“Up next on Antiques Roadshow: Hitler’s gonads!”
When is an “antique” an antique? Meaning, when is an object transformed into a curiosity, stripped of its original context and turned into a product? Like in this case:
- FEDERAL officials want to know how an Ohio man got hold of a controversial letter -dating back to the 1970 Kent State shootings – which was appraised on PBS’ last week’s “Antiques Roadshow.”
The letter was the “Statement of Regret” signed by the 28 defendants in the civil trial that followed the shootings on the Kent State University campus where four students were killed.
On last week’s episode, the document’s owner, Steve Thomas, the son of the federal judge who presided over the civil case, showed a Sotheby’s appraiser the letter and asked how much it was worth.
The appraiser eye-balled the signatures of Ohio Gov. James A. Rhodes and Ohio National Guard Adjt. Gen. Sylvester Del Corso on the document, and said it was worth insuring for between $10,000 and $15,000. [NY Post]
The feds asked how he got it.
- Thomas said that his father, William Thomas, was given the document as a gift from one of the defense attorneys. The judge, seeing it as an achievement of diplomacy, framed it and hung it on his living room wall.
Apart from how the guy got it, not enough time has passed for this document to have been stripped of its emotional impact on the friends and loved ones of the shooting victims. This was in very bad taste and Thomas never should have been allowed on the show.