September 06, 2005

Disaster Envy

California's used to being the centre of attention, and barely knows how to act when the world's looking elsewhere. This is particularly true for natural and man-made disasters, in which fields California tends to think of itself as a natural leader.

We in California have been suffering a lot of disaster envy in the last week or two. The local TV news has had a hard time trying to turn the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina into an occasion to focus on -- and talk endlessly about -- California, but a week on, we're starting to see the inevitable triumph of the Californian spirit. Last night's TV news basically spent a minute or two on the ground in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, then went on to spend at least twice that on how the Bay Area was helping. Never mind that we're basically doing very little (there's not a lot that we can do that can't be done better closer to the scene), and that the little we're doing seems badly misdirected (e.g. housing handfuls of bewildered and disoriented refugees in some of the most violently crime-ridden parts of the City) -- never mind all that, it's the thought that counts, no? And that thought is usually "we're so caring"....

(Part of California).


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