So Much Sympathy, Not Enough To Do With It

So Much Sympathy, Not Enough To Do With It

So Much Sympathy, Not Enough To Do With It
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Feb. 22 2002 12:32 PM

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Dear Dwight,

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I wonder what the Wall Street Journal meant in their editorial when they said, "We would like to thank the many people, especially American government officials and some in Pakistan, for their help after his kidnapping." That "some" seems awfully conspicuous. Why not just say American and Pakistani government officials? Did they feel that someone in the Pakistani government was obstructing the investigation? I suppose it will take a long time for those sorts of details to emerge, if they ever do.

I would like to read Andrew O'Hagan's book. I think I even have it somewhere in my bookshelves. It is an interesting question, how do people respond to sudden, inexplicable loss? I read in the New York Post that a gold watch taken off the wrist of a body found from the Titanic and stopped at 3:21 a.m., the moment it hit the water, is being auctioned off in England. And here, on eBay, someone was claiming to be auctioning off 911 tapes from Sept. 11. What kind of person would want these artifacts? Why would you want something so macabre in your living room? It almost seems like something out of Bret Easton Ellis. I suppose there are people who want to come as close to death as possible without actually experiencing it.

On a more practical plane, the Republican Party is finally doing the inevitable: exploiting loss for money. They are throwing a fund-raiser  called "salute the heroes," with Rudy Giuliani, in the hopes of raising $5.5 million. Aside from the obvious issues of taste, I suppose this ties into the question of all the money raised by the Red Cross and others that they didn't know what to do with. There is so much sympathy out there and not quite enough to do with it. 

I guess that's it, Dwight. We're not going to obsessively comb the papers together anymore. It's been interesting and emotionally draining and a pleasure.

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Yrs,
Katie

Dwight Garner is an editor at the New York Times Book Review. Katie Roiphe is the author of Still She Haunts Me.