronomers Shively and Horn (Earlham college in Indiana) that these man made mounds are more complex and accurate than England's Stonehenge.
1/2/2016 03:12:35 pm
"Thank you for your compliance"???
1/2/2016 07:33:11 pm
1/3/2016 09:05:25 am
I think it's agreed, since your comment was masturbatory trash, that any expectations for continued, stimulating conversation has to be lowered to, "Look at the Shit-flinging Monkey! He thinks he's people!"
1/3/2016 09:48:54 am
The poor bastard is desperate for any attention. Even negative attention to his unvisited site is better than what he gets. That boy has a serious chip on his shoulder over Jason.
8/10/2016 08:50:02 am
If you dipshits were half as smart as you think you are... you would be able to stand on the streets of Provo, Utah, and be effectively convert the entire LDS with the logic of your arguments.
1/3/2016 09:49:47 am
No one cares. Seriously. Get over yourself.
The troll Krampus
1/4/2016 06:12:56 pm
LoL! What the fuck is this shit? At least take "debunking the debunker" seriously. What a fucking joke.
1/5/2016 10:46:32 am
Oh... this is just adorable. You have all lined up like little puppies, wagging your tails and desperate for attention.
1/5/2016 11:28:41 am
And yet, you come back to read our responses. You reply to us anyway.
1/5/2016 12:06:26 pm
Yeah. I went fishing for fucktards two days ago. I threw out a net... I come back two days later... and voila.
1/5/2016 01:22:04 pm
And that, folks, is the sound of someone who lost the argument. Not that he had much of one to make from the start.
1/5/2016 12:19:18 pm
You've got an addiction with Jason, and a giant chip on your shoulder bigger than your ego. You haven't trolled anyone, only displayed your obsession to us and how you can't get over it. Why do you believe anyone really gives a damn about your problems?
AM Heidi Carter
1/9/2016 12:18:34 pm
What I find notable in this weeks offerings from your blog Jason is the way your subject matter dances with axiology as always. Again, as Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have all pointed out, despite the prevalence of so called 'open source' databases for the promotion of 'academics' world wide, the intersection of natural philosophy, privacy and intellectual property remains something that has a non-patentable component. Not only this, but the myriad health care scandals regarding research and pharmaceutical treatments that in the early 2000's attempted to veer into gene patenting according to fear mongers at the very least, not to mention presumed conspiracy about patient deaths that has resurfaced in American Addiction centers in the past five years as if a patient gone mad in a drug trial murdering his doctors during Bush's first and second term wasn't enough to keep a lid on. And here you are documenting symptoms of the larger issue. Gentlemen, I am off again to pay my dues so that I can apply to Law School for a Juris Master's. Give me a bit more time Jason and I will pay to keep your blog alive and kicking. For years to come.
2/9/2016 02:59:07 pm
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