Books Magazine

Three Cups of Controversy

By Kungfujedi @Kungfujedi

60 Minutes Serves Up Three Cups of Controversy
Considering the subject matter of this blog, I'm sure that most of you are familiar with Greg Mortenson and his wildly popular book Three Cups of Tea. For those of you who don't know his story, Mortenson was climbing in the Karakoram a number of years back, and after getting lost there, he wandered into a remote village, where the people treated him kindly, offered aid, and got him back on his feet. He was so touched by their generosity, that he vowed to return the favor by building them a school. He would later launch the Central Asia Institute to help fund that project, and dozens of similar ones throughout Pakistan, Afghanistan, and beyond.
Mortenson rose to international fame thanks to his book, which has been a source of inspiration to many who have read it. In that book he shares a number of miraculous and amazing stories about his experiences in the Himalaya and the people he met there. Three Cups of Tea would go on to be a bestseller and generate plenty of attention and funds for Mortenson's charitable works.
It turns out however, that he may not be exactly telling us the whole truth. Over the weekend, the long-running CBS television series 60 Minutes ran an expose on Mortenson with fellow author Jon Krakauer, who wrote Into Thin Air, offering up some thoughts. You can watch the whole segment on YouTube by clicking here, embedding has been disabled unfortunately. In a nutshell, Krakauer, and others, say that Mortenson has embellished some of the details of his story to make them sound more dramatic and impressive. That some of the things he claims happened to him in his books are, at best, stretches of the truth, and at worst, outright fabrications. There are even some indications that the funds that are raised by CAI are not being spent properly and that the organization lacks transparency in how it operates. There are even some questions as to the number of schools that have been built. We do know that Mortenson and his team have indeed built schools in Central Asia, but it seems the number could be exaggerated.
These revelations have caused some disillusionment throughout the adventure community, with many people wondering what the real story is. In the interview, even Krakauer acknowledges that Mortenson has done great things in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but wonders if he puts it all in jeopardy with his exaggerations of the truth and potentially shady handling of funding. It also doesn't help that Mortenson refused to be interviewed for the segment, and at one point is caught on camera looking like a deer in the headlights.
Yesterday, ExWeb weighed in on the topic, posting this story that comes out in defense of Mortenson and takes a few shots at Krakauer in the process. UpaDowna also posted some thoughts on the story, which you can read by clicking here.
So? What are your thoughts on this brewing controversy? Do you buy Mortenson's tale? Krakauer says "It's a beautiful story. And it's a lie." Others in the interview seem to take the same stance, seeming to indicate that Mortenson has, at the very least, taken some liberties with the truth. Does that change the way you feel about him in any way? After all, he has still done a lot of good in those poor Central Asian nations.
For me personally, I still respect Mortenson for the great work that he continues to do in Pakistan and beyond. But I have to question is motivations for stretching the truth the way he has, not to mention the way he seems to be earning quite a bit of money off of the Central Asian Institute. A non-profit, charitable organization should be more up front and forth-coming with how they use the funds that we donate to them, and at the moment, that doesn't seem to be the case. Still, in the end, the organization doe a lot of good, and I hope that doesn't get lost amidst the tall tales.
Update: Mortenson has granted an interview to Outside Online in which he addresses the issues presented by 60 Minutes. Read that interview here.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Father James Martin's Bridge-Building Metaphor and Call to Mutual Respect Betwee...

    Father James Martin's Bridge-Building Metaphor Call Mutual Respect Between Catholic Leaders LGBTQ Community: Critical Commentary

    I have not read Father James Martin's new book Building a Bridge, which calls on the pastoral leaders of the Catholic church to collaborate with the LGBTQ... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   William Lindsey
    LGBTQ, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Caution: This Can Cause Addiction

    Caution: This Cause Addiction

    I opened my low-carb/keto clinic with Nurse Sylvie in February 2017, inside the medical clinic where I do my regular general practice. To get people to enroll,... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Review - Vichy Mineral 89 Skin Fortifying Daily Booster

    I'm always battling with dry and dehydrated skin.. even when I do nothing different, my skin will... Click for Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Chantana
    HAIR & BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE
  • Talk Show Host: Not Here to Make Friends

    Talk Show Host: Here Make Friends

    photo: Harley Haskett Toronto based Talk Show Host are quick to release a new EP. Not Here to Make Friends sounds cheerful and angry at the same time,... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Hctf
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
  • The Human Design... Not All Bad!

    Human Design... Bad!

    Whatever or whoever it was that designed the human, had to have been at the least, a sadist. Now the design isn’t all that bad, it’s just that there were a few... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Skip1957
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Citrus Marshmallow Sundaes

    Citrus Marshmallow Sundaes

    We all know what a Sundae is, and I am sure we have all secretly had one at some stage in our lives even those of us who are now on the healthy no sugar […] Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Shadesofcinnamon
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Konkani Style, Hog Plum Pickle…

    Konkani Style, Plum Pickle…

    Summer is full of Sun, fun, travel yumminess.. For those who love Mangoes its the season.. The kids have vacations... The markets are filled with an amazing... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Anithanayak
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES

Magazines