Adam Zero's ramblings and rants on popular music, culture, politics, folklore, religion and related skullduggery.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

New Orleans: Blame the French

It's easy to ignore that something truly epic is happening.

A city of over half a million is no more.

We talk of rebuilding. We talk of the French Quarter reopening in time for Mardi Gras. We grasp at straws.

Or we point fingers in blame. Bush. "Brownie"--his inept FEMA head whose sole qualification for the job is that he roomed in college with the previous FEMA head. Governor Katherine "What Should I Do Next?" Blanco. Mayor Ray "no more goddamned interviews" Nagin.

It's a like a perfect storm of incompetence and negligence.

Oddly, there's at least one player no one wants to finger. And that's the Big Muddy itself. "Old Man," as he used to be called by the Natives and by Faulkner.

It's the largest river in the United States. It wants to move. To save New Orleans from "the Big One" we have leveed the river all the way up to Iowa. In the 1993 floods, countless suffered upstream to spare New Orleans.

We want to blame global warming. Fine. Let's create more fuel-efficient, less oil-dependent modes of transportation. (Don't look to Bush and Cheney for these answers.)

We want to blame the loss of wetlands which can soak up the storm surge. Fine. Shut down the beachfront developments. (Just don't look to politicians whose milk-money is supplied by big donors who are making money and creating "job growth" out of the building boom.)

We want to blame government. Fine. But the point is, Old Man doesn't recognize our authority--especially when Queen Katrina comes ashore.

There's something elemental at work here. We are not in control. Maybe because we can watch the events unfold on cable TV, we think we have control, like the eye of God sitting in the stadium box, but we really don't.

There's nothing more pathetic than anchors roaming devastated areas looking for "stories." Being able to put an event into a "story" implies control. While people are still being rescued and/or drowning, Anderson Cooper and Christian Amanpour bloviate on the loss of cell phone connectivity on some dry spot in the French Quarter.

A relatively informational analysis segment with past FEMA honchos is stopped short to cut to a segment at the NO airport where a lost dog has been rescued and adopted by an evacuee.
(According to the Analects, when Confucius learned that the Royal Stables had burned, he asked how many men had been killed, he did not ask about the horses.)

Meanwhile Foxnews is running damage control for W. How many times did they show the hundreds of schoolbuses half-flooded by the waters--buses supposedly reserved for the city's highly thought-out and implemented evacuation plan?

Highly adroit and analytical rappers like Kanye West self-appoint as our nation's frontal lobe. The chorus becomes deafening: "Let's blame somebody, let's blame somebody!" (And we wonder why we have the worst education system among industrialized nations.)

The ancients of this continent used to sacrifice victims to satiate the powers of Nature. Aztec, Mayan, Mississippian. I'm not suggesting we revert to this but . . . it might be a whole lot easier than the finger-pointing, politicization and grievous acrimony that will be unleashed in the coming months. Katrina's second storm.

As far as blaming anyone, I nominate the French. They're easy to hate and they built the damned city in the first place--where no city should ever be.

I know we can get Foxnews--now if we can only get Kanye and CNN on board.


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