Stringing together three album titles from Neil Young’s “dark period” is what leapt into my mind when mulling over a recent entry in Professor Karl Born’s blog “Borns Bissige Bemerkungen”.
Mere chance, that fitting accuracy, and the missing “Tonight’s The Night” title from the dark album progression doesn’t fit at all. Born, biting and snappy as the blog’s label suggests, strikes back on recent articles in German media which took tourism or tourists down, rated them “awful” or even “stupid”.
So, what is tourism, and is it good or bad, can it be “stupid”? And, how to do it properly?
By definition, tourism is a person’s locomotion for a short length of time, with a motivation rooted in leisure and recreation. Not only that this motivation is tolerable, it’s a human right, imperatively arisen from the Enlightenment’s revolution of rights. Denying the common folk the right of tourism is just another step from despising their fashion and taste in tourism; which is a prevalent lapse of intelligentsia and high society, in almost seamless transition from and sounding detached as the phrase „Let them eat cake“ planted on Marie Antoinette! (for more on taste and distinction, see the blog entry from 13 November 2014 – It Makes No Difference) .
One of the two examples in Born’s blog entry was a frequent flyer (on business) stating “I don’t go on holiday, but I’m travelling six months of the year.” Cold comfort for those contemporaries who earn their daily bread in a full time employment contract which does not involve too many business trips around the globe, and why shall they stand being labelled “awful” or even “stupid” when going on a two-week vacation in an all-inclusive resort near the beach? It’s their right, they deserved it, they’ve paid the price. Lonely planet or not, taste, amongst other things, might direct some to a sunny beach, others to Ayers Rock. It would be cynical to claim the logical alternative is a noble goal: one shall stay at home and just read about other continents, dream, which would be nothing less than turning the clock backwards to the Middle Ages.
Born’s rhetorical question: „Isn’t it logical that the standard program of tourism includes the most interesting sites on earth? Because eventually generations of travellers have discovered, that it’s the most amazing, the most interesting, most exciting. And, the coming generation of travellers mustn’t go there? Phew, mass tourism?“
The historian and sociologist Hasso Spode, a founding father of historical tourism research, regards tourism as a product of modern ambivalence towards progress, with the trip seen as time-travel backwards, and the touristic area labelled a “chronotopy”.
However, that motivation surely isn’t yearning for the Dark Middle Ages, it derives from desire, passion, interest and concern, and that’s expressed in the consumption of the goods produced and offered by the tourism industry.
“I have an opinion. I have my own taste.” (Miley Cyrus)
Read Professor Karl Born’s blog “Borns Bissige Bemerkungen” here: