Monday, September 19, 2005

The imagination of disaster: 2 (Heroes without tights)

At the risk of trivializing real-life tragedy, I've thought of a few ways that several characters in my "Beginnings" serial will be affected by the Katrina disaster. It's been one of my goals to incorporate real-time events in that story, and this seems like one I can't ignore. (Actually, I've been planning this for a couple of weeks--ever since I heard a real-life friend of mine talk about his plans to lend a hand--but I've been too busy in the daylight world to add any new chapters. Sorry about that. Promise I'll make up for lost time.)

But that's only fiction. In our real, daylight lives, it seems to me that each of us--make-believe heroes and villains alike--have a responsibility to do whatever we can to help our fellow citizens in need. That can take any number of forms, many of which have little to do with costumed crimefighting. I am thinking of not only the people heading down to the Gulf Coast to provide direct assistance, but individuals like...

These two otherwise hilarious gossip-crazed bloggers, who maintain a growing list of Katrina-related charities of all sizes that you may wish to support. It's the best-organized, most coherent, most appealing such list I've seen so far.

This ad-hoc group, holed up in a building with their own generator in downtown New Orleans since the hurricane hit and issuing regular reports, publishing photos and videos of things you probably haven't seen on TV, etc. The earliest entries are the most comic-book-like; I haven't quite pegged the political sentiment of these guys, but at the peak of the crisis they seemed to be functioning like a cross between Sgt. Rock/Blackhawk/GI Joe and some kind of vigilante/survivalist group. Much talk of command stations and patrols and such.

This woman, whose name happens to be Katrina, and who happened to own the "" domain before all the shit went down, who has subsequently turned her personal site into a clearinghouse for information since she's getting zillions of hits everyday anyway. (Though I gotta say, I just visited the site a few minutes ago for the first time in a week or so, and it appears she's gone pretty heavily into the god-and-country stuff lately. But hey--Wonder Woman's all about the red, white, and blue, too, right?)

These folks may not wear spandex (well, not that I know of, anyway), but they look like heroes to me, in a time that desperately needs us all to assume that role in our own idiosyncratic ways.

If you can think of any more examples, please add them in a comment!

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