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Global Tourism at Plymouth Rock

I COLLECT SNOW GLOBES FOR A CLOSE FRIEND. ON A RECENT TRIP ALONG THE NEW ENGLAND COAST I WAS HARD PUT TO FIND ANY UNDER SEVEN DOLLARS, AND I WAS ON A FIFTY DOLLAR A DAY BUDGET. IN PLYMOUTH ROCK I FOUND ONE FOR $1.79. THERE WERE PLENTY OF OTHER SOUVENIRS TO BE PURCHASED. BUT I SUPPRESSED MY INNER KITSCH CONSCIOUSNESS AND LEFT THE MORE DUBIOUS ARTIFACTS TO LIE ON THE SHELVES OF A GIFT SHOP ON THE EDGE OF CAPE COD BAY AND ONLY METERS AWAY FROM THAT FAMOUS LITTLE ROCK. AFTER LEAVING PLYMOUTH I COULDN’T GET THE LYRICS TO THE COLE PORTER SONG, ANYTHING GOES, OUT OF MY HEAD. WEEKS LATER THEY STILL COME BACK TO HAUNT ME WITHOUT WARNING – AND A STRANGE NEW COLONIALIST NARRATIVE THAT I AM SURPRISED, AND HALF-ASHAMED, THAT I NEVER NOTICED BEFORE.

PLYMOUTH ROCK GIFT SHOP

The modern American tourist now fills his experience with pseudo-events. He has come to expect both more strangeness and more familiarity than the world naturally offers. He has come to believe that he can have a lifetime of adventure in two weeks and all the thrills of risking his life without any real risk at all.

Daniel J. Boorstin quotes (American social historian and educator, 1914)

“Times have changed,

And we’ve often rewound the clock,
Since the Puritans got a shock,
When they landed on Plymouth Rock.”

THE ROCK

“If today,

Any shock they should try to stem,
‘Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
Plymouth Rock would land on them.”

DOLL KIT AT GIFT SHOP

PLYMOUTH ROCK SITE (WITH ROCK INSIDE!)

 “In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything Goes.” 

PILGRIM CHILDREN DOLLS

“…The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today,
And black’s white today,
And day’s night today…”

MAYFLOWER

SNOW GLOBE the final purchase

lyrics from Anything Goes by Cole Porter

 

This post was written by davidb

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