Just wanted to say that the Appalachia Burning piece was wonderful and spoke right to my heart. Thanks for sharing so well what so many of us have been thinking!!!
Your NYT op-ed. “Appalachia Burning” is
a beautiful and heart breaking tribute to a specific place ravaged by wild fire.
I live in Washington state … the wildfires of 2014 and 2015 got plenty of coverage
(at least relative to the coverage of the Tennessee disaster) and a place I loved,
Holden Village, was heavily damaged in the 2015 fire.
My heart goes out to you and all those who love the Great Smokies and Gaitlinburg.
We cannot comment on op-eds at NY Times. But I wanted you to know that, although I did consider that the fires were possibly a kind of hate crime over politics (this possibility among others was suggested in the news), I absolutely wept when I read the news about the fires. I was also very bothered about the news coverage. Unbelievable!! That I had to search Google to get updates and it was hard to find news about the fires.
Years ago I visited Gatlinburg while I was a visiting professor at a nearby college. Such a wonderful place, and it will be again. My prayers are with all who are being affected by these devastating fires.
Enjoyed your reflections on Gatlinburg, thanks.
Many years ago my dad edited Mountain LIfe and Work, taught at the college, and was Dean of Students at the Foundation School. I was born in faculty housing on Prospect St. Good memories. And I especially appreciate your comment about the need for people to come to appreciate the cultural heritage and beauty of the mountains and not just see the poverty. Good work.
I too wanted to thank you for the Appalachia Burning piece. When my husband and I were married in 1973, his uncle gave us $100 and we went to Gatlinburg for our honeymoon. You nailed the importance of the place to many of us as well as our bewilderment at its invisibility. All day yesterday I kept looking for news about the fire but on every news outlet I learned only what Trump and Romney were eating for dinner and what the responses were to Trump’s flag burning (apropos of nothing) statement. You said what I was thinking, and I’m grateful.
Take comfort Jason; we in Oakland CA know plenty about these fires, and not the most recent one in Gatlinburg. They’ve been covered in the NY Times and in our local San Francisco Chronicle. California gets more than its share of fires. My own neighborhood was burned up by one in 1991 and now has more than recovered. I hope the same recovery happens for all the people and places in the Southern Appalachians.
“Appalachia Burning,” is an outstanding commentary on the Gatlinburg fire. The description of the role Gatlinburg has played for generations of Appalachians families is penetrating and wise.
You’re right about Malibu. If the fire were there, news coverage would be constant. Time and again during the last three days I’ve turned to the NYT’s online edition for coverage of the fire and found none.
Donald Trump will be our next president largely because our country’s major media neglected to cover the men and women who live in the regions that elected him. The absence of coverage of the Gatlinburg fire and its victims who are experiencing terrible losses reveals a stunning truth: This message has yet to ignite essential change.
Your writing brings a personal perspective to the devastating wildfires in Kentucky and Tennessee. I don’t wish any harm on the good people of Appalachia. However, I can’t quite forgive your elected Senators for refusing to support emergency aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy in 2013. In my opinion, compassion and support for the those afflicted by natural disasters should be a two-way street, but I’m not quite sure how the folks in Appalachia see it.
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