I imagine that Gourmet's editors probably thought they'd get something like his essay on visiting a state fair, Getting Away from Already Pretty Much Away from it All or his cruise ship experience, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (note: links goes to Harper's original published versions, both of which were revised (and retitled) for the book they were collected in), but instead they got a detailed musing on the ethics of boiling lobsters alive, with 20 footnotes, among which are included this lovely summary of why tourism can sometimes be uncomfortable:
[t]o be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience...[a]s a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.
If you're a DFW fan, you've probably already picked up the magazine, but if you haven't, I'd encourage you to do so. Even if you hate the essay, as noted elsewhere the Espresso and Mascarpone Icebox Cake recipe on page 113 looks killer.
Update: Rake's Progress digs into the Gourmet forums to get some reader reactions, which can be summed up as divided.Posted by Bill Stilwell at August 05, 2004 09:43 AM