Thursday, 28 February 2002
Ravalomanana is the owner of Tiko, which makes dairy produce and bottled drinks. The company is noteworthy for its use of English (and Malagasy, of course) in advertising; an English-language billboard in Tana is an odd sight, because most non-Malagasy signs are in French. This sort of avoidance of French is one form of anti-colonial sentiment and Malagasy patriotism, which I imagine would go down well with many urban Malagasy (who deal with the French and the colonial legacy more often than people out in the countryside)—hence the predominance of support for Ravalomanana in Tana.
Another clue to Ravalomanana's stance is that the Ratsiraka government shut down his factories just before the election, citing an unpaid tax bill. Under those circumstances Ravalomanana clearly has little to lose in making an all-for-nothing bid for the presidency, and five thousand out-of-work Tiko employees are no doubt helping to boost the crowds at his rallies, too.
The name Ravalomanana, by the way, would be pronounced something like 'Rava-loo-ma-nan'. And Tiko prune yoghurt is (or was) delicious.
Wednesday, 27 February 2002
[net culture] I had plans to indulge in a spot of metablogging this week, but it seems redundant given the flood of similar articles and discussions at the usual haunts. So I dumped some of it in a MetaTalk thread or two instead (key comment mirrored here).
Blogspace is the size of a small country or state nowadays; hundreds of thousands are broadcasting their thoughts to the web and the world in this way. In a few short years we've seen a single community weblog grow from a hamlet to a medium-sized town, with corresponding complaints about the traffic on the streets and the difficulty in finding a parking space.
Those sorts of numbers inevitably mean enormous diversity in individual bloggers' aims, objectives and methods. Yet various pundits paint the scene as if it's a bunch of train-spotting hobbyists on the one hand or the journalism Class of 2001 on the other—and people wonder why bloggers are 'sensitive to criticism'. "Hey, they're just suggesting that you and all your kind are boring, trivial, train-spotting wannabes—don't be so touchy about it!"
Thinking aloud is not a hobby, and it's not really journalism, either. Blogging is a 'form', sure, but it doesn't have the kind of polish and refinement we expect of forms like the Article, the Book, the Movie. A blog is not a carefully-constructed TV show; it's not even an ongoing series, like a soap or a sitcom. A blog is a TV set with the tube ripped out and a real, unpredictable, changeable, attention-wandering, living, breathing person sitting inside it.
With links. Or not. Or something. (Sorry, I'll get back to you on that. See what I mean about weblogs not being journalism?)
[site news] My site host does a fairly rudimentary stats page; if you're waiting for me to notice you through my referrers you'll have a long wait. But it does enough to show that this was the second most popular page on speedysnail (after the one you're at now) in February 2002, overtaking this perennial favourite.
Millions of words written in a lifetime, and I'm going to be remembered for two hundred about a concrete worm. The Web is a Harsh Mistress.
[people] It takes a fair bit to make me laugh out loud at comedy on TV or on stage; I'm more a smiler and a silent chuckler. Makes me a terrible audience member at comedy shows, even though I usually enjoy them.
The number of times I've laughed to the point where I couldn't stop, to the point where my sides ached and my eyes were awash, is so small I can just about count it on one hand. The number of times I've done that in an audience is exactly once: when watching childhood hero Spike Milligan at Hobart's Theatre Royal at the age of sixteen.
I can't remember the jokes; all I remember is Spike having to come back again and again to satisfy the cries for encores. By the end he was sitting on the edge of the stage just talking about nothing, about uneventful bus trips and such, and we were still entranced. I doubt there was a single person in the audience who wanted to go home that night.
Spike was simply the best there was. You rotten swine, you deaded me, and now you're dead.
- reads like a txt msg;
- sounds insulting if pronounced as one word;
- uses the most famous American contribution to the English language to sell Britain; and
- is a bit like calling America 'alright' or Australia 'adequate'.
What's next? NZNG? USLS? UKTHXBI?
Tuesday, 26 February 2002
[music] Ain't no techno-lust can beat hi-fi lust.
After six months of listening to CDs on an aging boom-box, and a month of spending our Saturdays in hi-fi stores, we've finally bought a new stereo. And not just any old stereo: the dream stereo. The once-a-decade upgrade. The stereo that makes the last one sound like a bellowing herd of wildebeest.
I've spent the weekend hooking up silver bi-wire speaker cables, interconnects with gold-plated plugs, and solid metal stands with spikes underneath... and can't help thinking of my first stereo, a Pye three-in-one with turntable, tuner, and twin tape deck. No silver bi-wire there: more like barb-wire, with mufflers instead of woofers and a recording-head made out of cotton wool. Listen to 'Octopus's Garden' on that little beauty and you'd be convinced that Ringo really was singing underwater.
And listen I did: that Pye worked overtime, taping the top 40, dubbing third-generation C90s* of the White Album and Jethro Tull, gouging the fine musical detail from the grooves of Hergest Ridge and Under a Blood Red Sky with its needle of flint. The sound quality wasn't up to much, but the sounds were, and that was all that mattered.
The Sharp component system a few years later was a definite improvement, bringing such innovations as Dolby B and C, high-speed dubbing, chrome and metal tape-recording capacity (never used, because I was too cheap to buy metal tapes; and anyway, isn't chrome a metal?), and—the master stroke—a both-sides-play sliding-tray turntable. (This was, naturally, the one feature I came to regret: both sides play = twice as many needles to buy at once, and sliding tray = potentially not-sliding tray.) With the addition of a temperamental Sony CD player it saw me through Amarok and Achtung Baby, the Underground Lovers and Luna. Now it sits in storage on the other side of the world, along with all my non-metal tapes and never-played records: nostalgia in cryogenic suspension, a musical Cold Lazarus.
And now we've just spent more on a new stereo than my entire taxable income for the 2000-2001 financial year. It cost two to three times what the last one cost, and does less—much less. In fact, all it does is play CDs, using an amplifier, a single-disk CD player and two speakers. But it plays them very, very well. Suddenly my entire CD collection sounds brand new.
Suddenly, all I want to do is lie on the couch and float in a sea of music.
I'd like to be
Under the sea
In an octopus's garden
In the shade.
Friday, 22 February 2002
[madagascar] Following up Monday's post: Madagascar's opposition leader, mayor of the capital city and a self-made dairy millionaire, has declared himself President in front of thousands of supporters.
Thursday, 21 February 2002
[travel] It took a while, but I've finally put up some photos from our trip to Alberta last December. As with other instalments of Detail they'll take a while to download over a modem; there's thirteen images, totalling 1MB. (More Canadiana in the travel archives.)
Wednesday, 20 February 2002
[whatever] I missed posting on 02.02.02, so I'll be damned if I'll miss 20022002 (or 20.2.02 if you prefer your palindromes in handy bite-sized form).
So... [stares at corner of room; whistles idly; examines fingernails]... seen any good dates lately?
Tuesday, 19 February 2002
[infotech] I've now actually read the Neal Stephenson article linked a couple of days ago, and it's worth more than a one-liner. Mother Earth Mother Board is a thoroughly engaging account of the race to lay high-capacity undersea and overland fibre-optic cables in the mid-1990s; if you've read Cryptonomicon, you'll know what to expect. The 'hacker tourist' Stephenson traverses Thailand, Hong Kong, Egypt and Cornwall in his investigations, and along the way tells us about Lord Kelvin, the original 'nerd-lord' and an unsung hero of the 19th century if ever there was one; his story makes a useful complement to Tom Standage's The Victorian Internet. The article also contains this unintentionally startling passage (unintentional because written five years ago):
Building the lighthouse [of Alexandria] with its magic lens was a way of enhancing the city's natural capability for looking to the north, which made it into a world capital for many centuries. It's when a society plunders its ability to look over the horizon and into the future in order to get short-term gain—sometimes illusory gain—that it begins a long slide nearly impossible to reverse. ¶ The collapse of the lighthouse must have been astonishing, like watching the World Trade Center fall over.
[film] One kid's mission to watch every post-apocalyptic movie ever made. Conveniently, he sorts them by cause of the apocalypse: cyborgs; plague; zombies; nukes; and 'misc'. (The sixth link on the page—'working'—turns out not to be one of the causes of the apocalypse, at least in Hollywood.) Reviews aside, I particularly liked this plaintive comment:
You have to realize how badly damaged my brain is here. This is really a monumental effort for one burnt-out kid. I would try and do it faster, but it seems like if I watch more than 3 of these a week I am racked with wicked nightmares.
Monday, 18 February 2002
[film] In Robert Altman's latest, Monsters Park, a star-studded cast pushes a clever script to the limit in a breathtakingly-animated 'upstair downstairs' murder mystery. John Goodman is perfect as Sulley, the monster with a heart, who's mistakenly exiled to an English stately home with only one change of clothes, while Billy Crystal is entertaining as his one-eyed Hollywood producer sidekick. Bravura touches from Richard E. Grant as a fiendish butler, Steve Buscemi as a fiendish purple lizard, and whoever wrote that beautiful scene where the Abominable Snowman meets bumbling inspector Stephen Fry, are all worthy of mention. But the heart of the film is undoubtedly the understated performance of Kelly Macdonald (Diane from Trainstory) as the Scottish lady-in-waiting, Boo. Visual spectacle aside, Monsters Park proves once again that special effects and lavish sets are nothing without a good cast and script.
[politics] "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"—it's just a shame they couldn't foresee computerised tracking of reading habits (via The Bitter Shack of Resentment).
Sunday, 17 February 2002
[music] A post lazily cobbled together from comments left on other sites.
It's yesterday's news now, but I feel compelled to note here that this Guardian article on the Dido demographic shook me to my very core. (Well, not really, but I have to justify the 'seismographic' somehow.)
Dido's No Angel was one of the biggest-selling albums in the UK last year, which of course means that nobody likes it. It also means that if you own it, or a dozen other once-fashionable disks like it, you're a pathetic pseud who's well and truly past it. Or so says Stuart Jeffries.
It's amusing to see the Guardian attacking its own: half its readers would be perfect 'Dido demographics'. And amusing that an article on those who 'don't like music as much as they used to' is in the paper where former rock journo Julie Burchill, who covered '70s punk for the NME, now spends her valuable column inches bagging her ex-husband and her local council. On the whole, its implications are probably pretty accurate if you own twelve of these albums in a small collection. The trouble is, even if you own two or three you're bound to feel a shiver of impending old-fartdom down your rapidly aging spine. So what if you own nine?
Well, you could argue that in a large collection it could just as easily mean that you buy the occasional 'album of the moment' to keep in touch with what everyone else is listening to. Same way you might switch on ER to see what all the fuss is about. Buying any particular album is a big deal if you buy one or two a year; it isn't if you buy one or two a week.
Or you could argue that The Joshua Tree, OK Computer, The Man Who, Parachutes, What's the Story Morning Glory, Different Class and, yes, Graceland are all die-hard classics no matter what some snarky journo says, and Urban Hymns still has its moments, and, okay, Play is a fair call because you really should have bought it six months before you did to be ahead of the game, but 'Southside' is still boffo.
Or you could accept that your newly-mortgaged status and recent 34th birthday make you a sad shadow of a human being, as opposed to the happy 24-year-olds who live wonderful This Life existences filled with sunshine and laughter, and hurl yourself under the wheels of a passing Volvo.
Lucky thing I don't actually own No Angel. But hey, I heard 'Stan' on Triple J once, so paint me decrepit!
[weblog] Link-o-rama: the remarkable mutant tetrachromats; testing to see if the fundamentalists are right about Harry Potter and D&D; forty thousand words of Neal Stephenson non-fiction that had somehow escaped my attention; One: A Space Odyssey, a retelling of Kubrick's classic in sixty seconds that premiered here in Edinburgh; what should I put on the fence?; and, yes, it's yet another site full of cheesy old songs, but too much is never enough.
Friday, 15 February 2002
And yet... I've been thinking lately about what a strange and detached life Jane and I are leading right now, at least by accepted Western standards. Right now we have:
- no mobile phone;
- no microwave;
- no dishwasher;
- no car; and
- no TV.
They all count as odd in various ways, even if we have good reasons for not having most of them. I could see getting a microwave for defrosting and reheating, but they never seem important enough to warrant a trip to the white-goods department; we like to cook, with pots and pans and ovens and recipe books. A dishwasher would be convenient too, but there's no room for one in our flat.
Not having a car isn't a problem where we live—the city centre gets jammed with traffic every morning anyway—although we may end up getting one for weekend trips when the weather improves. As for a mobile, the day I need to fill the gap in communications access between leaving work and getting home is the day I book into a shrink.
No, it's the lack of television that puts us squarely into the fringe-dwellers camp. Cut yourself loose from the tube and you're not just rejecting technology, you're rejecting mainstream culture.
Supposedly. I actually know perfectly well who won Pop Idol, because I read the papers. No idea what he sounds like, but that's one mystery I'm happy to file under Blissfully Ignorant About.
What we're really rejecting is the hours of veging out in front of the TV watching utter crap because we're too hypnotised by its unearthly glow to switch it off. Those are hours we can use to do other things: good things, like reading and writing and listening to music and going out and having people over.
I have to admit, though, the temptation is strong. Because it's hard to feel like you're in touch with the society you live in—especially when it's new to you—without that nightly injection of pop culture. Instead of having someone else comb through the news feeds to figure out what the important events of the day were, you have to do it yourself. It takes work, and you end up missing things, either by chance or through too much self-selection. A couple of weeks ago there was one particularly windy day here in Edinburgh; so windy, I heard around the department, that a roof blew off a building on Lothian Road. And that's as far as it affected me; at the end of the day, I went home and forgot about it. It was a week before I learned that those were the worst storms in Britain in a decade.
It's a Victorian sort of existence in many ways—hearing about some things weeks after they happened, or never—which is why Gleick's contrasting of the slow pace of communications a century ago with the instant pace of today strikes a chord. Is it better or worse than the cable-TV-and-DVD existence? Hmmm. On the plus side: no William Shatner documentaries. On the minus side: no William Shatner documentaries, dammit.
And sometimes I'm not sure where all of that 'saved time' has got to. I seem to soak half of it up with surfing the web. I've replaced one sort of 'time out' with another. Surfing the web to find something new, new, new, to fill up an hour in which my brain would otherwise have to think for itself.
Travelling the world to find something new, new, new, to fill up a life...
Man I scare myself sometimes. Bad brain, bad brain.
Thursday, 14 February 2002
[music] Interesting thread on "fakery" versus "reality" in music over at MeFi (my comments mirrored here), which got me thinking about Milli Vanilli for the first time in years. Not something I ever thought I'd be typing into Google.
Wednesday, 13 February 2002
[people] The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick [via LMG] is a very readable synthesis of the science fiction author's life-changing experiences of '2-3-74', written in comic book form by Robert Crumb. As with other evidence of Dick's strangeness, what I'm struck by is not so much what a weirdo he was—although he certainly was wonderfully weird—but the sense I get from all of his writing that there was a remarkably sane 'essence of PKD' observing all of this weirdness from inside and beside himself, and reporting it to the world. We get to read sane Phil's reports on insane Phil, if you like. More often than not it makes for enthralling reading.
In the end, we've been asked to pay almost nothing, sacrifice almost nothing, to make a few thousand desperate people feel safe and welcome. Instead, we just keep paying more and more, sacrificing more and more, to make them feel as wretched and persecuted as possible.... It takes a lot of effort to poison a calm, civilised, prosperous democracy to the point where people would rather eat grass or live under a dictatorship than attempt to come here, but if we keep it up, we'll get there.
[weblog] One of the best weblog posts I've seen in a while. Thanks for the reminder, Matt.
Monday, 11 February 2002
[books] I should have put in one of those 'current reading' sidebars that webloggers have these days. As it is, I'm forced to write actual reviews, and the longer I leave it the bigger the back-log gets. So here they are.
In limerick form.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters ***
Fight Club's Palahniuk
Wrote of someone who failed to duck
When a gun shot her face
Leaving it a disgrace
And prompting her to run amok
Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs ****
A tale of dogs who could walk
On two legs, in fine suits, and talk
Who fled their birth-place
And saw the end of their race
In twenty-first century New York
Stephen Fry, The Stars' Tennis Balls ***1/2
A young man who knows too much
Gets trapped in a mad doctor's clutch
Contrives to break free
Then goes on a spree
Of murder, revenges and such
Ben Hatch, The International Gooseberry ****
While driving across the US
Kit analyses life's mess;
One cause is his brother
His girlfriend's another
But he likes who he's with even less
Nick Hornby, How to Be Good ****
What if, suddenly, asks Nick,
You helped all the homeless and sick?
Would you be good?
Would you feel as you should?
Or would you be some sort of prick?
Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth ****
A meticulous graphical tale
Of ridiculous hysterical male
Who meets estranged Dad
And almost goes mad
In the presence of any female
Kingsley Amis, The King's English ***
A moderately tempered curmudgeon
Wrote this in tones of high dudgeon
About those who misuse
The words that they choose
And others who(m) he'd like to bludgeon
Derek Powazek, Design for Community ****
The affable founder of Fray
Says to designers today:
Your sites will be better
If you follow his letter
And find out what your readers say
Star ratings are out of five.
[journal] This is the second day in a row where I've woken up face-down and both of my arms have been asleep. Is this a post-twenties thing? Never used to happen to me, and now it happens every month or so. I slide out of a dream into the grey dawn and for a brief moment it's as if someone has amputated both arms and replaced them with floppy silicone replacements. Then I have to roll over—without using my imitation arms—and wait for the nerves to wake up in a tingling wave from the shoulders down. It feels like when I was thirteen and tried to change a light switch without turning the power off at the mains.
I'd ask a doctor about it, but fear the potential for bad puns:
"Doctor, doctor, when I wake up my arms are asleep!"
"That sounds 'armless."
"No, it's awful, I can't feel anything from the shoulders down."
"Once more, with feeling."
"I can't use my fingers or anything!"
"Here, let me give you a hand."
"...You're really crap; have I mentioned that?"
"My, you've got a nerve."
Friday, 8 February 2002
[weblog] Jorge Luis Borges wrote hypertext fiction long before it was fashionable, and now some of it has been turned into hypertext code in this beautiful web adaptation. Of course, every Borges reader knows that the entire web is actually an incipient Library of Babel. [Via MeFi, which is still turning out gems between bouts of withering 'Whither MeFi?' angst, thank God.]
[fiction] The good thing about ploughing through your archives all week is that you come across all sorts of stuff you'd forgotten, like alt.english.usage banter, long emails from the days when you actually answered your email, and half-written chapters from abandoned novels.
There aren't actually too many abandoned novels in my archives; just two. A few ideas and passages from the first ended up elsewhere, but the second has sat neglected for almost six years. On re-reading its meagre twelve hundred words and accompanying outline I can guarantee that it never will be finished, at least not in this form. Not because it's all that bad, but because... well, here, have a look.
Moral: finish novels set in the future before the future arrives. At least it was tongue-in-cheek...
Still, it's a shame I never got to the thrilling end of the chapter where Bain turns up dead in his office with a pencil rammed up his nose.
[site news] One of the oldest things on this site is a slide-show from my 1993 fieldwork in Tonga. After my recent experiments in large images those slides were looking a bit small and shabby, so I figured if they're going to take up two megs of server space I might as well give them a makeover. Now with improved colours, larger images, and 28 slides instead of 63 (on the principle that less is more): it's The 1993 Silver Jubilee of Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.
Thursday, 7 February 2002
[journal] So, um, it's probably not wise to let your archiving slide for eighteen months so that you then have to spend evening after evening burning and verifying dozens of CDs and back-up duplicates at 4x speed on a USB burner. For one thing, it cuts down on writing-amusing-things-for-website time.
Tuesday, 5 February 2002
Things some guy and his girlfriend have argued about. Schadenfreude is Fun!
Low-key, yes? So low-key that you may have missed it. Well, click on it now, because Mil Millington is one of the funniest writers on the web, as demonstrated on the rest of his site and in his weekly zine. Nowadays he's also the funniest writer in The Guardian's weekend magazine, where his acid anecdotes are condensed into a single burning column. A three-book deal surely can't be far behind.
Monday, 4 February 2002
Friday, 1 February 2002
[whatever] One of the previous occupants of our flat was a signed-up fan of astrologers and psychics, which means that a trip to our mailbox often bears fruit (loops) in the form of psychic junk mail. Since it never comes with a return address and we don't have their forwarding address, it usually ends up in the bin. But lately I've opened a couple. Most of it's just dull 'win the lottery' stuff ("I sense you winning as much as £175 000 very soon"—or as little as £0, no doubt), but one letter stands out. In fact, it grabs you by the throat and DEMANDS to be read.
From the desk of Anthony Carr
Read at once, please! Certain events may be happening my friend and I am excitedly trying to reach you. I must prepare you -- and even more -- YOU must BE PREPARED for the possible tremendous reward opportunities ahead. Please read my letter carefully... right now! Your future -- success and happiness like you've perhaps never experienced before -- may be just 20 days or so away!
With a come-on like that, I couldn't wait to see what Mr Carr had to say...
You should know at once about me: My abilities to pinpoint psychic events. To "read" the stars and planets. To foretell the future, has led to my being called "the psychic of the century!" That is why, now as I reach-out to you, you should -- and must -- listen to me. And very carefully. I consider this moment to be something of a transcendental connection between you and me. What I am going to tell you may astound you. Certain dates forthcoming, which I've plotted out regarding breakthrough opportunities affecting your life, may seem unbelievable to you. Rewards of material and personal privilege... may seem unattainable and exaggerated.
You may think I am directing my thoughts to some other person.
Or wonder, "how do I make such a wild prediction?"
Remember, PreviousOccupant, I am Anthony Carr. My powers are beyond that of common "reason." I am able to "see" through and beyond what is considered "normal." And I pull open the future with spellbinding accuracy!
Pull, Mr Carr, pull!
Here is what I have tracked recently [VERY, VERY IMPORTANT]... REGARDING THE PERIOD Wed. Feb. 20th, 2002 thru Wed., Mar. 27th, 2002.
Do I detect a hint of uncertainty about those dates?
These dates, PreviousOccupant, may mark the beginning of a "new life" for you as you've only dreamed it could be.
(Methinks I do.)
So far, my assessments of major star/planet configurations have pinpointed a dramatic Wave-4 phenomena (powerful of universal energies) arising from the spatial alignment of key heavenly bodies moving in a fixed astral rotation. ... The timetable clearly establishes that possibly between late February through March, 2002 and perhaps even into early April, a special deep and intense period of opportunity and prosperity may manifest itself in luminous waves to those whose life-destinies are centered for this mysterious force-field. Understand, PreviousOccupant: The shape of events forthcoming may place you in a new position of extraordinary comfort and well-being. Success and financial rewards may come in a flurry of unexpected, sudden episodes. Powerful, extraordinary circumstances may lift you to new heights of happiness and prosperity.
Cue promises of possible extraordinary wealth that perhaps may occur at some time in the future provided you send Anthony Carr ten quid to pull it open for you with spellbinding heavily-qualified accuracy!
Let me alleviate any worries you may have. I am prepared to offer you DOUBLE YOUR MONEY BACK ... should your expectations not be exceeded in every way from my association with you.
No fear of having to pay that in my case.
I expect your skepticism at this time, and although it saddens me, I honour your caution and prudence.
Obviously, time is of the essence and I cannot stress this enough! I urge you to mail the certificate on the other side, do it right now, please, without delay. Right NOW, this very minute.
Ow! Yes, sir! I'm writing the cheque! Don't hurt me!
Should these edited highlights be insufficient. To give a flavour of the Anthony Carr experience. I have prepared this condensed version, containing only the key words:
May be possible perhaps may be! Something of may may seem may seem may think may mark possibly perhaps even may manifest. May place may come unexpected may lift never considered perhaps possible in the immediate future! Don't ask me how or why. Prepared to possibly enrich if you will allow with no risk DOUBLE MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE IF YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT EXCEEDED. Potential magnitude and what it may mean will become 'immaterial' if you fail to contact me quickly. As I now calculate, the period for which forecast pertaining to opportunities may possibly begin a wave of fortune for you that is beyond your scope of belief. Worries you may have expectations not be exceeded. I want to see you happy and fulfilled! Please...hurry!
And should this not persuade you, SpeedysnailReader, I ask you to explore his deeply persuasive website. Remember, a 380k background image (click on his 'SUBSCRIBE' link right NOW, this very minute) says a thousand words.
Wherever we went, by the early 1990s the West and its popular culture--our popular culture--were fast encroaching upon traditional local cultures. Granted, in the antiglobalization era, this is hardly news. But it was news to us then. We were among the first young Westerners to witness this phenomenon, on the ground, as it accelerated around the world.... One of the things we invariably heard from the older travelers or expats we met in Asia was that we should have seen Kathmandu, or Varanasi, or the beaches of southern Thailand, before "the tourists" arrived. ¶ Everywhere we went, in other words, we saw ourselves reflected back at us.
I don't share the view that globalization is such a new phenomenon, though it's certainly newer in some places than others, but as a piece about the 1990s variety and its unwitting ambassadors it's an interesting read.
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