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David Remnick in The New Yorker

In all the rush of the week - well, I took off most of yesterday to finish reading Zadie Smith's On Beauty - it took me until today to get to this week's New Yorker, and I want to lose no time in urging you to read David Remnick's report, "High Water," which is one of the very best things that I have read about the Katrina disaster.

Five years of George W Bush have disciplined my sense of outrage into a sixpack state. I don't blow up about every little thing, and I spend as little energy as possible in despising the despicable. I use my savings to look at the situation in unusual ways. I usually keep them to myself until something with better credentials airs them, as Mr Remnick has now done. While I don't believe that any local groups or individuals sabotaged New Orleans as a way of ensuring ethnic cleansing, I do believe that reckless disregard for the city's defenses was motivated by a dream of letting nature do the dirty work.

Putting this entry next to the preceding one, I feel a tension between the literate class that I belong to - a class whose business it is to look at and report upon human experience - and a commerical class that is not interested in "people" or "humanity," but only in "I" and "we." This thought disciplines my outrage even more strictly than the Bush Administration! When we write about its horrors, who, besides us, is listening?


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