Drooling on the Pillow

Monday, October 10, 2005

Just Don't Talk About My Mama 

I liked this story in the New York Times about the "rarefied, but cut-throat world of maps, books, Americana and antiquities."

It seems one map dealer, named W. Graham Arader III has been accusing another map dealer, named E. Forbes Smiley III of being a thief and a crook for more than 20 years and now that Smiley III has been charged with three counts of larceny, Arader III is basking in the warmth of vindication.

Not exactly the Hatfields and McCoys, the level of violence will probably not rise higher than one of them tossing a Kir in the face of the other. Still, it's fun to imagine E. Forbes Smiley IV taking out W. Graham Arader IV to revenge his father's fall from the grace. The bad blood and waspish comments in the antique map dodge are apparently not limited to E. and W.

It also provides me with an opportunity to use my favorite Samuel Johnson quote. Upon being encouraged to engage in a light-hearted exchange of insults (an 18th century version of the dozens), he came up with "Sir, your wife under pretence of keeping a bawdy-house, is a receiver of stolen goods." In Johnson's case, no indictments were forthcoming.
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