Consider Glenn Taylor, who’s enjoying a brief run of notoriety thanks to a video that shows him pushing over a goblin, a big flat stone balanced on a fine edge atop a skinny base, in Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. It took wind and water 20 million years to shape that formation. When Taylor wiggled it off its base and tumbled it, he crowed in triumph, high-fived his son, and flexed for the camera.
A garden-variety jerk, you might think, and not worth the attention he’s getting. But Taylor might actually matter a little bit. He might even be an exemplary figure of our time. Not because he’s a jerk, and certainly not because he is — or was — a Boy Scout leader who failed to Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace. Rather, it’s because he occupies the intersection between an ancient urge and a very up-to-date one.