Monday, July 20, 2009
National Geographic for real
Hawley sent a note to me -- and I blasted off one to Doug and Drew in turn -- when we saw the latest issue of National Geographic. Angkor Wat is on the cover and there's a sizable piece about Serbia and Bosnia inside. It's odd, Doug remarked about our little group of media travelers, when you've actually been to the places NG is shooting photos of.
I felt the same at a recent James Bond movie realizing that I'd actually lived in or visited all the exotic datelines where the action takes place. I had a stab of realization that I need to recall on bad days -- it was the satisfaction of living the life you once only dreamed about.
Anyway, in a manner appropriately roundabout to Garrison Keillor, let me tell you about a piece the storyteller also did for this terrific July NG on state fairs . He posits that there are 10 joys of a state fair but No. 3 is the hardest to own up to: "To mingle, merge, mill, jostle gently, and flock together with throngs, swarms, mobs, and multitudes of persons slight or hefty, punky or preppy, young or ancient, wandering through the hubbub..."
Keillor writes: "...the mingling and jostling, a pleasure that Google and Facebook can't provide. American life tends more and more to put you in front of a computer screen in a cubicle, then into a car and head you toward home in the suburbs, where you drive directly into the garage and step into your kitchen without brushing elbows with anybody. People seem to want this, as opposed to urban tumult and squalor. But we have needs we can't admit, and one is to be in a scrum of thinly clad corpulence milling in brilliant sun in front of the deep-fried-ice-cream stand and feel the brush of wings, hip bumps, hands touching your arms...the heat of humanity with its many smells...the solid big-rump bodies of Brueghel peasants all around you like dogs in a pack, and you -- yes, elegant you of the refined taste and the commitment to the arts -- are one of these dogs."