Some Trends Sprint, Some Trends Slog

Has anybody heard of some place called Prague? A dispatch in this week’s Village Voice has the scoop.

In the first paragraph of its piece, entitled “Get out of Town: Americans Head to Europe for Cheaper Schools, Better Lives,” the Voice introduces us to Joe Moline, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles, who “first bought a ticket for Prague not even knowing where it was on the globe.’”

As it turns out, Prague is a city in Europe.

Wait. There’s more.

According to the Voice’s teaser for the story on its index page, Prague is just one of a number of cities in Europe where, “Fed up with the U.S., an increasing number of young Americans look for a better life.”

Okay, so you’re probably saying to yourself, “Prague is just a tad, well, 1990. How do I know that this Moline lad is really on the cutting edge of this crazy, moving-to-Europe trend?”

Rest assured, the Voice provides a doozy of a statistic to back up the story. “The State Department,” it writes, perfectly deadpan, “estimates 3 million Americans are living abroad, a number that has doubled in the past 30 years.”

Perfect. After all, if a 30-year timeframe works for gauging, say, the movement of the polar ice caps or the deforestation of the continents, why not apply it to the demographic patterns of trendy American backpackers?

That’s more than just a rock-solid trend. It’s positively geologic.

Felix Gillette

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Felix Gillette writes about the media for The New York Observer.