Why the Baez bunker story never ends

There it is again — the Joan Baez in the Metropole bunker story — this time in the New Zealand Herald.

Travel journalism isn't in the exclusives business, but Googling “Joan Baez” AND Metropole brings up 39,200 results. You'd think its time would have past.

So why hasn't it?

Colonialism. For all the liberal credentials of Baez, reporters aren't interested in Vietnamese people. Time and time again the Metropole is their main focus of their travel pieces. Stories of Graham Greene go on and on and on.

If it’s not Greene then it’s fellow whities Chaplin, Deneuve or McCain.

Likewise for all the foodie bloggers the broadsheets tend to prefer to interview foreign chefs. As a result the French influence on local food is usually hugely overplayed.

War. The war continues to be the big draw and yet the bombs that Joan Baez was hiding from were killing people across the city. Easier to keep it light and focus on the white lady safe underground in the most expensive hotel in town.

PR. The Metropole has a PR company. A PR company that can arrange free rooms. I’ve no idea what the arrangement was for this particular story but that keeps journalists coming back. This is a story of war and bravery, yes?

With the added detail: “The hotel bar offers a Joan Baez cocktail.”

This shit doesn't just write itself — it’s actually written for you.

Interestingly Jane Fonda — far more famous for opposing the war and for her trip to Vietnam — also stayed there. But she is rarely the focus for coverage. There are no Jane Fonda cocktails.

Still very much a hate figure for much of America - Fonda would be bad for business.

Just maybe the Metropole is the most interesting hotel in town — but would it be quite so interesting to journalists without press releases and free rooms?

Filler. Has the story been done before? Does it even make sense? How many times have I read of the bunker being lost or rediscovered? Just how do you lose a bunker? Doesn’t matter — it’s for the travel section.

On her blog the same author wrote of the bunker in August last year. This appears to be regurgitated — one year on. There is plug at the end for Baez touring New Zealand. More PR.

This was old a year ago.

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