Today's TV coverage of the one-year anniversary of Katrina ranged from gushing (GMA's Robin Roberts waxing poetic about her hometown) to downright refreshing (the "glib" Matt Lauer tearing ex-FEMA head Mike Brown a new one for his Katrina fumbling on Today.) Brown actually admitted that at times, he wishes he never took the job. Ya think?)
However, it's a little surprising to not get a celeb bulleting about H-town's Hilary Duff and her visit to New Orleans. Duff is in Nawlins today to "provide inspirational words, food and comfort to the many victims of the storm," according to her peeps. I called her people in L.A., who say they haven't heard how things have gone for Hil. She was to make morning announcements, pass out water and hang out with the kids at Nelson Charter School. Also on her itinerary was a trip to Edna Karr High School, where she was invited to speak about positive role models on a "positive behavior day" the school has planned. She was also going to sign autographs. We're waiting to hear back from Hil's folks, who should give us an update (unless they've Googled our coverage of her).
And it's impossible to talk Katrina and media today without mentioning Spike Lee's HBO documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts . (The four-parter airs in its entirety tonight.) It's been interesting to watch the chatter in the blogosphere about Requiem, most interesting that people seem to be surprised that Lee chose to focus on race. Isn't that like being surprised at Quentin Tarantino focusing on Hong-Kong-cinema-styled gunplay in one of his flicks? What else would Lee focus on?
The best reading comes from Lone Star Times, where one poster recently called "Carpetbagger" Lee's movie a "blackumentary." Clever! Also:
We're supposed to ignore the crazed, conspiracist crap because Spike Lee films some touching, heartfelt scenes? Cry me a river. It's like saying we should ignore the terrible plot of Van Helsing because it had some pretty cool special effects. It's impossible to ignore Lee's tendency to engage in race-baiting, and believing that doesn't make me an enemy of New Orleans.
Spike Lee made a horrible, biased documentary. That's the story here. Let's leave it at that.
Okay, you just crossed the line, pal. Van Helsing was a damn fine flick. -- Steven Devadanam