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(Semi) Objectively Wonderful

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Jason Gabaee3 Comments

With winter break not too far away, reading The Arizona Quarterly’s Article: The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification and the Guidebook: California: A Guide To The Golden State made me feel as though winter break could not come soon enough. A native Californian, I didn’t find either piece to lure me using special rhetoric or exaggeration. As a …

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Gross and the WPA Guide Series

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Spencer Carle2 Comments

In his article, “The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification,” Andrew S Gross is critical of, as the title suggests, the WPA Guide series and all of the ways he says they manipulated tourists, culture and economic activity. Some of Gross’ main assertions, as stated in the abstract, are that: “[the Guide Series] transforms local culture into a tourist …

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To Make America

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Ruben Zaccaroni2 Comments

The section of the essay dedicated to Arizona, and the essay as a whole, brings up the issue of dual aspect of state identity, caught in the dual process of fabrication and re-emergence. It’s interesting that some of the stories that are being brought to light by the guides were unknown to many of the people living in the place …

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The Real America

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Lucas Acosta2 Comments

Reading Andrew Gross’s The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand Name Identification gave me the feeling he went into his project with a cynical mindset. Something that particularly irked me was his review of the Arizona guide. It is important to note that these guides were being written during a depression and the writers had a job to do—increase tourism. …

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I’m From the Lou and I’m Proud

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Zoe Hall2 Comments

Wow. Reading about The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification I can’t help but think of Nelly, St. Louis legend, and his iconic lyrics from the song ‘Country Grammar’: “I’m from the Lou and I’m proud.” Such a simple phrase, tantamount to the Bill of Rights for anyone West of the Mississippi and East of I-270, the parameters that …

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American Standardization

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Amy Greenspan2 Comments

As I was reading about the WPAs during the Great Depression, I was first surprised at how much they had in common with early Nazi propaganda. Although their intentions could not necessarily be classified as evil, their methods were incredibly similar to the methods used by the Nazis in the early years. Both movements were born out of difficult, shameful …

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Unique Advertising

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Aroushi1 Comment

In the WPA American Guide, it is interesting to note the way in which Nathan Asch personifies two time periods – the contemporary and historical in Texas-Oklahoma using his character, Mary. He says, “she wasn’t the Texas of today, but of thirty years ago, and I really think she was not from Texas but from Oklahoma.” The story revolves around …

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Transformation of Local Culture into Tourist Attraction 

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Jessie Cao3 Comments

Looking at the travel guides, it’s amazing how similar they are to today’s travel guide books. They introduce specific places for aquariums, museums, art collections, national parks, and outdoor recreations such as sports, camping, fishing, and boating. From the daily routine of the locals to cultural entertainment, everything is presented as “the place to go if you ever travel to …

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Sun the Color of Pressed Grapes

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by Laura Casado3 Comments

Andrew S. Gross’ The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-name Identification considered one of our previous readings, Nathan Asch’s The Road, as a precursor to the WPA Guides that were government sponsored for creation and publication during the Great Depression. Gross identified that the state guide for Arizona contained hints about deportation and forced migration of people who didn’t outwardly …

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An Audience of Who?

In 11. WPA guides by Andrew KarpanLeave a Comment

“As such,” writes Harry Hopkins in the forward to the WPA travel guide to Erie, Pennsylvania, “it holds the mirror to still another section of present day America.” Still another, ostensibly, in line with a narrative that Andrew Gross identifies as nothing less than the transformation of “local cultural into a tourist attraction, and the tourist attraction into a symbol …

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Food and American Culture

In The Travel Habit, 11. WPA guides by NicoleLeave a Comment

In regards to the WPA Travel Guides, Andrew Gross writes that “The tour form is paradigmatic of the nostalgic structure of consumer culture, which celebrates what it destroys: the isolated or authentic location.” This statement perfectly describes the irony of tourism. Unless tourism is somehow controlled or regulated (e.g. The Galapagos), it is capable of spoiling the very thing that …