In the latter part of his essay, Wallace starts describing the faults and dissatisfactions he now sees in things he previously marveled at. The commonplace vices he now sees in the aggressively loud flush of his toilet, the embarrassing dance routines, the too-small tray holding places under his door were all things he marveled at upon first boarding the cruise ship. Now, however, the initial wow-factor and excitement has worn off and instead he once again sees the decrepitness of the once-extravagant activities but now seem to hold the same place as the rusting ship and the aging participants on board. This use of the commonplace progym is especially effective because it came right after the section in the essay where Wallace described these very same things and their extravagance and how every experience was fully pampered and nothing short of excellence was allowed. A few days later, however, and especially after seeing another cruise ship that seemed bigger, brighter and overall better than his own, he sees all these things in a different light: smaller, less excellent, embarrassing.
In this article, Wallace uses the rustic and corpse-like imagery of the ship to compare and contrast it to the lively and fun-stuffed activities aboard the ship. He uses this in a way that compares the decay of the vessel itself to the oncoming decay of its passengers, but which is intentionally trying to be overlooked by the busyness and fun-stuffed activities on the ship. On board the ship, the crowd is concerned about “not titivation but titillation; not hard work but hard play…The hard-play option promises not a transcendence of death dread so much as just drowning it out.” He compares the participants’ decay to that of the ship but, while they are both in decay, the participants try to drown it out by occupying their time with activities that will take their mind off of it and will make them think that maybe, just maybe, their prime has not passed them. That are somehow not in the same position as the rusting and decaying ship they are standing on.
In this article, Cullen makes an argument that the age of travel as ended and we are now in the age of tourism. In this theme, he describes ‘travel’ as what upper-class Englishmen used to do when they visited foreign places, got drunk with the locals in run-down hotels, and then came back and wrote about their experiences. Tourism now, he argues, is less about what the tourist does and accomplishes and more about what happens to the tourist, thus naming it more of a commodity. One quote that emphasizes this theme is this: “The resemblance between the tourist and the client of a massage parlor is closer than it would be polite to emphasize.” A client in a massage parlor comes to the salon, pays for the experience he/she enjoys, then leaves without it having much of an impact on the client or vice versa. The same can be true in some cases for tourists. They come into a new place, pay for all-inclusive packages where the tourism industry simulates ‘authentic’ experiences for the clients without them actually having to go out in search of these experiences, then they come home and rave about what a great experience they were provided and how great the service was. Cullen also describes this type of tourist as a shipped parcel, where he/she is taken from one place to another and while they can say they’ve physically been to these places, they haven’t necessarily experienced them.
In “The Tourist Gaze ‘Revisited,'” John Urry explores the different side of the “seeing” sense in regards to tourism and connects it to environmental issues. Specifically, Urry focuses on the comparison between environmental pollution and social pollution caused by herds of tourism. The pollution largely focused in urban areas where factories and transportation exhaust are part of the scenery, has inundated the scenic beauty of nature-based travel spots with social pollution, which, in turn, brings environmental pollution as well. The social pollution that Urry talks about is centered around the photography aspect, with everyone wanting to capture certain places and moments on camera so as to memorialize those moments. This is even more glorified in the age of social media, where slogans like “pics or it didn’t happen” reign throughout younger social groups and social media circles. With social pollution, however, comes environmental pollution as well. While it might not be to the extend of city-wide factories, transportation to reach some of these places contributes to environmental pollution, as well as the necessary set-ups to make these places more easily reachable, i.e. roads, campsites, electrical capabilities, etc. Urry himself put it best when describing the effects of social pollution, even when deemed to be lesser compared to those of environmental pollution:
“So photography has heightened the contradictions involved in the relationship between tourism and the environment. It has increased the attractions of particular kinds of unpolluted landscapes and hence of demands to protect or conserve such environments, and it has in turn done much to worsen such environments through increasing the numbers and concentration of visitors all seeking to capture particularly memorable views, views that have forever lost their aura.”
In “The Psychology of Rhetorical Images,” Charles Hill uses comparison to describe the differences between several types of rhetorical devices related to imagery. On page 37, for example, Hill describes the difference between persuading and transforming people. As Hill describes, advertisers aim to transform people, not persuade them. While these seems counterintuitive, Hill’s explanation makes sense, saying that persuading people implies the need to stop and think about the situation and then make an educated decision. In advertising, however, the goal is to transform people in that they automatically associate the product in the ad they are watching with a positive reaction that automatically makes them want to buy the product. It doesn’t give them time to think about the product or why they want it, it just makes them automatically want to buy it. Hill makes a great comparison between these two points, explaining to the reader why one is preferable to “professional persuaders” over the other, even though they may seem similar or counterintuitive at first glance.
Progym type: impersonation
Perrottet’s article brings to light the formation of the idea of the “American vacation.” The idea of vacation is unique to America, as other English-speaking countries refer to these leisurely trips as “holidays,” and Perrottet explains why that is and where it started. William Murray’s book “Adventures in the Wilderness” popularized the idea of getting out of the cities and into the wilderness for a break from the busyness of every day life. While this is a welcome idea for any overworked urbanite, the degree to which Murray proposed to experience the outdoors was met with differing opinions and even backlash from some. While everyone wants a break from the busy concrete jungle of major metropolitan cities, not everyone wants to take that break while camping in the middle of the mountains for days on end, with no contact with civilized life for several days at a time. I would argue that the first round of Murray’s audience who were gravely disappointed in what they found versus what they expected, was simply an unsuccessful attempt at impersonation. The wannabe-nature-lovers were just that: they wanted to experience the wonderful solitude of the wilderness but were not prepared to leave behind luxuries that they had grown used to. As Murray noted in his defense, many first-time campers came
dressed as for a promenade along Broadway, or a day’s picnic.
They wanted to get Murray’s experience of refreshing solitude but without impersonating his means of making this kind of experience enjoyable or even possible.