Paul Theroux on how technology has changed isolated places

“I was recently in Kenya, in the Masai-Mara game reserve in southwestern Kenya, and every so often saw a Masai moran, or warrior, with a cell phone in one hand and a spear in the other. Rickshaw wallahs in India carry cell phones, and there is electronic media available in the unlikeliest places. While I was paddling around the Pacific in the early ’90s for my Happy Isles of Oceania, the elders in some islands confided to me their lament that, for the first time ever, their people were seeing pornographic movies and the Rambo films on TVs with battery-operated video systems. The Internet has now reached the Solomon Islands and the Cooks and the Marquesas, and it’s everywhere else, dispensing information, corrupting some, informing others, putting people in touch, creating a deafening global buzz of confusion, mingled opinion and prejudice and fact.”
–Paul Theroux, “Dispatch From a Shrinking Planet,” Newsweek, May 15, 2011

Posted by | Comments (3)  | April 29, 2013
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

3 Responses to “Paul Theroux on how technology has changed isolated places”

  1. Terrie Exley Says:

    Hah! You are kidding right? “every so often saw a Masai moran, or warrior, with a cell phone in one hand and a spear in the other” I think that is amazing! Great blog you have here. I can’t wait to read around some more!

  2. DEK Says:

    If you plan to travel to a remote, exotic place, don’t read a travel book written more than twenty or thirty years ago because it may break your heart to read about a world that you will never be able to see because it isn’t there anymore.

  3. Roger Says:

    Despite his famous curmudgeonry, Paul Theroux remains one of my favorite travel writers of all time. Underneath, I think he has a certain amount of optimism as well as a stubborn will to call things as he sees them. I think people everywhere will be drawn to new media and its spinoffs, at least until they get tired of it and transform it, or shrink it, into something else. With the passage of time, I think there are many older travel writers still worth reading because there is some relevance to be found.