Friday, August 27, 2004

sound of a tree falling

In his book "Into Thin Air", the story of the disastrous spring of 1996 when 12 climbers died on Mount Everest, Jon Krakauer describes allegations made by some that his mere presence as a writer/reporter added to the disaster by increasing stress to the psyches of both climbers and guides. The guides, said the naysayers, who were hoping for favorable publicity from the article Krakauer would write, may have relaxed some of their stringent practices in an effort to successfully guide more clients to the summit of Everest. The clients, thinking they might be portrayed as fools or inepts, may have pushed themselves beyond reasonable limits to avoid such portrayal. There has also been much discussion about the role of journalists who are present during news-making events; if and how their presence affects the actions of others and thus the outcome of the situation. I mention these ideas because as a newbie to this blog stuff I'm surprised at the proliferation of would-be journalists and diarists, both serious and non, who are members of this blog community. I wonder, does the fact they are writing about their surroundings change the way they interact with their surroundings? And if people interacting with the bloggists know they will surely be written about, does that change the way they act? Does a tree falling in the woods make a sound if no one is there to hear it?

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