Count me in as elitist # 1. No, the outdoors are not for everybody to trample on and no, the great cultural and historical treasures of humanity are not for everybody to defile with their idiotic selfies. Yes, “gatekeeping” is needed today more than ever and yes, selfie-stick-wielding imbeciles with check-lists are exactly that: selfie-stick-wielding imbeciles with check-lists.
The sort of people who write and read these articles live for their social media “feeds”. These egocentric narcissists have always made up the same proportion of the human population - evolution does not work that fast. What proportion that is I don’t know, but a perfect storm of ghastly developments has enabled them, over the last decade, to erase all norms of civilized coexistence. One of these developments is social media, but without the sharp decline in the cost of travel (thank discount airlines, airbnb and fracking for that) and a comparably sharp increase in the proportion of affluent humans, these boors would be instagramming their shoe racks and leaving the Earth in peace. There are other contributing factors. An important one is the proliferation of the “Ten Best Places to Go” lists that one can find everywhere, from reputable avenues such as the New York Times and the BBC to polished philistines such as Lonely Planet, stopping along the way at the once-illustrious and now Disneysque National Geographic.
Regrettably, this is only likely to get worse. Most of the people responsible for this tragic state of affairs are beyond reach. Do you think that you can talk a knuckle-dragging miscreant, who is using dogs to corner wildlife in order to get a photo, into not doing that? Or a bunch of loud and frivolous millenials into not taking that selfie sitting on the wildflowers? Or explain to a moron who should know better that no, it is not acceptable to fly a drone when there are other people around enjoying the silence and solitude, or wildlife that can be harmed or disturbed - in fact, that it is never acceptable to fly a drone, period? If you believe that the fraction of people such as these who you will be able to reach is statistically different from zilch, then perhaps you might be interested in a bridge over the East River that I’m selling.
I am sick of it. Where can I sign up for a trip to Mars? A one-way ticket is just fine.