We kid. Sort of. Here's an ad Patagonia ran in the NY Times encouraging people not to get sucked in by the faux events that are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Faux events that have become bizarre, if not outright dangerous, spectacles of mass consumption. Thing is Patagonia, when you don't have much money, a 52-inch flat screen t.v. for $200 is a pretty good deal. Everyone can't afford nice Patagonia down sweaters for $300, because lets be honest, anyone that can afford Patagucci can also afford to stay home, buy organics, shop at Whole Foods, and drive a Subaru. At the end of the day, Patagucci customers all got their energy sucking 52 inch plasmas, but they could afford to pay $1,500.
We get the message, though, despite the hypocrisy and self righteousness of it all. Make stuff that lasts, can be recycled, got it. Good message. But honestly at the end of the day apparel has to be one of the most offensive of consumer products; fashion driven, disposable, high transportation costs, extractive, sweat shop labor. Oh, but the list is endless. It's not like you sell titanium caribiners. But ok, better than nothing, we suppose. So, thumbs up, well sideways, from GoBlog. Keep up the self-righteousness. Lord knows we love a soap box here at GoBlog. Via Cleanest Line.
I have no problems with Wim Hof's stunts, submerging himself in ice or jumping in arctic waters. They're all harmless circus acts, they serve no purpose other than to generate press for himself, but still harmless in the end. If it goes bad, the only person that is going to get hurt is him.
It's when he takes his antics to places like Everest, that are crowded and overexposed enough, that I have to say enough is enough. Risk your life fine, but gallivanting around Everest in your underwear and a film crew is endangering other people's lives. Stick to Kilimanjaro or other mountains less crowded or over-exposed. As far as Columbia hitching their press bandwagon to the Wim Hoff horse for their Omni-Heat Electric line of gear, all I have to say is seriously? This is the best you could come up with? Com'on Mother Boyle, you guys can do better than that.
A 28-year old woman was convicted of murdering her 30 year-old coworker. The killer lured the victim back to the store claiming she had the victim's wallet. Then she proceeded to bludgeon her 330 times in 16 minutes - every three seconds - with a hammer, a wrench, a knife, a solid metal peg used to hold together mannequins, and then staged a robbery and tied herself up in a bathroom until a separate coworker came in to open the store.
Yeah, pretty intense. WTF does this have to do with the outdoors? Well, the women worked at Lululemon Athletica - a posh, and booming, Yoga-inspired apparel company.
Lululemon was founded in Vancouver in 1998, by surfer-snowboarder (and snowboard industry dude) Chip Wilson, Lululemon has always been surrounded in controversy. For real, this is an incredible list of crazy shit, none of it remotely yogi-like. In fact, I find it hard to believe that they're still in business.
Apparently, Wilson named the company Lululemon, in part, because he thought it would be funny to hear Japanese people try and pronounce all three L's.
He also said that Lululemon's clothes would be made by children in sweatshops in China, and then basically said the kids should be thankful for the work.
The company ran a promotion when they opened their Vancouver store that gave free outfits to folks who naked for 30 seconds on the street outside the store.
They sewed secret messages into bags, hidden beneath more standard inspirational fare, that extolled drugs and sex as good, but fanatic exercise as better.
They straight up lied, claiming garments had seaweed in them that had health benefits; independent tests confirmed no seaweed in any of the products.
Oh yeah, they also charge a butt load of money for Chinese-made comfort clothes while ignoring pretty much everything that embodies a Namaste attitude.
Alright, alright…A grizzly murder. A company that exploits peace and harmony to sell questionable products in an anything but peaceful way. Could there be a connection? Don't know. Are there now plenty of reasons to avoid buying Lululemon anything...Sure are. Does this raise the level of lameness of those who buy clothes and gear because they think it implies they're in the know and hip? You betcha...Kind of reminds me of buying water from a Polynesian Island where a folks who've lived there for generations no longer have functioning wells. Without the murder...
Corporate sponsorship long ago poisoned
invaded the outdoor industry. Sure it's given amateurs the financial
means to accomplish some truly astounding things outdoors, but in a
world where most mountains, most routes, most undiscovered places, have
been discovered or climbed, corporate sponsorship has become just
another way to commoditize and brand the natural world. First phone call
on Everest? Check. Thanks Motorola. First woman to climb all 14 8,000
meter peaks without oxygen? I think it was Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, but it was hard to tell because the only place not sponsored on her seemed to be her lips. Patagonia grants to do something they deem worthy? Check. Have something "extreme" you need done, contact Red Bull. How about a cool climb? Appeal to Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, Black Diamond and couple other coporate brands that dole out a whopping $25,000 for the Muggs Stump award. Anyway, you get my point. You want to climb or ski or cross country ski back and forth to the Poles every year, you tow the line. And if you don't tow the line and somehow besmirch the brands, well um, lets ask Steph and Dean what happens. Not to mention the tiny bit of hypocrisy that comes along with being sponsored by brands that inherently promote not sustainability, but consumption and extraction. But I digress. It's been so long since I got on my soap box, I got carried away.
Great article in NY Times on barefoot running. Mostly because it shows Nike acting like an evil corporation, long before it became the pervasive, over-saturated brand numbing, "evil" corporation that it is. But we digress. The article itself is really an overview of the current state of barefoot running but it manages to throw in this little anecdote about Nike.
Bob Anderson knows at least one thing changed, because he watched it
happen. As a high-school senior in 1966, he started Distance Running
News, a twice-yearly magazine whose growth was so great that Anderson
dropped out of college four years later to publish it full time as
Runner’s World. Around then, another fledgling operation called Blue
Ribbon Sports was pioneering cushioned running shoes; it became Nike.
Together, the magazine and its biggest advertiser rode the running boom —
until Anderson decided to see whether the shoes really worked.
“Some consumer advocate needed to test this stuff,” Anderson told me. He
hired Peter Cavanagh, of the Penn State University biomechanics lab, to
stress-test new products mechanically. “We tore the shoes apart,”
Anderson says. He then graded shoes on a scale from zero to five stars
and listed them from worst to first.
When a few of Nike’s shoes didn’t fare so well in the 1981 reviews, the
company pulled its $1 million advertising contract with Runner’s World.
Nike already had started its own magazine, Running, which would publish
shoe reviews and commission star writers like Ken Kesey and Hunter S.
“Nike would never advertise with me again,” Anderson says. “That hurt us
bad.” In 1985, Anderson sold Runner’s World to Rodale, which, he says,
promptly abolished his grading system. Today, every shoe in Runner’s
World is effectively “recommended” for one kind of runner or another.
David Willey, the magazine’s current editor, says that it only tests
shoes that “are worth our while.” After Nike closed its magazine, it
took its advertising back to Runner’s World. (Megan Saalfeld, a Nike
spokeswoman, says she was unable to find someone to comment about this
Anyhoot, read the article, it's a great primer on the current thinking regarding barefoot running, at least from its proponents. Some of the more interesting quotes.
"Back at the lab, Lieberman found that barefoot runners land with almost
zero initial impact shock. Heel-strikers, by comparison, collide with
the ground with a force equal to as much as three times their body
weight. “Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and
hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces
without the slightest discomfort and pain.”
"Two years ago, in my book, “Born to Run,” I suggested we don’t need smarter shoes; we need smarter feet. I’d gone into Mexico’s Copper Canyon to learn from the Tarahumara Indians,
who tackle 100-mile races well into their geriatric years. I was a
broken-down, middle-aged, ex-runner when I arrived. Nine months later, I
was transformed. After getting rid of my cushioned shoes and adopting
the Tarahumaras’ whisper-soft stride, I was able to join them for a
50-mile race through the canyons. I haven’t lost a day of running to