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Friday, Sep 29, 2023

'Substanceless' Article Knee-Deep in Muddy Logic

Author: Michael O'Brien

Ben Gore's recent article "Muddy Consciences, Dirty Minds," shows an appalling lack of not only knowledge of the activity of which he speaks, but also of writing style, satire and good taste. These last three concepts are the ones I would rather concentrate on, as I have only a moderate grasp of "mudding." All I will say is that a friend of mine from University of New Hampshire, one of the most liberal, environmentally-minded people I know, told me upon reading the article that most "mudding" is done on predetermined trails to avoid the environmentally detrimental effects of the activity. Simple logic, which I have applied to my understanding of "mudding" (which as readers may or may not know, even after reading the previous article, is going out and driving around in a bunch of mud), tells me that it wouldn't work very well in an old growth forest or mountain since the trees and grass get in the way of the mud.

Of course, my contact with mudding was in my home of Texas (which I'm sure is Mr. Gore's favorite state). It might conceivably be different than the mudding practiced by "a bunch of punk kids from New Jersey." This seems to be said in the same tone as "Canada sucks" or "Go back to Africa." At some point certain Vermonters need to realize that their state is not, indeed, unassailably and pristinely more perfect than the rest of the Union.

In any case, I find it amusing that Mr. Gore (or his female avatar) asserts that despite the name, mudders are afraid of dirt and exercise. The majority of mudders that I have known were football players who got up early every summer morning for two-a-days. That terrifies me far more than hiking up a mountain, and I hiked Abe on my Middlebury Outdoor Orientation (MOO) trip.

These are all sideline arguments. I could care less about mudding; it is something neither I nor any of my friends would ever plan to do. What I am bothered by is the way Mr. Gore constructed his argument. He made a passing reference to erosion and air pollution, but further elucidation on these possibly valid points was passed over in lieu of personal attacks. This printed in a school wide publication like The Campus offends me regardless of whether it is aimed at myself or not.

Besides the aforementioned regional prejudice, the article contained numerous other puerile and ill-reasoned insults. Mudders are scared of the outdoors; they can't stand to "feel like an animal every once in a while." Peacefully hiking in the outdoors, while something I myself enjoy, has nothing to do with feeling like an animal. The animal kingdom is primarily run on rape (both of other members of their species and of the natural world) and death. Certain predatory birds hang their uneaten prey on bushes, beavers tear down trees to build dams and destroy the flow of the river. Certain species are too big, figuratively speaking, for their habitat — mongooses destroyed certain Hawaiian bird life, and sea lampreys are currently devastating the Great Lakes. Instead I am rather proud of the unanimalistic qualities of the human race. For example, we are the only species I know that consciously strives to stave off its detrimental influences on the environment.

A weak argument, and here's a weaker one: if you disagree with Mr. Gore, you have a small penis and your girlfriend won't sleep with you. It makes absolutely no difference that these scientific theories were voiced by a "character" in a "story;" the lack of any literary merit or convincing dialogue flow in the article demonstrates that Mr. Gore is actually speaking. Well guys, better become Avant-Garde real quick, or a tiger will eat you, in the words of the classic Lun Heng. I would attempt to construct some sort of logical disagreement of these last rather striking assertions, but such means are impossible to utilize when there is no logic present in the first place.

This article of mine should never have been written. Why? Because the editorial staff of The Middlebury Campus should be respectful of itself and its readers and not print such a substanceless, artless, insulting article. I would ask that the next time Mr. Gore tries to be controversial and alleges that my parents were cousins or some such petite syllogism, he be politely denied the privilege (for it is not a right) of publication.