I am about one month away from chucking my cell phone into the biggest river I can find; watching it burn out of existence would be too satisfying in knowing where it ended up.
Where the hell to start with the love/hate relationship....
Teton Gravity Research: what the fuck. This company, this organization, this media group, this whatever you want to call it-it's taking millions of personal humans hands, holding them, and ruining the outdoor world through pleasurable exploitation. When I first saw the Tetons, I thought to myself, oh my god, how could anyone want to ever ruin that? Want to work for TGR: apply if you have no respect for your lifestyle and where it takes place. This media group prides themselves in exploiting the lands we hold sacred, all for the sake of fame and income, income is important. For something that once started as a source of inspiration for folks, has now turned into social media users obsessing over trying so hard to #tgrlivethedream. After coming across an account that was featured on TGR's Instagram, I quickly came to realize why she had been chosen: comfortably proud exploiter. She had posted a photo of multiple locations that, even as a new "local," I was shocked to know she had the disrespect for a place that she claimed to have the upmost respect for. That's when it really hit me: why are people, companies, organizations...anyone with a social media platform that extends beyond their hometown, more interested in getting more attention and "likes" instead of trying harder to protect these places. We become obsessed with a location based off a photograph, the basis of inspiration, however the work put into discovering it has been deescalated into the hands of lazy recreation-ers. Remember those super cool paper books that were too big to open in the front seat of your car? They have roads plastered all over them AND we have Google Maps to really do some research on where we want to go. You should be inspired to go out and do what you love, not because you need the post or can't think of anything without watching accounts like TGR to know you have a passion about something. Here's where I agree with TGR: film industry. They have unquestionably produced some of the highest quality short films that focus around the outdoor industry's key lifestylers. That's where it ends.....
Social Media: this has been a string of disappointments offset by the occasional interaction that leads to the meeting of some of the best souls you would have never found otherwise. Those few and far in betweens are the reason I haven't up and offed myself completely. I cannot be one to say not to pull out your phone to photograph what you want but just as there is responsibility in taking out the trash you brought into a location, you have a responsibility to shut the fuck up. We have our National Parks for a reason; there a lot of people that do not deserve to be recreating the way that they are. Let me REPEAT that: There are a LOT of people that DO NOT DESERVE to be recreating THE WAY that they are. Too rude? I'll stop when I stop picking up forgotten clothing, non-biodegradable trash strewn in places that make absolute no sense, when I stop seeing peoples' initial carved into a live tree or natural landscape; I will stop when I stop hearing drones buzzing above my head in a place that I should be able to hear my own breathing. Social media as empowered the people who know nothing about the outdoors, about recreating responsibly, to go in search of outdoor locations that are being chase just for the photo. It's not that the outdoors are for the elite, it's for being treated for the elite that it is. Keep it pure, keep it authentic, keep it wild.
Drones: if 3-D printers couldn't be bought by the average person and they couldn't be used to create weapons, drones would be the worst thing invented and given to the public, affordably. My first question when I hear one, because I always hear it before I ever see it, is why? Why did you need that perspective, why do you need a selfie of your car from a birds eye view? The only footage I have seen and honestly been impressed with were Candide Thorvex's follows and when a drone has been flown straight into a sky of fireworks. But aside from criticizing the perspective drones provide, it's the "pilots" that need the rocks thrown towards. You're being rude, intrusive, and irresponsible. Can you imagine being mid-climb on a wall where you have little opportunity to welcome any distraction and all of the sudden you have a drone buzzing over your shoulder, filming you without permission, with no idea where it came from or who is on the other side of that camera. That happened to a friend of mine that resides peacefully in Moab. I have actually been peeing in a forest when, upon standing up from the bush line, I was looking up to the sky at a drone hanging above my location; I have even had a drone hover while I hiked down trail for five minutes before it rerouted, recording what?! Lastly, you're not a pilot, you are a video game control operator.
The final rant: social media sob stories. I will be the first to admit that I have chosen to share the majority of my life with the internet, I believe that there are people who appreciate genuine inspiration instead of sponsored versions and therefore opening up your life is all part of the sign-off. There is one particular video spamming the internet right now that every time it ends up on the screen in front of me, I hate it more and more. I have mulled over Andrew Muse's story multiple times: point blank, he killed his dog. How did he videotape himself immediately after "ruining" his life, how did he even pull out a cell phone other than to call someone; he lived in a camper, you know, the modern "home on wheels" truck set up that provides a person a place to sleep wherever they are, so how did you fall asleep at the wheel? Did he not get into his vehicle, look at his dog's face, and think about that while he drove? That he had another life to take care of, another life to be responsible for in keeping safe and out of harms way to the best of his ability? He could have pulled over. He didn't pull over. I could care less about his childhood and the absence of a father, the challenges he faced as a teen because of it, and how hard he worked to "rebuild his life" after ruining by crashing his vehicle, because ultimately, his platform is simply just a plea for undeserved sympathy. There are thousands of kids who have had such worse fucking lives, all they dream about is a day without pain, and he lost his dog to a decision he wasn't responsible enough to make. It makes me sick as dog parent.
Driving tired can be as dangerous as being intoxicated. It's illegal to drive under the influence. Alcohol prevents you from making what would otherwise be responsible decision, don't you think being tired has the same effect? Ask anyone who has really pulled an all-nighter. Life is more important than a deadline, or at least it should be.
Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and personal experiences below. Thanks.