Hardy’s admonishment that "if you blind yourself to the deeper issues of a tragedy you see a farce" is harsh medicine in the face of true devastation. One might need to wait for the aftermath. It won’t just be the spectacle of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a crucial cog in the intricate machinery of the New World Order, reduced to putting on a showto defend the indefensible. (Although revelations that the head of FEMA was apparently let go due to incompetence from his previous job as head of a Arabian horse association may be the punchline in the dark comedy that we’ll see about this ten or fifteen years from now, when the dead are buried and college students from across the nation again have a place to drink themselves senseless on the public streets every February.) It’s not just the carrion birds, big and small, that follow any disaster (those of a certain mindset might suggest that they represent a continuum). Desperate people and reconstruction money draw con artists like moths to a flame; even though the people who most lose out are going to be the dispossessed of Louisiana and Mississippi (with the American taxpayer in a distant, distant third place, if Congress has its way), if everything is kept in soft focus, maybe it will serve as a comedic backdrop. The thing that brings the other truism about tragedy and farce to mind, however, is the suggestion that nobody could have anticipated a levee failure in New Orleans. Any schmuck with a weblog knew by last year, when a major storm veered away at the last moment, that a Class Five hurricane could spell the end of the Night Train-fueled wastrel cousin of American cities; people actually paid to think about the matter knew about this well beforehand. And it’s not so novel; the Galveston hurricane happened 105 years ago today, arriving at Texas’s largest port city while the Weather Service insisted that Cuban observers were wrong and the storm would miss. Today Houston is Texas’s largest port city, and Galveston is a lovely place to visit. But Galveston did better than Indianola (current population: 125), a thriving town before an 1875 hurricane hit. But one doesn’t even have to look at storms: the 1927 New Orleans flood, the flood of "Backwater Blues" and Rising Tide and that Randy Newman song that’s been running through everyone’s head for the last week. If you weren’t crying, you’d have to laugh. Maybe we’ll get some amusement out of it today; maybe we’ll even get some decent songs. It won’t be enough.