Sunday, August 26, 2007

Two more books I want to read

From a review by Peter Lewis in the San Francisco Chronicle

'Attic,' 'Down' chronicle the disaster in New Orleans after Katrina

A passage about Chris Rose's 1 Dead in Attic
As the days pile up, along with the bodies and the refuse and the ineptitudes of the various governmental agencies, Rose's rambles coax the background to the foreground: all the race and class issues the storm throws into relief; the institutionalization of corruption; the profound neglect for the city's health care and educational systems and its infrastructure, including the levees; the willful ignorance of the mayor's office. His dire humor - "We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large, and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't" - gives way to anger: "[K]ids are pretty much the last consideration in just about every public policy decision around here." Then the anger gives way to the twilight of despair. He paints a sense of bleakness worthy of William Styron and turns to the psychopharmacopeia to find his own dry ground.

And This about Billy Sothern's Reflections from a Drowned City
"So here we are, sinking into the water around us, drowning in our own waste, poverty, incompetence, and the greed of those who came before us ...," Sothern quotes writer-commentator Andrei Codrescu, who lives in New Orleans by way of Romania, as saying. "We already know who is going to pay for all this. The poor. They always do. The whole country's garbage flows down the Mississippi to them."

And Sothern explains why I was so angry, and why I started to blog:
"[T]he dominant narrative focused on the lawlessness of the victims," he writes. "[B]laming people and mocking them for their own vulnerability is vastly more discouraging than naked and, sadly, expected racism."

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