Tom Jacobs mulls our fascination with the North Pole:
As the cardinal point on our cartographic and libidinous compasses, the North Pole anchors what might otherwise be a wild, chaotic instability: desire needs a direction. That’s why Santa lives there, of course: as a figure representing either the culmination of capitalism or the purest form of the gift economy, we can only imagine him living elsewhere, at the extremities of the world.
In a world increasingly cubicled and time-clocked, the North Pole (still?) offers a material monument that is at once abstract and enticingly material monument to pursue and seek. A monument to obtain and conquer. The remoteness and near-impossibility of “obtaining” or “conquering” it is part of its obvious allure.
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