The Tourist Who Won't Go Home
July 22, 2001 10:11 AM   Subscribe

The Tourist Who Won't Go Home
The recent ugly american thread has brought out ethnocentricity and xenophobia in us over crimes like socks with shorts--we forget happen at home just as often. meanwhile violence errupts when tourists forget they are guests in someone's home. But is the real crime the errosion of the cultures we visit? Do movements like Slow Food have a chance protecting native cultures, or the Americanization of the world inevitable?
posted by christina (16 comments total)
clavdivs: "fashion is oppressive". style is its's nemesis.
posted by clavdivs at 10:16 AM on July 22, 2001

Discussing differences is neither violent nor xenophobic.

If it was violent then you'd be bleeding. It was xenophobic then I'd be scared of going on holiday.

Get a sense of perspective. And a dictionary.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:29 AM on July 22, 2001

Follow the original violence link-- I used the word violence in reference to the over-touristed town of Lagos where young locals have started beating up tourists in response from being forbidden to eat at their own restaurants and drink in their own bars.

Xenophobia was in reference to the fact that a few people on the previous thread seemed terrified of being made fun of without having even having left the country and (perhaps) without having run into anyone who hates Americans -- yet felt comfortable making fun of others as jerry-lewis-loving-bad-smelling-rude french and black-sock-and-short-wearing-cold-emotionally british. Making fun of others while simultaneously fearing mockery reminds me of what my mama used to say "If you can't take it, don't dish it out." Sometimes I think our media makes us feel the rest of the world is out to get us; personally when I've travelled no one has said anything to me worse that "What the hell is up with your president".

Discussing differences is wonderful; destroying them is-- well, thought provoking to say the least. The original ugly American article (which I think only a few folks on that thread read) was about the fact that apparently everyone wants to be an ugly American, that cultures that receive our biggest export (our culture) and our tourists are becoming us.

What I really want to know is do mefi'ers think globalization/americanization a good thing, a bad thing or just an inevitable thing.
posted by christina at 10:46 AM on July 22, 2001

As much as these countries "hate" us, they buy our crap. A lot of our crap (tv, movies, books) will of course contain American influences. Inevitably this will meld with the local culture, but I don't think it will swallow it whole - Borglike. We buy their crap and it influences our culture (Japan springs to mind).

Right now America is the dominant culture, but how long will the current Empire of America last? Who knows.
posted by owillis at 10:50 AM on July 22, 2001

IKEA is the borg.
posted by christina at 11:32 AM on July 22, 2001

"I'd be scared of going on holiday."
(checks off Yemen.)
posted by clavdivs at 11:34 AM on July 22, 2001

"If it was violent then you'd be bleeding."
TEXAN: "we leave that to other folks"
posted by clavdivs at 11:36 AM on July 22, 2001

I'm not so sure that Slow Food is such a good example. It suffers the same utopian failings as the thoughts of Ruskin and William Morris. Slow Food encourages artisanal food production, and the notion of knowing where your food came from in order to have a connection to it. The paradox here though is that the only people that can afford limited production raw milk cheeses are the wealthy. What needs to be egalitarian in order to make a difference is strictly elitist due to economics.
posted by machaus at 1:28 PM on July 22, 2001

traverse city cherries-migrant workers. Costs me 2$ a pound at the grocery store. $4 a lbs. at the farmers market. hmmmm.
posted by clavdivs at 2:10 PM on July 22, 2001

Cherries are an instrument of the global Boeing-Mitsubishi Trade Axis! Resist running-dog lackey imperialist capitalism!

True Proletariat Workers know that dirt is the only True Food; everything else oppresses the Precious Precious Natives, without whom we wouldn't have anyone to tell us about Nature Spirits.

Come, let us eat bread riddled with gravel, and vegetables rife with Natural Honest Weevils.

True Food or No Food!
posted by aramaic at 4:13 PM on July 22, 2001

Don't knock weevils. Weevils are a good source of protein.
posted by Grangousier at 12:05 AM on July 23, 2001

Wow. That so does not tally with my holiday to Lagos. I'm not quite the young partygoer of old, but to a fault the people there were great. Even when I broke the hire car, the guy shrugged and said "is not problem".
posted by viama at 5:03 AM on July 23, 2001

Christina, I'm going to apologize in advance for posting to this thread, since I'm sure that it will end up irritating everyone for no real gain. But here it is:

Globilzation is at once inevitable and doomed. It will fail. The American mentality of firing people when the economy is doing poorly and then wondering why they have no money to spend ensures this. What will American business do when they can't gouge smaller nations with thirteen cent a day wages? I've written about this before, of course, of the slow creep of Americanization. In fact, I've posted a link to it at the end of the previous thread, just to show where I am on this. Now that I've been rational and calm, here comes the anger:

Get a sense of perspective. And a dictionary.

Do you have the balls to talk like this to people in front of you, or only when smirking behind a monitor? She made a perfectly valid statement of the violence and xenophobia we were discussing. It's the arrogance and worthlessness of little sound bite dismissal like this that makes people want to rip your neck open and feast upon your entrails. I realize that you have a hard time with concepts like bigotry and racism and xenophobia. Ffor instance, did you know that when Scottish folk hate English folk, it isn't racist, because both groups are predominantly caucasian? Since you're so big on definitions and all. I take this from your writing here, which I am attempting to understand as a satire. Satire I find useful, like a Swiftian diatribe or what have you.

I suggest you take your own advice. It would do a lot to improve the quality of your posts.
posted by Ezrael at 8:08 AM on July 23, 2001

Okay, I went too far there. I hate the fact that it's getting to the point where I have to literally walk away from my computer to post here.

At any rate, Andrew, the tone in my post above was unneccessarily insulting and harsh. I apologize for it. I do not, however, apologize for being made angry by what you wrote, merely for reacting as I did. It's hardly just of me to do to you what I decry in you.
posted by Ezrael at 8:30 AM on July 23, 2001

Slow Food encourages artisanal food production, and the notion of knowing where your food came from in order to have a connection to it.

Oh, is that what they encourage. You'd be hard pressed to figure that out from their Web site. Their Web site says things like "the association has offered a significant response to the growing demand for attention towards quality agroindustrial products by contributing to the diffusion of food-related issues" and "local rootedness and decentralization (plus the ensuing conservation of typicality) - and without forgetting the voluntary nature of its representatives’ contribution - are the most authentic characteristics of the movement." Which sentences are about as content-free as any I've ever seen on the Web.
posted by kindall at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2001

Slow food was started (despite the silly jargon on their site) because a McDonalds was opened near the Spanish Steps in Rome. The Italians were understandably worried that their two hour lunches and three hour dinners were threatened (BTW, I approve of such things-- don't read sarcasm in my typing-- woo hoo three hour dinners!).

A pretty good history can be found here.

So, a bunch of foodies started Slow Food as anti-fast food, to protect an important aspect of their culture. The early slow food folks pointed out fast food also interfered with family life-- long dinners were where parents and children could talk. It later grew to protect the artisanal food producers, mostly small farmers whose way of life was rescued by the rich gourmands.

Fast Food Nation reveals the face of the enemy-- food that promotes obesity and a way of life that promotes isolation of the individual, despite all those happy meals served.

But change is inevitable, and convenience is seductive.

I wonder what the world will be like when Akron and Milan are about the same to visit.
posted by christina at 11:13 AM on July 23, 2001

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