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News » Deep End

Like a Falling Stone

Safety at Goblin Valley in hands of two lunkheads



Hall and Taylor have repeatedly argued that they knocked over the rock formation because they hoped to protect families who could have been crushed. —The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 24, 2013

Dave Hall and Glenn Taylor, those madcap Boy Scout leaders, aka the Hoodoo Hoons, have been universally castigated for desecrating a rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park. The rock in question, shaped by natural forces over millions of years, looked like a giant mushroom; a huge sphere balanced on a thin column of earth, the rock had defied gravity for a lot longer than human beings—the species to which fun-loving Dave and Glenn claim to be members of—have been crawling on the surface of our puny planet.

Everyone now has seen the video of Messieurs Hall and Taylor pushing the ancient rock off its supposedly fragile base. Good ol’ Glenn, a sturdy gent in his middle years, is seen shimmying the rock like a dentist working a recalcitrant molar, pushing and rocking it until it breaks from its base. Triumphant whoops and squeals ensue, accompanied by high fives and gleeful ejaculations of how they have succeeded in preventing clueless children from being squashed by the purportedly unstable several-ton rock.

Many observers of a censorious disposition have questioned not just the standards, but also the intelligence of our exuberant lads. Who, they ask, would be so stupid as to post a video of their hoonish act of destruction? And if they were truly convinced that they were acting from noble motives, wouldn’t their behavior be slightly less giddy? Knowing that they were destroying a unique natural formation that had been around for millions of years, wouldn’t they be acting more in sorrow than in orgasmic ecstasy?

But who knows how he or she would have acted in that moment? Besides, think of the adrenaline coursing through the husky physique of the principal pusher, the irrepressible Mr. Taylor, who, we have subsequently learned, is severely disabled from an automobile accident. At least that is what he says. He is suing the driver, who, he claims, caused the accident that left him “deprived of the joys of life.” The joys of life so evident after he toppled the ancient rock are no doubt the result of the aforementioned adrenaline rush, which also gave him the Samson-like strength to remove the lethal rock.

Messieurs Hall and Taylor now contend that the condemnation engendered by their heroic act of destruction has ruined their lives. But there is a silver lining in the dark cloud of contempt now looming over their heads like an unstable hoodoo.

Innovators in various fields are already hailing Hall and Taylor’s ingenious application of the concept of “Creative Destruction,” which was first enunciated by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter nearly a century ago. Out with the old, in with the new, you have to break a few eggs to create an omelet, that sort of thing. But no one, until now, has been more clever than our Hoodoo Hoons Hall and Taylor in mounting the concept and riding the hell out of it.

What they have done is to introduce the hypothetical into the Schumpeterian equation. In other words, it is perfectly all right to destroy something if by doing so you think you are preventing something that might happen, say, some time in the next million years or so, especially if it involves an oblivious family wandering in Goblin State Park.

Those innocuous eggs in your local grocery store? Hypothetically, each of those eggs could contain a deadly dose of salmonella. According to the Hall Taylor Hypothesis (or the Taylor Hall Hypothesis, either is correct), a couple of plump pinheads would be totally justified in splattering hypothetically deadly eggs all over the store, thus saving some innocent family from taking them home, cooking up a tasty omelet and dying an awful death.

A key corollary of the Taylor Hall (or Hall Taylor) Hypothesis is that its application requires joyful jumping, high fiving, man-boob thumping, idiotic giggling and silly self-congratulation.

Messieurs Hall and Taylor should not despair. I know for a fact that representatives from many institutions of higher learning are descending on Utah to offer the Hoodoo Hoons an endowed chair—they can squabble over who gets to sit in it—from which they can expound their ground-breaking (and rock-toppling) hypothesis. In their sights are such dangerous formations as the Delicate Arch, the Empire State Building and the tottering Salt Lake Temple.

D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.