An Excerpt from A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
There is something inescapably bovine about an American tourist in motion as part of a group. A certain greedy placidity about them. Us, rather. In port we automatically become Peregrinator americanus, Die Lumpenamerikaner. The Ugly Ones. For me, boviscopophobia is an even stronger motive than semi-agoraphobia for staying on the ship when we're in port. It's in port that I feel most implicated, guilty by perceived association.
I've barely been out of the U.S.A. before, and never as part of a high-income herd, and in port - even up here above it all on Deck 12, just watching - I'm newly and unpleasantly conscious of being an American, the same way I'm always suddenly conscious of being white every time I'm around a lot of nonwhite people. I cannot help imagining us as we appear to them, the impassive Jamaicans and Mexicans, or especially to the non-Aryan preterite crew. All week I've found myself doing everything I can to distance myself in the crew's eyes from the bovine herd I'm part of, to somehow unimplicate myself; I eschew sunglasses and cameras and pastel Caribbeanwear; I make a big deal of carrying my own cafeteria tray and am effusive in my thanks for the slightest service.
But of course all this ostensibly unimplicating behavior on my part is itself motivated by a self-conscious and somewhat condescending concern about how I appear to others that is (this concern) 100% upscale American. Part of the overall despair of this Luxury Cruise is that no matter what I do I cannot escape my own essential and newly unpleasant Americanness. This despair reaches its peak in port, at the rail, looking down at what I can't help being one of. Whether up here or down there, I am an American tourist, and am thus ex officio large, fleshy, red, loud, coarse, condescending, self-absorbed, spoiled, appearance-conscious, ashamed, despairing, and greedy; the world's only known species of bovine carnivore.