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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Living high 

One of my favorite writers, Garrison Keillor, is writing for Salon again. Its an easy, gentle kind of writing, conversational, discursive, folksy -- nahhh, not really, just on the surface. Underneath, Garrison bites. Maybe it could be summed up by just saying that Garrison Keillor doesn't suffer fools.
Here is a section from his latest Salon column, Looking for higher ground:
Blanche DuBois said she always had depended on the kindness of strangers but that was before last week. Last week showed you pretty clearly that you should never ever get in a situation where you're trapped and don't have food or water. Nobody's going to come. Lower taxes and less government means you better live on a high bluff above the river and have plenty of money . . . I like New Orleans but I'd never live there. I enjoy the streetcars and the gumbo and the little gardens behind the high walls in the French Quarter and the easy view of life. It's a city where you can find people to talk to late at night and nobody is in a rush to get home . . . The downside of being the Big Easy is that visitors feel encouraged to show you a side of themselves you'd rather not see, the blithering drunkenness and bare-breasted ladies and plastic gewgaws of Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras. You don't have to be Baptist to find the company of drunks discouraging and New Orleans is a mecca for alcoholics. Big Easiness, however, is not conducive to good government and the city hasn't gotten much of that. There are large sections of town where the tourist is warned never to set foot. The schools are wretched and services are lousy and in a high-water-table city where even high ground is low and low ground is below sea level, the flood control system wasn't ever more than modestly adequate, and so last week the Big Easy got to know George Bush. You don't have to be drunk to be stupid. Here was a patronage appointee, the pal of a pal, in charge of the federal response to Katrina and he sat and waited to see what would happen and when it happened, he froze. As Mr. Bush said, he had no idea that the levees wouldn't hold. Truly. It's not how we used to do things, back when there was a sense of shame attached to government incompetence that costs lives, but it's different in America these days. Don't ever get in trouble, is my advice. Head upriver and look for high ground.
A completely irrelevant aside is that Keillor also narrated the famous Briish Honda Accord commercial -- watch it here, and if you want more info about it, see here.

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