Friday, 27 March 2015

local colour or instaham

The ever excellent Quartz magazine has an interesting piece of reporting for holiday-goers, that has some destinations affecting an accent and cultivating a culture in order to deliver to tourists the experience that they are expecting. Notwithstanding Bavarian taxi cab drivers and waiters really hamming it up, it seems to me that this programme is more than a marketing campaign and could transform into something positive.

Instead of souvenirs and native crafts that are really only sustained by visiting throngs—though one cannot generalise any experience or attraction whether established or on the rise—a step towards insincerity leads maybe to a stronger hold in the long run on genuine customs and outlooks that were suppressed to extinction either by the forces of hegemony or the encroachment of domineering globalisation. I know I am forever the guilty anthropologists for wanting to hear sheep-counting in Gaeltacht, but maybe that is not wholly condemning.  Maybe the sightseer, even for the expectations of cliché, have help to revive a moribund language—which I think is certainly worth a dose of dissimulation. What do you think? Are these enclaves and tours on offer a charade or a chance for visitor and local alike to discover something new on journey’s end?