It wasn't easy for anyone last week to get a solid, tangible grasp on what was really going on in the world--what was urgent, what was farce, what was relevant, what was accurate, what should I focus on? I suspect that this week, as the devastation wrought throughout the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina is more fully understood and cleanup operations get under way, the blur of last week will clarify a great deal.
But in another sense, by the end of last week, that nonstop set of hard-to-fathom images--video clips of obliteration, photos of a major American city underwater, Skycam reports showing the ghostly shadow of a vaporized interstate superhighway, scenes of what had been a floating gambling casino now perched well inland atop a pulverized Holiday Inn hotel--almost began to seem "normal." In spite of our shock and lingering disbelief, by Thursday or Friday of last week we had all seen so many shots of billions of gallons of water where it should not be, of lives uprooted and blighted or even snuffed out, of tragic desperation and heroic courage and odious lawlessness, of $6 gasoline prices and death tolls into the thousands, that we began to think of those as ... normal. Or at least real. All too real.
While it seems trivial to turn from such a grave event to our profoundly more mundane world of business technology, some very strange things occurred in this microcosm, as if in some minor and insignificant way reflecting the otherworldliness of what was happening in the southeastern United States. A quick review for those whose minds were very likely elsewhere:
See you next week, and please consider taking a moment to click on one of the links above to help our countrymen in Louisiana and Mississippi.