what a several days i've had. i could write oodles and oodles now -- it being sunday evening and me being alone with my computer (and my thoughts) and my vacation being almost, but not quite, over -- but i probably won't. i want some protein probably more than i want to fully document my thoughts on katrina, william rehnquist, sheila jeffreys, the awesomeness of philadelphia(ns), et cetera. but a couple of things:
1. i continue to be awed by my own impulse toward self-centeredness in re: katrina. to experience a disaster through the news media is to believe (it seems) that all disasters everywhere are somehow equal. there are satellite photos of the new orleans area which show that much of it is underwater and/or destroyed. and then there are pictures of individual groups of human beings who may be dead or in very dire circumstances. but there is some serious resistance, in my head at least, to the understanding that the scenes of individual horror are now everywhere the giant impersonal satellite images can show.
2. la and al and i went fifteen or twenty rounds about personal reactions to the disaster, and the extent to which anger and blame and the assignment of responsibility are good and/or necessary, with few solid conclusions in sight. to make matters worse, some of the solid conclusions i've been able to reach are mutually contradictory. for example, i wish to argue both that the contingencies and logistical fuckwittedness surrounding a major disaster will effectively bedevil even the best planning. at the same time i want to hold george bush personally responsible for just how bad this particular disaster is.
3. kanye west said the right thing.
4. so i skipped apsa. i am officially a Bad Political Scientist. on the other hand, i think i may also be a more sane person. wednesday morning, with departure [and, more pertinently, four days of presentable clothing and networking opportunities and hotel conference rooms] looming, i realized that i just didn't have to go. that if it suited me i could continue to sit on my butt (ok, continue to help people move, go for long aimless walks, expand my friend-horizons and speak at length with the verminhouse) in philadelphia. i sent out an email proclaiming my irresponsibility, and that was the end of that professional development opportunity. so i'm behind, and maybe a little out of touch, but i'm not sorry.