December 19, 2017

Because it's there.

That's my answer to the comment on my post disapproving of a gigantic New York Times article about retrieving the corpses of 2 people who attempted to climb Mount Everest.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said:
Ann, if you don't want to read a particular article, don't. Even when starved for anything at all to read, I've never read every word of the NYT. I read the pieces on classical music and skip the ones on rock and hip-hop, but I don't complain that the latter are there.
That's just not how I look at the NYT. When the New York Times — it was the New York Times — asked George Leigh Mallory, "Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?," he famously answered "Because it's there":
Now, you might say, Althouse, that's a terrible analogy. Mallory didn't complain about the existence of the mountain, he climbed it. And you didn't read the article about whose existence you complained.

But the ongoing operation that is the NYT is Mount Everest. Climbing it is blogging it. To blog it is to continually critique it, from my individual point of view. For me to ignore the NYT articles that bother me and to simply move on to things I like and can read without feeling any annoyance or strain, would be like telling Mallory he should take a pleasant hike in the foothills.

ADDED: I thought I was creating the tag "Mount Everest" for this post, but in fact, I'd had the Mount Everest tag for a long time and forgotten about it. But now I've gone back and made sure it's on all the posts. There are 23 of them. It's a topic I've followed for a long time. There are posts about the money, the dying, the litter, etc., and repetitions of that great quote from "My Dinner with Andre," but I just want to highlight "How to know everything you need to know":
I overheard this snippet of conversation today, as I was walking down State Street here in Madison, Wisconsin. 2 college-age guys, one in shorts. (The temperature is in the 20s.)
"Where's Mount Everest?"

"Seattle?"

"Did you say Seattle?!"

"Uhh..."

"I think it's in India somewhere."

"I don't care."
Now, there's wisdom in this ignorance. Is there not? As long as you don't care about whatever it is you don't know, you've got perfect intellectual equilibrium. You know everything you need to know. Unshakable wisdom. Sublime.

25 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

If you click the "Mount Everest" tag, you'll see there are 23 posts in the archive on the subject, which I've been following for many years.

I have a problem with the numbers of people, the crowds, the littering, the economics, and really the whole idea of travel. My favorite quote from my favorite movie has Mount Everest in it.

So for me, resisting an article about Mount Everest isn't nothing.

phunktor said...

Flak is your notification that you are over the target. Carry on.

Darrell said...

Covering the NYT for a blog is the work of Superwomen.

Ann Althouse said...

@Darrell

Glad that one didn't get caught by the spam filter.

Tim Gilliland said...

Afraid I am in the crowd that "Just don't get it" when it comes to mountain climbing, especially those that are so famous/dangerous.

Uberfrau Althouse, Would you not consider that the drive some seem to have to climb Everest is in the category of obsessive behavior, and perhaps a sickness? Call me a coward, but after about the age of 21 purposefully endangering you life for sake of experience just seems well, stupid.

Plus my creditors get nervous and weepy when I do stuff like that.

rhhardin said...

It's a displacement of an article about Democrats.

gspencer said...

If they bother to vote, they voted Democrat.

Eric said...

It's all well and good to ignore the stuff you don't want and just read the stuff you want, but in this era of limited budgets for news organizations when the NYT spends on Mt. Everest "rescues" it doesn't spend on expertise on the Middle East/Eastern Europe/...

Is the NY Post not worth reading because it's full of fluff? Fluff is in the eye of the beholder.

MadisonMan said...

I saw a kid ( = College Student) in shorts and flip flops yesterday.

Kids.

I remember when my metabolism was set at "Furnace". Long ago now.

TerriW said...

From Sherlock:

Sherlock Holmes: Oh, you meant "spectacularly ignorant" in a nice way! Look, it doesn't matter to me who's Prime Minister or...

Dr. John Watson: Yeah, I know

Sherlock Holmes: ...who's sleeping with who...

Dr. John Watson: [quietly] Whether the Earth goes round the Sun.

Sherlock Holmes: Oh God, that again. It's not important!

Dr. John Watson: Not impor...? It's primary school stuff. How can you not know that?

exhelodrvr1 said...

The articles that the NYT includes, and those it doesn't include, is certainly a newsworthy target.

Ralph L said...

I read that some people on "The Spectrum" aren't sensitive to temperature. It said nothing about geography, but perhaps it wasn't his obsessive interest.

My ex-boss cooled off a lot when he went on blood pressure medication. With the thermostat at 78, I would start to feel ill right before the A/C kicked in.

james james said...

Even the tallest mountain in the world needs Cruel Neutrality.

- james james

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Now, there's wisdom in this ignorance. Is there not? As long as you don't care about whatever it is you don't know, you've got perfect intellectual equilibrium. You know everything you need to know. Unshakable wisdom. Sublime.

Welcome to my world.

Danno said...

Were these kids/students Coasties or Sconnies?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Mountain climbing is stupid and pointless.

Spending thousands of dollars to bring down the bodies of those who essentially committed suicide is beyond stupid. Putting other people's lives in danger to do it is more than beyond stupid. Maybe their bodies should stay there as a warning.

I feel the same way about those who die spectacularly in stupid "hold my beer" show off stunts. Bottom of a cliff?....awww....too bad. Fell off a building? Meh. Hope you didn't hurt anyone else.

Owen said...

Do climbers on Everest have to buy an insurance policy to pay for cleaning up the mess they leave, whether litter or their own mummified remains? I think the host country (and countries en route) charge huge fees for permits; do they absorb the costs, or do they wait for friends and relatives to run a GoFundMe thing?

I rank this activity right up there with people getting lost and demanding on their smartphone that they be extracted by helicopter please, right now, they're cold and hungry.

EDH said...

Textbook mountain rescue.

Michael said...

Disgust at climbing Mt. Everest seems to be a unifying emotion, one shared by lefties and righties. Ah, the cost! Suicide! Risking other people's lives! Travel!! Pointless!! Trash on the mountain!! Everest has something for everybody, even the climbers who inspire such sneers. The vitriol and dismissiveness sound a bell similar to the Occupy Wall Street movement's complaints about the evil Capitalists, the horrible CEOs, the inequality, etc. Everest brings out the conservative in the lefties and the radical in the righties.

Do we not dream? Do we only set easy goals or no goals at all?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Do we not dream? Do we only set easy goals or no goals at all?

Of course we do. Dream the impossible dream. Dream big. Accomplish your dreams. Admirable goals. Do you want applause?

Those are YOUR dreams. Do what you want. Don't expect to drag everyone else into your fantasy or make them pay for your mistake.

Dreams that accomplish something of note, are the first ground breaking event of its kind that are things of worth, contribute to humanity, scientific discoveries, brave new worlds, one small step for mankind.....applause.

Dreams that are ego stroking, adrenaline rushes, dare devil deeds, and are repetitions of other people's already accomplished goals, such as being the umpteenth person to climb and die on a mountain....not impressed.

Earnest Prole said...

You can read or not read whatever you want for any reason or no reason. A good bit of the Times piece will confirm what you already believe about climbing Everest. The article also features a beautiful photo essay on an Indian family's attempt to come to terms with death and the role the return of the climber's body plays in that reconciliation -- in other words, the most interesting and compelling material in the article has nothing to do with Everest.

Sebastian said...

"As long as you don't care about whatever it is you don't know, you've got perfect intellectual equilibrium. You know everything you need to know. Unshakable wisdom. Sublime."

Of course, whatever it is you don't know may care about you. It may not shake your "wisdom," but it can ruin your life.

mockturtle said...

Nepal and China, actually.

Rusty said...

Oh sure it's all "conquering the mountyain" and "facing your personal limitations." until they gotta pay somebody to haul your lifeless ass down the mountain.
What they need to do instead of dragging the corpses down the mountain is gather them up and arrange them as way markers on the trail up to the summit. Maybe pose them. There is no reason, even in death, not to be useful.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

"Everest. Terrifying, aloof, forbidding. The mountain with the biggest tits in the world."

Start again.