Stan Gorodenski stanlep at
Thu Apr 14 23:52:26 EDT 2011

Thanks, Paul, for posting Speart's blog. Assuming you have accurately 
copied her blog, I feel I must say something because what I see in her 
blog, as I read it, disturbs me greatly. What appears (I am *not* saying 
my interpretation of what is written is actually what was intended) to 
be her views on collectors is completely unrealistic and off base. 
"Drugs and alcohol usually follow", for example. Come on, let's be real. 
Am I misinterpreting something here? Also, these views, because they are 
so unrealistic (if I interpret them correctly), *may* (note this is not 
an accusation or statement of fact) themselves be indicative of the same 
_type_ of mental and emotional disorders she alleges collector's have.

It is very disturbing to read this and hard to believe that someone 
actually holds these views. Perhaps she is just referring to a small 
number of individuals. For example, she singles out individuals with 
Asperger's syndrome, but in doing so essentially ridicules them which is 
unthinkable to me to do in public. However, she must include all, or the 
vast majority, of collectors in her statement. Otherwise, it would make 
no sense to be so vocal and visible if she was targeting just a few 
individuals. I hope I have misunderstood her blog (and I hope it was 
accurately copied by Paul).

On 4/14/2011 12:05 PM, Paul Cherubini wrote:
> Carolyn King wrote:
>> I assume that none of these open-minded people has
>> actually read your book.
> No, but lepidopterists can gain a good preview of what
> to expect from Jessica Speart's book by reading her blog:
>  Excerpt:
> I've met stamp collectors, coin collectors, Barbie doll
> collectors and folks devoted to horror film memorabilia.
> However, none come close to the bevy of butterfly
> collectors I've recently met. Interestingly, they're all
> men, each seemingly possessed by bugs with colorful
> wings. They live and breathe butterflies. For collectors,
> butterflies can be as dangerous and addictive as any drug.
> So, what is it with these guys? Those with financial means
> will go to extremes to obtain the specimens they want.
> For some, it's the equivalent of collecting a Renoir or
> Van Gogh. Still others are comparable to hunters lusting
> after a trophy to nail on the wall. Except in this case,
> their trophies are less than six inches rather than
> the usual nine-foot-tall Kodiak bear.
> Armchair collectors willingly shell out big bucks to
> have others capture the butterflies they desire.
> Their only requirement is that the specimens gathered
> be absolutely flawless. One private collector paid a
> group of young catchers to parachute onto a South
> Pacific island and stealthily amass illegal butterflies
> for him. Tales abound of hair-raising helicopter rides
> in the Russian wilds to ensnare mountaintop butterflies,
> while poaching gangs roam central Asia in search
> ofrare and elusive winged insects.
> On the other hand, most butterfly collectors aren't
> such high rollers and have to obtain desired specimens
> all on their own. Uh, oh. Big trouble. Ego, drive and
> obsession are the traits required for the single-minded
> pursuit of this goal. The downfall is that some of their
> lives turn into a Greek tragedy. Collectors have plunged
> into bankruptcy in order to underwrite their butterfly
> trips. That means they can lose their house, their jobs
> and even their spouse. Drugs and alcohol usually follow.
> One obsessive butterfly collector neatly wrapped it up
> for me. "We're driven toward something that doesn't
> put food on the table and we can't take with us. It's
> not all happiness and joy. There's a dark side here."
> He offered a composite of the addicted collector.
> "The guy's lost his eighth job in three years due to
> calling in sick and taking off on collecting trips, and
> he's depressed because no one else will hire him. As
> a result, his wife has finally left him. Even so, he still
> can1t control his obsession. Instead, he's become
> hooked on speed, taken out mortgages, and run
> through his family's savings while still chasing
> after butterflies."
> Though extreme, the scenario can be a reality. Become
> personally involved with an avid butterfly collector and
> you'll always come in second. Why do some collectors
> go off the deep end into obsession? "Many of us have
> Asperger's syndrome," my collecting friend confided.
> I immediately looked it up in Wikipedia. Adults with Asperger's
> exhibit social awkwardness and an extreme focus on a
> particular interest or hobby.  Their behavior can best
> described as "quirky." Okay, it was now starting to
> make sense. No wonder they1re seduced by the
> exotic and intricate world of butterflies. The insects
> become their refuge through which they fall into a
> bottomless pit of obsession.
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