Pure Dirtbag Imagination

While the dirtbag may be a dying breed, the insouciant idea of the dirtbag has captured much of climbing's soul.  Living out of the truck, climbing every day, dumpster diving, scraping by with nothing but the fervor to climb.  This certainly existed but in parallel to the hundreds of climbers who fed their addictions as weekend warriors.  And where do Ron Kauk's Ford Broncos, John Bachar's Gillettes, and Chris Sharma's perfumes fall into the reimagination of the dirtbag? 

The Fever Dream of a Dying Breed

I see Facebook posts mourning children.  And the immediate response from those who side with killers.  I grow weary of these men.  Bearded and begutted, bellies hanging low over the belt with the weight of years conforming to stereotype.  Words, so meaningless, thrown into the wind of social media.  Rights.  Constitution.  Patriotism.  Men whose identities have become so wrapped around a constructed narrative they can no longer question it.

Grace and Blame in the Real America

I struggle with depression on a daily basis. Metaphors fall short--describing depression as some dark octopus lashing tentacles around the human brain, that removing those creeping arms will cure the disease. But that's not true--it is part and parcel of myself, as much as my shadow, my love for mountains, my blue eyes. My depression strengthened after leaving Afghanistan--some vital barrier crumbled in the dust and heat and senselessness of it all. Yet the fault cannot be assigned to me or the war. We cannot point to a single instance and say, "Ah, this right here is where you forged your illness, and you could have done different." Those who live with darkness always at the edge of their vision know the seductive power of poor coping mechanisms--drugs, alcohol, distraction from thinking about why we can't seem to join the perfection of our peers. Some succumb, some fight--the rights and wrongs of it all jumbled together.

On Power and Naming

Where to begin? With the irony of a fool admonishing me to “study the world,” when it is obvious he has never done so himself? The fact that this same fool might be unintentionally quoting a 1980s video game—Bad Dudes—in which ninjas kidnap the President? A temper tantrum against the New York Times? His tired... Continue Reading →

The Evanescence of Power

I have been thinking lately on the nature of soft power— American hard power has seen its limits since 9/11, as we have not been able to forcibly shape the world according to our whims and desires.   Soft power, however, cannot be measured objectively through the number of warships or central bank loans, but the... Continue Reading →

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