There is a fine Lonely Planet scene in the novel Are You Experienced? by William Sutcliffe, an underestimated work concerning an English idiot on his gap year in India. One night the narrator is staying in a backpacker hostel listening in on a conversation between two hardened "travellers" concerning whether the most important book about India is the Bhagavad Gita or the Lonely Planet Guide to India.
The overriding reputation of Lonely Planet maintains that they're backpacker's bibles, reliable sources of information for putative flower children who want to roam the world on a shoestring. That the world and the publishing company have moved on since that was the case - if it ever was - has done little to dent this reputation.
The reality is that the Lonely Planet Guide of today differs hardly at all from all the other guides when it comes to recommending places to stay or eat. Like all such books, it aims at a prosperous middle class white travellers in search of home comforts like air conditioning, pizza, and McDonalds while enjoying mid-priced holidays at the expense of other people's misery.
Certainly, when it comes to Morocco, which I'm currently navigating with the latest edition of the Moroccan guide for company, Lonely Planet are selling one a bill of goods. Now that the company have been bought up by the insidious and Islamaphobic BBC, we can expect to see that bill of goods expand and prosper for the BBC, especially as it relates to the world of Islam, is in the British Foreign Office's back pocket. The Foreign Office funds the BBC World Service, where a load on old Hampstead Protestant and Jewish trouts devote huge amounts of intellectual energy to proving to their own satisfaction how fundamentally backward and repressive Islamic life is, especially when it comes to matters of sex and marriage.
Joe Ambrose has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.