Monday, September 05, 2005

So Why The Silence?

Kevin posted an apology this evening about leaving an angry comment at Dagzine (that I haven't seen) regarding the "silence" about Katrina's devastation and the aftermath on many poetry blogs. Assuming the comment wasn't totally outrageous, I don't think there's any reason to apologize. Nonetheless, it something I've been thinking about since last week while I was away enjoying a family vacation at the beach in North Carolina.

This blog is mostly about me. Yes, I discuss poetry and a bunch of other topics, but I'm sure it's clear to anyone who reads this, it's basically a bunch of stuff and how it relates to me. Even my non-stop chatter about Gideon -- that kid is an extension of me. Me me me. So when there's something as serious and terrible like the deaths of thousands of people, the suffering of hundreds of thousands others, the ruination of a beautiful city and other communities, the dismal failure of the government at all levels and everything else . . . well, I didn't feel like I could address this here without running the risk of blurring me into it and that's something I really didn't want to do. It seemed disrepectful. Kind of like "Britney Spears Prays for Hurricane Victims" -- of course she did, that's great, I don't doubt that she really did pray and that she's donated a bunch of money -- but that headline and that "story" has nothing to do with hurricane victims. I think it was disrespectful of major media outlets to cover it during this time.

I'm sure a lot more people care about what a pop star is thinking than a suburban almost soccer mom, but I felt my general feelings and opinions aren't especially unique or bring much value. Oh, look at me, I feel so terrible, so helpless, so full of shame. Whatever I might write would not be as eloquent or insightful as what Seth has been writing. So for fear coming off as trivial and self-absorbed, I did nothing more than post a link to some stuff at HCE.

And there's a little bit of guilt. I'd been on vacation for almost the entire month of August. Europe and then the beach. I've been having a wonderful time. I might as well be George W. Bush at his Crawford ranch. Or am I Condi Rice? I did an insane amount of shopping in Europe. The biggest immediate impact on our lives are gas prices. Even that Chris is using to his advantage as an excuse to bicycle to work (10 miles each way) despite there not being any showers at MCI. Basically the person who will suffer most in our situation will be a woman named Heather, Chris' office mate, who'll have to deal with the man musk.

What may come as a surprise to readers here is that I truly am a private person. This blog is only a tiny sliver of my life and what I think. I don't share my political views here, if I have an argument with a loved one, I don't mention it just as I won't announce catching the clap from a weekend fling with a sailor (if such a thing were to ever happen). I don't announce where I donate my money, or how much and I didn't post links to the Red Cross or other organizations because I figured it was redundant and you don't need me to tell you to send money -- you're either going to send money or you're not. If you can afford to donate and decide not to, well, that's between you and something/someone else.

Thinking more about it, perhaps I should be the one apologizing for giving the impression that I was going about my life as if nothing was going on. That I'm not glued to the news, that I'm not discussing it with people around me or that I'm not appalled and ashamed at how it's being handled. That couldn't be further from the truth. Yet perhaps I was being disrespectful in my attempt to be respectful.

Since I'm privy to a lot of the latest technical info due to Chris' work, here's the latest status on electric, gas and telephones.


At 10:36 PM, Blogger Thin Black Duke said...


I hope that my apology didn't come off as a back-handed attack. I sincerly meant every word.

I appreciate everyone who contributed to the spread of information about this horrible, horrible crisis. I would not have encountered Here Comes Everybody if it were not for your blog, for instance. And I guess that was sorta my point both in my original rant and my apology. I know that there are many people who read my blog who could care less about blogs in general and even less about poetry blogs, mostly friends of mine in different fields. I felt that those were the ones that needed to see the information that I've been posting. And I felt that other bloggers had the same responsiblitity. But that's also were the conflict came in. I complained about the lack of discussion on poetry blogs, but then it occured to me that most of the information that I was posting was not from my own work (like Seth's), but from the work of others. And yes, much of what I've posted over the last few days has been posted to death on every other blog, poetry or otherwise, but I think it's important for the few people who aren't neurotic and don't spend too much time in front of a computer screen (like myself) to see the information. That's why I appreciated even the one post mentioning HCE. It's something I might not have come upon if it weren't for you. That's why I felt the need to apoplogize. Good people do what they can, and it occured to me that many poetry bloggers were, indeed, doing what they could.

I had no right to criticize anyone for doing what they can, especially since I could probably do more, and so many people are doing as much as they can in whatever way that they can.

Did any of that make sense?



At 11:00 PM, Blogger Reb said...


Oh I didn't think it came off as a back-handed attack. Not at all.

See, I am neurotic and spend an incredible amount of time in front of the computer screen so I often forget that lots of people don't do that.

Your post touched on something I've been thinking about for the past few days, so I appreciate you spurring me to say something.


At 11:08 PM, Blogger Phatback said...

I think his biking is okay, given that he probably showers before going to work, which is more than those big stinky nerds he works with can say.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Simmons B. Buntin said...

I think, bloggers or not, we're all doing what we can about Katrina. Unless of course your name is George W. Bush....

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Thin Black Duke said...

ahh...excellent point Simmons!


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