Travels of a Gringo

Sean Langan is the eponymous gringo in Channel4’s – Travels of a Gringo … He’s my Hero!

It’s about his, (slightly leftish), take on the effects of globalisation upon South America. The last TV series he presented, in the ‘I’ve got a PD150 camcorder and don’t need a crew’ style of documentary making was from Afghanistan while it was under the control of the Taliban – compelling, revealing, humane and, (with hindsight), tragic.

His style reminds me of Peter Falk’s Columbo, from the 70’s TV detective series, in that he comes across as a slightly scruffy, clueless bumbler but ends up proving himself as a master, (in Langan’s case), documentary maker.

This programme, (actually three programmes), is clearly being made from his point of view and his sympathy for the ordinary people, who form the bulk of his interviewees, is obvious.

Well, his Afghan programmes preceeded the events there and I wonder if the journalistic instincts that have taken him to South America prove as equally ominous. Ominous that is, for the US, if the passionate anti-globalisation, (anti-US), stance of most of the poor interview subjects is a reflection of the majority view there. (A big ‘if’ it has to be said.)

A couple of [gringo] friends, who recently cut short a trip around South America, tell of the hostility they felt directed towards them by the locals and of the depressing and pervasive poverty which hastened their return.

On a positive note – at least we’ve got really cheap bananas in the supermarkets.

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