Sunday Book-Thought 63

Fakes are, as said, an incessant and serious challenge to attribution studies. No one should get involved in the field who does not have inbuilt antennae for spotting them. We are all likely to be fooled from time to time, but we should never accept it with a good grace. What for the faker is a joke is a despoiling of serious efforts to understand the present and the past. Faking is the cancer of scholarship. The appropriate punishment for fakers should be public execution, with a last-minute interruption when a reprieve is brought to the gallows, only to be disregarded when it is discovered to be a fake. Likewise there is nothing amusing in the fact that a fellow scholar may have been misled by a fake: it is a sign of incompetence and dereliction in the individual concerned. If one finds oneself in that situation one’s response should not be one of wry amusement expressed in an ironic chuckle but profound self-disgust at failing in one’s fundamental duty as an attributionist. Finding evidence of inauthenticity in work which is actually genuine is regrettable but an error in the right direction.
Harold LoveAttributing Authorship: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 192-193.

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