Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hall's son's rebuttal

I believe I mentioned this in class before break - I found a webpage created by the son of national park superintendent George Hall (http://georgehallsalaska.com/). This website is marketed as a "rebuttal" to Tabor's book and thoroughly criticizes Tabor's account of the 1967 tragedy, claiming it to be riddled with "discriminatory interpretations of selected information." Hall's son thoroughly disagrees with Tabor's assignments of blame and interpretation of the 'truth' of the event:

The “Truth” about this tragedy has never changed: A unprecedented eight day windstorm hit the mountain at the worst possible time for the second Wilcox summit attempt.  Independent meteorologists analyzed weather records for 105 months between 1952 and 1976. They determined the storm of July 18-26 was the most severe wind storm on the mountain since weather data had been collected. (Wilcox 1981)  The park service and the local resources that supported their efforts to mount a rescue did what they believed, with good reason was, the best way to get real help to the missing climbers.
In spite of their efforts, seven young men – Jerry Clark, Hank Janes, Dennis Luchterhand, Mark McLaughlin, John Russell, Steve Taylor and Walt Taylor died.

This comes right back to the questions we've been discussing about why truth is important, what do we as readers expect from an author, and how much truth is really necessary for a book's success. However, us readers are not directly linked to any member of the 'cast of characters.' Reactions to Tabor's book from family members like this one from Hall's son are upsetting, because they show how his book created more distress for people already incredibly affected by this tragedy. One reason why rescue missions were not sent out earlier and were not successful is because no one wanted to create more victims in an already disastrous tragedy due to treacherous weather conditions. However, by assigning blame after the incident, Tabor is in a way victimizing other people. I realize this is a pretty bold statement, but I found Tabor's account, while captivating, to be fairly biased and dramatic. I suppose I still have a problem with him writing a 'blame game' account as an outsider--just as Hall's family does. In my opinion, the long quote above is a satisfactory 'truth' to the tragedy, and further blame unnecessarily complicates the incident.

1 comment:

  1. Dunn also addresses the questions about why truth is important, and what obligations an explorer or adventurer has to report truthfully. Dunn very clearly explains his opinion that it is immoral to report anything other than "the truth," though he acknowledges that "the whole truth is always beyond reach" (8). I find it very interesting that Dunn believes that it is impossible to completely detach yourself from your adventure, but he still strictly demands accurate facts and feelings. Because Tabor was not on the mountain himself, perhaps he is one of the only people who would be able to write about the 1967 McKinley disaster in a detached way.

    Dunn also specifies that in order to tell the truth about yourself, you must tell the truth about other people. This is similar to what we were discussing at the end of class on tuesday. Perhaps in investigating the story of the 1967 McKinley disaster, Tabor is telling the ultimate truth about himself. Through the story of others, he learns about himself.