Professor Froward's Slough of Despond

Proud purveyor of flawed generalizations and vacuous tautologies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sobering reality check

In the cold light of (relatively) hard information, how much of what was reported about New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina was accurate?

A lot of us fell for some real nonsense. It's natural: You want to believe you know what's going on. You want a frame to put the story in. You want a "good story", too, and fiction usually beats reality by that measure.

"Natural" or not, we should have done a lot better. This time next year, we'll know more than we do now, and Gateway Pundit's list will have to be revised.

The "first draft" versions, the myths, are much more colorful and exciting than the facts, aren't they? More appealing, if you're up for a dramatic break from the everyday routine — as long as it's happening to somebody else. "Myth" is exactly the word: Infotainment is one of the older professions. The uninformed speculation and the rumors made flesh will live on in conspiracy theories, of course. In Conspiracy World, there are no debunked chow-line rumors, only supressed facts. Their favorite version is always the one with the least hope of accuracy. Some people are more desperate to escape their everyday routine than the rest of us.

UPDATE 9/28/3005: And again, chez Blair: "What I saw in the Superdome was just tremendous amounts of people helping people." Are we too eager to believe the "good news after all"? Oh, jeez. Ask me in a year.