Years ago, reading Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses, I first thought about the age of “mass man.” Yesterday was a holiday here in Argentina, Dia de San Martin, and along with the masses from Buenos Aires, we took an hour train ride out of the city to the delta, to a town called Tigre, named for a jaguar type cat that has long since been hunted to endangered species status.
In its place: an amusement park, McDonald’s, boats large and small–from kayaks to massive ferries spewing diesel. The many varieties of motor boats tote tourists around an hour loop of waterways to gawk at the strange houses on stilts built on the many islands, accompanied by a canned recitation of facts such as that 90% of the wicker used in Argentina is harvested here. The facts are in three languages, Spanish, Portuguese, and English, punctuated by truly awful music.
One of the oddest sites was the former home of D. F. Sarmiento, “Argentine activist, intellectual, writer, statesman and the seventh President of Argentina,” according to Wikipedia, completely enclosed in glass:
Not my kind of thing–have you guessed? Nonetheless, the elemental beauty of the river was good to see. I’m sure it will outlast us all.
Which reminds me of a short poem of mine
as a drop dead gorgeous woman
with bad taste in men.