D’accord, my bilingual buddies: you know that I know that translated Voyagiste literally means “tour operator.” But you see, I was trying to convey a sense of mystery and motion to those pesky Anglo-Saxons out there. To fill in a gap. Les petits trous. You know, the hole that’s been widening since the distant time when travel writing was actually salient, meaningful, penetrating stuff worth reading.
With so much homogenization and shallow thinking, it was inevitable that travel writing and reporting would become essentially consumer-driven and imprisoned not just by blunted imaginations but by perceived marketing imperatives. I myself have periodically been tangled up in them. My most recent full time office job was at a privately held company pathologically obsessed with churning out lists, often making what should have been endless days of robust intellectual endeavor into a flagrant misappropriation of time. Oh, the things one will put oneself through to earn enough dough to waste it on poorly mixed drinks at marginal restaurants whose chefs care more about what goes into a press release than a decent tomato ragu! (And, note to Steve Forbes: with all due respect, which isn’t much, you’re a hypocrite, un enfoire, and to look at you today, obviously your mother dressed you funny. And I don’t care how big your estate is, it’s still in New Jersey.)
As our prestige around the world continues to be undone by the Triffid-like triumph of American superficiality — a deguelasse fantasyland where the only description one can give of anything without appearing too smart is “amazing” and where righteous outrage dissolves as the next commercial appears — and as American society, particularly uber-revolting, closet-Fascist Republicans, continues its scorched-earth assault on the Fourth Estate, perhaps the only sensible thing to do is fuck it all and fly to Paris.
Just turn your mouth toward all that bad ash and blow…