Alfred Brownlee

Whit's wiping down the counter, Connie's mopping the floor, and the kids are sipping on their milkshakes. If you want to talk about Adventures in Odyssey the radio drama, this is the spot to do just that!
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bookworm
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Alfred Brownlee

Post by bookworm »

If Alfred Brownlee is a smuggler, why would he have sent the Jesus Cloth to Whit instead of selling it? Surely that would have been one of the most sought after artifacts he'd ever come into possession of.

I imagine the answer is simply that at the time of that episode the AiO team didn't know he would return as a character they just needed a name for the sender, then later when they did the Search for Whit they thought they should reuse him since they already established that Middle East contact, but it's a confusing oddity in-world I think.
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Post by Bob »

Without being able to listen to the episodes for further information:
One possibility is that he wasn't crooked as of "The Jesus Cloth", and got involved in smuggling later. At least a couple of years had passed in the AIO world, so there's time for some career changes.

Another possibility is that he didn't think it was that valuable (perhaps for the very reasons that Whit was disinterested in it at first, or discovered later on). It's worth noting that Whit says that Brownlee hadn't turned up anything valuable before; if he was actually selling everything valuable he found, this would harmonize, not create a conflict.

Maybe he was insufficiently sure about the cloth's status, and thought Whit was the best place to send it to, to get it checked out. In that case, though, you'd think he would make it clear it was a 'loan' and not a gift, so that Whit didn't end up giving it away to someone else.

Another possibility is that perhaps he did think it might be somewhat (though not exceptionally) valuable, and also thought sending it to Whit was a better idea than selling it. Perhaps it was an honest gift (they had apparently been friends), or perhaps it was a cynical investment: perhaps Whit would think it was valuable too, and so feel like he 'owed [Brownlee] a favor', which would be worth more to him than a single sale. When we consider that Whit is rich, has a million contacts (in government and in important organizations), has access to advanced technology, and apparently is a competent archaeologist/explorer, that doesn't seem all that unreasonable.
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Post by bookworm »

Bob wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 2:46 pmOne possibility is that he wasn't crooked as of "The Jesus Cloth", and got involved in smuggling later.
I considered that, but he's not just a casual smuggler he and Professor Charles created elaborate fronts to mask their black market activity in the form of the Symposium and First Things, which seemed to have been well established groups so I had the impression it was a very developed operation by the time of Search for Whit and something that's been more long standing than popping up just between those episodes.

Bob wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 2:46 pmAnother possibility is that he didn't think it was that valuable (perhaps for the very reasons that Whit was disinterested).
I thought of this as well, but his actual belief in the authenticity of the artifact wouldn't be relevant to trying to fence it; if he's unethical enough to deal in the black market in the first place he would have no moral issue selling a dubious item, especially that particular one considering the claim. We saw how much interest it gathered in Odyssey with no confirmation whether it was actually genuine, his perspective buyers would presumably have the same reaction. At least enough of them would to produce a very profitable bidding war.

Bob wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 2:46 pmIt's worth noting that Whit says that Brownlee hadn't turned up anything valuable before
All the more reason to cash in on this, apparently the first thing he's acquired actually capable of producing high interest.

Though I do wonder if Whit's statement is actually true, as he obviously did not know about Alfred's black market dealings. So what he's publicly shared with Whit hasn't amounted to anything substantial, sure, but that could be because he's been sending his real finds to his fences. When the operation is busted Tasha doesn't make it sound like they were wannabe smugglers, it seems they had a pretty successful thing going with a history of some number of prior transactions, so they've obtained a nonzero number of items with actual value in the past, despite Whit's remark.
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Post by Catspaw »

Bob wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 2:46 pm Another possibility is that perhaps he did think it might be somewhat (though not exceptionally) valuable, and also thought sending it to Whit was a better idea than selling it. Perhaps it was an honest gift (they had apparently been friends), or perhaps it was a cynical investment: perhaps Whit would think it was valuable too, and so feel like he 'owed [Brownlee] a favor', which would be worth more to him than a single sale. When we consider that Whit is rich, has a million contacts (in government and in important organizations), has access to advanced technology, and apparently is a competent archaeologist/explorer, that doesn't seem all that unreasonable.
I like all of Bob's ideas, and bookworm has good responses to them. I really find this last idea the most intriguing. I recently read a book about the psychology of persuasion, and the influence that a gift can have is immense. People often underestimate the power of feeling that you owe someone a favour, which can be useful to the unscrupulous who try to manipulate people. Even little things can change behaviour significantly sometimes. I think this is a great devious explanation that maintains consistency with the things that bookworm noted.
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Post by bookworm »

Yeah, I highly doubt the writing team had a reasoning that thought out in mind at the time (I don't think they had anything in mind, as I said), but as a listener-created after-the-fact explanation that one works the best.
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Post by Catspaw »

I'm sure you're right that at the time there was no need for that kind of reasoning, which makes it interesting to try to come up with plausible theories later.
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