January 21, 2008
The magic of the Internet is, of course, the amount of information it puts at our fingertips and the level of interactivity it encourages. For people with a legitimate interest and need to access data and communicate with others, the Web is a godsend. Unfortunately, for some it's also a way to lower the level of any interaction to that of, say, late-night barroom humor. Take, for instance, the report in this morning's Portland Press Herald
of the death of 19-year-old Colby freshman Andrew Peff, who hit a tree while snowboarding at Sugarloaf. No matter how you figure it, this young man's death is a tragedy, and the Press Herald
was wise in including statistics of the other people who have died on Sugarloaf's slopes recently. As an avid skier myself, I couldn't help thinking that maybe I ought to slow my turns a bit when I'm carving the fresh powder along the edge of the trail, my favorite area to ski.
Take a gander at the comments
that users have posted to the Press Herald
's Web site about this story, however, and you'll see that few online readers learned anything from the paper's account. Instead, the conversation quickly devolved into a discussion of whether or not the state ought to require skiers and snowboarders to take a safety course or, even more ludicrous, somehow protect skiers from the trees. (These comments were clearly a reference to last summer's fatal boat accident
that killed two people; legislation is currently pending to tighten Maine's boating laws as a result.)
The future, in all likelihood, lies in the Internet; I can only hope that someday the Web will help raise the level of dialogue, instead of lowering it.
JOSHUA F. MOORE
Deputy Editor, Fan of the three S's: Skiing, Snowboarding, and Sailing