Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train
Sorry, I’ve always enjoyed the title of that Patrice Chéreau film and wanted to use it for something, and that’s the best title I could come up in the moment.
In any case, I remember reading (and reviewing) Francis Cairncross’ Death of Distance way back in 1998, and I think I’ve actually flown more miles with each passing year since then. A fact I was reminded of reading Anthony Townsend’s interesting dispatch over at IFTF, particularly this comment, a reprise of an earlier post:
At many times people on one side of the debate or the other have wrongly forecast that one side of this equation would overtake the other – we would see the death of cities, the death of distance, and the end of travel. But what’s important here is that these things happened because of each other, not in spite of each other. This particular kind of presence, international business presence, is facilitated by a hybrid set of infrastructure and human activities – making calls and getting on planes.
Now, today, the Internet, for all its distance-diminishing potential isn’t really breaking this relationship. In fact. much of what we use our network technologies for is arranging travel. If you look in your email in-box or keep a diary of mobile phone calls — a safe bet is that 75-90 percent of the messages are about arranging travel or planning meetings.
I’d say he’s about right on that, at least some days.
This too reminds me of an article I recently saw in some (appropriately enough) in-flight magazine: It was essentially a list of places you just had to travel to before they basically vanished, either ruined by ecological forces or placed in critical endangerment by tourism itself. The tragedy of the commons, Travelocity-style.
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