New members

Posted by: GrumpyGord

New members - 12/08/18 07:26 AM

I find it interesting that we seem to get some new members from time to time who apparently read through old posts and post to several five year old threads. They post to five or ten threads and then they disappear. We need some way to get new younger members. The regular posters all seem to be AARP and above. Is regular backpacking an old folks game?
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: New members - 12/08/18 10:00 AM

I don’t think backpacking is an AARP game; I see a lot of young people on the trail, too. I suspect part of the answer to why we aren’t seeing a lot of new members is that many people, especially younger people (say, below 50? Funny how “younger” is a relative term that keeps getting older) are just not literary.

I did not say they are not literate. They are - they just don’t express themselves by writing. I just went to You Tube and looked for videos posted in the last week on backpacking, and found several pages of uploads. While manufacturers and retailers use this medium to advertise, the overwhelming majority were younger people who were sharing trip reports and gear reviews and general observations about how and where they backpack. I suspect many are quite good, though I don’t spend a lot of time on You Tube videos.

It may well be that our demographic is one that is in decline. I know I’m here because I like to follow people’s thoughts and logic; the mental excercise is important to me. I don’t get pulled in by visuals the same way I do by the written word. My son and daughter in law are big readers and writers; my daughter and son in law are highly visual. My granddaughters read only when school requires it; for pleasure, they are entirely visual.

I suspect the times, they are a-changin’.
Posted by: Pika

Re: New members - 12/08/18 10:44 AM

Glenn, I think you are correct in your observation that young people are becoming more visual as time passes. However, in my experience the phenomenon started with the advent of TV and has been steadily progressing since. I was in my teens before my family got a TV and so reading was the only way or me to obtain most information. To this day, my wife and I don’t have a TV set in the house. My sister, on the other hand, is a quintessential baby boomer if ever there was one. She grew up with TV and is now a continuous user of the internet, social media and her smart phone. My son grew up with computers, earns his living with them and has difficulty imagining a world without. My granddaughter, now 18, can’t conceive of a world without smartphones and Utube.

I spent 25 years teaching at the university level and saw the shift from reading and writing to the visual over the years. Before I retired 20 years ago students were starting to complain if lectures weren’t on PowerPoint with video supplements. They also would complain if lecture notes were not put on the course website. Quite different from my college days.

Fortunately, I retired before I had to develop websites for the courses I taught.
Posted by: Bill Kennedy

Re: New members - 12/16/18 03:45 PM

Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts

I did not say they are not literate. They are - they just don’t express themselves by writing.

I have to disagree. Many, perhaps most, can't express themselves by writing. At least, not very well. I think we're in the second or third generation of relative illiteracy, that is, the teachers are less able to use language effectively now.

I'm constantly made aware of this by watching TV newscasters. Presumably, they're college-educated individuals with an interest in journalism, yet they don't know the difference between "less" and "fewer," or "simple" and "simplistic."

I'll spare you the rest of my rant, but it would seem that if someone like myself, a high school graduate, is noticing this trend, something is amiss somewhere.

Actually, if asked, I tell people I went to USC - Uncle Sam's College.
Posted by: Bill Kennedy

Re: New members - 12/16/18 04:16 PM

It seems that with every technological step forward, something is lost, too. In this case, it's literacy. For some reason, I'm reminded of this quote from Abraham Lincoln, which I think is a good example of the kind of eloquence we're unlikely to hear from our current leaders:

"...that he ordered General Taylor into the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, purposely to bring on a war; that originally having some strong motive—what I will not stop now to give my opinion concerning—to involve the two countries in a war, and trusting to escape scrutiny by fixing the public gaze upon the exceeding brightness of military glory—that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent’s eye that charms to destroy-he plunged into it, and has swept on and on, till disappointed in his calculation of the ease with which Mexico might be subdued..."

Maybe slightly off-topic, but the line, "the exceeding brightness of military glory—that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood" is so perfect that I'll take any opportunity to share it.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: New members - 01/18/19 05:49 PM

Ya know I couldn't help but notice a 13 year gap in these posts. I suppose the young and modern have changed even more in the lapse of time. I find it interesting that our 26 year old roomate thinks he has all the worlds knowledge on Google. Like math for instance, but he never graduated from high school and doesn't even know what question to ask of how to interpret the answers, thus we enter todays society where every member has a different reality. Peoples beliefs are based on hearsay, popular opinion etc, not on fact. This new voting population who cannot separate fact from bullcrap are creating our new reality simply by believing wgat they believe which changes from week to week. You can now sit and write in your own home and have a legal tok. Thats just because people believed in it. Jim
Posted by: Bill Kennedy

Re: New members - 01/19/19 03:21 AM

I agree. But I don't understand what you mean by a 13-year gap in the posts.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: New members - 01/19/19 07:10 AM

Not sure it’s just the “new voting population.” Trump, Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer and company didn’t win by just attracting those folks.
Posted by: DaveLemen

Re: New members - 01/21/19 08:51 AM

Hey all. As someone just looking to test the water with backpacking, I've been lurking here for a bit.

I was originally going to comment here that there are some younger guys joining the forum... but with your line being at 50 (which I turn later this year), maybe I don't count as a "younger" person.

In any event, there is at least one new member here. Though I would still have to agree that the overall trend is towards less written media.


Posted by: Bill Kennedy

Re: New members - 01/21/19 03:32 PM

Welcome...and you're just a kid smile
Posted by: JustWalking

Re: New members - 01/22/19 07:32 PM

I read a story recently about a test given various age groups to determine which age group was more susceptible to 'fake news'. Turns out it was the older folks, not the younger folks, who were more likely not to be able to 'separate fact from bullcrap.'

Just sayin'
Posted by: Bill Kennedy

Re: New members - 01/28/19 03:32 AM

A little surprising, but only a little. Age isn't a very good measure of wisdom, or even common sense.

I'm reminded of a remark made by the great guitarist Howard Roberts at a seminar I attended in the late 70s. When asked about a certain famous jazz musician's approach to the tune, "Giant Steps," he replied, "Well, you have to have your Shockproof Crap Detector working."
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New members - 01/28/19 03:46 PM

On the other hand, many of us oldsters are far more skeptical than the younger folks. We've seen it all before!
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New members - 01/29/19 04:11 PM

Probably because of my rigid academic training in my youth, I've learned to use multiple sources and test them to see if they are well-documented--preferably by a wide range of original, rather than second-hand, sources. I have especially applied those principles to my current interest, Civil War history. One thing I have learned from this field is that history is not fixed! New original sources are constantly becoming available, as people check their attics and find that the "rubbish" includes letters and other documents from Civil War ancestors. They donate them to universities and museums, which are making a strenuous effort to digitize them so everyone can access them online. For one spectacular example, it's only very recently that the entire collection of U. S. Grant papers has become publicly available--at, of all places, Mississippi State University!
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: New members - 01/29/19 06:25 PM

Is there anything in Grant’s papers that provides any validation or refutation of the rumors about drunkeness that always plagued him? (Bruce Catton pretty conclusively refuted the rumors in his two-volume work, Grant Moves South and Grant Takes Command; however, I think in the 60 years or so since he wrote those, there were some additional discoveries that re-cast doubts about his sobriety.)

Catton’s theory was that there was little to support the rumors during the Civil War (the prewar record in California is a bit clouded), and he always felt that, if Grant did drink, it was only when nothing was going on between campaigns and/or when Julia wasn’t present.

I don’t recall that Grant directly addressed the issue in his Memoirs.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: New members - 01/29/19 07:16 PM

By the way - Grant’s papers ending up at Mississippi State is really no more surprising than learning that the first president of Louisiana State University was none other than William Tecumseh Sherman.

In 1853, Sherman left the army. In 1859, he was hired as the first, and very popular, superintendent of the newly-established Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. (He resigned to go north when the war began.) Lousiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy morphed into Louisiana State University in 1870. (As Union forces approached the area during the war, the Confederate commander ordered it destroyed. It was spared thanks to a request from, you guessed it, Sherman.)

In another one of those freak coincidences, one of Sherman’s jobs early in his pre-war army career (1840 -1853) was to settle various vendor claims in South Carolina and Georgia - and his travels took him over much of the same ground he would cover, in the opposite direction, on his campaigns from Chattanooga to Atlanta, from Atlanta to Savannah (March to the Sea), and the final campaign from Savannah up through the Carolinas until Johnson surrendered.
Posted by: aimless

Re: New members - 01/30/19 12:14 AM

Contemporary reports strongly suggest that General Grant was most likely a binge drinker, who stayed sober for relatively long periods. Apparently he fell off the wagon somewhat rarely, but when he did fall off he fell off spectacularly.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: New members - 01/30/19 06:05 AM

Maybe we could get Grant as a new member but he would be old. welcome
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: New members - 01/30/19 06:30 AM

That makes a great deal of sense, and jibes with the other accounts that he was fine as long as the armies were on the move, or if his wife was at headquarters with him.

He’s a very, very interesting character. So is Sherman. Together, Grant and Sherman remind me a bit of the Powell-Schwarzkopf team, militarily.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: New members - 01/30/19 06:32 AM

Also, he didn’t really hike - he mostly rode horses. thanks

He probably doesn’t miss our average age by enough to matter...
Posted by: JustWalking

Re: New members - 01/30/19 02:01 PM

I've got "American Ulysses, A Life of Ulysses S. Grant" by Ronald White on my stack of books to read. Looking forward to it.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New members - 01/30/19 02:21 PM

There are still big controversies about Grant's drinking. He had lots of political enemies in his own time, so there was plenty of dirt published about him. Those who suspect modern media accounts should do some reading in the 19th century press, which was highly and unembarrasedly biased often extremely so.

Recent biographies are all over the map. The most pre-eminent Grant scholar today is Brooks Simpson of Arizona State Univ., and he finds little truth in the reports of binge drinking. There is no documentation whatsoever that drinking led to his retirement from the Army in the early 1850s, although the gloomy winters in Humboldt County, CA, with his beloved Julia 2,000 miles away, certainly would drive most people to drink. (There are no reports of his drinking while he was stationed at Fort Vancouver, either, and he really liked that location.) Lots of rumors were spread by his enemies, so separating truth from rumor is difficult. The recent bio by Ron ("Hamilton") Chernow seems obsessed with the drinking issue and trying to psychoanalyze the guy from 150 years' distance. On the other hand, it gives a fair treatment of Grant's presidency.

Drinking--and plenty of it--was part of the culture back then, especially since water wasn't safe to drink. A man was expected to be able to "hold his likker." It does appear that Grant evidently had a low tolerance for alcohol and therefore avoided it on most occasions. He was subject to migraine headaches, which can mimic drunkenness. Many 19th century doctors prescribed alcohol for that condition (and almost everything else). which would have made things worse.

There are still books being published (one as recently as 2015) that attack Grant not just for drinking but for being an incompetent general (even though he won the war) and a corrupt president. However, the general opinion among recent Grant scholars has improved his standing among presidents from near the bottom 40 years ago to about the middle of the pack.

There are quite a few issues which Grant didn't address in his Memoirs. The recent Annotated issue of his memoirs addresses many of these, as does Simpson's biography, Ulysses S Grant: Triumph over Adversity. We who are interested in Grant are hoping that Dr. Simpson will issue the second volume of his biography soon--we've been waiting quite a few years!

The story of the writing of Grant's Memoirs is quite a tale. Having lost all his money in a really bad investment, Grant took to writing articles on the war. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) gave him a generous offer for his memoirs. Grant then was diagnosed with throat cancer (undoubtedly from all those cigars he smoked). He spent his last days concentrating on writing the Memoirs, despite the pain and weakness, to be sure Julia would have something to live on after his death. A great love story, those two!
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: New members - 01/30/19 05:26 PM

I read that about six months ago, and really enjoyed it. I keep meaning to pick up Chernow’s book but haven’t gotten around to it yet.