I am not a sentimental person. Oh, I think I had traces in that direction at one time, but I’ve lost them over time. Weblogging has helped, because I’ve seen sentimentality practiced as an artform in weblogging. The more I see of it, the more I turn away from it. It’s like eating cotton candy–a little bit goes a long way.
No, though I hope I am caring and compassionate, I am not sentimental. This is why I was ecstatic when Yule Heibel started weblogging again, opening with a brilliant piece:
That’s what I found myself doing. As I combed through Flickr postings tagged “Hurricane Katrina,” or through newsarticles’ accompanying photostreams, I also realised how vile I was in my seeming eagerness to discover a truly sublime image that would be capable of eliciting just the right cold-blooded (”sang froid”) reaction of awe and satisfaction one associates with the sublime. But in the end, it was garbage that did it, it was the images of garbage that brought me back to a different frame for my senses.
The domestic in me cut the sublime down to size. Looking at a picture of garbage floating on garbage floating on detritus floating on pollution (sewage, oil, toxic chemicals), I started thinking — not about Endings (the good old teleological stand-by of the perhaps terminally academically deluded), but about Beginnings (the domestic, possibly thoroughly female point of departure). How do you begin cleaning up the mess?
A volunteer at the Astrodome is putting photographs online in her Flickr account of the refuges as they arrive. I know I should be feeling the overwhelming tragedy of the event, and anger at our government, but all I can think when I see them is how beautiful the people are, and how wonderful and personal are the photographs.
How do we begin to clean up the mess? Give me a shovel, hand me a hammer, point me. I don’t have time though for raised fists and helpless crying. Oh and for those who have made cracks about those conservative, bible thumping hicks in Texas, might want to check this out. Just ignore that “grace of God” sentence at the end, though…I don’t think the governor knew at the time how that would sound, considering the circumstances.