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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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A screen grab from a video showing three men knocking over one of the formations at Goblin Valley State Park.
Utah goblin topplers get academic notice in The Boston Globe

The question of why people not only do stupid things, but also like to put videos of themselves doing stupid things online for the whole world to see, interests academic, author and Boston Globe contributor Carlo Rotella.

He has taken notice of the two (ex-)Boy Scout leaders from Utah who not only pushed over an ancient rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park, they also posted a YouTube (later removed) video of themselves doing it.

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These guys are getting more than their 15 minutes of fame.

Goblin topplers an ancient urge updated — Carlo Rotella | For The Boston Globe

... The ancient urge, felt by everyone at some point in life, is an unreasoning impulse to mark your passage through the world by breaking things and knocking them over. ...

... Why did [Glenn] Taylor and his friend Dave Hall record this foolish act and then make that video available online? I can understand that they wanted attention, but how to explain the yen to self-incriminate? ...

... Can it be that it’s so important to get the footage out there online, so inevitable that anything you do must be rendered electronic and shared in order to have truly happened at all, that if it results in your own suffering then, hey, that’s just the cost of being fully alive in the 21st century? The old-fashioned alternative — just, you know, doing stuff without posting it — is apparently too awful to contemplate. ...



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