Presented by Alain de Botton, looks into the philosophical impulses behind traveling and in doing so offers a profound and often witty view of some of the deeper issues underlying travel and our desire for it.
This is a good film for sociology classes as long as the professor explains some of the inherent biases and the apparent agenda of the author of the book, Status Anxiety. I watched the film on PBS and, as a sociologist, liked the discussions about Marx, Weber, and other notables. Weber actually defined class to include wealth, status, and power, so the inference that it is something less falls short of describing an accurate depiction of the topic. The NY Times review refers to Botton's book as superficial and although I would agree, it did offer a good introduction to the British view of class. It is somewhat difficult to ignore that someone whose culture is a monarchy can accurately describe the class structure in such universal terms. Perhaps American sociologists (such as C. Wright Mills, for example) might be a better source of information. Botton's description does sketch some notables worthy of mention including William James, Adam Smith, Marcus Aurelius, and Schopenhauer but his selections are covered in most freshman philosophy, or civilization courses, and far better than the documentary. What was annoying in watching the film was the obvious liberal, left-wing agenda that Botton imposes (and not at all in a subtle or artistic way) about his anti-gun stance. As trite as it seems, it is not guns that kill people, but people that kill people. I found the clip contrasting Robert Norquest with the grieving mother whose son is murdered (shot) by a gang member to be more of an advertisement for the politics of the liberal left than an accurate description of crime and violence. "If all guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns." In addition, the right to bear arms, part of the American Bill of Rights, is something the British just cannot understand. After all, that is one of reasons the "colonists" revolted against King George in the first place. I do like their tea though!
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