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Columnists

Please Stop Talk About Parthenon Marbles Return to Greece

Of all the tedious news stories in the world that make you want to bang your head on the wall or throw a newspaper – they still exist – out the window, the biggest MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) has to be the circle jerk about the stolen Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum coming back to Greece.

In the words of Larry David, who’s returning for another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm – which should be the slogan for this story – any idea of their return is “an empty gesture,” not even worthy of a stop-and-chat.

A basic rule of thumb is that if something hasn’t happened for more than 200 years, it’s not going to, especially when the thieves came from the old British Empire, and the goods now are in the British Museum, officials pining for Colonialism’s return. Those marbles are gone, and they ain’t coming back.

They are now the treasures of the British Museum, which specializes in displaying goods plundered from other cultures around the world, the British not having any. And if you take them away the only exhibits left will be kidney pies and warm beer on a tray. Oh, that’s already at the Tate.

Most of the British want them returned. Committee after committee, both British and international, want them returned. Celebrities like George Clooney and renowned writers like Steven Fry – who’s British, and an elegant chronicler of Greek history and mythology – want them returned.

But the British Museum doesn’t want them returned, so barring a change in United Kingdom law to open the door for them being sent back to Greece, they won’t be, and the Greek government’s tactic of shaming and tweeting denunciations won’t get you a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s without $5.

Museum Chairman George Osborne recently said there was a “deal to be done,” but added it would be in the form of a loan and that Greece would have to return its own treasures back to London. Some deal.

That’s it, that’s the only offer on the table for Greece, a Hobson’s Choice and Nagumo’s Dilemma in one, which can’t be accepted because Greece would have to stipulate that the Greek marbles belong to British thieves.

Just to rub in the humiliation, the museum said Greece would have to put up collateral in the former of other archeological wonders that would be held hostage until the Parthenon Marbles are returned.

So the thief who stole your car will let you drive it around for a while if you give him another car in the meantime and then return your own car, which seems like another plot for Larry David.

The British Museum said the stolen goods were legally obtained from Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin, who said he had the permission of the occupying Ottoman Empire to take something the Turks didn’t own either.

“It would be as if our Stonehenge and Big Ben and the Stone of Scone all in one had been missing from our country for hundreds of years and was finally returned to where it belonged,” Fry said, citing the pitiful example of that pile of rocks that the British claim as their treasures that no one would want.

Greece could have used their return as leverage when the UK was leaving the European Union but didn’t. Greece – which had previously sued, hiring Clooney’s wife noted British attorney Amal Clooney, to make the case before the former Looney Left SYRIZA ended that – could go to court again, but won’t.

Let’s drag out Einstein’s Postulation that, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” which is the case here and yapping and diplomacy hasn’t worked and won’t work. Ever.

You think arguments will work with British Museum Director Hartwig Fischer, a German art historian – now THEY know something about plundering art – who said that the marbles’ theft was “a creative act?”

Unless you bring back the late Professor Irwin Corey to argue with him you’re not going to wear down a guy who thinks stealing is akin to a theatrical performance or a heist movie with Michael Caine: ‘The Greek Job’.

Greece isn’t going to get the marbles back without blowing the bloody doors off the British Museum – figuratively speaking, of course, unless someone out there knows how to safely use C-4. Now that would be a creative act.

In the meantime, please stop the drivel because it sounds like one of ex-President Psycho’s lackeys trying to rationalize that stealing Top Secret documents and the nuclear launch code was a creative act.

No more yadda-yadda-yadda-we’re-on-the-right-side-of-history on this and the right thing to do is return them, and please return them – or going hat-in-hand to British politicians asking for their help because it’s not going to happen.

There was talk of the United Nations cultural body UNESCO mediating talks between the UK and Greece but the British rejected even discussions about it and Greece isn’t willing to ratchet up the pressure.

The latest idea is a cockamamie scheme for the British Museum to accept robot-carved replicas of the marbles, Deputy Director Jonathan Williams saying it’s just not done because “people come to the British Museum to see the real thing, don’t they?” They could see the real thing – in the Acropolis Museum – but never will.

 

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