”Shrinking planet”(Paul Theroux)


Paul Theroux*2 “Dispatch From a Shrinking Planet”, Newsweek May 23 & 30, 2011, pp.50-53

“The world was once stranger than it is today, much larger, even mysterious, great portion of it unknown, unrenowned, and full of hidden harmonies.”という(p.52)。そして、

People say that because of Google Earth and the net, travel is less of a priority. I would say the opposite is the case. The very fact of easy interconnection, and the illusion such contact creates of understanding, makes travel ever more necessary. The world is not what seems. (…) (ibid.)

There is a sniffy school of thought that promotes the idea that the age of travel is over, and that in 1946 when Evelyn Waugh published the juiciest selections from his travel books under the title When the Going Was Good, it was to be assumed that going wasn't good anymore. The book is very funny, nut the thesis is faulty. I disagreed with it when I set off to see the world in the early '60s, and I have felt over the years, and through a dozen of books of travel, that it is a complacent and disprovable view. (p. 53)
常々1970年代以降にグローバル化を促した重要な因子として(当時〈ジャンボ・ジェット〉と呼ばれた)ボーイング747の開発があるのではないかと思っていたのだが*3、Paul Therouxもそれに言及している;

(…) The world has changed. It first began dramatically to shrink with the jumbo jet. I saw a Boeing 747 parked at singapore airport in 1970 and was rendered speechless by the size of it. I did not realize how this plane would change the face of travel-vastly increase the numbers of tourists, make travel cheaper, and turn to many people in the world into visitors and refugees and immigrants. These big planes made the world spin faster. (p.52)