Thursday, June 01, 2006

Death By A Thousand Cell Phones

There’s some hilariously ironic hand-wringing going on over at DailyKos over a proposal to introduce cell phone coverage to Yellowstone National Park. While I was a late-comer to the cell phenomenon and a pretty recent convert to thinking their useful, I think they receive way more scorn than they deserve. This thread illustrates my point very well. You’ve got someone waxing philosophically about how the National Parks should transport us to a different time, and therefore, cell phones are an abomination, because they might hinder your ability to find the simplicity and peacefulness of nature. And then come the comments, where various people are complaining that they don’t want to have to listen to people babble on cell phones while they’re in Yellowstone (how is this different from just hearing other people talking?) and we also see this little gem of policy analysis:

Do you know what the Park Service's founding document, the Organic Act, says? It charges the NPS to leave parks "substantially unimpaired." The massive and UNNECESSARY noise pollution of cell phone chatter directly violates that charge. (emphasis in original)

I acutally agree with most of this, to a point. But come on, 99.9% of park visitors are driving in cars to Yellowstone on paved roads, eating pre-packaged food, etc., etc., and you’re sitting here complaining because you might have to hear someone TALK while you’re looking at a geyser and that will ruin your "wilderness experience", or that the "noise pollution" of these people talking violates the mission of the National Parks, while all the other infrastructure put there by the NPS doesn’t do that do a far greater degree?. Give me a break. If you don’t want to hear cell phones, or you actually want a wilderness experience that might put you somewhere in a "different time", try to hike more than 3 miles from the parking lot. Or just don’t go to Yellowstone, for god’s sake! The place is a zoo!


At 4:42 PM, Blogger Molly said...

I always found it funny that when I lived in Boston, the same arguments were made against cell phone service existing in the T. Yes, when I think of the times places where I want to escape to some peace and quiet, I think about the subway on my morning commute . . .


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