5.12.16: Poverty Tourism, Spoiler Etiquette, & Donald Hall

May 12, 2016

It's called poverty tourism: guided visits to slums and shantytowns for close-up view of locals living in the shadows of landmarks and luxury hotels. Today, the pros and cons of straying off the typical tourist path.

Then, media outlets, pop culture blogs, TV re-cappers and social media are all potential spoilers for others who've yet to see a blockbuster or hit show. Yet global social media thrives on discussion in real time...so what's a person to do? Vulture polled its readers to find out the best approach for spoiler etiquette and we spoke with a TV and movie critic about the results. 

Listen to the full show. 

Poverty Tourism

Poverty is a real downer for the tourism industry. That's why resorts have guards and gates, and host countries bulldoze shantytowns before visitors to events like the world cup or Olympics touch down on the tarmac. For travelers seeking an "authentic" experience with "real people", there are tours of the slums of Mumbai and Nairobi, Rio's hillside favelas,  Soweto townships and a number of other packages of slum or poverty tours.

The debate over whether these tours are unethical and exploitative, or a means of building awareness and compassion is ongoing. Former marketplace reporter and host Tess Vigeland has been traveling in and reporting from Southeast Asia. In a recent post for Quartz, she advises travelers to do a little homework before getting on the poverty tour bus.

A Canadian Vacation

In 1943, while the US was embroiled in World War II, FDR traveled to the Canadian side of Lake Huron for an eight-day fishing trip. Rumors persist as to what he was doing up there - meeting with a mistress? conferring with Winston Churchill? - but Justin Bull brought us the true story. 

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Spoiler Etiquette

How about that dramatic reveal in the last three seconds of Game of Thrones’ second episode? If these kind of plot teases cause you pain, you're not alone. Media outlets, pop culture blogs, TV re-cappers and friends on Facebook are all potential spoilers for others who've yet to see a blockbuster or show. Global social media is thrives on the potential for discussion in real time and no one wants to wait until you get around to cleaning out your DVRs -- should they? Or is the expectation of being shielded from spoilers even realistic? What's the spoiler etiquette?

Vulture recently ran a poll on that very question and TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz wrote about the problem and the poll results.  And, spoiler alert! We will be talking about some big plot twists, so if you need to catch up on your shows, now's your chance to tune out.

Related: Spoiler Alert: This Is A Post About Spoiler Etiquette

And if you land firmly on the other side of the debate, you can try out Netflix's Spoil Yourself feature! 

Donald Hall's Poetry in Song

In Essays After Eighty, published last year, former US Poet Laureate Donald Hall laments that like testosterone, poetry has abandoned him. Poetry, he writes, is too sensual, even sexual for a man of his age. He still writes every day at the farmhouse in Wilmot, NH where his grandparents once lived, and this Friday, songs based on his poems will debut at Proctor Academy, just down the road.

Eight poems make up a song cycle called "Mortality Mansions" by Grammy winning composer and librettist Herschel Garfein. Tenor Michael Slattery and pianist Dimitri Dover will perform the cycle for the first time on stage at Proctor's Norris Family Theatre.