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Re[2]: [at-l] aWFul Putnam Mine...

In a message dated 6/10/01 7:43:59 PM US Eastern Standard Time, 
ellen@clinic.net writes:

> Again, those folks who only want to chit chat, should feel free to do 
> whatever makes chit chat easy. If you want to really contribute to the 
> expansion and
> protection of this trail, again, choose whatever forum seems most valuable.

You know, I've recently privately expounded on this subject, but I have to 
admit, I'm pretty tired of people insinuating that because we "chit chat" on 
this list, have "fun" on this list, talk about things sometimes that are not 
"trail related" on this list, and our list admin doesn't tell us what to do, 
that we aren't doing anything.  Pretty damn tired of it, actually.  If anyone 
who hasn't been here awhile wants to take the time, they can go thru the 
archives.  So I'm going to say this once, on the list, and leave this subject 
alone, as I've managed to do since the WF thing came up again, admittedly 
while gritting my teeth.

There are thru hikers here, section hikers here, trail mainainers here, 
support people for thru hikers here, and people who have never set foot on 
the Trail but dream of a thru hike.  We view this list as a campfire, and 
we've been called names because of it.  We're the "soft list", the "frivolous 
list", the "sit around and talk while not doing anything list", the list that 
only "exists for atml rejects."  Our standard greeting to new members, "grab 
a log and a smashmellow" has been called "bullshit" by someone who seems more 
interested in telling us how much he does for the Trail than getting to know 
anyone here.

I want to know why people feel like they have to put us down because we 
actually talk on the list like we are friends (because we ARE friends?? Gee, 
what a concept), we talk about things not trail related, we argue about trail 
related things, we share advice and experiences, our triumphs AND failures or 
miscalculations, we offer support and help whenever needed.  Just because 
we're happy here, and don't have a dictator for a list admin, people seem to 
need to put us down.

I'd say it's a measure of this list that no one constantly has to draw 
attention to what they do for the Trail.  It's a part of our lives, and if 
what we do gets mentioned at all, it isn't to pat ourselves on the back and 
get public recognition, or adulation . . . it might get mentioned because a 
lister comes back from a great weekend doing maintenance and shared it with 
us (NOT "I just spend two days busting my ass on the Trail, what have YOU 
done lately" type of sharing, but "what a great time we had while doing this" 
sharing) - it might be because someone will be off line for a few weeks w/ 
the Konnarock crew - might be cause someone is putting a work crew together 
and posts for volunteers - but I think the only time we've even come close to 
publicizing our good deeds for the Trail was when we said on the list "Wooo 
Hoooo, we raised thousands of dollars for the Place - way to go, guys!".  

So what?  Since no one talks about all the time and money they invest in the 
Trail, and because we have fun here and joke a lot, that means we're not 
serious about the Trail? That means we're not doing anything? Because Ryan 
doesn't dictate to us that we go thru his server to write a congressman or 
two, we aren't doing anything??

Well, I tell ya what.  You folks who seem to think this "campfire" is non 
serious and frivolous, that because we have fun we don't do anything when it 
comes to Trail advocacy - you don't know what you're talking about.  And as 
far as WF goes - someone said we should appreciate his good works for the 
Trail regardless of how he accomplishes them.  Well, guess what?  The ends 
justifies the means has always been a handy philosophy - that doesn't make it 
right.  When WF does ONE SINGLE THING for the Trail that doesn't get him 
publicity, or money - ONE SINGLE THING for the Trail that he doesn't brag 
about on his list, I'll start "appreciating" what he's done.  Someone brought 
up how his Thruhikers Handbook has done a lot of good, even if we don't like 
him.  But guess what!  The proceeds of his book go to - guess who? The 
proceeds from ALDHA and the ATC's publications go to - guess where??  

But I find it hard to believe that even people who know nothing of his 
history except what he puts out, and nothing of his tirades against the 
legitimate trail organizations, and nothing of his personal viscious attacks 
against persons here, for no better reason than they challenged him to 
explain "why" - I find it hard to believe that even if they knew none of 
that, they could look at two facts and *still* defend him, and put US down 
because we're not like him.

One being his refusal to allow his listers to know about raising money for 
The Place.  As such a THRUHIKER advocate, spending thousands of his *own* 
money (or is that the "Center's" money? and hundreds of hours a week for the 
sole purpose of helping the trail and thruhikers in particular, you think he 
might have wanted to help.  His hatred of this list and the people on it won 
out over the good we were doing.  That is a fact.  It isn't made up, it isn't 
conjecture - it is a fact.  The difference between us is that we didn't let 
our feelings about HIM stop us from doing our own bit to champion the 
Saddleback issue - we just didn't do it his way.

The other was him kicking off people on his list for the unpardonable sin of 
writing their OWN PERSONAL letters about Saddleback.  Taking their own time, 
their own stationary, their own postage, and their own heartfelt convictions 
to write about that issue - and being told - "Too bad - use my website 
generated form, or I'm kicking you off."  If his list is anything like ours, 
that would be tatamount to being disowned by your family.  How can anyone 
justify that?? Or say that the 100 or so people who bowed down and wrote thru 
his website (thereby being spared the boot) made any more of a difference 
than the rest of us who wrote our own?

Those two simple facts, not gossip, but facts - should be enough to wake some 
people up.  Has he done some good?  That's questionable.  Should THIS list be 
told it isn't doing anything serious, just chit-chatting, just because we 
don't do it HIS way here?  I'd say that's a no.  But you know what?  The 
nature of this list is that you CAN tell us that, and still be here tomorrow.

WF puts down the ATC and ALDHA - has done it numerous times on his list, year 
after year. (although a search thru his archives probably won't net that - he 
deletes at will.) If WF disappeared tomorrow, perhaps to another country 
because he can no longer live in America in good conciense, according to him 
- would the Trail cease to exist, or be impacted in any way whatsoever? No.  
If the ATC disappeared tomorrow - what would the effects of THAT be?

I'm sorry - everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but as I told someone 
else recently.  If any one of these people who belittle us, put us down, 
accuse us of not helping the Trail, INCLUDING WF, ended up on the Trail 
somewhere, hurt and in need of a place to stay, and posted that here - 
someone would go get them, someone would share their home with them, and do 
everything possible to help them.  No matter how they felt about the persons 
opinions, a lister would rush in to  help any hiker.  Even WF.

WF won't answer a knock on his door by a thruhiker.

I think that says it all.  But perhaps everyone just enjoys putting this list 
down too much to face that.

The Redhead

p.s. - and Ryan, I did follow the five minute rule.  In fact, I waited more 
than five minutes.  I'm sorry - I still had to post it.

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