Here’s Anne Rice in the New York Times this morning:
But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when 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.
To be sure, Ms. Rice, there were millions of Americans sitting in numb horror in their living rooms while last week’s debacle was unfolding. Unfortunately, we didn’t hold the purse strings of the federal treasury, and anyway, we surely wouldn’t have filed the proper paperwork. I like to think voices like this are the fringey minority, but who knows?
I do know I heard a convenience-store clerk expressing outrage, sorta, over Kanye West’s comments on TV the other night. At least I think she was. It was hard to tell; the clerk appeared to be among the ranks of the New Inarticulates:
“So I’m like whoa! I can’t believe he said that. Bush could, like, say like boycott his records and his career would be like so over.”
I’m sure the prez will add that to his to-do list.
I don’t know. I want to be optimistic. Ashley says he’s moving there, whether the house he sorta-bought beforehand is standing or not: To quote Frederick Starr: “I do not intend to give up easily. Why? Because I am absolutely convinced that New Orleanians will not allow their city to become a ghost town. And I intend to be part of the renewal that springs from this determination.”
He also says the baby that’s on its way is a boy. Tentative name: Rey D’Orleans Morris.
I think Americans are basically good people, and will figure out a way to right this terrible wrong. But I also see the early talking points — it was the locals’ screwup first and foremost, etc. It could get ugly before it gets better.
In the midst of all this was some comic relief, if you’re a sicko like me — Geraldo Rivera parachuted in to do a live standup on Hannity & Colmes Friday night that was…bizarre. His un-made up face, which looked roughly used not to much by the weight of his life experience as by a drunken plastic surgeon, kept going in and out of close-up range. He was clearly losing it (you can read Jack Shafer’s take on it here) and seemed to be pulling everything straight out of his ass. He plucks a baby from its mother’s arms, and predictably, it starts to cry, a cue for Geraldo to get a little teary himself. Shafer transcribed his rant thusly:
There’s the freeway here. I tell you what I would have done — what I would still do. I would say, let them walk out of here. Let them walk away from the filth. Let them walk away from the devastation. Let them walk away from the dead bodies in here.
Then he got a grip, gave the baby back (it immediately stopped crying) and moved on to an old lady. Suddenly, he was Talk Show Geraldo again, a little chuckly: “What’s your name? How old are you, dear? Eighty-four? Oh my. We’ll get you out there so your family can see you…”
It was very strange. Although, to be sure, it felt good to laugh again. Thanks, Geraldo. Let these people go! We’ll be back after this.