A disadvantage to being purposefully unplugged is that you do miss out on a few things. I did not read one newspaper, watch a lick of television. log on to any Web site, answer any e-mail or read anything other than the books I brought with me.
It was necessary for the full benefit of decompression. But I did miss the Pulitzer (and let's please remember is Pull-itzer not Puhl-itzer) Prizes. I'm not surprised by many of the winners.
Dana Priest did some amazing reporting for the Washington Post, though I'm a bit edgy about the prolific use of unnamed sources in her piece on black sites in Europe.
HUGE kudos to the folks in Biloxi and New Orleans for the public service and deadline reporting under extaordinary circumstances.
I was disappointed, however, to see that Chris Rose of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (the best newspaper name in the country) didn't win for commentary. Nothing against Nicholas Kristof, but he's just so east coast and it would have been nice to follow up a Midwest win with someone from the south. Rose's columns in Katrina's aftermath were pure poetry. So maybe they didn't call much-needed attention to genocide in Darfur, but they sure did convey the humanity, the grace and the tremendous need of the people of New Orleans.
Here's a recent gem about enjoying the Mighty Mississippi River with his kids and dog.
Here's an excerpt:
People from out of town ask me since The Thing: Do you think New Orleans will survive?
I tell them: America has no choice.
Sometimes when I say that, I feel like Luna Biscuit howling at the moon. I am haunted by mortality issues like never before.
Sometimes I look at the river while my kids are off on their nature walks and I ask it: Will you kill us one day? Is that your plan?
I get no answer I can brook. The river, it just runs by silent and mischievous, in swirls and eddies that I swear sometimes look like the devil's smile, and seems to whisper to me: That is for you to find out, my friend.
Only time will tell.
Congrats to all. In the next months and year of Pulitzer madness may you be able to tap unreservedly that which has made you exceptional this year.