From my mailbag:
I will no longer be reading your website.
I know you don't care, but I'll tell you why. My extended and large family (around 80) is from New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and I live in Mobile, Alabama. I tire of all of the negative press and political opinions concerning what is a real human tragedy. My suggestion to you is, stop. You know not what you are writing about because you haven't been here. You can't have any idea of the suffering and tragedy here, so it seems all you can do is focus on everything political and negative, with much finger pointing.
I just can't enjoy reading your words anymore.
An ex-fan in Mobile,
I think your anger is seriously misguided—with the exception of a few words here, which I stand behind, I've simply been reposting links to coverage present in the media. The blog exists as a repository for articles, images and links that I've been reading—I'd suggest that if you don't like it, you probably have more of an issue with the media than you do with me.
I'm sympathetic to being in a press cycle that feels out of control—I experienced it here with 9/11—and there's a strong temptation to proselytize. Phrases like "You can never understand", "you have no idea what you're talking about", and "you will never understand our pain" get used because beneath them lies the very real fact that none of us can ever fully know another's situation, and it can be painful to hear people chewing over issues that feel should only belong to the bereaved.
Nevertheless, that's the function of a free society—we discuss and mull and debate, even when it is painful, and those of us far from the tragedy take small steps: organizing fundraisers, donating to the Red Cross and, yes, posting links to coverage.
I suspect that as tensions cool and the serious work of rebuilding begins, you'll find that the press cycle will calm down—and beneath it you'll see that people across America and the world care a great deal, even if they can't walk in your own shoes.
All the best,