News from the Natural World: Gap years are found to be the latest form of imperialism.
The mighty ‘gap year’ became something of a bloated stereotype in the human world. It was even renamed a “gap yah” after so many rich, middle-class, privately educated teenagers set off to get chlamydia in Thailand. Whilst some humans were just looking for hedonism and a rite of passage into adulthood. The reality was much more sinister. Could it really just be banter and booze or was there something eviler afoot?
This modern gap year evil actually mirrored a previous historical phenomenon: the Grand Tour. Back in the 17th century, Europe’s ruling aristocrats travelled all around the Mediterranean. Some said they were seeking a higher understanding of classical culture and learning. But much more likely was debauchery and chasing skirts around the Parthenon. Behind the refined ideals, the Grand Tour was about the perpetuation of power. Not much had changed as we look at the 21st Century Grand Tour.
Gap Years Are Just Imperialism
The real evil of the modern gap year was that these western humans were completely forgetting the ludicrous position of privilege that they were in. If you lived in a 3rd world country, posh teenage western humans are the last people you would want to turn up in a crisis. Take, for instance, the white saviour charity gap year. Posh rich people sign up to Raliegh International or some other company and go and help build houses in Kenya. The Kenyan villagers were clearly in need of help but things didn’t quite turn out as expected;
“Amazing, you are actually going to help us build a well and school. Incredible, thank you! Who are you sending? Some Engineers?”
“Well no actually, we’re not going to send you any Engineers.”
“Oh, ok, that’s fine. Maybe some Builders or Plumbers?”