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CBS and the NTA Convention II

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by George, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I'm starting a new thread simply because I'm pissed at the myopic comments of some of the yahoos who claim to be taxidermists. I continue to say that taxidermists have to be the dumbest people on earth. We fight among ourselves, we charge less than our peers simply to steal business from them, and we find reasons to trash his work so that ours looks better. By and large we don't know the history of the industry or the movers and shakers who provided us with a source of income and enjoyment. We're simply dumber than a box of rocks.

    In September 5, 1975, the CBS network aired one of the most searing "documentaries" ever known to the outdoor recreation industry called "The Guns of Autumn". Hosted by Dan Rather, the "documentary" was a scathing indictment of all facets of hunting and outdoor recreation. It single-handedly led to the creation of Friends Of Animals, PeTA, and the power mongering of HSUS. Not a single event was painted in a positive light and hunters were portrayed as country yahoos who had a latent blood lust without caring about destroying the environment.

    It was said to have made the late, great Fred Bear physically ill. He contacted all the outdoor associations he could muster to refute this odious "documentary". In 1975, when gas was 39 cents a gallon, he was told he'd need $300,000 to get a different take produced. The NRA contributed $100,000 and was soon joined by Fred's colleagues at the Archery Manufacturers Organizations (AMO) who chipped in another $100,000. Fred's company was in the midst of reorganizing and moving from Grayling, Michigan to Gainsville, Florida. He was in a fight for survival with union leaders and obviously strapped for cash, yet he felt so much disgust in the way hunters had been depicted, he ponied up the last $100,000 required for the film out of his personal funds. "The Echos of The Guns of Autumn" was produced but obviously never got the shock value the first blasphemous episode had. Still, he felt he couldn't allow the media to slander the sport he loved.

    Fast forward to today. CBS Sunday Morning (the SAME CBS) had approached and requested the NTA, whose 2200 meager members try to positively represent the 80,000 practicing taxidermists in America, if they could come and film our convention. The NTA was told that CBS would want to be everywhere and not excluded from any venue. In our trusting souls, the NTA agreed to it with no hope of having any say in editing content or depiction.

    Without exaggerating, I'm assuming that probably no more than a couple hundred practicing taxidermists watched a show that was probably seen by conservatively 30 to 40 MILLION people. And what are the results here??? We get a gutless "guest" chirping about our "lack of professionalism" or "dress code". Another hasn't a clue as to who Al Holmes is and his contributions to the industry. Do you suppose that the 39,999,800 others who watched the show felt about us how some of us do? The NTA, the ONLY professional organization we have to represent us, was selected to represent even those of you who'd bitch about having to spend $50 for a membership that "does nothing for me".

    Mind you now, CBS didn't go to the plumbers and septic maintence workers convention, the national pork growers association, or even the American undertakers union convention. THEY CHOSE THE NATIONAL TAXIDERMISTS ASSOCIATION CONVENTION. And some of you have the GALL to complain they didn't do "enough" in portraying us in a positive light. GET REAL. WE don't portray OURSELVES in a positive light most times. CBS did one helluva job keeping the show objective and non-judgemental. Thanks to Al Holmes, 39,999,800 people now know that we take exception to calling our work "STUFF" and that's a helluva lot more than some of you can say honestly.

    If you are a Christian practitioner and you had a neighbor who was Buddhist who invited you to go to his temple for a service, would you go? If you went, what do you think the chances of you converting to Buddhism are? HOWEVER, you'd leave that service with a new insight into what being a Buddhist actually meant and probably a new respect for those who believe in it. This show did just that, obviously over the heads of some of you. It showed us as discriminating "artists" who want to present our work in a better light than some specimen "may have looked in real life". The atmosphere was light hearted, yet informative. It wasn't a taxidermy seminar and it wasn't intended to be one. You, by the proxy of the NTA and CBS just became suddenly no longer a dark industry and you were introduced to the hoity toity who may now want to keep up with the Rockefellers and have a crappy looking sheep shoulder mount in their foyer.

    Some of you would be wiser to lighten up and shut up. Until you've lived the dark ages that some of us have endured, you haven't a clue what a breath of fresh air this short segment might have done for this industry. If you want to be a part of that, join the NTA and put that paltry $50 money where your mouth is. Certainly you should be a member of your state association first. If it's not like you want it to be, you can't change it by boycotting it. You don't get a vote if you aren't a member and members make changes to organizations. So put up or shut up.
  2. fesekula

    fesekula Active Member

    I agree with you 100% George. Any positive coverage to the taxidermy field is good coverage. Yes, Sometimes people can be their own worst enemy.

  3. Greg Waite

    Greg Waite Active Member

    George - well written and I have to agree. I will be joining the NTA within the next week. You are absolutely right and it was informative.
  4. Agreed! Thanks George!
    Kind of ironic isnt it? The cocky gutless guys hes referring to that dont like the way NTA members portrayed taxidermists...arent even members. Go figure! ;D
  5. I agree with everything you said. I'm a life member of the NTA and proud of it.
  6. Jims Wildlife Studio

    Jims Wildlife Studio Full Time PA Taxidermist

    Well written George, Every one should participate in there state. Also in the NTA
  7. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    George, thanks for the post, well put and I am a proud life time member of the NTA.
  8. Joey A

    Joey A Guest

    never mind
  9. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    George that was well done! As a life time member I think any publicity positive in any light only makes what we do a bit better in the old pocket!

    My Best!

    Rick Krane
  10. Richard C

    Richard C Well-Known Member

    As usual your right on the money. I couldn't believe it when I got a letter from Lola and Charlie Haynes that they were starting a national taxidermists association. I made arrangements to be at the first meeting in Poplar Bluff, Mo and have been a member ever since and proud to be one. Never having been on a plane at that point in time ,I took the Geryhound bus from Boston to Popular Bluff. Thank you Lola and Charlie Haynes.
  11. Big Stein

    Big Stein New Member

    Good work George, every taxidermist should join there state organization and the NTA
  12. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls


    All well said. When my wife told me about the segment, I immediately went to the computer and posted it in hope that everyone on the forum would have a chance to see it. I had no idea what it would be, and actually was a little hesitant about how taxidermy would be portrayed on a nationally televised show. I personally was elated with the way the segment was produced. I do not know who could have been a better spokesman than Al Holmes.

    A few years ago I decided that belonging to a state and national professional association was a must. I missed getting to Billings, but I plan to make Louisville and every national event that I can for the remainder of my career. I cannot believe the amount of criticism aimed at the CBS production. We should all be very proud that our profession was selected to be highlighted on such a high note to such a broad audience.
  13. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    To answer your question in one word, "YES, I am." I'm a life member of the NRA and SCI. I"m also a life member of Buckmasters and the North American hunting club. I'm even a life member of "Who's Who in America" if that will impress you about my self-esteem. I'm on the board of directors for my state QDMA, a member of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Associaton and an instructor in all the firearms and implements used in hunting here. I'm a freelance writer whose work and pictures have been printed in many of the outdoors publications you may have seen on your way through the airport newstands. I teach taxidermy and I've never taken one red penny from anyone I've taught though I do require them to make me a solemn promise that in return they will swear to always answer anyone's question about anything I may have taught them. I joined the NTA in 1974 because of the closed shop agenda of our industry. (Fortunately for YOU and millions of others- UNLIKE Phil- I get great satisfaction in knowing that there are no secrets to real talent and to think so is just ego inflating.) If the CBS program was so insidious, you can still take solace in the fact that YOU aren't a part of it and really shouldn't concern yourself with anyone who speaks publicly in support of it.

    None of those things I do really make a rats posterior about who I am and how passionate I am to insure that pompous asses and young men filled with testosterone and self-aggrandizement don't give the impression that's what this industry is made up of. Most of the people who attend our convention are probably of equal talent to me and are there to admire the work of true artisans and to LEARN how to do our work better. Phil won't ever give a seminar according to his own words, and like many who came before him, will eventually die with what he thought were "secrets" only to have them reinvented later by some other soul who might have improved on them to begin with had he been more generous. ANYONE who doesn't feel an obligation to this industy can hide behind any pompass fascade, but the reality is evident to all the rest of us who are less blessed talent wise. Thank God Akeley and Hornaday didn't feel that way and thank God J.W. Ellwood came to us at a time of depression to give even the poorest of country boys a vision of some means of success. I doubt seriously that you (or Phil) will ever have to concern yourselves with having your names listed with those three. That is what's truly sad about your attitude. For the hope of the future of this industry, you probably should stick to your day job.