Sunday, July 16, 2006

Venice


Venice must sense the negligence and preoccupation of all who press through its remarkable streets. It is, by all means, more than a city. But the modern tourist is living in a contemporary world; a world that has placed art in museums, history in books, and that has succeeded in objectifying the holy cathedrals and mosques of our ancestors. This allows the city, at first glance, to hold the appearance of being alive; but Venice, in all of its chaotic commotion, still seems to sleep. The city is not an urban sanctuary for a young, chic generation to embrace and eventually strangle with its materialistic values and egotism. Instead, it is a mausoleum, living in dichotomy. It has no desire to impress, but it continues to do so. Its historic past gives it reason to exist, but its purpose is lost somewhere in between the souvenir vendors and the restaurant menus printed in English. What tourists want are something tangible, an object or a place that quenches the thirst for possession. And the city has been manipulated, for monetary reasons, so that it appears to give people what they want. It is clear that the real Venice exists somewhere beneath the flashes of tourists’ cameras, but it is impossible to reach it with commercial minds.

Patrick Weatherly--Auburn University

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