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At the Republican convention the city of New Orleans and the larger gulf coast received what was doubtless a salubrious and meaningful supply of fortifying lip service. One might suppose that with so much proffered, little more is needed. But the editors of a new magazine called Triple Canopy, surely to their discredit, seem to think otherwise. The new, third issue of their online-only endeavor is devoted to a consideration of New Orleans in the light of the reportorially remote events of Hurricane Katrina and their aftermath.
For this week’s Weekend Read, I propose you explore the audio, images, and text in this excellent multimedia magazine that–however attuned its editors are to what the web does well–hasn’t forgotten what magazines also need to be: written. Notable contributors so far include Roberto Bolaño, Rivka Galchen, Samantha Power, and Wayne Koestenbaum.
Issue three of Triple Canopy begins:
As we write this, Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on the banks of the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans has once again been emptied of its residents. We could never have predicted that Gustav’s landfall would coincide with the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and with the Republican National Convention (as well as with the publication of this issue), but we might have expected it. The force of this storm’s symbolism may have surpassed that of its winds, but as ocean temperatures have steadily risen, so has the frequency of Category 4 and 5 storms. The Army Corps of Engineers recently admitted that, even with the repairs made to New Orleans’s levee system, each year there is still a decent chance that one-third of the city will be submerged under six feet of water. This month’s headlines sound like the knell of the so-called hundred-year storm.
And continues here. I propose it as your weekend read.
More from Wyatt Mason:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”