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September 06, 2005

A proper attitude

Sometimes writing in this blog feels like shouting down a well. Especially this past week. I'm been reduced to alternating between impotent screams of rage and soul-destroying snark.

Meanwhile, my friend Keith Knight - one of the most consistent cheerleaders NOLA has - has taken the same set of feelings and channeled them into a life-affirming, desperately sad bit of art. Well put, Keef.

Posted by Chris Clarke at September 6, 2005 11:37 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.faultline.org/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1310

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Comments

Go take a hike. I mean that, literally. You need to get outside and get tired and commune with the wild things. The blogging can wait.

Posted by: Rana at September 6, 2005 01:35 PM
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excellent dream!

Posted by: Kathy A at September 6, 2005 01:38 PM
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You know Keith Knight? I love that guy's work!

I know the feelings you're experiencing, though. I want to rant more about the evil idiots, but I feel like it's futile: I think we'd all be better off just dropping whatever we're doing, walking to NO and getting our hands dirty doing something useful, and afterwards marching on DC with ropes and rails and buckets of tar.

Puttering on about biology just seems so irrelevant.

Posted by: PZ Myers at September 6, 2005 02:02 PM
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Yep. Keith's a great guy. He's given me a few things to publish over the last couple years.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 6, 2005 02:19 PM
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message from the trenches -- the quigleys spent days trapped in a NO hospital, in dire conditions, hoping to help patients there:


From: bill quigley
To: Dublin Catholic Worker
Subject: Message from New Orleans - Debbie and Bill Quigley
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 18:07:06 -0700 (PDT)
>September 5, 2005
>
>A message from Bill Quigley and Debbie Dupre Quigley:
>
> Thanks to the many people who have reached out to
>us--it has been so satisfying.
>
>There have been many incredible acts of generosity and
>courage. We saw them everywhere. We were picked up
>at the hospital by two 25-year-old guys who put a
>little motor on a rowboat and ferried people to
>safety. We got on a truck with people who had gone
>back to find their mentally disabled brother.
>Families have come to look for family members in the
>shelters.
>
>Now that we are out of New Orleans, we are so
>disappointed with the disproportionate attention paid
>to looters and to a few hundred people who were acting
>criminally. Nobody in Louisiana thinks that people
>are looters if they broke into stores for diapers or
>food. People stealing TVs or shooting others made up
>a fraction of a percent of the people in New Orleans,
>but looting seems to have attracted attention in the
>media out of all proportion.
>
>The distorted emphasis on criminal behavior has
>stigmatized the people who are now in shelters.
>Events this week exposed racial, economic, and
>geographic segregation in our society that includes
>inequality in planning and resources. People need to
>stick up for the folks in the shelters. I guarantee
>there’s a shelter coming to a city near you. There
>are not enough places here for all these people. The
>New Orleans community is like a glass paperweight that
>was smashed by a fifty pound iron mallet. Poor people
>from New Orleans are going to be everywhere. People
>need to help them, not fear them. Our question should
>not be, “Why was there looting,” but “How are your
>families?” and “How can we help?”
>
> There are a million stories of inspiration, love,
>hope, affection and community from New Orleans. The
>focus should be on the 99-1/2 percent of people who
>were brave and patient and who managed to help others.
>
> We are glad that so many people are reaching out to
>the very poor people of New Orleans. Many people are
>not even a paycheck away from poverty. We know
>schoolteachers whose entire life savings was invested
>in their home, which is now underwater. They have
>$200 in their pockets, and they’re living in a shelter
>along with their extended family, hoping to get food
>stamps. Many people have much less. All of them have
>no idea what will happen to the lives and work and
>homes they left behind.
>
> The 100,000 or so people who were left behind in New
>Orleans are a reflection of the people who are left
>behind in our country and in the world. We need to
>turn this disaster into an opportunity for the nation
>to reevaluate our priorities and invest in
>construction, both here and in the rest of the world.
> Thank God there is no one to bomb in retaliation.
>Instead of wasting our resources on destruction, we
>should rededicate our people, resources and creativity
>to addressing the fundamental problems that were
>exposed when the superficial covering of New Orleans
>was ripped away, leaving us struggling for survival as
>people do in so many other countries.
>
> We love you, and we appreciate the support that has
>come in to us in so many ways.
>
>Peace,
>Bill & Debbie
>Debbie Dupre Quigley is an oncology nurse. She and
>her husband Bill, who is a law professor at Loyola
>University New Orleans, spent four nights and five
>days in a hospital in New Orleans before they were
>evacuated. They can be reached at
>duprestars@yahoo.com.
>
> Please forward this message and feel free to
>reproduce it.

Posted by: Kathy A at September 6, 2005 02:54 PM
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We all have to take turns yelling into the void until our voices are hoarse and our throats dry. You've done great yelling, Chris. If you take a day to rejuvenate, trust that we'll pick up the chant. We took a day to harvest tomatoes, photograph a bobcat, then back to the front lines. We're documenting the atrocities, so if you think about looking away and gazing at something more life-affirming and beautiful for a little while, it's okay.

Posted by: Rexroths Daughter at September 6, 2005 04:18 PM
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i had to go out and do heavy physical work to keep from going nuttier than i am anyway. then i'd come back in the house and check various blogs and share outrage, or sit and stare at nothing. then force myself out again. we are so far away. it is hard to convince myself that money is my best contribution, at least for now.

we have a note from a friend close to NO on our blog now too.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at September 6, 2005 04:41 PM
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Snark destroys the SOUL??? Now you tell me. It really ought to come with a warning label.

Posted by: eRobin at September 7, 2005 11:17 AM
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