Thursday, December 31, 2009

Better Bullshit Detectors needed

Hello. I'm calling from the Zapotec culture in pre-Colombian Mexico. Is that the auction house? I'd like to inquire about a suit of samurai-era Japanese dog armour you auctioned off a while ago.

I'm sorry, sir, but you must have the wrong number. This is the Pharaonic Egyptian Research Laboratory in Thebes, 2336 B.C.E. We're trying to invent tennis.

I'm dreadfully sorry. There must be something wrong with this cellphone; I keep getting wrong numbers.

Possibly spiders are eating some of the digits, sir. It's a common problem. But while you're on the line, tell me more about this dog armour. I've never heard of such a thing.

People have linked to the story all over the Intertuba, so it must be true! And there are lots of pictures!

It doesn't sound very plausible, sir.

Oh, the auction house were adamant about its authenticity. They provided no end of corroborative details, describing the suit as
"Moku-sei inu-men, kinpaku oshi nuri neri-gawa inu yoroi gusoku. (applied gold leaf, finished moulded rawhide chanfron and barding for a dog.)

Age: Late Edo period. (circa. 1800-50)

: Overall excellent original non-restored condition.
... Presently the consensus opinion is again that this item is the only authentic and known example of such a piece to have ever been found or recorded, making it a most extraordinarily rare and truly historical item.

Origins: General opinion is that this set was made from a dog belonging to a very senior samurai, possibly a daimyou, who apparently was extremely found of this canine companion.
[...] Like articles of bagu, this set is of dubious practical value, and was almost certainly produced as a novelty item to appease the whim of an apparently very wealthy, powerful, and one can only assume, somewhat eccentric samurai warrior."

If this unique, unprecedented, provenance-free item were authentic, sir, don't you think that Japanese museums would have tried to keep it at home, rather than leaving it in the hands of shady internet dealers who make a living by selling a romantic sense of Japanese exoticism to gullible European collectors?

Perhaps you have a point there. How is it going with the tennis?

Not so well, thanks for asking. The ball keeps falling apart into slices. We're thinking that perhaps we should put more strings in the racquet.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Hello, is this the post about the small hadrosaur collider?

mikey said...

Oh look!

The roaming gnome is chatting with a couple of Na'vi sportsthings about an armored dog.

And while I don't particularly like Armor brand dogs, it's hard to resist a breakfast of Spam™ and eggs, especially when no one provides any goddam oatmeal...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

The ball keeps falling apart into slices. We're thinking that perhaps we should put more strings in the racquet.

Damn monomolecular raquet strands!

Eddo the Postman said...

It doesn't sound very plausible, sir.
It weren't your leg 'e used to chew on, mate!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Is this the Tasmanian Devil cancer research society?