Monday, March 27, 2017

I Hate This Video So Much

Hey all, originally I was going to write about Corona Arch, a tourist friendly, heavily trafficked, natural arch just outside of Moab along the Colorado River, but while doing a little background research, I found a video that I decided I wanted to write about instead.  Let's start with the video so we're on the same page (if not of the same position):

Do not do this on a whim.

I really try to stay positive in this blog as there's already so much to negativity bombarding us every day.  Heck, my last post was about a little desert bird's song, which I'd say is pretty darn positive.  But this video, well, it just rubs me the wrong way, and I prefer to be rubbed the right way.  That said, apologies for the negativity that's about to pour out.  Just know that it's coming from a positive place, in that I don't want people to die.  In any case, if you've already reached your downer quota for the day, probably just skip this.  No need to make things worse.

Ok, let's get this pessimism show on the road.  First off, this video was posted by the YouTube user DevinSuperTramp (all lower on YouTube, but I capitalized for emphasis).  I'm assuming that this name isn't an homage to taking the long way home, but instead to the deceased hitchhiker, Chris McCandless.  I'm not a fan of McCandless's chosen alias, nor of the people that go visit that godforsaken bus outside of Healy.  If Devin chose his YouTube handle in an attempt to emulate McCandless, he was unfortunately successful, both in dumb name and in his recklessness leading others to their own death.  That first wrong rub came before I even clicked play, not a good sign.

Next up, where is the safety information?  This video shows an extremely dangerous activity, and there's not even a warning at the beginning.  Even the Jackass crew puts up a warning up before tying bottle rockets to their genitals, an activity far less enticing than rope swinging from a giant arch.  To start this video without a warning of some sort is completely irresponsible.  Ideally, I'd think the video would have an intro with a link showing all of the safety equipment they used as well as precautions they took, not just a warning against imitation.  Showing the inherent danger as well as the associated costs of preparation may keep some people from attempting their own jumps.

Corona Arch courtesy of

Here's the thing about this whole stunt, there's nothing exotic about Corona Arch.  I know it looks stunning (in relation to where you live, presumably), but so does a lot of Southern Utah landscape (kudos if you live in the area).  Arches are naturally occurring in this general area due to its geological history involving prehistoric, mid-continental oceans.  Hell, Arches National Park is even closer to Corona than Moab is.  Corona isn't located in some faraway landscape that requires a powerboat or bush plane in order to be accessed.  All anyone needs to do is drive 20-30 minutes from Moab and then hike less than a mile.  Even getting to the top of the arch isn't that difficult, require neither special gear nor training.  All it takes is some vacation time and a little nerve or bravado, the latter being worse and rather prevalent in the "extreme" community.  So with the ease of access, why isn't there, at the very least, a safety disclaimer at the start of the video?  Anybody with more balls than brains could easily find themselves on top of this arch after seeing this video, and they need that safety check.

That said, a little over a year after the video was posted, someone did.  While attempting to recreate the stunt seen in the above video, Kyle Lee Stocking fell to his death.  He had miscalculated the length of rope he needed, and rather than swing like a human pendulum under the arch, he struck the ground.  Maybe if the video had some safety information at the start, this could have been avoided.  Who knows, though, maybe not.

In any case, that video racked up another 10 million views since Stocking's death (17 million prior), and safety information has yet to be added to the YouTube post.  Posting the video without a warning, while reckless, is somewhat forgivable.  Safety is a total buzzkill for adventure videos, and warnings take away from the fun, I get that.  In an effort to to look as cool as possible, someone touting their epic (the adjective usage of the word "epic" really needs to stop) lifestyle probably wouldn't brag about how much real effort and safety planning went into making their video.  But in the wake of someone's death, there's no excuse for not turning down the cool and putting up a solid disclaimer with intro links to instructional information.

That's my biggest gripe.  I guess anything beyond that is just petty and inconsequential.  Sure, the whole video looks like a douchey ad for Michelob Ultra, but in light of the above few paragraphs, mentioning it now would just seem shallow.  Ok, enough Curmudgeon Troy for one day.  Be safe out there, people.

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