Monday, September 12, 2005

The raw materials of history

OnlyThreeSoFar (hat tip Boots & Sabers) brings us some first hand accounts of what went on in New Orleans during the week after Katrina. Read these accounts, and store them away to memory. First hand accounts, made as soon after the historical event as possible, are the raw materials of history. Major news outlet accounts are good, but prone to error and sensationalization, and yes, bias. We still have a fuzzy picture of what did and did not happen in the Gulf Coast following Katrina. With time, we'll be able to collect these first hand accounts, sort them by their quality (not all first hand accounts are accurate), sift through them and compare them to a timeline and to one another, and then we will finally get a clearer picture of this event. Stuffy and boring though they appear to most Americans, this is why we have historians. Do not make the mistake of thinking we already understand this as a historical event, though. Just reading the first hand accounts linked above leads to as many new questions as those they answer.

Ah, and one more thing. If there is a government investigation of the response to Katrina, I'd ignore the report and go straight to the foot notes. Any investigation will be little more than a game of political CYA.

No comments: