Jun. 22, 2003: Comparing Mt. Everest and Brasstown Bald

A reader who describes herself as a “bleeding heart liberal” has asked if I was serious when I compared the New York Times to a mere mortal newspaper in a recent column that appeared in a mere mortal newspaper.

If so, the letter writer said she was looking forward to my column comparing Mt. Everest and Brasstown Bald. Admittedly, I am a little slow on the accelerator, but reading between the lines I get the distinct impression that she considers the New York Times to be the Mt. Everest of journalism and everything else is just Brasstown Bald.

Are there really any differences in Mt. Everest and Brasstown Bald? Rather than jump to conclusions and act like a certain large newspaper in a big Northeastern city that has been known to make up stuff, I chose instead to carefully research the question and to present my impartial and unbiased findings to you so that you can make up your own mind.

First, Mt. Everest is in Nepal, a country squeezed in between China and India, which has to be a little scary. Brasstown Bald is located in Georgia, between Florida and South Carolina, which isn’t scary at all except for Miami. Advantage: Brasstown Bald.

Mt. Everest is 29,035 feet tall. It snows year round and the wind blows like the dickens day and night. The only way you can get to the top is to climb up with a rope. At last count, there were 120 frozen corpses on the mountain. Brasstown Bald is 4,784 feet tall – which I think is plenty tall enough. You can go to the top of it in your car if you want to. The leaves change in the fall on Brasstown Bald. There are no leaves on Mt. Everest. There are no frozen corpses on Brasstown Bald. Advantage: Brasstown Bald.

Mt. Everest is controlled by the government of Nepal. Nepal’s flag is weird looking. Instead of being rectangular like God intended flags to be, the Nepal flag is composed of two triangles. Brasstown Bald is controlled by the government of Georgia. Georgia’s flag is rectangular, but it keeps changing all the time except back to the Confederate battle flag, which has the flaggers upset at everybody. I don’t think the folks in Nepal care one way or the other about their weird-looking flag. Advantage: Mt. Everest.

Nepal has a head of state named King Gyanendra Bir Bik ram Shah Dev and a head of government, Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa. In Georgia, the head of state is also the head of government, which I believe is a much better deal for the taxpayers. Georgia’s leader is named George Ervin Perdue III, but he wants you to call him “Sonny.” The king of Nepal and the prime minister don’t have nicknames, but it would be easier on all of us if they did. Advantage: Brasstown Bald.

Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen and the air-headed Dixie Chicks have not protested in Nepal recently and don’t seem to have any plans to do so in the future. Advantage: Mt. Everest.

There are no golf courses on Mt. Everest because, as I mentioned earlier, it snows there all the time and the wind blows worse than it does on the Seaside Course at Sea Island. At Brasstown Bald, you can play Brasstown Valley, a challenging 18-hole championship course. There are only five golf courses in all of Nepal. Just about every county in Georgia has that many. Advantage: Brasstown Bald.

Finally, my meticulous research has discovered that you can’t get the New York Times on Mt. Everest because the King of Nepal and the prime minister don’t give a tinker’s damn about what the New York Times thinks. The folks around Brasstown Bald don’t care much for the paper either. Advantage: It’s a tie.

I hope this compare-and-contrast lesson has been helpful. Please note that future columns will explore the subtle differences between the rare hairy-eared lemur of Madagascar and Sheila, the family wonder dog, as well as comparing the entire nation of France to a burned-out stump in the Okefenokee. Stay tuned.