Back Wednesday (some updates)

I’m posting on a dial-up connection from Yooperland, so I’ll keep it brief. Come back tomorrow for a George Saunders interview.

My Katrina outrage hasn’t wound itself down over the holiday weekend. A few more notes on that subject:

  • In “It Happened in a Witless Bubble of Privilege,” Wonkette correspondent Holly Martins rips New York magazine columnist Jim Holt for “connect[ing] an unthinkable mass tragedy and a ‘rather good-looking’ tennis player’s wee-wee.” (Holt follows up an obligatory mention of Katrina’s devastation with some bellyaching about the “stifling humidity” poor Manhattanites had to weather as the storm moved north, and then with some tabloidesque reportage from the U.S. Open.)
  • At The Guardian, writer Richard Ford writes an elegy for his hometown.
  • Every time I try to load a New York Times page, this old iMac crashes. But here’s a brief A.P. summary of Anne Rice’s New York Times opinion column, “Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans?” Rice reportedly excoriates Americans for whooping it up at Mardi Gras and then failing to step in when the city was in crisis. “[W]hen you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us ‘Sin City,’ and turned your backs,” she says.
  • Update 1: I’m back in Brooklyn now, and reunited with my own computer and a cable connection (no, I haven’t checked email). Here’s Anne Rice’s New York Times article.
  • Update 2: Donna Tartt, author of The Secret History, has spent a fair amount of time on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in New Orleans. She reflects on Katrina, saying the breaking of the levee was “the perennial terror” of anybody who grew up in, or near, the Delta (if my family is any indication, she’s right). She contends that the disaster was “completely preventable.”

    The recent hurricanes in Jeb Bush’s Florida were handled briskly, there was immediate on-the-ground help, delivered with military efficiency. But these people in New Orleans are poor, they’re elderly, they’re African-American, they aren’t important to politicians: they’ve waited for days, they’re sick and dying, and the help still hasn’t come. It’s an emergency and a disgrace.


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