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Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
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Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby Gene913 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:43 am

On occasion, someone here will perhaps "exaggerate" their climbing exploits. The board reacts predictably when there is a collective preception that too much license has been taken with the fine art of telling a "fish story."
But there is more at stake than public shaming and ridicule when the tall tale goes beyond climbing exploits and moves into the realm of knowingly misrepresenting one's military history/service record.
The Stolen Valor Act makes it a federal misdemeanor crime to falsely represent, verbally or in writing, that you were awarded a service medal, such as a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, or the Congressional Medal of Honor.
But according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and recently the federal district court in Colorado, this Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment right of free speech.
Apparently, we have a First Amendment right to tell a lie. Who knew? What do you think?
For more about the Ninth Circuit court case: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2010/08/stolen-valor-act-unconstitutional-ninth-circuits-opinion-in-alvarez.html
"If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, and you say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:21

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby Doug Shaw » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:49 am

Gene913 wrote:Apparently, we have a First Amendment right to tell a lie. Who knew? What do you think?


Of course you have the right to tell a lie. Is this the first time you've ever heard of the First Amendment? Just FYI, you're also allowed to say unpopular things.

As for what I think, I think this should be in off-route since it really has nothing to do with climbing and seems prone to devolve into political bickering pretty quickly.

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby Gene913 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:26 pm

Well I obviously did an ineffective job of conveying my own sense of sarcasm or the point of the post. Otherwise, the rationale for posting this here rather than in off route would have been more obvious.

Not interested in a First Amendment debate. As a lawyer, I could hold my own there if that was the point and certainly could withstand the withering retort of those who would ask. "is this the first time you have ever heard of the First Amendment?" And if I wanted to discuss or debate the legal issues, this is not the forum I would choose for that discussion.

But we all have seen instances when someone exaggerates or embellishes on this board and makes something sound more "epic" or "majestic" than it was or makes themselves sound more "grand" or "spectacular" than reality warrants. Since this forum section is specifically devoted to "epic" mountaineering tales, the point of the original post- sarcastically - was to use the recent court case as a way to say that those who do that here clearly have a First Amendment right to do so. Just like we have a First Amendment right to take them to task for their embellishments.

I'm not trying to take this court case seriously. I was just trying to have some fun. Sorry for any confusion created by the original post. And Bill or any other administrator is certainly within their rights to put this thread wherever they believe it fits.
"If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, and you say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:21

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby Doug Shaw » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:49 pm

Let's pull it back on-topic. The most recent examples I can think of are the people who have been posting the "OMG Look how much snow there is!" pictures.

One picture of snow up to your knees does not translate as "we encountered 18-24 inches of snow on the mountain". The term you are looking for to accompany your photos is snowdrift.

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby kimo » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:26 pm

Doug Shaw wrote:The most recent examples I can think of are the people who have been posting the "OMG Look how much snow there is!" pictures.
One picture of snow up to your knees does not translate as "we encountered 18-24 inches of snow on the mountain". The term you are looking for to accompany your photos is snowdrift.


Doug, if you are referring to the photo I posted here, the only photo I've seen in the forum showing snow to the knees...

http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=27695

...you are fabricating some of the details associated with my post. But then I guess we all reserve the right to tell a lie.

Nowhere in my post did I say 18-24 inches of snow fell on the mountain. I said "expect SNOW!" which is entirely true as shown in the pic.

So - to stay on topic - there was no "telling tales" or fish story involved in my words or photo. The snow had drifted above knee high on areas of the trail. I photographed and posted it. The take away: bring gaitors or possibly snowshoes for the Arapaho Glacier Trail. The photo didn't require a "term" to go with it. The user can decide based on the evidence shown in the photo. The only "tall tale" comes from the viewer's imagination.

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby JA_son27 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:38 pm

What really throws me off is when someone tells me it took them X amount of time to summit when really it took them Y amount of time, I usually plan for people's embellishments though.
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Matt 25:40

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby kimo » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:59 pm

Gene913 wrote:...we all have seen instances when someone exaggerates or embellishes on this board and makes something sound more "epic" or "majestic" than it was or makes themselves sound more "grand" or "spectacular" than reality warrants. Since this forum section is specifically devoted to "epic" mountaineering tales, the point of the original post- sarcastically - was to use the recent court case as a way to say that those who do that here clearly have a First Amendment right to do so. Just like we have a First Amendment right to take them to task for their embellishments.


My favorite books are drenched with embellishment. I don't doubt that climbing Nanga Parbat is "epic, majestic, grand, and spectacular." Steve House makes it sound like a superhuman struggle with life and death in "Beyond the Mountain." And it probably was. But his entire book carries a strong sense of embellishment due to the emotion he expresses in word. Even small events are drenched with feeling - he could make waking on a Monday morning sound like the most epic, majestic, grand, and spectacular event that has ever occurred.

But then I really like his book, so perhaps I've embellished my ramblings on it with my own personal bias.

His friend Mark Twight certainly doesn't hold back in "Kiss or Kill." That book is way over the top. And Roach's guidebooks, especially the IPW book, have the occassional treat of subjective analysis. One can always rely on Gerry to make a demanding route sound easy or an easy route sound hard. One thing is certain - nearly every route in Roach's guidebook sounds like the most epic, majestic, grand, and spectacular route up a mountain ever.

On this forum, and in particular within the trip report writers, there are three kinds: those who present the facts, those who present the feelings, and those who can blend objective with subjective.

The writers who tap into the feeling involved with an experience appear most apt to embellish. I think they are just blessed with the ability to convey a moment that meant much to them. Some may consider it pretentious - I think it's the spice of life. I love reading the creative reports. And if it weren't for artists in all their beautiful subjectivity, we'd be reading reports like "turn right at big rock, go up one hundred feet, turn left." I'm thankful that artists seem to like mountains.

And if we don't like what we see or read, we have the option to turn the page or call them out, as I think happened to me just a few posts up.

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby Johnson » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:08 pm

kimo wrote:One thing is certain - nearly every route in Roach's guidebook sounds like the most epic, majestic, grand, and spectacular route up a mountain ever.



Unless it's Parry Peak. :lol:
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. - Psalm 95:4

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby Kiefer » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:32 pm

Gene913 wrote:On occasion, someone here will perhaps "exaggerate" their climbing exploits. The board reacts predictably when there is a collective preception that too much license has been taken with the fine art of telling a "fish story."
But there is more at stake than public shaming and ridicule when the tall tale goes beyond climbing exploits and moves into the realm of knowingly misrepresenting one's military history/service record.
The Stolen Valor Act makes it a federal misdemeanor crime to falsely represent, verbally or in writing, that you were awarded a service medal, such as a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, or the Congressional Medal of Honor.
But according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and recently the federal district court in Colorado, this Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment right of free speech.
Apparently, we have a First Amendment right to tell a lie. Who knew? What do you think?
For more about the Ninth Circuit court case: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2010/08/stolen-valor-act-unconstitutional-ninth-circuits-opinion-in-alvarez.html


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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby Doug Shaw » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:50 pm

Kimo,

I wasn't (intentionally) calling you out. Although I will admit that your picture was one of the ones I recalled, there are certainly some other examples I've seen recently - there's a TR that shows a trekking pole buried in "18 inches" of snow, and a couple other comments along the same lines. My post was sort of amalgamated skewering of what I perceived to be a sort-of overall "fish story"... the snow was thiiiiis deep.

Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby shredthegnar10 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:29 pm

Whenever I write TR's, I'm always unsure of stuff like this. If I make it sound like it was easy, then it comes across like I'm really arrogant, but if I make it sound like it was hard, then it comes across like I'm exaggerating my accomplishments.
There's a fine line between being a badass and being a dumbass.

ACONCAGUA STYLE

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Re: Telling Tall Tales or the Fine Art of the Fish Story

Postby huffy13 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:28 pm

I really do try to be as honest as possible on my TRs. If the hike kicked my butt, (which all of them do) I convey that and I also try to be clear when I state an opinion, personal observation or any other variable. I will readily admit to being a SLOW hiker because I don't want to ever hike with any fellow members here that may have seen one of my TRs and them expect "Usain Bolt of the Rockies" and instead get the real deal, which is more snail-like. My experience and my observations on this site have been that no one will call you names or ridicule if it took you 14 hours to summit Mt. Sherman but the BS alarms will be sounded if someone claims to have done Longs Peak in 2! [-X Many people use this site and it's member's experiences and info to decide, plan and do these hikes....exagerrating one's accomplishments could lead a novice climber to make an ill-informed decision.
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.

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