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The Blog Rumor Heard Around the World – Blaming Katrina

Living in the path of Hurricane Katrina, I’ve heard tons of people in the first few weeks after Hurricane Katrina’s destruction try to find justification, reasons, and excuses for why it happened here and to them. I’ve heard a lot that is it god’s revenge for [fill in the blank]. One friend said it was because Bush and the US Government pushed so hard for Israel to withdraw from Gaza. Another said it was because of all the sinners in New Orleans. I met a stranger who told me that it was god’s revenge for voting in Bush for a second time. His friend argued that it was because the “wake up call” of the terrorist attacks of September 11 didn’t stick and the United States needed a second slap upside the head. I guess god has a lot of justified reasons for Hurricane Katrina – pick one.

But I’m here to talk about blogs and the blog rumor heard around the world after Hurricane Katrina was Pat Robertson blaming the mass destruction on god’s fury over Ellen Degeneres hosting the Emmies.

In a fascinating study of this rumor, Franklin Avenue’s Anatomy of an Internet Rumor looks at the bizarre way that people actually took this satrical story by Dateline Holywood serious.

Apparently Dateline Hollywood’s recent Pat Robertson satire…cut a little too close to the truth. After all, given what’s come out of the crazy reverend’s mouth in recent days, the headline — ROBERTSON BLAMES HURRICANE ON CHOICE OF ELLEN DEGENERES TO HOST EMMYS — seems plausible.

So much so that the piece is currently making the Internet rounds without any disclaimer — and people are actually taking the story as fact!

Kudos to Ben Fritz and the “Dateline” gang — the hallmark of good satire, after all, is highlighting something so absurd it can be true (and given Robertson’s past remarks, the story would be completely believable).

While Robertson’s outrageous comments of late do lend itself to this kind of satire, the power of blogs to perpetuate rumor and hoaxes is growing. The fact that anyone took this seriously speaks loudly to the power of blogs.

PS: My answer to all of the blame game issues? If you live on the dart board that makes up Hurricane Alley, the odds are highly in your favor that a dart is going to hit the board. That is the purpose of the dart board. If you can’t stand the heat, damage, and pain of living on the dart board – get off. But know, you are living on the dart board. Live appropriately.

One Comment

  1. Posted September 19, 2005 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Katrina is not a punishment for anything according to Kabbalist and Scientist Rav Laitman:
    You can see that it is not a punishment, but a system that functions according to the plan of equivalence of form between forces, between our inner forces and the force of this light, the upper light. To the extent that there is balance, everyone feels eternity and wholeness. To the extent that there is no balance, the souls suffer. And this program was written in advance, nothing changes in it, except for our desire and free choice, which can really save the situation here and achieve correction.

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