Lay Off the Iran Hikers

Backlash against Shourd and company is perplexing: Meghan Daum
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2011 2:23 PM CDT
Lay Off the Iran Hikers
In this May 21, 2010 file photo, American hikers Shane Bauer, left, Josh Fattal, center, and Sarah Shourd are shown in Tehran.   (AP Photo/Press TV, File)

(Newser) – You would think Americans would be lining up in support of the three American hikers arrested in Iran. But as Sarah Shourd began promoting a hunger strike to advocate for her companions’ freedom, Meghan Daum of the LA Times noticed a distinct and perplexing wave of “hiker hate” online, with “indignant bloggers and commenters characterizing the hikers as ‘morons,’ ‘idiots’ and ‘self-indulgent wackos,’” or even CIA spies. But it seems pretty clear to Daum that the three just made a mistake.

Their ill-advised hike into rarely traveled areas “seems like a particularly American form of hubris,” from people determined not to be “ugly Americans” on a guided tour. “So is hiker hate about blue versus red politics? About America-right-or-wrong patriotism? Or maybe the annoying earnestness of UC Berkley graduates?” No, Daum thinks it goes deeper. “It’s about justifying the American reluctance to travel outside our comfort zones.” (Read more hikers Iran stories.)

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