Wilderness and the Hyperreal

Wilderness and the Hyperreal, Peter
Warshall, Whole Earth magazine
‘Faking nature? So what? Isn’t human intervention the best path to
the sacred and preservation?’ writes Peter Warshall in Whole
Earth magazine.
Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire
and Disneyland’s Badlands both demonstrate Americans’ tendency to
preserve what naturally decays and to replicate nature. Rather than
admonishing the creators for the kitsch and gaudiness that so often
surrounds these tourist traps, Warshall argues these man-made
natural environments attract travelers not as tourists but as
pilgrims. ‘Its scenic view muddles toward becoming a sacred place;
tourist itineraries slip into pilgrimage routes ‘required’ to be
visited by families and seekers; souvenirs, postcards, and
miniatures edge their way toward good-luck pieces, amulets, and
sacred images pasted into photo albums,’ he writes. We are a young
country, he reminds us. And in the end, ‘[W]ho knows if and how the
U.S. (or the world) will flow from the natural to the hyperreal to
the sacred.’
–Sara V. Buckwitz
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