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More on Fussell

July 07, 1991

I take strong exception to Paul Fussell's superciliously superior, snobbish attitude in unfavorably contrasting tours (tourists) with independent travel (travelers).

I would agree that if people visit destinations away from home with the objective of finding themselves at home, they waste their time and money. If the objective is to find understanding and to gain insight into the art and architecture of the past, tours provide the means to enjoy the pleasure of learning and developing aesthetics at affordable costs.

Many of us do not sit in ivory towers with time to read about history and travel, nor do we have three months free each year or paid sabbaticals during which to wander about the world at leisure to find the important spots and to study the background of the time, place and circumstances which led to the creation of the world's wonders. I am not embarrassed to have a guide help me to zero in on the background and the importance of historical places and irreplaceable creations. With luck, the guide will be as good at his job as I am at mine.

We attempt to maximize the two or three weeks a year available to us to learn about the world we live in--its past and present, its poverty and wealth, its failures and successes. We do not observe poverty with the superiority Fussell obviously feels toward tourists. We feel their despair and it helps us to better understand world politics.

ABE WEISS

Pasadena

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