Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/02/27

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Fight at OK Corral - Response
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 10:12:06 -0500

Just a few simple points in response to Erwin's volley -

1. After Erwin voluntarily answered my questions about his independence -
questions that can and should be asked of any reviewer or critic of
anything - I fully and openly acknowledged on the LUG that my suspicions
were obviously wrong, and noted that I was heading off for a breakfast of

2. In response to this post, I would note the fact that one is
"independent" does mean that one is "objective," or balanced in one's

3. If anyone really wonders why I, and many others, question Erwin's
objectivity, I would suggest reading the Leica M7 PDF, posted at, reading Erwin's M7 review, and seeing if you note
striking similarities of language and message.

4. Next, I would only add that if one is going to hold ones self up publicly
as an expert on a subject - even publishing books on the subject - then one
must expect to be publicly challenged and asked tough questions. If one
cannot deal with that, one should not be engaging in public discourse.

5. To Erwin and those who question my posting to the LUG Erwin's
newsletter - This "debate" began on the LUG and we all thought it had ended
on the LUG. Erwin then choose to go somewhere else and post a direct attack
on me in a venue where I specifically could not respond - because I don't
subscribe to his newsletter and because his newsletter is set up in such a
way that no one can respond directly and publicly to what he writes.

6. In the newsletter in question, Erwin made a number of utterly absurd and
totally fictitious charges:

"I got some emails by persons who want to stay anonymous (out of fear!) that
one is not allowed to quarrel with Mr. Colen and when doing were forced off
from the lists they were on."

First, while I lurk on two other lists, the LUG and a list I maintain are
the only two in which I actively engage. I have NEVER forced anyone off the
list I maintain, and as Brian stated on-list yesterday, no one has ever been
forced off the LUG because of anything having to do with me.

And the second bit of nonsense:

"As soon as the power of facts and arguments
has been set aside and the power of rhetoric and authority (³I am a Pulitzer
Price Winner and therefore what I have to say may not be questioned²) takes

As anyone who has been on this list any length of time knows - 1. I have
repeatedly pointed out that my Pulitzer had NOTHING to do with photography,
and is utterly irrelevant in anything other than a discussion having to do
with journalism per se, which I do know something about. And, as everyone on
this list knows, while I may argue endlessly, forcefully, and at times
unnecessarily, I let my arguments rise or fall on their own strength, and
have NEVER said anything remotely like that which Erwin quotes.

7. And finally, to raise the level of this discussion somewhat, let me end
with a well worn - and here slightly paraphrased - quote from Shakespeare's
Hamlet, regarding Mr. Put's purported independence and upset over the
criticism of his review - which, I note, hardly comes from me alone, and is
hardly confined to this list alone:

The independent Leica expert "doth protest too much, methinks."

B. D. Colen

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