Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nadir Of Western Civilization To Be Reached This Friday At 3:32 P.M.

Nadir Of Western Civilization To Be Reached This Friday At 3:32 P.M.

According to the panel, the final event will occur at 3:32 p.m., when a tourist, believing the impressive structure to be a giant mall, will enter Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, and, not finding what he is looking for, ask where "the damn Radio Shack is supposed to be."

I've seen a few similar cases of tourists indicating the approaching nadir of Western society. There is a preoccupation that tourists have with being photographed in front of landmarks, which is understandable, particularly when the landmark in question is scenic. Doing this starts to make less and less sense when you enter, say, the Louvre and have yourself photographed in a suggestive pose next to the death mask of an obscure Egyptian pharaoh.

I think that there are people who travel purely for the purpose of having their picture taken with anything of even remote historic or cultural significance. That's why they traverse places like the Louvre at high speeds doing nothing but taking pictures of everything. When they take pictures they put themselves in the picture because it's all they know and when they put themselves in the picture they either grin like idiots if male or look like porn stars if female, because it's all they know.

Today I saw someone posing for a picture at Westminster Abbey, which is bad enough since pictures are forbidden there, but what made it absurd was what they were posing next to. It was either the grave or a memorial of some obscure historical figure that looked interesting. Do you really need to smile when you pose next to the grave of a stranger that died 250 years ago? On a side note, it seems that just about anyone who was gainfully employed in the period from 1725 to 1775 is enshrined somewhere in Westminster Abbey. You can scarcely take a step there without stepping on a tile denoting the birth and death of some insignificant human being who somehow contrived to be buried in the same place as kings and queens and Clement Attlee.

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