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The job of the travel writer today

August 7, 2010

Dalrymple c. Wikipedia

“It seems to me that the job of the travel writer today is no longer what it was in the nineteenth century, which is sort of marching out like Livingstone and Stanley, and finding Lake Victoria and penetrating the unknown quarters of the globe. It seems to me that the job of the travel writer today is to strip off that very thin veneer of globalization, which still hides a multitude of different attitudes. We think today, because of our technology, because of the internet, because we can type in Google Earth and can look at a street in Siberia or Singapore or Saigon with huge ease, and just walk down the road virtually, that we understand and know the world, and that it’s been mapped and gridded and studied. As 9/11 revealed so dramatically, we don’t understand the world. There are huge areas of the world about which we know virtually nothing. And even our greatest intelligence agencies, with their ability to filter twenty million emails in a second, and do all the gizmo stuff, are left sort of blindly gasping for air in the face of a whole other series of realities which they haven’t even begun to grasp.”

-William Dalrymple, in a recent interview with Open Source‘s Christopher Lydon

One Comment leave one →
  1. Phil Harvey permalink
    September 23, 2010 1:58 pm


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