dyer on arctic photos

Snow_noise1Geoff Dyer at Threepenny Review:

“I hate traveling and explorers.” A great and famous first line (from Claude Levi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques) because, for the reader—and who knows, maybe even for the author as well—it is such a provocative untruth: we love explorers. When we’re tired of every other kind of reading expedition, we’ll trudge along in the footsteps of the great explorers; even if we no longer have the stamina to read about them, we’ll settle for pictures of them.

And what about Albert Camus’s claim, in the opening line of his essay “The Minotaur or the Halt at Oran,” that “There are no more deserts, there are no more islands”? How can that be true, even at some metaphorical level? Okay, the Maldives might sink beneath the waves in the not-too-distant future, but there are still plenty of islands left—I live on one—and there are loads of deserts. The danger, as I understand it, is that if we’re not careful we’ll lose some islands and there will be nothing but deserts.

It’s the ice that’s endangered, receding and melting by the day, making polar exploration a thing of the past when it’s already a thing of the past.

more here.