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The Constant Traveler
July 22, 2013 9:54 PM   Subscribe


 
"To be a tourist is to be easily flustered, to be embarrassed, to continually reveal yourself as being not in the know."

...I am apparently always a tourist. This makes sense to me.
posted by RainyJay at 10:10 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there any way to filter the sports articles out from Grantland?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:15 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


For me being a spy or a detective was always about the little guy triumphing over the Evil Empire. Men with nothing but brass balls going against organized crime or the Ruskies, and winning, showed that I could solve my own petty problems with a little gumption.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 10:18 PM on July 22, 2013


Charlemagne In Sweatpants: Is there any way to filter the sports articles out from Grantland?

It provides an RSS Feed, which while not having a "category" field provides a "dc:creator" tag. You could then filter out articles written by (some list that you provide of) sports writers using something like Yahoo! Pipes.

It's pretty easy. Here's one I made that removes sports stories from the Age. There are open alternatives to Pipes (e.g. Huginn) you can self-host if you're so inclined.
posted by curious.jp at 10:49 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there any way to filter the sports articles out from Grantland?

Subscribe with Blogtrottr and you can filter based on title or body on their end or throw things to the mercy of your email filter.
posted by 23 at 11:10 PM on July 22, 2013


Now I really want to see a spy movie where the spy is from some less ostentatiously wealthy country like, I dunno, Ireland or Greece, and he travels on a budget, staying at hostels, flying Ryan Air and so on.
posted by empath at 11:23 PM on July 22, 2013 [27 favorites]


I guess the scene at the end of Casino Royale is a fantasy about being questioned by the TSA?
posted by biffa at 11:45 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


If This, Then That is another service that lets you filter RSS feeds.
posted by subdee at 12:59 AM on July 23, 2013


empath, that's kind of the point of the Harry Palmer series, though it is less the government and more his life:
Deighton's spy is described as working class, living in a back street flat and seedy hotels, and shopping in supermarkets. He wears glasses, is hindered by bureaucracy, and craves a pay raise.
posted by 23 at 1:16 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think I've posted this here before: If you look at the CIA through the lens of the World Factbook, then it really does look like a specialized travel agency.

Human Intelligence (as opposed to NSA-style Signals Intelligence) is about going places and finding things out. It is a lot less sinister when the world is an open place, and people are happy to talk about what life is like in their corner of the world.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:51 AM on July 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think I've posted this here before: If you look at the CIA through the lens of the World Factbook, then it really does look like a specialized travel agency.

Compared to the State Department travel advisory pages, the CIA Factbook is practically Lonely Planet.
posted by empath at 2:20 AM on July 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


empath,
I think you'll need to wait for the Adderly remake. Mind you, if a remake ever actually happened, it would probably have Ryan Reynolds running around the world with an unlimited platinum card.

Of course your better bet would be to watch the original on YouTube. (And wow, am I shocked I found that.)
posted by sardonyx at 2:34 AM on July 23, 2013


As a dedicated reader and watcher (ha) of spy stories, I found this article to be a reach, at best. The last line, ugh.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:32 AM on July 23, 2013


In the same way that the detective movie is a fantasy about city life, the spy movie is a fantasy about tourism.

And by that the author means "entirely in my head".
posted by DU at 5:04 AM on July 23, 2013


In the same way that the detective movie is a fantasy about city life, the spy movie is a fantasy about tourism.

That's amusing in a reductive way, and I suppose you could extend it to say in a similarly reductive way that science fiction is fantasy about the frontier, "fantasy" is fantasy about history, and romance is fantasy about domesticity.
posted by aught at 5:11 AM on July 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


@charlemagne oh my god yes, I wish. I even bookmarked the site and then realized that things that I care about are few and far between on that site. Even the "latest by this author" is 4 articles about tennis. Sooooooooo, damn.
posted by Napierzaza at 5:25 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Grantland is fantasy about sports fans.
posted by box at 5:57 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading this I couldn't help but think of this MetaFilter comment about James Bond as a fantasy version of an upper middle class job of the 60s.

aught: "I suppose you could extend it to say in a similarly reductive way that science fiction is fantasy about the frontier, "fantasy" is fantasy about history, and romance is fantasy about domesticity"

Absolutely, and I think we don't spend enough time thinking about why we tell the kinds of stories we do. It's not random happenstance that the movies that seem to resonate the most easily with American audiences of the last 10 years are superhero movies.
posted by Copronymus at 6:18 AM on July 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Now I really want to see a spy movie where the spy is from some less ostentatiously wealthy country like, I dunno, Ireland or Greece, and he travels on a budget, staying at hostels, flying Ryan Air and so on.

Good point. Closest I can think of was an episode of the very good tv series The Sandbaggers in which Roy Marsden notices that he is being trailed in downtown London. Turns out to be Norwegians (?) trying to learn some tradecraft. Silly Norwegians!

Indeed, part of the on-going themes of the show is just how strapped for cash the department is.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:34 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


the detective movie is a fantasy about city life, the spy movie is a fantasy about tourism.

science fiction is fantasy about the frontier, "fantasy" is fantasy about history, and romance is fantasy about domesticity.

It's not random happenstance that the movies that seem to resonate the most easily with American audiences of the last 10 years are superhero movies.


The movie review is a fantasy about marketing.
 
posted by Herodios at 6:41 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really, aren't both tourism and the spy story just surviving examples of the lifestyle/genre of imperial romance? It's with noting that the Great Game produced its share of espionage fiction; Kipling's Kim is probably the best known.
posted by kewb at 6:49 AM on July 23, 2013


Spying in the traditional sense is going the way of the Dodo. It became clear with the Assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in 2010. 26 suspected spies were involved with the case, all of them caught on camera and the entire operation filmed on hotel, airport and other security cameras every step of the way. Those 26 spies have been outed. It takes years and millions of dollars to train a spy. It was a complete disaster for the spy agencies involved. The new world is you can't go anywhere or do anything without being watched on camera.
posted by stbalbach at 7:00 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I really want to see a spy movie where the spy is from some less ostentatiously wealthy country like, I dunno, Ireland or Greece, and he travels on a budget, staying at hostels, flying Ryan Air and so on.

Steve Martin has got you covered.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:20 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


In this same vein, I've always thought that most cyberpunk novels are about idealized business trips.
posted by sevensixfive at 8:05 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's probably silly to admit this publicly, but I think the reason I enjoy travel is precisely because it allows me to live out my spy fantasies. Travel makes me feel... sneaky. I study maps and plan routes. I check itineraries and timetables. I make notes of things I've seen and snap photos for my records. I am not *supposed* to be there. And I am not *supposed* to understand that people around me speaking in other languages. And because most of the time, my group is speaking in a language that practically nobody around us will understand. It is like having a secret code. It's all very spytastic. Or at least, you know, the dramatized fakey version of spying.

Last weekend, in Chantilly France, I walked into a ticket office to find a woman from Peru speaking to the woman behind the desk in Spanish. They weren't discussing anything interesting, really. The woman from Peru lives in Italy now and never gets to speak Spanish. The woman behind the desk has studied Spanish for several years because she loves the sing-songy dialects from Spain. The woman from Peru says she prefers Argentine Spanish, but that when she's starved for her native tongue she'll take anything at all. They allow their conversation to continue for slightly longer than they should since there is a line and I am trying to buy a ticket. But they know that nobody there can understand them, so they keep at it. For all I know, she's telling the woman where she can seek emergency medical attention. But I'm from Texas and I speak fine Spanish and I understand everything they're saying. Suddenly, I'm a spy. I'm listening in on a conversation I shouldn't have been privy to. And of course this sort of thing happens all the time while traveling.

I think the only sensation I can liken this to is that of being on a roller coaster. I get the same kind of endorphin rush from listening to conversations in other languages as I do from going on a stomach-turning roller coaster. It is thrilling.
posted by jph at 8:26 AM on July 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


Spying in the traditional sense is going the way of the Dodo...

One word for you my friend: drones.
posted by newdaddy at 8:58 AM on July 23, 2013


"I suppose you could extend it to say in a similarly reductive way that science fiction is fantasy about the frontier, "fantasy" is fantasy about history, and romance is fantasy about domesticity"

Absolutely, and I think we don't spend enough time thinking about why we tell the kinds of stories we do. It's not random happenstance that the movies that seem to resonate the most easily with American audiences of the last 10 years are superhero movies.


I've often thought it was interesting how much of American TV is a fantasy of having a well-functioning social group or significant other.
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ironic that the title if this FPP is a riff on Le Carré story, considering how atypical his spy stories are. Le Carré's spies are decelidedly not the kind of spies I would fantasize about becoming.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:54 AM on July 23, 2013


filter out the sports articles > just bookmark the hollywood prospectus page?
posted by mannequito at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2013


Spying in the traditional sense is going the way of the Dodo. It became clear with the Assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in 2010. 26 suspected spies were involved with the case, all of them caught on camera and the entire operation filmed on hotel, airport and other security cameras every step of the way. Those 26 spies have been outed. It takes years and millions of dollars to train a spy. It was a complete disaster for the spy agencies involved. The new world is you can't go anywhere or do anything without being watched on camera.
The trouble with murder, other than the obvious ethical problems, is that doing so exposes all your cards. You know about that guy. You have agents there. Some of them are trained in this particular method of execution. At least one of them is sufficiently good at it to pull it off.

Even without the modern surveillance state, a lot of that information can be discovered. That's probably why so much WWII-era work was focused on counter-intelligence rather than killing off the other sides's spies.

If I knew that Goldman Sachs was about to absolutely fuck over Microsoft next quarter, I'd be far better off shorting MSFT than trying to kill investment bankers. There are probably a lot of interesting opportunities in paracorporate intelligence, if you can manage to navigate the relevant legal frameworks.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:10 AM on July 23, 2013


I think it's telling that in Archer, the idea that spy agencies are an incredibly silly and wasteful anachronistic dinosaur only kept around because of bureaucratic corruption and a misplaced romanticism for the cold war isn't a joke - it's the foundational assumption that the audience is expected to come in with in order to enjoy the show at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:38 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Spying in the traditional sense is going the way of the Dodo...

One word for you my friend: drones.


Apropos, in that "the way of the Dodo" means extinct, but in a very specifc and, until recently, unusual way. The dodo didn't just go extinct, we humans sent it there.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:30 PM on July 23, 2013


I've often thought it was interesting how much of American TV is a fantasy of having a well-functioning social group or significant other.

And a Manhattan apartment the size of Lichtenstein.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:35 PM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


and friends you see on a regular basis.
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's probably silly to admit this publicly, but I think the reason I enjoy travel is precisely because it allows me to live out my spy fantasies.

I really like travel photography; I've got thousands of pictures from my travels and some of them are even decent. But one of my favourite photography memories is right after I got my first decent zoom lens (18-135mm) and I spent a few minutes taking zoom pictures of random passerby out of the corner of my hotel window, because I felt just like James Bond.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:44 PM on July 23, 2013


Is this the official thread for RED 2 aka HELEN MIRREN BEATS UP EVERYONE? Because RED 2 was the first movie in years that I, my mom, and my infamously theater-hating dad were all excited to see, and oh man did it deliver this weekend. I am fully in support of a spy-movie-as-tourism series of REDs as The Road to...Various Places etc. with Helen & Bruce & Company traveling the world and blowing up national landmarks.

Also, Lee Byung-hun is hot like lava. Hilarious, sexy lava.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:22 PM on July 23, 2013


I saw one of the French OSS 117 spy spoofs, and it was even more blatantly a 'travel fantasy' than James Bond. French dude goes to other countries, has lots of sex.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:31 PM on July 23, 2013


> One word for you my friend: drones.

Nah dude, "human terrain" is where it's at.
posted by Tom-B at 6:18 PM on July 23, 2013


Oh god, OSS 117 scratches way more than just a travel/spying itch for me. Jean Dujardin. Mmmrrrowr!
posted by jph at 3:14 PM on July 24, 2013


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