National Geographic Forum Letter

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National Geographic Forum Letter

Postby STLCaver » Sep 10, 2005 10:28 am

Did anyone else see the letter in the forum of the latest Nat Geo (Sept 05)?
A Timothy Griffin from Sparks Nevada writes " I do not see the scientific or cultural value of burrowing 2,000 meters into the Earth for its own sake. What I did see in this story of Krubera Cave were silly snapshots of strutting Marlboro men flexing their biceps and living an overgrown boy's fantasy of playing in the dirt with high-tech toys and explosives. Equally grating was the shameless self -congratulations, declaring their enterprise on a par with the conquest of the North and South poles"

Someone with better writing skills than me should write this guy. I take it as an insult to every caver, everywhere! What a joke. Tony
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Before you write him a nasty...

Postby cavemanorrick » Sep 10, 2005 8:48 pm

"strutting Marlboro men flexing their biceps and living an overgrown boy's fantasy of playing in the dirt with high-tech toys and explosives."

I think he's explained me just perfectly, except I don't smoke -and my biceps flex poorly.
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Postby Uncle Muddy » Sep 10, 2005 11:40 pm

Yeah, I saw that letter-to-the-editor. I was surprised that Nat Geo bothered posting it. This cat from Nevada was probably reacting to a subconscious denial of his own personal boyhood fantasy that featured sweaty, muscular men. I can imagine a "silly snapshot" of Sasha Klimchouk crushing-out a Marlboro on this geek's palm pilot. muddy
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Postby hewhocaves » Sep 11, 2005 11:58 am

I can understand the frustration, but if anyone writes a response it should be more than just an attack on the original author. A balanced response should explain how cave exploration benefits society as a whole through a better understanding of groundwater hydrology, discovery of new species, and as a celebration of the inquisitive nature of the human spirit.

Having read neither the article nor the letter in full, I don't feel qualified to respond to the allegations, but if someone is willing to send me a pdf of both, I'll put something thoughtful together.

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Postby zenas » Sep 11, 2005 12:32 pm

Here is the reaction of a well known greek caver, member of the last expedition to the Krubera (from a greek forum):

"...Our spirits by this point were incredibly high and we marched onwards, feeling delirious from the beauntiful passage we had found and the sheer thrill of original exploration. Exploration fever is like a drug, it engulfs and envelops you, it is all consuming, your heart races, what's to left, what's to the right, what's around the corner? No human being has ever been here before! You get just a touch of what other explorers must have felt thousands of times in the past, exploring continents, discovering islands, walking on the moon, if only there were other places we could do those things, but in the modern world the only oportunity for huge original discoveries are caves, the bigger the better! Stalactites, stalagmites, crystal rivers, what can come next?..."

The Sharawak chamber 1980 - Andrew James Eavis (UIS president)
"The Oxford book of Exploration", Robin Hanbury - Tenison
p.557
Worldwide Caving News
http://www.zenas.gr/WCN


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Postby STLCaver » Sep 11, 2005 1:04 pm

John- I agree with you that the letter should be thought out, not an attack. I was not insinuating that. I was amazed they printed the letter as well. The quote from my first post is the entire letter. He is referring to the story of Krubera in a previous issue (that I can not find right now) T
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Postby hewhocaves » Sep 11, 2005 7:59 pm

STLCaver (T.Schmitt) wrote:John- I agree with you that the letter should be thought out, not an attack. I was not insinuating that. I was amazed they printed the letter as well. The quote from my first post is the entire letter. He is referring to the story of Krubera in a previous issue (that I can not find right now) T


OK, well, I'll have to see the article as well. I'm still holding out a slight amount of thought that there might be something in the article itself to color his perception. Probably not, but you never know - things get misinterpreted (and NG can, on occasion, overplay the 'personal struggle' angle).

John
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Re: National Geographic Forum Letter

Postby AMF » Sep 12, 2005 7:53 am

STLCaver (T.Schmitt) wrote:A Timothy Griffin from Sparks Nevada writes... Equally grating was the shameless self -congratulations, declaring their enterprise on a par with the conquest of the North and South poles"


Well duh.... it kinda is! What drove Scott & Amundsen & Peary but the desire to discover something new? I think Zenas' post summarized it well... when man loses the desire to explore new places, we lose something bigger than all of us.
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A " pundits " negative take on the Krubrera explor

Postby KENTO » Sep 12, 2005 1:07 pm

This guy is probably measurably suffering from mental illness. He is desperately seeking some attention to a life that is miserable. His tactic is to sound superior by being negative about something he simply won't open his mind to enjoying. We do NOT need to give this guy an ear or acknowledgment of such. Nor do we need to worry about Nat. Geographics valuation of the many facets of Cave Exploration. And 99% of their readership would share in the simple thrill of exploration as well as care about information imparted about the delicate subterranean world whether or not they actually had been underground. I repeat don't worry about this one guy but trust in the greater majority's common sense, National Geographic does.
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How do I get to this forum in Sept. Nat. Geographic

Postby KENTO » Sep 12, 2005 1:32 pm

I just spent way too much time trying to find the forum this guy had his diatribe in. I have the issue about the Krubrera exploration and for the life of me can't figure out why it seems so offensive vain and self congratulatory. It's just another article about exploration in Nat. Geographic magazine. :?:
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Postby Mike Cato » Sep 15, 2005 11:01 am

I just read the article the other day and I think what set the guy off was a picture that at first blush was bugging me. It's the shot of one of the guys, cigarette butt dangling from his lips, holding a gas powered hammer drill and aiming it at someone in a macho fashion like it was some type of weapon. But after looking at it a couple of times I realized they were just having fun and probably trying to ease some of the pre-trip tension.

The rest of the article and photos was great and shouldn't be a problem for most normal folks.

Maybe the guy just had a knee-jerk reaction to that one photo.
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Postby Cindy Heazlit » Sep 15, 2005 3:10 pm

Hey there KENTO!

If you had issues with what the guy said, then rebut it. But all I see you doing is making personal attacks against this guys character and mental stability - without a single shred of supporting evidence. You're doing far more hand waving than the originator of the National Geographic letter did. I'd also like to know how you can determine a person's mental state by a single letter? Do you have a PhD in psychiatry or psychology? Also your prescribed "treatment" of this individual - on what basis do you make your claims?

Personal attacks are often used by those with no arguments or weak arguments.

Frankly, I'm getting a little sick and tired of certain cavers tactics of invalidating what someone is saying simply by libeling them an implying that they have mental problems. It is unethical, violates what we call "fighting fair", and does little to promote exchange of ideas.

If you have issue with what the letter writer is stating, then give us a rebuttal. If you are worried about what National Geo will do with the letter, then come up with a game plan to mitigate the results.
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Postby Lava » Sep 15, 2005 11:48 pm

Nah, no rebuttal necessary. I think all of us here already know pretty well what is wrong with the original letter, and I think KENTO hit the nail on the head when he said we should just ignore it. I'm sure Nat Geo's readership is smart enough to know better.
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Postby ian mckenzie » Sep 16, 2005 9:52 am

Lava wrote:I think all of us here already know pretty well what is wrong with the original letter
I wonder. You could take the letter as a complaint on the way the article protrayed cavers. The writer says he doesn't want to read about macho supermen in NG, and neither do I - I'd rather read about the caves. I was disappointed in the original article too (tho not exactly for the same reasons) which was not up to NG's usual standards. Perhaps NG will take that letter positively - as a criticism on what messages their article erroneously put across by focusing on the accomplishment, rather than on the cave...

On the other hand perhaps the cavers involved really are macho Marlboro men; I've never met any of them in person.
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Postby STLCaver » Sep 16, 2005 12:26 pm

Come on guys/gal! This was a HUGE accomplishment, done by CAVERS! The guys original letter came off bad. It was like he is saying, why bother to go in caves at all? They are of no importance. That's what I got out of his letter. I think we can all agree that caves are important. I would not question the guys mental state, only that he needs to be educated on the importance of caves and a greater understanding of the world in general. Is the picture of the guy smoking and holding a rotary hammer really upsetting? Was that the problem that most folks have with the story. Did everyone have a problem with " Beyond the Deep"? or "Yochib the River Cave"? Both of those are exploration books geared toward the human part, and two of my favorite books! Caving to me is more than a hobby, or a pastime, or a sport, I feel like this guy insulted my fellow cavers and it pissed me off. Maybe I should not wear my heart on my sleeve, maybe I should just let it go? Who knows. If I am ever in Sparks Nevada I will ask the guy to go have a beer, then I can educate him on why cavers rule.
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