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The Flood Year 1927A Cultural History$
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Susan Scott Parrish

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168838

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168838.001.0001

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Cross Talk in the Press

Cross Talk in the Press

(p.95) Three Cross Talk in the Press
The Flood Year 1927

Susan Scott Parrish

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the mainstream white public's growing dissatisfaction with the particular forms of representation that the flood seemed to produce. On May 29, 1927, the New York Times complained of the flood that “the very sweep of such a tragedy makes it hard to grasp it in its full significance.” A June 15 editorial in The Nation agreed: “people can stand only so much calamity. After a while it begins to pall and finally it has no meaning whatever.” The flood had become unsatisfying news because of both its scale and its duration. What was also unsatisfying was the messy cadaverous muck of human failure. Meanwhile, as the social issues and human practices that had turned cyclical overflow into disaster in the first place began to manifest themselves still more visibly in the disaster's developments, a print practice of exposure and blame emerged.

Keywords:   mass catastrophe, media coverage, public opinion, Great Mississippi Flood, river flood, disaster, blame

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