Three Cups of Tea disputed


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Apr 16, 2011 - 04:46pm PT
Yes, almost everyone has had a vastly different reading experience than I hadóthe books have been on the NYT best seller list for ages, people like them. I understand why the idea of them is appealing. Iím sure, Happie, that youíre right that the book was written to raise awareness and to assist with fundraisingóthatís my take too. The book has been remarkable in raising awareness and fundraising, which proves that it has been an effective advertising tool. For many, this is a measure of a good book, just not one I share.

I am also sure that the books were not intended to be self-congratulatory, but thatís a very thin line. I doubt Iím the only reader who thinks he didnít cross it now and then.

Iíve seen him in person. I believe heís sincere. But sometimes too much humility has a way of coming off as . . . well, not humble.

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Apr 16, 2011 - 05:15pm PT
Krakauer is quoted as saying "Itís a beautiful story. And itís a lie."

I'd consider that quote with more concern...if it wasn't attributed to a writer who has made a lucrative career casting aspersions at people.

Trad climber
Apr 16, 2011 - 05:18pm PT
Jennie, I agree.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
Apr 16, 2011 - 06:12pm PT
The fact is that Mortensen and his organization have and are doing much good in a Very ignored area of the world.

"Helping to establish" can mean many different things.... all the way from donating money towards something to doing the entire project. I know in some cases they have paid teacher (s) salaries while others built the school. It is still helping establish something wonderful. How jaded some are. Use your energy spent criticizing to help change people's lives. lynne

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 16, 2011 - 06:25pm PT
who do you believe? the little guy making a difference,
or big money.

Can't really add any more to that.

Trad climber
Apr 16, 2011 - 07:09pm PT
An article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (Mortenson lives in that area) in which he responds:

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 17, 2011 - 12:26am PT

I'll await judgement too.
Considering how many schools Greg and CAI have built in
Pakistan and Afghanistan and the accolades he gets, especially
for such a long period of time gives one reason to doubt
60 minutes.
I've enjoyed Krakauer's books, but maybe he's off base on this

Apr 17, 2011 - 12:36pm PT
//who do you believe? the little guy making a difference,
or big money. //

"Can't really add any more to that. "

Funny you would come down this way, TGT, when your Supreme Court has handed 'big money' corporations everything they'd dreamed of to be able squash the voice of the little guy...

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 17, 2011 - 02:46pm PT
How many schools have you whiners made?

Social climber
Seattle, Wa
Apr 17, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
+1 Jennie

Krakauer published a pile of BS in Into Thin Air which he refuses to acknowledge or correct.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 17, 2011 - 03:12pm PT
In the bozeman paper, he seems to acknowledge a "compression of time in the events", I'll give him artistic liberty on that one.

I hope he is not abusing the funds of CAI, that would be the most damning to me. I wouldn't necessarily trust the locals stories about not being Talib, especially if they are in fact Talib.

Krakauer, while a good writer doesn't seem to be entirely unbiased or truthful himself, especially with "In to thin air"

-I'll with hold judgment too!
Stewart Johnson

lake forest
Apr 17, 2011 - 03:55pm PT
this thread could easily turn into a krakauer bashing fest but...
im not qualified to call him a scumbag.

Gym climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 04:55pm PT
I haven't read all the posts on this thread, but note that the 60 Minutes is airing tonight 7/6 pm.
I'm gonna watch!

Trad climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 04:59pm PT
Considering how over-exerted the man has been with the project, I can easily see how he might have accepted the co-author's rendition of the story of Korphe. Perhaps he said something.."Dude, it was over such n such period" and the guy said "You'll bore your readers with such logistics. Remember, the book needs to BE read to be effective..." Or some such thing.

It's also very easy to see, from the readings of the books, that organization and details don't seem to be Mortenson's strong points. It's not hard to imagine accounting going through some growing pains as the organization developed. For those who would pooh pooh that notion, all I can say is thank your lucky stars that YOU have the ability to manage such facets of your own life so well. Not everybody does, and it is NOT an indication that they are trying to get over.

As for Krakauer, perhaps he too has been drawn in beyond what he intended(thought the "beautiful story, and it's a lie
quote is pretty damning). Maybe he found such discrepancies and did as he was paid - reported them. But didn't expect to be used as a point man in such a sensationalistic way. I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this matter.

I won't see the tv show - but will be interested in the comments afterward of those who might. My hope is that 60 Minutes realizes they are creating spin for the sake of viewership(is it Sweeps Week, by any chance?) and includes an adendum with Mortenson's response via the Bozeman article. Doubtful of course...

What ill timing as well - just diagnosed with a hole in his heart, and a medical procedure upcoming.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 17, 2011 - 05:54pm PT

Who has a hole in their heart--Greg M or Krak?

Trad climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 06:17pm PT
Mortenson. It was reported in the link I posted upthread, where he responded to the 60M claims. He will undergo some medical procedure this coming week, it also says.

Hobart, Australia
Apr 17, 2011 - 06:18pm PT
Frankly, doesn't sound good. When someone is collecting $30,000 for speaking fees discussing a cause, you might think that some of the speaking fee are also going to the cause, wouldn't you if you were organising the event? But the Bozeman article makes it sound like that's not the case.

Though I do think the work he has done is inspiring, there does exist the possibility that he's lost the plot.

Money seems to have that effect often.

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 06:49pm PT
I agree that 60 Minutes is not to be trusted. I've never really given a damn about them since the Audi 5000 hatchet job about "sudden uncontrolled acceleration" that turned out to be "idiots mistaking the gas for the brake."

Oh, and ask yourself what percentage of the money United Way collects that actually goes to those in need. It will disgust you.

Apr 17, 2011 - 07:13pm PT
anyone ever read roland barthes' "operation margarine" from his book mythologies? inure the public to greater systemic evils by pillorying minor, and possible false, evils, giving us a chance to purge our collective consciousness and rest easy that the bad apples have been thrown out.

if we want to look for real fraud and money mishandling in international aid affairs, i think we need to look a far sight over mortenson's head.

this is not to say any fraud is excusable; rather that we only have so much stored collective outrage and it would be a shame to squander it on something minor.

Sometimes LA
Apr 17, 2011 - 07:47pm PT
Just watched the piece in my hotel. Very harsh. The Krakauer stuff was pretty fluffy and the whole thing was like a shotgun blast but the overall effect was rather damning. Remember the story about him getting kidnapped and held by the Taliban for eight days, eventually released after asking for a copy of the Koran? That probably didn't happen. The story about wandering lost into Korphe seemed mild in comparison. Two problems here, the financial improprieties of CAI related to paying travel and advertising expenses for Mortenson's speaking engagements and book tours while receiving no revenue from either and the, well, lying.
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