Monday, April 13, 2009

Oh no, not again!

My favorite Douglas Adams quote, ever.

That was one of the nicer things I yelled at my computer the other day when Reeves posted more bad data on Facebook - this time about the Gray Bucking Bronco. This time there just is no excuse or rationalization for this: it was plain old lazy research. He was introduced in 1966, NOT 1961.

I’m not sure when this particular nugget of information got started, since the 1966 date is pretty well documented. We have official pricelists from 1963 onward: the Bronco doesn’t appear on them until 1966, in both black and gray. End of story.

At least with the PAM, they could make an argument based on a lack of data: that is, an absence of information means a 1956 cannot be disproved. It’s a technical and weak kind of argument, but not an invalid one. But in this case, I know Reeves does have the data - and they didn’t bother to double-check it.

As with the PAM, this misrepresentation of the data may be having a profound effect on the way the model is perceived in the model horse community. If it was introduced in 1961, that would mean that the Gray Bucking Bronco would be a relatively common mold for that time period - 6 years of production is a pretty substantial run, even back then.

But it’s not: he was made for only one year. Although we can’t make very good estimates of production quantities for any regular run Breyer models before the mid-1980s, I think a one year production run should qualify him for at least the status of "scarce." Especially since a portion of them were probably painted over and became Black Bucking Broncos. (I hate being a tease, but there’s really no room to explain that little nugget today, gals! Maybe on Wednesday.)

This is why researchers need to rely on primary sources, not secondary ones. And do their own research, rather than automatically rely on the assumptions and conclusions of others. Because these assumptions very often turn out to be wrong, or at the very least misinterpreted. What we think we "know" is often very different from what is actually known. And that can create all sorts of problems.

I’ll give them credit for getting most of the data on the Basset Hound correct (interesting that they chose to make a post about him the same week I do! Hmm?) I could quibble about the Chris Hess attribution, but that’s a matter of ongoing research and a long way from being settled. I’ll give ‘em a pass - this time!

Am I making hash out of could just be a typo? Yep. That’s what I’m here for. Heck, that’s what makes me tick. Just because something’s a typo doesn’t mean it won’t have fewer consequences than something that was deliberately typed.

1 comment:

melissa said...

nothing to say about this post in particular. But I love reading this blog and getting all sorts of neat Breyer history.