Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rising Tide Wrap

Well, I promised a bigger wrap up after a few days, to guage reactions after the initial, but the sheer amount of bandwidth dedicated to the conference is brutal. I'll do what I can, but take note: this is by no means comprehensive, and all the reciprocal links to and from these posts make tipping the hat nearly impossible. That is, except to give a big tip of the hat to everyone who planned this highly successful event, and then again to those who went out and dedicated bandwidth to it. (If I have missed some spectacular post in my moves through the ether, please let me know in the comments section.)

We'll start by linking to Dave Zirin's reaction to Rising Tide II, published in the Houston Chronicle, of all places.
The bloggers represent the best of something beginning to bubble that you won't see on the nightly news, as the two-year anniversary of Katrina arrives today. Amid the horror, amid the neighborhoods that the federal government seems content to see die, there are actual people sticking it out. And they do it with gusto.
All weekend, Dangerblond was the media darling (as it ought to be in a rational world), interviewing on the air live on Friday night, providing the fireworks (described below) on Saturday and data banking for a different news crew Sunday while painting at the same time.

Varg covers Tim Ruppert’s ‘In Levees We Trust’ – “The presentation showed that arguments that New Orleans can’t be saved are garbage.” Tim continues answering inquiries and gives his recap of the conference. Tim's homerun presentation was so far out of the park, it could be considered iconoclastic in dismantling current American mainstream mythology about how this city can recover and about how this nation goes about protecting itself.

Maitri’s already thinking on how to do things better, and wonders how bloggers can accomplish more in the realm of civic activism. This ended up being 'tabled' at the actual conference, and getting more airtime later, after folks had a chance to roll it around in their heads and get back behind their keyboards.

When it comes down to it, one of the big reasons the recovery of New Orleans has been such a mess is the way the city and her people are percieved by the America that exists far from here. We have a huge image problem, some of which comes from the way the city sells itself, some of which comes from the way others slander us. Right wing punditry has directed the national conversation for years on a variety of topics, and proved how important just saying something on the air or on the internet can be.

With that in mind, I can tell you several things the NOLA blogging community has accomplished thus far just sitting behind their keyboards: First of all, major and minor mainstream media are now far, far more likely to describe what happened surrounding Katrina in a different, more realistic frame. Newsweek, Time and local newsprint outlets all over the country have begun to recongnize equally the man-made disaster as well as the overall natural-disaster-only framework that dominated the media after the storm. NOLA bloggers, as well as many of the academic reports, and the non-fiction accounts are responsible for this change in the national conversation. And make no mistake about it, that conversation change is hugely important.

The Second thing is rapid response. There is rarely a paper published anywhere on the internet that cannot be found and responded to, and the folks directing that mythbusting traffic are usually the New Orleans bloggers. This has proved bipartisan, as many left-wing myths have been challenged in the fight against the primarily right wing pundit driven machine. There are people against us out there that have millions of readers, and the only way to challenge them is to respond en masse, with facts, and point out their shortcomings to an even larger audience. Every public dent in their credibility is a win for us and the truth in the larger battles being fought.

I just spent a lot of airtime on that, but it was one of the most important topics of discussion at Rising Tide II. As far as accomplishing more, you have to identify what things must be accomplished and look at how the civilian internet community can drive a solution.

Clay, who came to the conference dressed to the nines, had this to say about the shindig.

Adrastos has a wrap.

And, of course, the fireworks. If you want to see a microcosm of how controversey can drive media, here you go, because more than anything - a singular event at the conference got more airtime and bandwidth than anything else - the assclownery of the communists. I mean, if you think you represent progressivisim in any way, and the seperatists start calling you out, AND one of the most liberal ladies in the state makes it her personal crusade to kick your rear end out of the building, loudly, you may have an image problem. From all reports, dude's image problem begins when his mouth is open.

(Thing is, if this conference had been any bigger of a deal, the biggest toolbag there would have been quoted all over Townhall, by Hannity and would have been invited to speak about New Orleans on the Bill O’Reilly show. Because that’s how the lunatic fringe on both sides keep each other employed.)

But that's my wrap of the whole shindig. Again, if there is anything out there I missed, tack it on in the comments section.


Leigh C. said...

Amen! Woohah!

So funny to think that a "wrap" from you could also be a burrito, but that's just me...

Anonymous said...

You have a great observation that, indeed, the reporting on New Orleans has been shifting.

I would add that some of that is due to the fact the whole New Orleans community have all adopted the virtually same talking points, this without any outside instruction. A visitor to this town will hear the same explanation from the cab driver, bartender, conference organizer, and local news. And this story has legs, as New Orleanians carry the same message by word of mouth around the country.