I am feeling behind on…

I am feeling behind on work and therefore frustrated; I needed a chuckle. Till Derrida Do Us Part provided it.

I'm also frustrated by some of the New Orleans coverage. It's a terrible tragedy, and likely to get worse before it gets better. But when I hear statements like this: "'This is a tragedy of great proportions, greater than any we've see in our lifetimes,'" Blanco said..." -- I just want to bang my head against a wall. Has she forgotten the tsunami entirely? The one that killed more than 150,000 people, not even a year ago? Not to mention the millions upon millions homeless, not to mention the comparative wealth of the countries involved, and their respective abilities to cope with environmental disasters?

I know, I know, the governor's in a horrible situation, responsible for dealing with a complex and heart-wrenching problem, and she isn't going to be thinking or speaking clearly. But still.

Also frustrated by all the disapproving reports of looting. Many of the reports seem to classify looting with armed assault on police officers, which is certainly not the typical case. I watched the videos. These people aren't stealing plasma tv's to sell for the cash -- they're grabbing diapers, food, t-shirts. It's not as if they have the option of paying for the items; the stores certainly aren't open. And it's not as if we're providing adequate relief for everyone affected. In that kind of situation, your house entirely destroyed, all your possessions lost, with hungry, wet, exhausted kids to take care of, unsure when you'll have a bank account or a job or a roof over your head again -- wouldn't you grab first and hope that you could pay back later?

Addendum: At least I'm not the only one noticing the dangers of this verbiage. If you're white, you're 'finding what you need' and if you're black, you're 'looting'.

6 thoughts on “I am feeling behind on…”

  1. I haven’t seen a lot of discussions or videos of the looting; I don’t doubt that most coverage has had the tone you’re talking about. But for what it’s worth, WDSU (the local TV station that’s been webcasting coverage) was (as of yesterday afternoon) making a distinction between people taking essential supplies and people taking luxury items. (I forget what kind of store it was they were talking about, but it was definitely not one that sold food or diapers or clothing.) They also noted that they knew it was time for their reporters to leave the area when one of the looters tried to take the camera operator’s camera.

    And they pointed out that the police and national guard had better things to do than worry about looting—that their only priority at this point was trying to ensure people’s survival.

  2. There seems to be some self-correction going on, at least. The CNN page I read originally just mentioned looting and linked to a video; went I went back, the video link had been captioned to note that they people were taking diapers and food.

  3. The thing that gets me was before the hurricane everyone was all “This won’t be so bad because we’ve had warnings and prep and people have left, etc.” and now it is “the worst diaster ever” which is hyperbole and actually a mitigated one.

    It may be “the worst diaster New Orleans has faced in the last 100 years” but that’s about it.

  4. What I saw was people on Sunday saying “This will be one of the worst disasters ever to hit the US,” with predictions of NO being basically wiped off the map and huge numbers of deaths; I think most places were noting that only about 80% of the population actually left, which leaves something like a hundred thousand people in town. Then Monday most people were saying “Whew—it’s bad, but not as bad as we’d feared.” (Though a few were saying “It’s as bas as we feared” even though it wasn’t.) Then Tuesday the leveees broke and the hyperbole came back.

    But I didn’t see anyone saying on Sunday that it wouldn’t be so bad.

    …As for “the worst diaster New Orleans has faced in the last 100 years”—that sounds to me like you’re saying it faced a worse one a hundred years ago. What happened back then?

    I certainly agree that this doesn’t come close to the scale of the tsunami—but my impression is that it’s by far the worst thing that’s ever happened to New Orleans, and one of the worst things that’s ever happened to a major American city. (Did you mean “the worst disaster a major American city has faced in the last 100 years”?)

  5. hello ,you know it is really awful about what did happened in new orleans.it is awful of what is happening all over this world. diasters are beginning to happen everywhere and more will continue to happen.this world is not promised to last forever these are part of the signs of this world ending. i know that alot of people do not believe in god or the bible but i do. we all are going to have to come together now and what is to come in the future.

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