Monday, September 05, 2005

Interview With The Vainglorious

I thought I’d share with you today a topic that not too many people are aware of, or in the greater sense, “care about in the slightest.” It seems that Anne Rice wrote an open letter to the People of the United States and had it published in the New York Times. We can’t be sure that this letter was actually written by Anne Rice, because the Times has a slightly irritating habit of completely fabricating the stories that appear in its pages. Nevertheless, for the sake of this article, we’ll assume that it is genuine. Her editorial, published in the opinion section, basically lambastes the Federal Government, the American People, and pretty much everyone else on the planet, for not doing enough to save her precious, vibrant city of New Orleans during the hurricane “crisis”.

In case you don’t know who Anne Rice is, she is the unquestionable Queen of the Gothic/ Horror/ Homoerotic/ Sadomasochistic/ Guys Who Wear Velvet Shirts and Paint Their Fingernails literary genre. She was famous for eleven minutes in 1990 when her book, Interview With A Vampire, was adapted to the silver screen, making her immensely popular with latent homosexuals and angsty pre-teens who shop at Hot Topic. Since then, she has built up quite a large cult following by publishing the exact same book 35 times, changing the protagonist from a Vampire to a Witch to a Mummy. She doesn’t take criticism very well, evidenced by the 1200 word essay posted on Amazon.com assailing her fans and reviewers and berating them for mildly critiquing her latest oeuvre about promiscuous Victorian demons.

The article that Ms. Rice wrote is divided into two parts, the first being a short history of the City of New Orleans that she seems to have fabricated completely in her mind. She talks an awful lot about the blacks in New Orleans, asserting that it is a “black city” built by “black people” made up of “black culture” where “blacks” did “black things” “blackly”. It’s no coincidence that she uses the word “black” thirteen times in her article, because thirteen is one of those numbers that spooky pseudo-pagans are obsessed with. It’s interesting to note that while blacks are referenced thirteen times, the French, who actually founded New Orleans in 1718, are mentioned only once, and as poets at that.

The second part is a wild-eyed, bemoaning, and accusatory rant on why the people in New Orleans stayed, (even though they were ordered to evacuate), why they looted, (probably because the city’s so “vibrant,” you know?) and why it took “so long” for the federal government to respond to the crisis. But the most compelling and exasperating part of the article is where Ms. Rice says:

“But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.”

“Us”? You live in Paradise, Ms. Rice, you’re not part of the “Us.” Your personal possessions eclipse the entire population of New Orleans’ collective wealth. Turned their backs, Ms. Rice? According to the Red Cross (and that’s just one of the many charities hard at work saving “your” city), Americans have donated funds in excess of $350 million dollars. How much did you give?

Even though the media has tackled these topics and asked these questions to the point that we wished more of the media had been swept away in the initial flooding, the NY Times chose to run Ms. Rice’s piece because she is one of the city’s more famous residents. At least she was, up until a couple of years ago when she sold the largest of the three houses she owned in New Orleans and moved to Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans that is every bit as “Vibrant” as the Big Easy, except Richer, Safer, and Whiter. Today, she lives in a small town suspiciously named “Paradise West, California,” whish doesn’t turn up on conventional city searches, but I can only imagine is even more Safe, Rich, and White.

The truth is, Ms. Rice isn’t really attacking Americans, any more than she cares about poor, dirty, looting “vibrant people,” in her former city. She’s simply and transparently attempting to denigrate the American Government because she has an axe to grind. Don’t think so? Read the letter written to her by Michael Moore before the 2004 elections. Or try the editorial she wrote for the New Yorker. Read the transcript of her opinions on why people should vote for John Kerry. And if that isn’t enough, check out her defense of Bill Clinton’s debasement of the Office of the Presidency.

Politics will always continue to get in the way of compassion and authenticity, especially when dealing with those who have obviously become alienated from their society in the first place. In the end, however, does anyone really pay attention to the opinions of a woman who makes her living off writing about gay vampires?

Sadly, in your world, yes.

Smarmy Mortal.

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