Flutterby™! : On the scary frontier

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On the scary frontier

2013-05-03 23:58:26.16734+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

[ related topics: Alaska ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2013-05-05 11:56:53.59763+00 by: DaveP

I had already read the Grantland article it's talking about. I didn't think it was that bad, but it was pretty clear the writer was both very full of himself and new to even the idea of Alaska.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-05-06 14:56:22.986505+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, this resonated with me because... well... I'm kinda over city boys writing hyperbolic prose about things they know nothing about.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-05-06 15:38:59.26669+00 by: other_todd [edit history]

I'm over city boys writing hyperbolic prose about things they know nothing about, and I also think that "Grantland wets the bed" is non-news because everyone knows Grantland only has, or had (I'm not up-to-date) one writer who could actually write. But all that said ....

I've been annoyed by the attitude of Alaskans off and on over the years. They are so snottily desperate to preserve that sense of Alaskan uniqueness ("We're not like the lower 48") that I think sometimes they genuinely don't realize how dickish they come off in print. Also, they want to have their cake and eat it too - they want to preserve that sense of being a frontier, yet also assure us that they're not hicks and yes, they DO have broadband.

It strikes me that the big danger that the Grantland writer was actually talking about was the air transport conditions, which Alaskans do a lot of sweeping under the rug. Medred's defensive response "Like, who in Alaska hasn't had friends die in plane crashes? We die here in airplanes the way those from the East Coast die in automobile accidents" doesn't address the point: The deaths in the lower 48 from car crashes aren't any more excusable.

In the comment threads someone points this out and we get this:

Reply 1: "OMG laughing at what you wrote. Planes are the only transportation in some areas of Alaska ... NO ROADS. They do not fly in bad weather; they know how dangerous it is." [I have taken the liberty of translating this into English]

Reply 2: Except when they do; "VFR flight into IFR conditions" is one of Alaska's more common epitaphs. For every wise, grizzled old Bush Pilot, there's a lot of kids practically paying the company for the opportunity to log hours ....

I'm with reply 2. There are yahoos in civil aviation everywhere, but only in Alaska is there enough civil aviation for the "pilot error" numbers to get really shocking.

Anyway, my point is, the city boy wasn't a very good writer and his article was mostly a useless hunk of fluff, but that doesn't mean there weren't useful germs of truth in it. And Medred's sins, to me, eclipse the original article's.