“As I see it, it probably really is good for the soul to be a tourist, even if it’s only once in a while. Not good for the soul in a refreshing or enlivening way, though, but rather in a grim, steely-eyed, let’s-look-honestly-at-the-facts-and-find-some-way-to-deal-with-them way. My personal experience has not been that traveling around the country is broadening or relaxing, or that radical changes in place and context have a salutary effect, but rather that intranational tourism is radically constricting, and humbling in the hardest way—hostile to my fantasy of being a real individual, of living somehow outside and above it all. (Coming up is the part that my companions find especially unhappy and repellent, a sure way to spoil the fun of vacation travel:) To be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience. It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you. It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.”
-taken from footnote 6 to David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster” published in Gourmet August 2004.
COMPARE THIS ↑↑↑↑ TO THIS ↓↓↓↓
In the “Seinfeld Syndrome”, an essay explaining how the success of shows such as Seinfeld, Sex in the City, and The Sopranos helped gentrify New York, Ian Svenonious writes,
The city was reborn as the super mall, its allure augmented by its storied history, born of the diversity which would be abolished. Cheap white labor, in the form of aspiring artists, could be lured via this history, mythologized in books which marketed the city through the very idiosyncratic or marginal character its advertisers had helped to systematically exterminate.
The city’s new privileged inhabitants would wear their city’s outlaw image as a badge of honor and even venerate it with fervor, fiercely proud of a history they had never experienced, let alone contributed to—like suburbanites living on a civil war battlefield and boasting about Pickett’s charge.
-taken from Ian Svenonius’s 2006 book The Psychic Soviet.
THIS WHOLE MANUFACTURING OF DESIRE WHICH IN TURN DESTROYS THE OBJECT FROM WHICH THIS DESIRE WAS ORIGINALLY DERIVED IS A THEME THAT HAS BEEN TAKING OVER MY BRAIN. I WROTE A REALLY GOOD DIATRIBE LAST NIGHT AND FUCKING TUMBLR DELETED IT. GAH.