As Lloyd Grossman would say: “Now who would have a room like this?”
snatched from the Baltimore Sun article shows on one or two of the shelves repeated versions of liquid cooled 1940’s fighters which, we can just make out, have five and six bladed propellers. The first candidate for this would be Spitfires (must blog on this kind of thing soon!) and combined with the repeated slightly different versions declaring a very special degree of thoroughness and care, and of course the dinosaur art, we confidently conclude it must be Greg Paul’s.
I was a fan, by which I mean fanatical supporter, of Paul even before he published “Predatory Dinosaurs of the World”. His contribution to the Czerkas’ “Dinosaurs Past and Present” showed a refreshing and intoxicating impatience with repeated obvious error.
For over twenty years I have become, and become known as, one of his most enthusiastic disciples, if not the most. Over most of that time I’ve experienced from him a surly resentment of my efforts, and a clear wish that I would drop dead. I think this has something to do with my not putting on a mask of coolness at times, which I don’t do because such a pretence disgusts me. Or it might be because he wants only disciples, not colleagues on a fairly equal footing, which with me will indeed leave him disappointed. This kind of attitude, for whatever the reason, is not of course unusual amongst scientists, and I can think of three or more similar examples right off the top of my head, including most other Paul supporters, with the welcome exception of Tracy Ford. (And of course one expects antagonism of some kind from opponents, and from thoughtless opponents, thoughtless antagonism, so one way or another, if you support Paul you’ll be flying a lone but beautiful mission!)
His attitude is fairly inevitable though, since if you habitually think down new avenues you will be a cat that walks by himself.
However, now, Paul seeks justice over blatant similarity of dinosaur artwork by those who not only seem to copy his trademark, but also undercut him while incidentally usually ignoring the scientific lessons he has taught us, especially ironically, often through his art.
I jumped up and down about this years and years ago. Did I get any hint of appreciation from GSP for this? Did I heck. And his reticence simply gave others the impression he didn’t agree with me and was ‘above’ the level of complaint I was resorting to. Now he posts to the net so feverishly on the subject he doesn’t even read over before sending – and he’s being accused of rudeness himself nearly ever time.
Actually, the problem is just his hypocrisy; Paul is entitled to be angry over all this. And even if he wasn’t, he’s still entitled to better treatment. I can imagine how some might believe that adopting an identical style might become a reasonable practice but I can’t understand how one would just do it without discussing it fully with he you homage in this way and others in the field first! Also, the casual practice of exploitation – let’s not pretend to qualify that, just say it for what it is – perhaps of other artists, which has clearly left Paul inadequately recompensed for his contribution, is something people shouldn’t have to be told about! I’m angry when I find a twenty-fold price difference between his work and that of some others, but it’s the others I’m angry at who insult their craft in this way. I’m happy to pay Paul plenty – I’d pay him more if I could – it’s the $50 merchants that annoy me. In Zach Miller’s case for example, he is genuinely hugely talented as an artist and I love the silhouettes he did for me, but he has a complete blank spot when it comes to moral economics, which annoys me almost as much as his belief that he can do science. (At least he doesn’t copy the Paulian style.)
Paul though can do both art and science, big time. If you ever want “Ridiculous”, just look at the marks in the ground where he’s dragged the science forward into a completely different field, and compare that with the expensive nothings and worse than nothing, retrogressive rubbish, that so many puffed-up posers have served up as an excuse for palaeontological insight.
Science has certainly got a ridiculous bargain out of him, as have the natural history enthusiasts who call themselves scientists. Judged by his contributions he certainly deserves followers for his ideas on protecting artists, but judged by his appreciation of this follower, he deserves nothing. He will have some effect but I can’t remember any time he’s even wanted to practice skilled use of his supporters. Paul might have had even more of an effect on people than he did if he’d only tried.
Due to his lumping of the famous Deinonychus in with Velociraptor, it was because of him the modern meaning of the term “raptor” became popularised. How often now he must see a modern fighter and be glad of the 1% of 1% royalty he got on every F-22 Raptor commissioned! 😉
UPDATE: For years it was a case of “GSP doesn’t have a website but by golly if he did!”