Being a Tourist is OK. Thanks CNN: An Essay

When I read this article on CNN, I thought it was some sort of archived piece from the Victorian era. I had visions of boarding a steamboat, smoke puffing from the funnels, women with parasols waving kerchiefs to lovers as men walked with canes up the gangplank discussing the absurdity of being a tourist. Surely in 2017 a reputable news site wouldn’t be publishing such an unbelievably thoughtless attempt at an essay that delves into an issue that has been so extensively discussed in the past century, right?

“Tourist,” like “tacky,” seems to have become a dirty word," the author writes.

There it was, the beginning to a reductive and poorly researched argument of why it’s OK to be a tourist. What was missing was any context or research to justify this claim, highlighting the quality of journalism CNN sometimes accepts (I’ve written for them, so I can be critical). As a journalist and researcher myself, I was expecting a bit more.

The word “tourist” is not newly pejorative. Let me make that clear right now. And even though I agree with the writer that, indeed, it's just fine to be a tourist, I think we need to think more deeply about what that really means.

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La Modification

Paris changes, poet Charles Baudelaire wrote, faster than the human heart, and as far as my neighborhood is concerned, he was right. We’d hardly settled into our new digs before people starting tearing things up....

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French fiction, while you wait

You’re at the train station. You forgot to pack a book. You could lose yourself down a Facebook rabbit-hole or play your thousandth game of Candy Crush. Or, you could go to little orange machine and, at the touch of a button, see unfurl before your eyes a freshly pressed original short story, absolutely free.

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French Theatre with English Captions: Molière

Theatre in Paris offers English-speaking visitors a way to enjoy French theatre productions, with ticket sales in English, a dedicated welcome at the theatre, and English sur-titles (above the stage). This summer you can see their latest show Molière In Spite of Myself "One man’s quest to please a king, romance two sisters, and make literary history."

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The Tab (or: How to Get into Trouble Without Really Trying)

After days of bone-chilling rain, the sun had finally returned. Parisians emerged into the soggy city, shedding umbrellas and overcoats. Bare knees flashed beneath the hems of skirts, and children in shorts whooshed by on kick-scooters. Even our neighborhood panhandler had reestablished his headquarters in front of the bakery.

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Enjoying the Misery of Others: The French Elections

Most of us agree that America got off to a rocky start this year—all that niggling about healthcare, Russians, and nukes—but sometimes it helps to step back and survey the landscape. After all, couldn’t things be worse? Yes, in fact, they could: we might all be living in France.

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