So Pretty!

One of the things that annoys me bitterly (this makes sense...somehow) about tourists of a certain age who like to pootle around quaint little towns and villages is their exclamation of "It's so pretty!" and their denigration of the younger generation, who perhaps prefer another, less romantic-looking settlement. There seems to be this sense that they can't possibly understand the beauty of the place where they live and that they're far too absorbed in shallow pursuits like shopping and cinema-going to truly appreciate how quaint and wonderful things are.

I confess to being a city-dweller, and a Londoner at that. It's where I grew up, and while I don't particularly like the noise, the fact that it's crammed full of people, or the utter dreariness of the suburbs, I do quite like not having to travel very far to see opera or theatre or go to a protest or shop (which I try not to do very much of these days because consumerism is selfish and exploitative) or go to the park or pootle around trying to resist the temptation to buy up every book in London, or indeed a myriad of other things which I'll miss about the city. I suppose I'm fortunate; my area isn't particularly deprived.

Other people are less fortunate - everyone out of London, for a start, but beyond that - some rural areas are just as deprived as some inner-city areas, and it makes me sick; firstly, that areas should be deprived in the first place and secondly, that tourists should be utterly ignorant that the areas they're visiting are deprived, instead cooing over how quaint it all is here, darling, and how shallow the youth these days are, darling, for preferring the city to the country, and how they'd love to buy a house here and settle down.

Firstly, not all youth prefer the city to the country; that's a misconception, though I suppose it's not one the old farts would like to correct (old people are like people generally - shit). Secondly, if they do, they probably have a damn good reason for it - namely, such a quaint rural place is out of the way and probably has massive unemployment, or problems with transportation, or hell, it's just deprived. If you have a stable job, that's fine, fewer problems for you. If you don't, no amount of quaintness or aesthetic pleasure is going to make up for a stagnant local economy, or for having nothing to do.

This is what the idiot tourists of my examples (sorry, idiot tourists, you're coming in for a lot of ire) would do well to see - and I don't doubt that they have the potential to see it. The question is whether they are willing to.