Lucas Enrique Fernandez

America With Love

Thesis or Theme:

Interestingly, the “land of the free” where people are supposed to flock if they want to live the American Dream…does not have the best reputation. People abroad can insult the United States out loud and the people in the surrounding area would just mumble in agreement. In A.A. Gill’s America With Love he challenges this natural instinct to bandwagon the stigma the US has built. Gill pushes back on his fellow Europeans snarky, sometimes incorrect comments with factual accomplishments from the nation.

Well, how stupid can America actually be? On the international list of the world’s best universities, 14 of the top 20 are American. Four are British. Of the top 100, only 4 are French, and Heidelberg is one of 4 that creeps in for the Germans. America has won 338 Nobel Prizes. The U.K., 119. France, 59. America has more Nobel Prizes than Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia combined.

Not only does he do this but he also throws the hypocrisy of Europeans back at them. The people complaining about America will do so leaving the movie theater where they watched an Avengers movie while listening to Travis Scott. In short, if you are enjoying American culture, inventions, and practices then you should not act like they are lesser than you.

In the second half of his article, Gill asserts that the main reason people hate the United States is because of how similar they are but how successful the US has become. The United States came from Europe, its culture is etched across many places and disciplines in the US. However, while Britain had declined during the 20th century, for example, the US became stronger than ever, using the World Wars to drag itself out of the Great Depression. In the short lifespan the country has had, it has become a global superpower and a resounding success story. In the end, Gill praises the United States for doing this and even berates himself for formerly agreeing with the notion of these other Europeans.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez

The Selfie as Travel Writing


As mentioned by Cardell and Douglas, the selfie has become an increasingly popular mode of visual travel writing. However, in my opinion, this change in the popularization of the selfie has been a negative one. The point was brought up that the selfie allows for the subject (the picture taker) to place themselves around notable travel destinations and landmarks, documenting the travelers journey. Contrary to this, I find that people take selfies to display themselves rather than the beautiful destinations they travel to. Selfies are thankless towards the places they are taken and vain in nature. Many people take these selfies purely for the reason that they can upload it to social media websites and push off empty experiences to their followers. The only kind of post I may hate more than the travel selfie is the food picture people put on their stories instead of just putting their phones away and eating it. When I associate the selfie with travel it makes me think of annoying tourists rather than authentic travelers. They are the type of people who do not genuinely appreciate the culture they are surrounded by, only capturing small glimpses in their camera lens of what they could obtain through their own senses. Instead of making themselves the focus of their travel narrative through taking a selfie, people should instead put their phones down and appreciate the place they decided to travel to.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez



In Paul Thoroux’s Trepass we saw the utter difference Thoroux felt when he went to Malawi. In this case both him and the people he stayed with were using each other, which is not the most common experience for tourists in common tourist places around the world. This story made me think of Jamaica Kincaid and Antigua. She had grown to hate the White people after the racism and neo-colonialism they brought to Antigua. The pain that they caused her and others was immeasurable, so it is natural that they are distrustful towards others. This experience is one that many African countries have felt as well, such as Malawi. Due to this, I understand why the people he stayed with acted the way they did. They learned to exploit the White man as a way to get back some of what they lost.

I also believe that the end of the reading relates to one of the earlier readings we had from the beginning of the semester. At the end of the narrative Thoroux realizes how American he is after his experience. This goes along with the point from the readings that going to different places and experiencing other cultures causes one to be pushed further in their own culture. Thoroux also wasn’t able to overcome the difference and otherness felt from visiting another place for an entire year. He learned that in fact he didn’t come to understand anything about their culture at all and was instead a trespasser.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez

A Small Place – Jamaica Kincaid

Vituperation: Colonialism

In the second passage of Jamaica Kincaid’s book The Small Place the past of Antigua, along with the lingering ties of England’s colonialism is explored. This section perfectly expresses the pain and anger caused by this colonialism which may in fact be immeasurable.


They don’t seem to know that this empire business was all wrong and they should, at least, be wearing sackcloth and ashes in token penance of the wrongs committed, the irrevocableness of their bad deeds, for no natural disaster imaginable could equal the harm they did. Actual death might have been better.

Colonialism is a horrible practice that occurred across the globe by many European nations. These nations decided that their own self-interests and greed were more valuable than the lives of the indigenous people of which they stole resources, land, and people. They displaced, raped, enslaved, and oppressed people in order to profit and feel superior to others. Kincaid rightfully says that the people of these empires committed wrongs that were irrevocable in nature and atrocious acts that they should be repenting.

It was built by some people who wanted to live in Antigua and spend all their holidays in Antigua but who seemed not to like Antiguans (black people)

In another portion of the section, Kincaid touches upon a paradox where colonizers want to live in the area of a certain culture and love everything about it, except for the people that live there. In Antigua this is exemplified with a club that would not allow Antiguans inside unless they were servants. An Antiguan being served a sandwich from there was such a big deal that everyone knew the name of the Antiguan and the day of which this transpired. This shows the cruel reality of how many times native people can be on the short-end of the travel industry. People will want to go somewhere but not interact with the people; or people will build an attraction in an area but not open it up to locals or allow them to reap any profits from it.

The only language I have in which to speak of this crime is the language of the criminal who committed the crime

This section from the book highlights a sad consequence of colonialism. Colonialism often causes for people of certain cultures to lose some of themselves, in this case their language, as they are forced to assimilate to the cultures of their colonizers. This is not the only example of this either, a major part of colonialism is the erasure of different people’s cultures. It is a horrifying truth and the pain felt from colonialism has passed down generations, as highlighted by Kincaid.


Lucas Enrique Fernandez

Gill’s A Profile of London


In A.A. Gill’s A Profile in London, through his expansive knowledge and witty down-to-earth word choice, Gill provides the reader an explanation of why it is better not to do the most touristy things in London. Instead of idling at these tourist attractions, he recommends a plethora of other spots that locals prefer.

We all look at the crowds of tourists on the Mall and think: What is it you see? What do you get out of this? Like every Londoner I know, I’ve never seen the changing of the guard. It’s an inconvenient traffic snarl-up every weekday morning.

This quote captures part of the essence of why many despise tourists. They are a nuisance that takes up space and are so fixated on “sightseeing” that they never actually see anything about the place they travel to.

Another main point in Gill’s article is that many outsider’s perception of London is incorrect and formulated from an old lens. When you go to London you see that it is more diverse than you would imagine and many of your preconceptions about the area end up being false. I believe this holds true for travel across any place. When people travel, they do so often for the purpose of fulfilling a desire to see the old preconceptions of the intended area they made up in their heads. This is why people want to see The Great Pyramids or the London Eye. These landmarks are remnants of past times that do not change, so the tourist will fixate on these things rather than the changing area and culture that surrounds them. This is why I agree that the tourist should take it upon themselves to stray from the tourist attractions and preconceptions in their heads and “think like a local” so they can go to areas where they will see another type of beauty and experience culture.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez Uncategorized

Shipping Out Pt 2

Vituperation (Over-Pampering):

Too much of a bad thing, something poisonous for example, is bad. However, too much of a good thing, like sugar for example, can be equally as bad. All in all an excess of anything can end up spoiling it. In the case of over-pampering this is especially true. Pampering can be defined as being afforded every bit of comfort, attention, and care one needs. This steps into the realm of over-pampering when people begin paying too MUCH attention, leaving you things you do not need or doing things you do not want because it is what they believe to be a universally “kind” thing to do. David Foster Wallace captures the essence of this dilemma in Shipping Out when one of the porters offers to take his luggage to his room for him, which was a polite thing to do but not what Wallace wanted.

I am putting this guy, who barely speaks English, in a terrible kind of sedulous service double bind, a paradox of pampering: The Passenger’s Always Right versus Never Let a Passenger Carry His Own Bag

This situation, and the mess that follows, perfectly sums up how over-pampering is a lose-lose situation for both the pamperer and the pamperee. The pamperer is liable to get yelled at by his superiors for not following the proper extent of care (too much care) but he is also not supposed to go against the pamperee’s wishes for that too would be unacceptable. The pamperee also loses since they are held up from their original task to argue with the pamperer that they are overstepping their bounds. Wallace also later has to hear from a Greek member of the crew how the porter was chewed out, guilting him when it wasn’t even his fault. In the end, I believe that at resorts and cruiselines instilling the expectation that you need to overpamper your guests puts unnecessary stress and pressure on everyone involved. All this causes is a unbearable sense of despair where things are taken out of your control.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez

Shipping Out


David Wallace’s Shipping Out is the paradigm for the power of words. In this text Wallace encompasses the reader with bountiful description, enabling them to feel as if they are really experiencing the same things as the writer. His words are so precisely chosen for a reason, when readers are fed more descriptive and vivid words we latch onto the messages that they carry. By doing this, the points he made throughout the text were that much clearer and more persuasive.

Her real birthday, she informs me on Monday, isJuly 29, and when I quietly observe that July 29 is also the birthday o(Benito Mussolini, Mona’s grandmother shoots me kind of a death-look, although Mona herself is excited at the coincidence, apparently confusing the names Mussolini and Maserati.

In this blurb, it makes me as the reader feel as if I’m sitting with a friend and they’re telling me a story from last week. The humor in the story and description involved lure me in and make the writer more likeable. By making his story more appealing, it makes me more susceptible to other messages stored in the text.

I felt despair. The word “despair” is overused and banalized now, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. It’s close to what people call dread or angst, but it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable sadness of knowing I’m small and weak and selfish and going, without doubt, to die. It’s wanting to jump overboard.

Here the word despair is thoroughly analyzed and placed in the situation of the cruiseline. Although originally I would not associate despair with a cruise, Wallace uses his words to persuade me as the reader and it actually made sense.

An ad that pretends to be art is-at absolute best-like somebody who smiles at you only because he wants something from you.

Here Wallace explains his negative feelings towards what a famous writer wrote in an ad for the cruise. The way the ad controls how you are to view the cruise shows the power of words, although it may sometimes be a dishonest power. Wallace seamlessly weaves together his points about the ad, along with the relinquished control once on the cruiseline, along with the feeling of despair that brings. By using description the blend of these ideas of at the end of the chapter is possible due to the ease by which the information was distributed to the reader.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez

Tourism and the Semiotics of Nostalgia


Authenticity. For something or someone to be undisputedly genuine is a trait sought after by the masses. To have the opportunity to eat authentic cuisine means you are getting something as close to the source as possible. To collect authentic gems are to have those that are real and untainted by the hands of others. We seek to surround ourselves with people who are authentic, people that are exactly as they show us. When any of these things mentioned above are revealed as inauthentic there is an automatic backlash and vituperation of the character of that thing. This carries over to travel as well.

Here the tourist, understood as a faux voyageur, is contrasted with the heroic figure of the traveler and accused of a lack of interest in the culturally authentic.

The quote shows that those seeking the authentic while traveling are heralded as travelers while tourists are associated with the inauthentic and criticized.

Fuller expands on this surface level criticism,  claiming tourism as a quest for, rather than a turn from, that authentic experience of the world available to the pre-industrial traveler

However, there is a paradox that stems from this in the post-industrial world where the more the tourist seeks the authentic, the further they stray from it.

I believe that tourists cannot be dismissed and set aside so easily for this as it is a complex matter. In the end, we are all striving towards the authentic and often fall short of it. On social media, the goal is to portray an authentic portrait of yourself to your friends and family but people often show inauthentic snippets of their lives. Even in our real lives people struggle to be true to themselves in all situations when faced with societal and peer pressures. Authenticity is something to praise to be certain, but is not the end all be all determinant in the character of something/someone.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez

The Tourist’s Gaze: Revisited


In the article “The Tourist’s Gaze: Revisited” John Urry presents and wonderfully articulates the concept of the tourist’s gaze to the reader. Urry meticulously breaks down first what the “gaze” is, and then how our gaze interacts with travel and the environment. I believe that he was correct in being critical of the tourist’s gaze as often times it can be both superficial and dangerous.

Sight is not seen as the noblest of the senses but as the most superficial, as getting in the way of real experiences that involve the other senses.

This quote truly makes me think of the negatives that are associated with many tourists in today’s day and age. There are many people who travel places just for the sake of checking off a list of sights. The most common place I see this is with Instagram where people feel compelled to document things just to seem more popular. People will go across the world and be in an amazing city, eating a beautiful meal, and not truly experience any of it because all that matters is getting the perfect visual instead of experiencing everything about where they are. One of the big lessons I took from this is that people need to explore the places they travel with all of their senses. Smell the flowers, taste the food, hear the sounds of the city or forest, feel the different textures of the area. To use your experience as a tourist in another place as just a way to see and collect images and sights then that is a waste.

Also, in much tourism there is the equivalent of looking at the mad behind bars. The bars can be the camera or the ethnic costumes or the quaint village that gets invaded every summer.

This part of the text made me think about how tourism and “sightseeing” can often be a source of dehumanization. People from other countries are made to be a spectacle for tourists and onlookers where they are expected to conform to stereotypes as a way to survive. While tourism is a benefit to many, the superficial art of it definitely has a dark side that hurts many, often those that are indigenous to different regions. If a tourist can take the extra step to truly experience and understand where they are visiting, I believe that is a step in the right direction.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez

Breaking Down An Image

Progym: Impersonation

In our daily lives, we see a wide array of images, however while we do see these images we rarely take the time to analyze and understand them. The visual rhetoric hidden behind images hold power over people that create certain meanings and arguments based on the context and audience which surround the image. Take for example this advertisement on men’s deodorant:

This is a great example of Visual Persuasion in Advertising because in this  photo, the company Axe Men's body … | Spray print, Print ads, Background  for photography



The audience is the intended target by the creator of the advertisement, which in this case is men. You can see this from how the background is of a man. The company is also known to sell men’s products, and the design of the body spray is black.


The company Axe sells body sprays, which are predominantly marketed to supposedly turn geeky guys into confident hunks that can get women. This is displayed by how the text asserts that wearing the spray will make the wearer more appealing.


The purpose of this advertisement, as with any other advertisement, is to sell their product to their audience.


The tone of the ad is based on the author’s perspective of the subject, which seems to be that the body spray is a magnetic product that will attract anyone to those that buy it.

Arrangement (Location and Scale):

In the background is the largest scaled image of a presumably naked man, then closer in the foreground is slightly smaller text, and most predominantly in the foreground is the image of the body spray. All of these are centered in the middle of the ad. Both the body spray and the text are more focused than the man in the background and the light blue text immediately draws the eyes of the audience, showing what the message of the ad is supposed to be.


The words included in the ad are “spray once seduce a thousand” of which the underlying meaning is that the wearer will have a quick way to attract lots of women.


The font size is fairly large and dominant in the image and the style is more serious as opposed to comical, which makes sense given it is supposed to be a serious ad targeted to men about increasing their chances with women.


The color featured the most is black, which is considered more masculine which should interest men in buying the product. Blue is also added for contrast to make the text stand out.


The splash and icy blue letters have the connotation of coolness, a feeling that is both refreshing and a way that a man wants to feel when approaching someone.


The contrast between blue and grey/black makes the image easy to read.