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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:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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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.”