Judging from her screed in the New York Times today, the writer Anne Rice apparently doesn't know the simple word "thanks."
But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.Speaking as someone who hates jazz, dislikes most of the creole food I've been introduced to, and never once went to Mardi Gras, but nonetheless sent a donation for Katrina relief, if I thought you, Anne Rice, spoke for anyone but yourself I would put a stop on the check.
Let's see what other blogs say about Anne Rice's point of view:
Flood uses the "f-word."
Michael at 1-imagery.com says:
I'm sorry, but I can't agree with you on this one, Ms. Rice. I can't think of anyone that could or did "turn their backs" on the people of New Orleans. I perceive that there was mistake after mistake made in responding to this horrible disaster, but I don't think that any of it was motivated by a disdain for the people of New Orleans in any form, on any level.Free Thinker Slaves addresses Rice's essay at some length. A small excerpt:
Anyone who believes the America hates New Orleans or turned its back on it is either blinded or something worse. America loves New Orleans. People all around the nation turn on the TV because they care about it. They are shocked about what they see because they didn't expect people in a city such as this to turn on one other. And don't tell me it's all about a desperate search for food - people aren't being eaten they are being raped! Where is the so-called "gentleness" of these residents?A number of bloggers posted Anne Rice's op-ed in full with no comment, which may mean that they liked it, or, like me, were agog, but one wonders if they have heard of copyright law. (And, really, if you don't have anything to say, why do you have a blog?)
I also found three bloggers who posted that they liked Rice's piece. No one was especially specific as to why, but it seemed to be a vague combination of appreciation for vampire novels combined with a dislike for President Bush.
For myself, I think Anne Rice's op-ed was inappropriately hostile and irresponsible. When someone lends you a helping hand, don't spit in it. Furthermore, while Anne Rice herself doesn't need the charitable donations, tax dollars and (perhaps) future tourist dollars of the people Rice is telling off, there are hurricane victims who do. Rice's screed is so obnoxious it could make people want to keep their dollars to themselves.
Fortunately, if blogger attention is any indication, most people seem to be ignoring Anne Rice's piece. I guess that's what I should have done, too. Certainly, the New York Times should have.
Addendum: Anne Rice should read this letter.