Can Money Buy Honesty?

I never focused too much on how honest different forms of writing feel before I began my project comparing free art to art that is done for profit but ever since I started seeing it I don’t know if I will ever be able to read paid writing without noticing some bit of honesty missing it. I have been slightly overwhelmed at how easy it is to find sources that contain evidence of my theory that, when people are writing to earn money, there will be a certain level of honesty being lost because people may feel like nobody will relate to what they are saying if they only discuss their own experiences. Two articles I compared were called Cracking the Kiwi Code which was published by a paid author on and the other was called Five Things I Learned While Backpacking Through New Zealand. The difference in the types of advice they provide for the reader on how to properly prepare for a trip to New Zealand was interesting.

The one published for Outside was not nearly as fun to read and did not make me wish to visit New Zealand so much as the one about lessons learned while there. The suggestions it made were things such as “go mobile”, “kick back”, and “take a hike” which are all good suggestions but stuff I would assume anybody who is planning a trip to New Zealand already has plans to do. The details of each of these experiences never stretch too far beyond the prices of the experience, which they are sure to list next to each experience listed, along with the easiest way to travel to the spots that offer each kind of experience.

The other article, published Odyssey online, had zero prices listed as well as no links to any websites where the reader can find out more about each experience. Instead they provide a list of life lessons they learned while on a biking trip with their sister that the reader can use any time in their life whether they are in Australia or not. The lessons they teach the reader are much more personal. One thing the author lists is “trust your gut” and shares a personal experience of her and her sister fleeing a mans house, which they had been staying at, late one night because they felt unsafe.

Another lesson she gives to the reader is “keep your sense of humor”, and tells an other story where she lost her credit card while getting chased down a mountain by a herd of angry cows. She stated it was one of those times where “anything that could go wrong did go wrong” but that the trip would not have been nearly as fun of an experience had everything gone the way they planned. She ends this lesson by saying “So embrace the suck, and don’t let a bit of misadventure keep you from having a good time”.

The biggest difference I noticed in these two articles is that the one written for Outside which intended to pander, in a way, so that they could get the greatest number of readers who may be planning trips, did not make me want to travel to New Zealand so much as the one written about a personal experience. As fun as “kicking back”, “going mobile”, and “taking a hike” sound, they are all things I can do anywhere. They are very unspecific to the place. Whereas the one about backpacking, and describing the lessons the author learned that she can take with her for the rest of her life, does make me want to go because it makes me want to have those same experiences that she did. I think the article about backpacking, with it’s realistic and lifelike nature would convince many more people to want to travel to Australia than laying out a list of ideas for what to do when there.

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