and have always gotten a strange pleasure from the contemplation of ruins. Rich men once built follies on their estates, ready-made ruins that put classical or medieval remnants at the bottom of their gardens, ready for a picturesque brood in the twilight, while the middle classes contented themselves with prints by artists like Piranesi, full of fantastic views of tumbledown Rome or Athens.
The poor, one presumes, didn’t need to purchase opportunities to contemplate disaster.
The working class version of the Grand Tour is keeping obsessively abreast of every detail surrounding the latest Missing White Girl or kidnapped kid.
Rich Brits used to go abroad to (pretend to) contemplate Roman statues of Diana. Their post-modern plebian counterparts got a rigor mortis goddess of their own, and got to gawk at her closer to home in the bargain.
Old ladies are especially prone to this sort of thing. They get a little frisson of excitement knowing that somebody else — younger, prettier — has died before they have.