> Most Elgar scholars I contacted said they have stopped responding to Padgett’s persistent inquiries.
Sigh. This sentence should have been in the lede.
> One professor at the University of London, who asked for anonymity so Padgett wouldn’t follow up, called Padgett’s theory an “attempt to create a reality effect through the excessive presentation of material which the reader is meant to assume is somehow evidence.”
Cranks are fascinating in that, while they have boundless time and energy to produce voluminous work on a subject, they can't quite be bothered to educate themselves about what does or does not constitute a logical argument, or about little details like the fundamentals of mathematics or physics.
> He also contends that English scholars are too protective of their prized composer to consider the theory of a layperson such as him. “I’m an outsider, you know. I’m not one of these credentialed academics. I’m not published,” he said. “Who am I to presume that I could fathom the dark secrets of one of their foremost composers?”
Another hallmark, the crank feels mistreated strictly because they are an outsider and questioning the insiders.
Mixing and matching disparate things and bastardizing them to synthesize them into some whole is also a hallmark crankpot move. Add in things like turning to God for direction, a codebreaking obsession, and so on, and yes, this all walks and talks like a crankpot theory.
Add in Elgar's apparent appreciation of playing jokes on people, and you have what seems like the full story here.