Monday, May 08, 2006
Irving Berlin in Delhi
There's an old Irving Berlin song about slum tourism (It's from the 1937 musical On The Avenue). It could be reprehensible, but the punchline is: "Let's go slumming, nose thumbing, on Park Avenue." The song turns the phenomenon on its head and suggests that average folk go prowling around the richest neighborhood of New York the same way the rich look at the poor--like animals in a social zoo ("Let's go smelling where they're dwelling, sniffing ev'rything the way they do.....Come let's eye them, pass right by them, looking down our noses as they do.") But the rich still persist in peeping at the poor. This Observer article (thanks Edesio for the link) covers the bizarre phenomenon in Delhi, with snippets about slum tourism to the Bronx to Rio and Rotterdam.