authors and editors of the guide appear to have thrown themselves wholeheartedly
into the tourist angle. It is not that the guidebook focuses only on the
pragmatic aspects of Florida's economic development; it has its share
of its epic historical passages and imaginative, colorful anecdotes. Tourism
is, rather, figured within a larger schema of cultural contact and conquest.
The first essay of the guide, entitled "Contemporary Scene," (this
was a requirement for all the state guides), establishes this course within
the very first paragraph:
The modern-day tourist is equated with the colonial conquistador in his intention and ultimate effect: to conquer and to enrich the already fertile and enduring Florida cultural landscape. Florida is set up as pluralist haven of native and foreign influences.
the "latest Pennsylvanian in his Buick" having been thus inserted into
the historical lineage of conquerors, the meaning of the category "tourist"
is changed. The authors have assimilated and abstracted it into the more
expansive heading of "visitor," under which all kinds of migrants, temporary
and permanent, can be placed.
Obviously, migratory agricultural laborers do not come to the muck lands of Lake Okeechobee for the same reasons as do rich northerners who patronize Palm Beach. And that seems to be something the authors are acknowledging, with their reference to conflicting visions of Florida and a working-class struggle for existence. Not everyone is considered a visitor; black turpentine workers, for example, face the "unvarying" life of the permanent resident. And yet a parallel is drawn between people as different as a laborer from Tennessee and a Tin Can tourist. By grouping these different types of "visitors" together, what are the authors accomplishing? One has to admit it's an imaginative literary device. (It's almost the type of contrivance a modern-day cultural studies scholar would suggest, while obsessively qualifying it, in the midst of an argument about migrancy).
Juliet Gorman, May 2001