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September 2, 2005 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Kanye West gets twitchy on Red Cross Benefit Oh goodness. The young prankster in me loves this kind of thing. The boring matured realist version of me finds this divisive bumper-stickerism toxic to our modern political dialogue. And worse still I see the following scenario unfold: Kanye West: "George Bush doesn't care about black people". Cut to: My mother-in-law in front of the tv, slowly putting her checkbook back into her purse.
posted by glenwood (187 comments total)

 
Your mother-in-law changed her mind about donating funds to a wonderful organization trying to mitigate terrible suffering because a crappy musician said something mean about George Bush?
posted by Justinian at 8:01 PM on September 2, 2005


before any of you say anything, remember that postit notes only cover the picture up
posted by Satapher at 8:03 PM on September 2, 2005


Well, in an imaginary scenario in my head she did. I was trying to illustrate that this wasn't a good idea on his part, if for some reason it turned anyone off to donating funds.
posted by glenwood at 8:03 PM on September 2, 2005


heres a longer version
posted by Satapher at 8:05 PM on September 2, 2005


"George Bush doesn't care about black people".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:06 PM on September 2, 2005


A dumb celebrity made stupid political statement, and you think your mother-in-law is an idiot.
posted by mosch at 8:10 PM on September 2, 2005


I can't figure out if he was really trying to advance some sort of agenda, or if he simply cracked on national television. Didn't exactly look like a prepared monologue.
posted by chrominance at 8:10 PM on September 2, 2005


Some things need to be said. Time just did a profile on him recently. Coincidentally, he just dropped a new album.
posted by euphorb at 8:11 PM on September 2, 2005


hardly prepared -- the emotion and anger were very real. I was impressed, even as he stumbled over his words.
posted by bonaldi at 8:12 PM on September 2, 2005


he stumbled because he knew what he was doing... its like going over in your head what youre going to say to the girl youre crazy about, and before it happens the words are perfect, but when the time comes you fall on your face and youre perfect scenario is ruined.... again... you can spin what hes saying and cover up every aspect with your Postit notes, but we all know what the underlying picture is... he was nervous as fuck, but his eyes were steady.
posted by Satapher at 8:16 PM on September 2, 2005


Actually Mosch, I thought it was an interesting little tidbit and used a personal imagined and exaggerated anecdote to liven up the post and imply my position on what happened.

Kanye west is not dumb or crappy. He's actually kind of awesome. Though I do have some misgivings about my mother-in-law. Thanks for the oversimplication and complete missing of the point though.
posted by glenwood at 8:18 PM on September 2, 2005


omgBushIsToBlameForTehHurricane, Post #5298019


"George Bush doesn't care about black people"

Your first album was great, Kanye, but your analysis of the situation is idiotic. There are thousands and thousands of broke-ass white people struggling for food and shelter right now, too, so kindly go fug yourself.

FWIW Mike Myers came off as a lot more measured & insightful omg, racism!
posted by dhoyt at 8:19 PM on September 2, 2005


That was actually really hilarious to me for some reason. Mike Myers' reaction alone indicated that that was not scripted at all. That is just not shit you usually see on TV.
posted by billysumday at 8:20 PM on September 2, 2005


some things do need to be said ... the president's more than welcome to prove him wrong with actions
posted by pyramid termite at 8:25 PM on September 2, 2005


measured and insightful? we was reading off a prepared teleprompt? youre addicted to words.
posted by Satapher at 8:25 PM on September 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


Putting them together was very strange- and then Mike Myers appeared to be reading from the teleprompter, but then Kanye West obviously just said what he wanted to say. Watching Mike Myers keep a straight face throughuot the whole thing, and then just lose it at the end was what made it so funny.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:27 PM on September 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


kanye has intelligent lyrics but these statements couldn't be more idiotic and inappropriate at a more inappropriate time.
posted by b_thinky at 8:32 PM on September 2, 2005


the look on mike meyers' face (and then chis tucker's) is classic.
posted by b_thinky at 8:33 PM on September 2, 2005


dhoyt: "There are thousands and thousands of broke-ass white people struggling for food and shelter right now, too, so kindly go fug yourself."

So Bush hates white trash also. Was West insensitive for not mentioning them? even though the vast majority of the poor victims are black?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 8:34 PM on September 2, 2005


fuck yall. you know what the score is. keep spinnin the wheel.
posted by Satapher at 8:35 PM on September 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


Kanye's a good guy who worked for years at the Gap in obscurity while he was making Jay-Z rich, to an extent.

He, like most people, is probably pissed off.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:35 PM on September 2, 2005


That was beautiful. Are these Network-style moments happening more and more in the media, or am I just noticing them more often?
posted by MegoSteve at 8:37 PM on September 2, 2005


I'm glad he said it. I think in are hearts most honest people know that's a big part of why this rescue operation has been so damn fugged up. If they were mostly white, or affluent, or white and affluent, we'd have been airlifting them out before the hurricane. Instead, we're giving the army orders to shoot to kill. Americans. Shoot to kill AMERICANS. Why am I the only one who seems to think this is fucked up (aside from Kayne West, obviously).

People have been thinking it. Now its out there in big scary words. Hopefully there will be some real discourse about it and it won't get swept under the rug of embarassment.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:41 PM on September 2, 2005


A true slack jaw moment.
posted by muckster at 8:42 PM on September 2, 2005


well, i just watched it again. comments are still irresponsible, but i give him props for pointing the finger at himself for not wanting to look at the TV and going shopping instead.
posted by b_thinky at 8:42 PM on September 2, 2005


Kanye's a good guy who worked for years at the Gap in obscurity while he was making Jay-Z rich, to an extent.

Apparently Jay-Z doesn't care about black people either.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:43 PM on September 2, 2005


"George Bush doesn't care about black people"...There are thousands and thousands of broke-ass white people... fuck yall. you know what the score is. keep spinnin the wheel.

Yup, let's argue about demographics while Rome burns. Way to go kids. This makes us better than Herr Bush how exactly?
posted by jonmc at 8:46 PM on September 2, 2005


I'm glad he said it too, even if it only deepens the divide.
posted by jonson at 8:47 PM on September 2, 2005


Kanye West is a great musician, and he's been praised for his pro-gay statements. But a lot of his music makes fun of black people who go to college because they dont make as much money as a hip hop artist. He hardly qualifies as an authority on anything. I think it's sad that he's a spokesman for black people. Frankly, I think African Americans need better role models. Forget Kanye West. Where's Cornell West?
posted by mert at 8:48 PM on September 2, 2005


demographics are written on post-it notes. youre not hearin' what im sayin'
posted by Satapher at 8:49 PM on September 2, 2005


Wow, who wrote that?
posted by Balisong at 8:51 PM on September 2, 2005


NBC responds: "Tonight's telecast was a live television event wrought with emotion. Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him and his opinions in no way represent the views of the networks. It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists who participated tonight and the generosity of millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's opinion."

posted by amberglow at 8:51 PM on September 2, 2005


mert I think you underestimate his art. Not to derail "my own" thread but I hear his music as sub-sub-ironic and self-effacing as well, in a circular way that's difficult for me to fully expound upon in my current state. It's missing the point to say "Kanye west makes fun of black people going to college".

And I don't know why you think he's a "spokesperson for black people". That's a very weird thing to say.
posted by glenwood at 8:53 PM on September 2, 2005


Apparently Jay-Z doesn't care about black people either.

What the fuck that supposed to mean?
posted by SweetJesus at 8:53 PM on September 2, 2005


whatever satapher, I'm not here to argue. I was out drinking tonight and the topic on everybody I talked to's mind was what happened in New Orleans, and even self-described conservatives that I met considered our government's response a disgrace.

Apparently Jay-Z doesn't care about black people either.


Jay-Z has donated $1 million to the relief effort, which is a million more than I have, I'm sad to say.
posted by jonmc at 8:53 PM on September 2, 2005


Is it appropriate? No.
Is it correct? Probably not.
Can I see where Kanye is coming from? Yes.
Would the response have been different for a much wealthier/mostly-Caucasian area? Almost certainly.
posted by ruwan at 8:56 PM on September 2, 2005


West clearly didn't like what was on his teleprompter, and just made shit up on the spot. He probably should have had something a little more pragmatic written in advance, e.g. Congressional Black Caucus talking points.

Wait, your grandma was actually watching this? Anybody was actually watching this? I thought this was just feel-good crap they put on because everybody's watching cable news right now.
posted by dhartung at 8:57 PM on September 2, 2005


Would the response have been different for a much wealthier/mostly-Caucasian area? Almost certainly.

I think so too--and that makes Kanye right.
posted by amberglow at 8:59 PM on September 2, 2005


sure, i'm prone to conspiracy theories. New Orleans was the only part of Louisiana that voted blue. now we have the poor and black scattered to bigger, whiter parts of the south, their votes diluted. Orleans was the second blackest county in the state before last weekend (first is in Mississippi). Short term, advantageous to Bush, whether he meant to do it or not. But the backlash against the slow response is gon' be ugly. Watch MS and LA go blue whole-hog in the 2006 midterms. Oops. There goes our pretty war, too!
posted by brookish at 8:59 PM on September 2, 2005


how has bush demonstrated he cares, exactly, about (mostly) poor black people or (mostly) poor whites that have been devastated by this disaster?

oh, that's right. he cut his vacation short.

EXCEPT HE DIDN'T! PSYCH!

now, nearly a week later, there's finally a response. IMHO that's not fucking good enough. the blood of those that died as a result of the heretofore anemic federal response is on vacation boy's hands, plain and simple. not that that matters to him.
posted by Hat Maui at 9:00 PM on September 2, 2005


Kayne's an idiot for making these statements at that place at that time, no matter how much he thinks they are true... and probably are true.

My beef is with corporations and companies donating. I was at Whole Foods today and they have little tags that customers can donate $2 or $5 depending on what they feel they can afford at the time, but what is Whole Foods donating? Or is their 'generous donation' just going to be from all their kind customers. The same with many, many corporations around this country asking their employees to give out of their paychecks as the company itself doesn't give a red cent and takes the credit and good P.R. for giving out a couple thousand dollars. Fucking bullshit.
posted by my sock puppet account at 9:01 PM on September 2, 2005


Kanye West makes fun of college grads? Does that include his father? Who is a college English professor?
posted by billysumday at 9:01 PM on September 2, 2005


actually, it's his mother that's a professor. his dad's a marriage counselor. but to say he "makes fun" of college grads completely misses the point, as has been pointed out repeatedly.
posted by Hat Maui at 9:03 PM on September 2, 2005


His first album has a wicked anti-intellectual streak in it, but the second one doesn't deal with it as much.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:04 PM on September 2, 2005


This almost makes me respect the guy.

Almost.

(Look, it's Kanye West we're talking about...)
posted by delmoi at 9:06 PM on September 2, 2005


my sock puppet account: on the plus side, both the company I work for and that which my dad works for (both quite large) are double-matching every dollar employees give. So they're not all like that...
posted by BaxterG4 at 9:07 PM on September 2, 2005


my sock puppet account, many companies are doing matching funds--if yours isn't you should shame them into it, or just donate directly.
posted by amberglow at 9:08 PM on September 2, 2005


I don't understand why people get upset when (liberal) celebrities make public politcal statements. Right now, there are a lot of people who think that George W. Bush doesn't care about black people, so why shouldn't Kanye West say so?

Personally, I think it's more accurate to say that Bush doesn't care about poor people, but I can understand where West is coming from.

On preview: my sock puppet account, my husband's company, a national brokerage firm, is donating $500,000 and matching employee donations for another $250,000.
posted by Ruki at 9:08 PM on September 2, 2005


i read an interview with Kanye where he said AIDS was invented by the gov't to destroy blacks. So at least we know he's not paranoid or anything...
posted by b_thinky at 9:09 PM on September 2, 2005


Apparently Jay-Z doesn't care about black people either.

What the fuck that supposed to mean?



This was a riff on " Kanye's a good guy who worked for years at the Gap in obscurity while he was making Jay-Z rich, to an extent."

Unclench.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:13 PM on September 2, 2005


Video is up now at:
http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Kayne-West-Bush-Black-People.mov

Awkward, to say the least. But awkward for whom? Speak truth to power and everyone is struck dumb. This is a holy cow moment.
posted by realcountrymusic at 9:13 PM on September 2, 2005


big ups, mr. west.
and this critique of racism in the rescue efforts. (via)
posted by ism at 9:15 PM on September 2, 2005


Quicktime, that is.
posted by realcountrymusic at 9:15 PM on September 2, 2005


MSNBC has the benefit rerun on right now (Central Time). I imagine they snipped Kanye's response to Bush's response this go'round though.
Does anyone else have their city's firemen collecting relief funds on the busy intersections?
posted by Cedric at 9:17 PM on September 2, 2005


I appreciate a little healthy rage at the situation, even if messy and awkward. I don't appreciate NBC editing it out for the West Coast broadcast.
posted by Miastar at 9:18 PM on September 2, 2005


I thought it was incredible and extraordinarily touching to see that level of genuine emotion on live TV. He wasn't trying to hyperbolize, it was what he was really feeling. That level of blowback against Bush is definitely out there right now, and it deserves to be represented so people can see what the mood is.
posted by tunesmith at 9:20 PM on September 2, 2005


Wow, this black artist just exploded all my preconceptions about black artists. No doubt he'll die rich like all the others.

Yep.
posted by paleocon at 9:22 PM on September 2, 2005


That was actually really hilarious to me for some reason. Mike Myers' reaction alone indicated that that was not scripted at all. That is just not shit you usually see on TV.
posted by billysumday at 8:20 PM PST on September 2 [!]


I couldn't agree more. This was hilarious.
posted by mullingitover at 9:26 PM on September 2, 2005


That was beautiful. Are these Network-style moments happening more and more in the media, or am I just noticing them more often?

By the way, check out the next video Posted on crooksandliers.

Shep smith (!!) of all people snaps at sean hannety when he says "lets put this into perspective". Shep and Geraldo, on the ground in Nawlins both bashing the government.
posted by delmoi at 9:27 PM on September 2, 2005


Delmoi, you beat me to it.

When they lose Fox News, damn! The gloves are off. Shit's going down.
posted by fungible at 9:28 PM on September 2, 2005


I think its a good point Kayne raises considering blacks vote 90% Democrat. The more blacks the die, the better odds Republicans have in winning the next election. So if a Republican Administration drags its feet it comes as no shock to me.
posted by j-urb at 9:29 PM on September 2, 2005


Wow, this black artist just exploded all my preconceptions about black artists. No doubt he'll die rich like all the others.

Seriously: what's it like being a douchebag? Yeah, you know. A REAL one. i've often wondered. Please enlighten us, I was hoping that maybe we can learn something from you. A cautionary tale or two, perhaps.
posted by psmealey at 9:30 PM on September 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


George Bush loves black people. Look at...Condaleeza Rice!
posted by iamck at 9:34 PM on September 2, 2005


To the "Kanye speaks the truth" crowd: So do you think this is a conscious effort on the part of the government to strand blacks? "Oh, they're negroes, just leave them there." Is that how it works?

I'll admit the pictures of the crowds make it hard for white america to relate, but I don't think the urgency to save lives is any less.

Kanye is talking about the president with the 1st black secretary of state (and the 2nd), the first black national security advisor, a black FCC chairman and a black national education advisor (and a latino ag).
posted by b_thinky at 9:36 PM on September 2, 2005


Fuck Bush (and anyone who still supports him, or his administration of cronies). We have no president. We have an emperor sans clothes. I'm stoked that peeps are finally taking every opportunity to point at his shrunken balls.

My comments were not prepared either, but are just as heartfelt.

Why didn't he show up at the Convention Center? Would have been nice to see what kind of reception his swagger and faux compassion would have generated there. Fucking rolled up sleeves spin.

What time is the revolution?.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:37 PM on September 2, 2005


Not to derail but the newer links that have come up on the site are amazing. Fox's Shep Smith (a Mississippian) and Geraldo giving it to their spinmeister cohorts in the studio. This is really getting to the reporter's in the field. Anderson Cooper (son of a Mississippian) gave it to Mary Landreau last night.
posted by Carbolic at 9:40 PM on September 2, 2005


Shep and Geraldo are letting it all hang out
posted by mert at 9:43 PM on September 2, 2005


George Bush doesn't care about black people.
posted by Slagman at 9:45 PM on September 2, 2005


Kanye is talking about the president with the 1st black secretary of state (and the 2nd), the first black national security advisor, a black FCC chairman and a black national education advisor (and a latino ag).

Well... lordy! Saints be praised! Lord God almighty we're all free, free at last thanks to those promotions!!! Of course, the fact that the same administration let a predominantly black (and poor) city sweat it out (and by "it" I mean waiting for the delivery of food and water) for FIVE FUCKING DAYS means nothing in this context.

Damn, y'all we's gots us an African-American secretary of state who can shop at Prada in Noo Yawk city while we die of thirst. NOW THAT'S PROGRESS!

Fuck you, man. You're an idiot and someone should revoke your internet access before you do some real damage.
posted by psmealey at 9:46 PM on September 2, 2005


I'm sorry for such a long post, but I just need to get this off my chest once and for all.

I've spent a good portion of my life trying to emotionally understand the feeling that many blacks have with regard to whites not caring, holding them back, oppressing them, etc.

I can only approach it through my own experiences. I grew up in a family of closet racists. Jews, no less. There was always a way to lay blame on someone black in any situation. Their little comments always disgusted me. Like I said, that's just the closet bigots. What about the outspoken bigots.

For the white folks in the audience, can you truly imagine being on the receiving end of that? Day after day, no matter what you do, no matter how intelligent you are, you are seen by a large portion of the country as being black first, and anything beyond that is inconsequential.

And whether it is real or perceived makes no difference anymore. Black folks raised in the 50's through the 70's experienced it more directly than their children do today. And what gets passed down through the generations? "They don't like us. Stick to your own kind." Thus, the development of a closed racial culture. That's what I was fed growing up jewish. "They don't like you. Stick with us jews. You're safe with us." I'm making a broad generalization here, I know. But hopefully my point is seen.

"Political correctness" is still a fairly fresh concept. I think it's pure crap. All it has done is rename issues with sweeter words.

Fact is, America has had and surely still does have a problem with bigotry. There is simply no getting around it.

Now, I'm spewing out too much and seriously starting to lose my thread of thinking, and it's getting all jumbled, so, here's my point:

I think that, from historical and anecdotal experiences, many blacks can appreciate West's comments. I don't slight him for them because I believe that it really and truly feels like "Bush doesn't care about black people" to many people.

Tear me apart if you will, just please think about it. Black and white will not be equal until perception and action change.
posted by zerokey at 9:48 PM on September 2, 2005


zerokey: perception, action... and I'd like to add economic circumstance. really, that's what *everything* is about.
posted by ruwan at 9:51 PM on September 2, 2005


Ruwan - yes. When I write for too long, I start to bumble things and leave out points that are in my head. Thanks for adding that.
posted by zerokey at 9:53 PM on September 2, 2005


Kanye West is right, and even if George W. Bush himself does care about black people--and he might in other contexts--his administration, in this context, has shown no regard for the people of New Orleans. Really.
posted by tomharpel at 9:56 PM on September 2, 2005


Look, Kanye's comment was misleading. It's true that bush dosn't care about black people, but that's just because he dosn't care about people in general. Unless they're rich republicans (Like Condi's father, for example).

If them poor black foulk all wrote $2000 checks to the RNC, you damn well better belive they're would have been busses lined up in batton rouge by the Mole, on Sunday.
posted by delmoi at 10:01 PM on September 2, 2005


Wow, I think the media's finally had enough of 'anonymous sources' and 'undisclosed locations', don't you?
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:02 PM on September 2, 2005


zero, many of us Jews can appreciate his comments too--you don't remember "Fuck the Jews--they don't vote for us anyway" from James Baker? When you have a pattern of insensitivity at the very least and outright racism (see Helms, Lott, McCain's "black child" etc), there's no reason to think otherwise. They've made no secret of their Southern Strategy, which relies on racism.
posted by amberglow at 10:04 PM on September 2, 2005


I don't care how many different ways George Bush can say "But some of my best friends are black", there are tens of thousands of people that have gone through all kinds of unneccessary hell in New Orleans, and most of them are black. Is it a massive conspiracy to keep black people down? Nope. Is it a conscious effort on the part of the government to strand blacks? Probably not. But there is so much, much, much more to be done for the people of New Orleans that I won't accuse anyone of misrepresentation for saying that George Bush doesn't care about black people. If he really cares, he should be doing his job alot better than he is.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:07 PM on September 2, 2005


Well, okay. I think Bush never deserved to sit in the oval office, but I can't swallow the idea that he actually wants blacks to die because they don't vote for him.

If he's seemed paralyzed lately, I blame Karl Rove for taking a vacation in Provincetown with Jeff Gannon.

Bush appointed lackeys, and they performed as well as they could (that is, not well at all). This is confirmed by Bush's 'heck of a fine job' commendation Brown got today. While there's already been an abundance of material that implicates this administration's policies leading to this, I can't help but notice that all the harping has done so far is, frankly, nothing. Bush visited, days after the initial event, and even with his triumphal supply convoy simultaneously hitting the city, problems loom.

In this, I trust the American people (and strangely, reporters who set foot in NOLA, as they all have a serious attitude in their reports). I get furious when I think of the conditions in that city. Kanye does too, I'll warrant.
Bush will get his due. First get the people their water, food and clothes.

Boasting about a $10 billion initial payment for emergency services is a piss-poor band-aid to cover up what would have cost just over half a billion dollars in construction.
posted by Busithoth at 10:09 PM on September 2, 2005


My earlier comment about prepared or unprepared is more meant to give him the benefit of the doubt. The guy looked like he was barely able to hold his emotions together, and felt as though he absolutely needed to say what he did.

In that light, I'm not even sure his comments were all that uncalled for, especially considering desperate survivors still in the city are frightened of what they think is a case of ethnic cleansing. No, I don't believe that particular conspiracy theory, but there was—and still is—a lot of crazy shit going down, and I can't fault anyone still grappling with how this all came to be.
posted by chrominance at 10:09 PM on September 2, 2005


I do remember it, amberglow. I had forgotten it, though, and for that, I should be ashamed.
posted by zerokey at 10:12 PM on September 2, 2005


NYT: From Margins of Society to Center of the Tragedy ... "No one would have checked on a lot of the black people in these parishes while the sun shined," said Mayor Milton D. Tutwiler of Winstonville, Miss. "So am I surprised that no one has come to help us now? No."

The subject is roiling black-oriented Web sites and message boards, and many black officials say it is a prime subject of conversation around the country. Some African-Americans have described the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina as "our tsunami," while noting that there has yet to be a response equal to that which followed the Asian tragedy. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:18 PM on September 2, 2005


there's no reason to think otherwise. They've made no secret of their Southern Strategy, which relies on racism.

But, but, ken melman whent down to the NACCP and apoligized for that!
posted by delmoi at 10:18 PM on September 2, 2005


First dhoyt said: "kindly go fug yourself."

Then [insert clever name here] said:
"this rescue operation has been so damn fugged up."


Cue Dorothy Parker quote in 5... 4... 3... 2...

[C'mon amberglow, I thought you were gay!]

Anyway. Seriously now.

For what it's worth, I agree with Kanye West. I also agree that Bush doesn't care much for poor white people either. But yes, as a white person I can tell you that I know damn well what "white-skin privilege" is: I don't have enough of it to be all that privileged, but there have been many times -- often concerning an Authory Figure -- when I'm glad I'm not black. Most often it's black men the cops shoot in the back.

And to answer satapher, who said "If they were mostly white, or affluent, or white and affluent, we'd have been airlifting them out before the hurricane. Instead, we're giving the army orders to shoot to kill. Americans. Shoot to kill AMERICANS. Why am I the only one who seems to think this is fucked up (aside from Kayne West, obviously)."

No, you're not the only one who thinks its fucked up. I'm an American too, those are my people too, and I too am angry.
(And to realcountrymusic, "right on" again.)

It's even occurred to me that the shooters of looters don't want the Red Cross folks around to get in the way or be witnesses. Are they clearing out the press people yet? Video footage of a police sniper shooting a kid in the back as he runs down the street with diapers for his sister would be most distressing.

But then too, as I've said elsewhere, to blame it all on Bush or even the Bush Administration is too simplistic. Even if Bush were winked out of office tomorrow, even if the whole Bush Administration were gone tomorrow, even if I woke up tomorrow to find Ralph Nader as President and Wendell Berry as Secretary of the Interior, the problems we're talking about here would not just automagically vanish. It goes deeper than Gee Dubya, it goes deeper than FEMA, it goes deeper than the Republican Party.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: America is broken. My country is broken. Shot through with rot, riddled by greed, pervaded by racism, and if you hear a comforting word jump back because the blade is coming. Blame Bush all you want, but it's not only Bush. The problem is the system, which is set up to keep the rich bastards in power, the middle class in dreamland, and everybody else sick, down and beaten, and the only way to change that is to drastically change the system, to take back the power from the hands that misuse it.

It is not only the chimp puppet in the Oval Office who should be held accountable. Bush is a figurehead, a symptom, a sick joke: it's the system Bush is a figurehead for that should be held accountable.

And HyperBlue, I've been asking that for thirty years. If one comes down I will be down with it.
posted by davy at 10:20 PM on September 2, 2005


Jesus, that Geraldo and Shep footage on FauxNews is amazing. Even the consensus over at Dear Leader's propaganda channel is starting to crumble.
posted by scody at 10:22 PM on September 2, 2005


Heh. Even Disgraced former mefite la shawn barber is "seething with anger". Her first complaint is seeing bill clinton on TV, but after that...

I googled her because I was curious what a black conservative had to say.
posted by delmoi at 10:23 PM on September 2, 2005


Wait a goddamn minute, why the fuck aren't people being allowed to walk out of New Orleans?!
posted by odinsdream at 10:24 PM on September 2, 2005


davy: I've said it before and I'll say it again: America is broken. My country is broken. Shot through with rot, riddled by greed, pervaded by racism, and if you hear a comforting word jump back because the blade is coming. Blame Bush all you want, but it's not only Bush. The problem is the system, which is set up to keep the rich bastards in power, the middle class in dreamland, and everybody else sick, down and beaten, and the only way to change that is to drastically change the system, to take back the power from the hands that misuse it.

A-fucking-MEN!
posted by scody at 10:28 PM on September 2, 2005


davy: I agree, mostly. I don't really believe America is all that racist these days, and I'm (half) black. Very rarely have I ever thought "I'm being treated poorly because of my color." But obviously I have no way to compare experiences with someone who looks different.

But America is fucked. If there's one social change I hope comes out of this it's that I hope Americans start electing honest people to government. Not people who will sugar coat everything, but real, honest people.

The only politician to tell it like it is was Nagin. These people (democrats and republicans) circled the wagons and claimed everything was wonderful when it was fucked six ways from Sunday.

Principled people can disagree with the details. But I would so much like to see honest people debating things sincerely, and listening to each others arguments, and so on. And being honest with the American people. Not schilling to them in an attempt to make sure that their "team" wins the "game".
posted by delmoi at 10:33 PM on September 2, 2005


psmeasly: so your point is what; that Condi Rice bought shoes? Is that what this is about to you? And because of that I lose internet access?

tomharpel: you conveniently forget that a record storm struck the area, crippling the entire Gulf Coast region. It was kind of, like, hard to get in. You know, because of the storm and the flood and all.

I'll admit socio-economics resulted in some of the poorest afro-americans in the country being stranded, but to suggest the rescue efforts aren't as serious due to racism is stupid and absurd.
posted by b_thinky at 10:35 PM on September 2, 2005


BTW, have any looters actually been shot?

It was the LA governor who issued the "shoot to kill" order. She doesn't seem too on top of the situation either.
posted by b_thinky at 10:37 PM on September 2, 2005


Wow, I like the comments about this here better than most places.

Listen to the stream of his new album--it's great.

Somebody somewhere referred to it as "the Sgt Pepper's of hip hop", and I'm inclined to agree.
posted by First Post at 10:42 PM on September 2, 2005


tomharpel: you conveniently forget that a record storm struck the area, crippling the entire Gulf Coast region. It was kind of, like, hard to get in. You know, because of the storm and the flood and all.

Huh. The news crews didn't have any trouble getting in.

Of course, some of them were there to begin with. Hmm...
posted by delmoi at 10:53 PM on September 2, 2005


I'll admit socio-economics resulted in some of the poorest afro-americans in the country being stranded, but to suggest the rescue efforts aren't as serious due to racism is stupid and absurd.

Kanye West didn't mention racism at all in his rant. He doesn't say that rescue efforts would be better if white people were being put out. He said that Bush doesn't care about black people. Within the context of the speech (and given that he was nervous breaking from the script), it's pretty clear that he means "Bush doesn't care about black people in New Orleans", and while it would have been nice to just be inclusive and say "Bush doesn't care about people in New Orleans", that hardly makes the more specific statement any less true.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:54 PM on September 2, 2005


Wait a goddamn minute, why the fuck aren't people being allowed to walk out of New Orleans?!
posted by odinsdream at 1:24 AM EST on September 3


I was wondering the exact same thing.
I'm actually surprised that the reporters made such better, faster progress than the feds. The information that they had was better, and they had face to face time with the victims.

As to why they weren't allowed to walk to safety, I think it was out of ignorance (being told to go to the convention center and stay there) and fear (choose from many obvious choices)

That Fox news clip was amazing. Especially when Hannity was trying to find some scapegoat other than the answer he kept getting back: feds dropped the ball. I'm surprised some reporters didn't abandon the rule of distancing themselves from influencing the story, and just lead an exodus of refugees to safety themselves.

Clinton (or should I specify James Lee Wit) made it look too easy, obviously.
posted by Busithoth at 10:56 PM on September 2, 2005


/offtopic

Somebody somewhere referred to it as "the Sgt Pepper's of hip hop", and I'm inclined to agree.

Except Sgt Pepper didn't contain any misogynist rants.
posted by ascullion at 10:59 PM on September 2, 2005


Diane Sawyer: "I wanted to ask a question, if I can. It's kind of a philosophical question about the looters, themselves, because there's been so much debate. Many of them going in have said 'We're only going in because we're desperate. We need shoes to walk around in because our feet are being cut. We need food for our children.' What is your view of what prosecution should and shouldn't be, of what arrests should and shouldn't be in a situation like this? What's justified and what's not?"

Bush : "I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking law during an emergency such as this. Whether it be looting or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving, or insurance fraud..."
posted by cell divide at 10:59 PM on September 2, 2005


Except Sgt Pepper didn't contain any misogynist rants.

"I used to be cruel to my woman / I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved"

/ot
posted by scody at 11:05 PM on September 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


Except Sgt Pepper didn't contain any misogynist rants.


I haven't heard West's album, but I wouldn't mind seeing what examples you have to back this up with.

/STRICTLYONTOPIC!!!!!1
posted by jimmy at 11:08 PM on September 2, 2005


paleocon: "Wow, this black artist just exploded all my preconceptions about black artists. "

The dude exploded all mine the other week.
posted by tapeguy at 11:09 PM on September 2, 2005


ascullion writes "Except Sgt Pepper didn't contain any misogynist rants."

Could you please offer an example of West's misogynist lyrics? I'm reading through them and having a hard time finding anything close.
posted by zerokey at 11:11 PM on September 2, 2005


b_thinky: you are referring to what is known as "tokenism" in the first case, and "hypertokenism" (a neologism by Peter Bowler) in the second case.

zerokey: exactly.

Ultimately, it's a combination of poverty and race. What the hell can I say that hasn't been said already.

HyperBlue: 400% with you... I keep asking and wondering about this myself. Many, many, many people are. And no, revolution isn't voting for a reformist damned democrat. Many of those at fault down the chain who are also responsible were dems... As much as I'd like to blame Bush and his admin solely, it also comes down to many levels and many parties (okay, 1 party, portrayed as 2 parties)...

It's so hard for me to contain my rage at this situation and pretend to my republican co-workers that it's all just okay, and it's only a little problem.

I'm racist. I will fucking admit it. Not a hate-based racism, but a fear-based racism. I try to overcome it as much as I can. I'm sorry I'm so cynical about those in power, but I can't help escape the feeling that just because they're cozied up to some colored peoples, it doesn't mean damn shit...

You've heard it all before "I've got black friends!" Yeah, okay. "He's one of the 'good ones'", etc... It's just a defense of your own bigotry. You think this good ol' boys who grew up in the south in the 50s, 60s and 70s have magically gotten rid of these deep prejudices? You think our whole society is all enlightened now?

No, these are issues that need to be dealt with, because this is a crisis of both race and class. And people are going to want to gloss it over and pretend that it's just a little fuckup of the bureaucrats, and maybe a couple people will lose their jobs.

But for many of us, we see this as endemic of a deeper institutional problem.

Kanye is right on for saying what he did. Sure he might offend someone, and it sucks that Red Cross has to have their "reputation tarnished" (not like they won't recover. They're fucking RED CROSS!) But we need to have this dialogue, and the media is talking about it, and the black congressional caucus is talking about it, and it's time we deal with this shit out in the open instead of keeping it our dirtly little secret.

America is a racist, imperialist country, with a history of domination of non-white people. It is in our fucking psyche from the very beginning and it continues to this day. Wake the fuck up and stop pretending we're all enlightened. Because if we don't work on this, there WILL be a revolution and it's going to be bloody and messy and very confusing, because it's going to deal with religion, race and class. And all too often these things clash in ways that will make it a very messy civil disturbance.

I don't like that idea, so I want to see us evolve by dealing with these issues as much as possible to lessen the ultimate impact when it does happen. Bah, this isn't my blog, so i apologize for wasting so much space.
posted by symbioid at 11:21 PM on September 2, 2005


From "Hey Mama":

I want to tell the whole world about a friend of mine
This little light of mine, I'm feelin' let it shine
I'm feelin' take y'all back to them better times
I'm feelin' talk about my momma if y'all don't mind (Hey Mama)

Pretty vicious.
posted by subclub at 11:25 PM on September 2, 2005


> If them poor black foulk all wrote $2000 checks to the RNC, you damn well better belive they're would have been busses lined up in batton rouge by the Mole, on Sunday.

Would they still be shooting at the helpicopters and busses coming to rescue them?
posted by dand at 11:26 PM on September 2, 2005


Any secondary link for that Fox News clip?
posted by kjh at 11:27 PM on September 2, 2005



Except Sgt Pepper didn't contain any misogynist rants.
....

Could you please offer an example of West's misogynist lyrics? I'm reading through them and having a hard time finding anything close.


Duh, he's black and he raps. Obviously a mysogynist.
posted by delmoi at 11:27 PM on September 2, 2005


Would they still be shooting at the helpicopters and busses coming to rescue them?

Yes, all the black people, or at least the vast majority, were shooting at 'helpicopters'. And busses. Fur Sur

That was sarcasm.
posted by delmoi at 11:35 PM on September 2, 2005


Fuck you, dand.
posted by youarejustalittleant at 11:36 PM on September 2, 2005


truth. i think bush is just clueless enough and poorly informed enough to not have expected this. once he did, did he hestitate? total speculation. this may be more a case of idiocy than bigotry. not sure which is worse.
posted by brookish at 11:37 PM on September 2, 2005


I've lived among fairly serious racists my entire life. I'm sure many mefians can say the same thing, particularly those raised in the south and/or in rural areas. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate as to their thinking on the situation in New Orleans. I should point out that this sort of speculation is almost certainly a waste of time and that we'll never know what's really in the heads of the people who don't see anything wrong with the government's reaction to this crisis. Even if they find themselves being interviewed on TV, we still can't be sure they're telling us the truth about how they feel; after all, there are some things you don't say on TV. (Unless you're Kayne West. But I digress.)

Basically, being a 21st century racist simply means that you're quicker to see the bad in people with dark skin and slower to see the good. So when you see a pot smoking white kid, you figure he needs a good swift kick in the ass and a job and he'll be fine. You see a pot smoking black kid and you figure he might as well be locked up for the next five years or so because, otherwise, he's just going to get into harder drugs and start stealing stuff (if he hasn't already) until, finally, he shoots someone. He doesn't have any good role models, his father is probably long gone, and he's running wild.

Likewise, when you see white people up to their necks in water in New Orleans, you figure they're trying to save their families, feed themselves, get their grandmothers airlifted to hospitals, etc. When you see black people in the same predicament, you're sure that they've been out looting the local Circuit City instead of making their way to a shelter or a bus, so they deserve whatever they get. Besides, the women have so many kids and the fathers never stick around; that means there's that many more of them to evacuate. And then they get hold of guns and, oh god, can you just imagine. Also, you remind yourself, a lot of the people who stayed behind were drug addicts who were afraid they wouldn't be able to get their fix and knew that, with the flood and all, no one would be guarding the hospitals or the drug stores. So a lot of those black people you see wading through the water are probably drug addicts who stayed behind intentionally.

I really do believe that this is the attitude of the white racists around here and they make up a pretty hefty percentage of the population in my neck of the woods. Furthermore, I think it's fairly likely that many in the the federal government who are of a more conservative bent feel this way. Probably a fair number of the less conservative officials feel likewise, but work harder to conceal it.

So.. when it comes time to make major commitments like declaring martial law or sending in a bazillion trucks or (as Nagin suggested) commandeering every available Greyhound and pointing it towards the Big Easy, the racists look at the situation and think "well, yeah, we could do those things, but what good is it going to do if all those crazy black people are down there, high on the drugs they stole, shooting at police, raping one another, and so forth? It's not a problem of supplies and Red Cross volunteers. It's a problem of security. First, we get those criminals under control. Then we come in full force with the blankets and the buses and so forth. And sure, we could go in there with the army and star busting heads, shooting looters, all that kind of thing, but can you just imagine what the liberal weenies would say about that? They'd make it like we were the KKK reborn."

And I hereby predict that when you hear Bushists defending his actions (or lack thereof), that's what you're going to hear. They're going to say that the affected areas weren't secure, that it was the criminals and savages who kept them from going in, etc.

Alright. So. I know people here think that way. Do I believe that Bush and Cheney and company think that way as well? Yes. Yes I do.

As I said before, there's no way I can prove that they do and it probably wouldn't matter if I could. But that's what I believe.
posted by Clay201 at 11:40 PM on September 2, 2005


The whole thing comes across as a saturday night skit far better than anything on saturday night these days. IMO the best part was Chris Tucker's reaction.

I've lived among fairly serious racists my entire life. I'm sure many mefians can say the same thing, particularly those raised in the south and/or in rural areas.

Great. Now please explain racism to those mefians who live in the north and west who may not be familiar with the word.
posted by justgary at 12:01 AM on September 3, 2005


I think you hit the nail on the head, Clay. There's no conspiracy here to get rid of democrat voters. It's a much less active (and I submit, more destructive) form of racism; the kind that affects decision making on a subconcious level.

It's like Kanye said, it's not that George Bush hates black people, it's that he just doesn't care.
posted by nomad at 12:07 AM on September 3, 2005


I did see a report that the affluent suburbs to the West were not flooded - sewers not working, but most of the houses in good condition.

The response of those people to the situation of the refugees in downtown or on the overpass was to put up lots of signs threatening to shoot looters.
posted by jb at 12:09 AM on September 3, 2005


Golddigger?

Unless it's supposed to be ironic, or something clever like that that I couldn't possibly understand.
posted by ascullion at 12:35 AM on September 3, 2005


By the way, those of you with broadband (ideally), mp3 players and sound cards could get some use of this list of Net-connected New Orleans (or Nawlins-related) scanners. And courtesy of autojack on AskMe, there's live transcription of those scanners via IRC (I'm logging it, my hard drive might fill up overnight).

I was just thinking 'I wish I knew about this a scanner stuff a few days ago, or thought to look for it', but then if I had I might have had a stroke from rage by now. (If y'all think I've been raving here imagine what my poor "SO" had to hear.)

The worst in New Orleans is over now, they are feeding and evacuating people and so on... So what's next? I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

(Goodnight.)
posted by davy at 12:42 AM on September 3, 2005


"Wait a goddamn minute, why the fuck aren't people being allowed to walk out of New Orleans?!"

They're not? Where'd you hear that? I thought they could not. If they're not allowed to walk out by themselves whichever direction they want to take it's got to boil down to CONTROL.

If that's true I suppose you could slip out, but then if they see you where you're not supposed to be...

(Goodnight again. Really. I need all the beautyrest I can get. I really mean it this time!)
posted by davy at 12:47 AM on September 3, 2005


Racism and classism aside, if FEMA is so assbackwards right now, dontchathink Bush is unforgivably to blame? Homeland Security is his baby. Natural Disasters and large-scale terrorist attacks share a hell of a lot of similarities. If they can't help New Orleans, how can they help any of us? The resources exist. Hell, it's called the Louisiana National Guard. And we all know exactly where Bush has been sending these resources, monetary and human, for the past two and a half years instead of taking care of the Homeland.

Yes. These appeals politicize the tragedy, but if this line of argument doesn't strike a chord with the Bush crowd, then I don't know what will. We are all less safe because he's in office. West was appealing to his community: Black people are less safe because Bush is in office. Poor people in general are less safe. I don't see how these points are even debatable anymore.
posted by Skwirl at 12:49 AM on September 3, 2005


I support Kanye's statement. Also, Clay201's comment is right on the money and should be read twice. It's a nice presentation of how most racist thinking really works these days.

"So do you think this is a conscious effort on the part of the government to strand blacks?"

No, I certainly don't. But Clay's comment explains the kind of thinking that is really happening.

Here is the reality: Because of implicit racism, the US has for the last two decades completely abandoned the major inner-city ghettos. At almost all levels of government, national discourse, and the press these people simply don't matter almost to the point of not existing. The New Orleans Holocaust is the result.

If the Superdome and the Convention Center had been filled with middle-class white people, there wouldn't have been baby corpses who died of thirst or knee-high piles of shit. There would have been relief and aid by Tuesday night and complete evacuation by Thursday.

This disaster is about two shameful things: first, the Republican disdain for any sort of government intervention (except for fighting wars) and their systematic dismantling of any and all social safety nets; and second, the entire national consciousness which has effectively written off the inner-city ghettos as a complete loss and an impossible problem to solve. Probably, much of the latter thinking is the implicit social darwinism of the modern conservative movement post-Goldwater that has poisoned America's ethos.

And, by the way, the brutal-red-in-eye-and-tooth mentality that prevails, inevitably, among some of these forgotten people and which makes murder and rape normal are the conditions right now in America's prisons, which holds 5% or more of our entire population. The criminal gangs that acquired automatic weapons and patrolled and looted the New Orleans streets were mostly, without a doubt, ex-convicts who were taught the extremes of brutality in prison. These, too, are the forgotten people, the people who are written-off.

But we are reaping what we have sown.

And if there is any justice in the world, it will be white, conservative plutocrats and politicos who will be the first to face an ultimate reckoning. George W. Bush is both.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:51 AM on September 3, 2005


He's obviously furiously angry, as all Americans should be, and as all black Americans have particular right to be.
posted by Graham L at 1:11 AM on September 3, 2005


That Fox News clip was chilling.
posted by dazed_one at 1:13 AM on September 3, 2005


CNN just showed the Kanye West clip in its entirety.
posted by amberglow at 1:14 AM on September 3, 2005


They're not? Where'd you hear that? ...

If that's true I suppose you could slip out, but then if they see you where you're not supposed to be


I heard it on fox news, that Shepard (sp?) reporter, he said there was a check point/roadblock, where people trying to leave were being forced to turn back. I suppose by national guardsmen or some other authority.
posted by zarah at 1:24 AM on September 3, 2005


Redistricting accomplished.
posted by cookie-k at 1:45 AM on September 3, 2005


He's obviously furiously angry, as all Americans should be, and as all black Americans have particular right to be.

damn straight!

Is this the Disaster Presidency or what? We've still got 3 1/2 more years of this crap. Every year has been extra special with these clowns. Here's hopin' they don't fuck up 2009.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:47 AM on September 3, 2005


those are both amazing and powerful video clips. thank you. as someone who currently does not currently have a television, I am very glad to see them on the internet. thank you for posting them here.

there was a guest commentary on npr this afternoon that struck me at the time for its total right-on-ness in a similar fashion.

These tapes are much more powerful than that, however, for they directly demonstrate just how disconnected those in power (the anchors, the people who write the telecast scripts, the spinmeisters) are from a reality that ought to be unavoidable and unhideable right now.

We have to be able to look at what is going on in New Orleans right now and really see it, without platitudes or rationalizations or paralyzed fear, if we are going to be able to really deal with it now and in the months to come.
posted by jann at 2:25 AM on September 3, 2005


ps: sorry for the poor grammar above.

also, here's the text of that radio piece, from the guy's blog.
posted by jann at 2:57 AM on September 3, 2005


uh, I am just on the ball tonight, that should have read:
"here's a slightly longer version of that radio piece..."
posted by jann at 2:58 AM on September 3, 2005


Why call a total fuckup and incompetence Racist? New Orleans has some 68 percent Blacks; most are poor and were unable to go by car to evacuate. If New Orleans does get rebuilt, it will continue to have mostly blacks.

What has changed for me: I can not listen to anyone on TV talk about the situation if he or she is a politician. It seems they bring a language, perspective, approach that is (for me) just plain bulshit and self serving.
posted by Postroad at 3:43 AM on September 3, 2005


Clay201, I've got some backup for you.

You wrote above: "When you see black people in the same predicament, you're sure that they've been out looting the local Circuit City instead of making their way to a shelter or a bus, so they deserve whatever they get. Besides, the women have so many kids and the fathers never stick around; that means there's that many more of them to evacuate. And then they get hold of guns and, oh god, can you just imagine."

I posted this here:

"I almost turned around on an obviously-well-off post-yuppie white couple on the street today in West LA, after I heard them discussing how "those people" in New Orleans deserved what they got because "those people" have 4 or 5 kids on welfare and that We Americans have to pay for them, and what about the killing? and the raping? how can "those people" act like "such animals?""

Actual white people in Blue Los Angeles said almost exactly what you wrote in almost exactly the same way you wrote it.

They were a pair of fatuous racist pigs wearing expensive designer clothes and $1,500 watches, and it took every ounce of my personal restraint not to rip them with every ounce of verbal swordplay that I can muster. I was that close to just punching the guy.

I'm disgusted with the racist fucks that fill this country. Kanye is 100% right, and things are going to get ugly.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:46 AM on September 3, 2005


He ain't the only one thinking along these lines
posted by Decani at 6:06 AM on September 3, 2005


I don't care what Kanye West says out loud. Everyone should already know what the Red Cross stands for and what the money you donate goes to support. If Kanye West keeps you from donating to the Red Cross, something is seriously wrong. I know what the Red Cross stands for. I don't care what Kanye West stands for. He's just there to draw attention to the real organization. People really need to stop letting celebrities determine what causes they support. I don't think a celebrity should be the reason you donate, or the reason you don't donate, but it seems that's the way it happens these days. Before I write my next check, I'm not looking up the political views of the celebrity endorsing my charity.
posted by MikeP at 6:07 AM on September 3, 2005


Bligh might well be correct.
posted by davy at 6:14 AM on September 3, 2005


MikeP, Y
ou completely missed my point, which was that making this kind of speech in the middle of a fundraiser, in such a politically divided climate, was shortsighted.

Again, I wish to reiterate: MY MOTHER IN LAW WAS NOT, AS FAR AS I KNOW, EVEN WATCHING THIS TELEVISION PROGRAM. I WAS JUST USING HER AS AN EXAMPLE.

I don't know of any people who let a celebrity determine what causes they support. But if someone were to turn on their tv at the moment Kanye was ranting about Bush, they might just change the channel before they even knew what the show was about. THAT WAS MY POINT. I'm surprised I had to spell it out but there you go. Sheesh.
posted by glenwood at 6:23 AM on September 3, 2005


zoogleplex, that was me. Wilshire and Doheny, right? I would have taken you.
posted by shoos at 6:30 AM on September 3, 2005


Glenwood>> I'm sorry if I misunderstood you. I agree with you completely.

I still can't believe how many people listen to celebrities about stuff, though. Some of these guys didn't get through the 9th grade and all of America is asking them their opinions about complex social issues that even college professors probably don't understand. Easy answers suck.
posted by MikeP at 6:41 AM on September 3, 2005


And if there is any justice in the world, it will be white, conservative plutocrats and politicos who will be the first to face an ultimate reckoning.

God, I wish. I really do. What a damned pity it won't ever happen.
posted by Decani at 6:49 AM on September 3, 2005


that's that crack music, nigga

that real black music, nigga

...it's like we got merrill lynched
posted by Hat Maui at 6:59 AM on September 3, 2005


You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:49 AM on September 3, 2005


The federal government takes just less than a week to do anything significant about a major disaster that had a significant impact on poor black people and Kanye West breaks from a humdrum script during a Red Cross fundraiser to say to his audience "The government doesnt' care about us" and people worried that it will turn off donors?

Ethereal Bligh makes some great points. From my perspective, Kanye makes the most stirring argument for donating to the Red Cross -- your tax dollars and all the other efforts you make as a citizen to contribute to the greater good made no difference to the people in our own country whose babies died of dehydration this past week. The government didn't come through. That sure makes me want to give money to the Red Cross.

I'm a little late to this discussion given the amount of site activity this week, but I want to say that the very tone of this post offended me when I first saw it yesterday. Kanye isn't there as a favor from the Red Cross -- he's there as a favor to the Red Cross, and ultimately in representation of those suffering from this hurricane.

We've spent days lauding white journalists who have lost it and spoken openly about this tragedy, but a black artist goes on TV and speaks his mind -- pretty resonably given the ridiculous enormity of the tragedy -- and grandma might put her checkbook away?

I'd hope grandma would shed a tear after seeing how distraught Kanye had become, and hearing the raw reality of the situation.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:55 AM on September 3, 2005


What the freepers are saying [mydd]
posted by moonbird at 7:57 AM on September 3, 2005


Glenwood, you wouldn't have been "misunderstood" if you hadn't written the worst fucking FPP I've seen in days. No shit. Who the fuck cares what your "young prankster" thinks. Or what scenario you see unfolding. Or your fucking editorializing all over the fucking front page.

Some great discussion came up here, but I still flagged the post, and I hope you think next time before you decide to shit your opinions out all over the front page. (And for the record, I'd rather hear the truth or someone's honest beliefs than worry about OH NOES!11 someone might not like what they hear and not donate OH NOES!11 Fuck that, man. What a stupid argument).
posted by livii at 8:02 AM on September 3, 2005


"What the freepers are saying"

Jesus. That's some nasty shit.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:05 AM on September 3, 2005


I think trigonometry's comment in another thread at least needs a link from here.

For those who suggest that everyone still trapped in NO is a criminal and should simply be abandoned, or is somehow addled or "unfit" for having stayed or being unable to leave: fuck you and your middle-class, smug assumptions about the world. I've encountered it before relative to suffering in Africa that I have witnessed firsthand; but to see it at home disgusts me in a way I thought I was incapable of being disgusted. If we had half the sense of civic responsibility as a society that every first-world nation besides ourselves on Earth has we would have ensured that every city has a plan adequate to get every single citizen out in such a scenario.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:17 AM on September 3, 2005


Has anyone heard a peep from the LA governor in like, 3 days? Does she have a pulse?

The Fox News shit was amazing. Geraldo was interviewing a guy holding a baby. You figured it was his daughter till he said "this ain't my baby. It's the lady's who's passed out over there." WTF?? Shep Smith was almost crying during his part.

This was on O'Reilly. I watched him two days ago and was repulsed by him telling people "OK, we'll send you help." I thought he was an arrogant fuck. But holy shit, he's really doing it! Why is Bill O'Reilly the only one that can call in helicopters and rescue teams?

He had some security/military expert on that pretty much told it like it is.

1) Bush declared State of Emergency two days prior. This gave LA governor the power to request anything: she didn't.

2) The 7,000 troops she did have, she did not pre-position near NO.

3) She did not position officials in the shelters (notably the convention center) to communicate the situation to the outside. Hence the lack of communication.

4) When the levies broke, add 48hrs to whatever time it takes additional troops to get in the city. Plus, since she has no eyes on the ground, the gov't doens't really know WTF is going on anyways.

5) The Feds took about 24-48 hrs too long to see how bad she was fucking up and take the shit away from her.

So I think the evacuation was where the racism/classism took place. The gov basically said YOU guys (poor blacks) are on your own.
posted by b_thinky at 8:34 AM on September 3, 2005


Seriously, has anyone heard from the Governor regarding this disaster? Apart from her "shoot to kill" gem?
posted by b_thinky at 8:35 AM on September 3, 2005


Get your Kanye West rant wallpaper while it's hot.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:49 AM on September 3, 2005


All Kanye has done is called out the elephant in the room, I'm thousands of miles away and we all can see it, the class/race war in NOLA isn't overt, it's much more insidious than that.

also, I'm going to listening to 'Diamonds from Sierra Leone' for years to come ..
posted by oliyoung at 9:06 AM on September 3, 2005


Livil are you in need of a hug? I'd be glad to provide one.
posted by glenwood at 9:30 AM on September 3, 2005


Seriously, has anyone heard from the Governor regarding this disaster? Apart from her "shoot to kill" gem?
posted by b_thinky at 11:35 AM EST on September 3


Well, b_thinky, I guess I understand your complaint.
Funny enough, disaster area declaration is requested by the governor, though not always, I guess.

I'll be honest in that I have no idea what exactly the governor of the state is supposed to do, publicly. I imagine there's plenty of coordination efforts she could lend herself to, but who knows? I'm sure, with diligence, you can find something to scuttle her reputation. Have fun dancing around the facts, while you're at it.
Oh, and in case you're just trying to slander along party lines, don't ignore the mayor, he's a dem, too.
(re-reading, I see you're citing O'Really.)

Honestly, people just expect too much of government, and this test has given it a failing grade. From what I've read about FEMA, aside from stoking conspiracy theories, it's often been the place for presidents to stick contributors and fratboy buddies. Clinton raised the bar way too high.
posted by Busithoth at 9:33 AM on September 3, 2005


So a simple truth that is staring everyone in the face and grinning like an idiot as " toxic to our modern political dialogue"?

To hell with "modern political dialogue" then. That was the very least he could have said, and it's telling that he has to say it while so few anchors seem up to broaching the rather obvious fact that the people left dying in NO are mostly dying because they're black and poor (in that order).

If anything I wish he'd gone and said "mean things" about more than just this current administration. It's not like racism and classism just suddenly showed up in the past week, or even the past five years. Or fifty.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:53 AM on September 3, 2005


I think blanket over-reaching statements can be polarizing and don't really help. However today, in full view of the discussions taking part because of what Kanye said, my tune hath changed since 148 comments ago.

In other words, I'm glad someone did that. I hope eyes are opened.
posted by glenwood at 9:59 AM on September 3, 2005


Also I apologize for any minor de-railments this thread has suffered due to my drunken ambiguous pontificating.
posted by glenwood at 10:08 AM on September 3, 2005


Seeing so much overt and oblique racism from the outset of this crisis has sickened me and filled me with disgust and anger. I wouldn't have put it like Kanye, but I have been yelling angrily at screens for days. "You and THREE busses Jesse!? WTFBBQ!? Why aren't you calling for busses from churches and schoolsfrom all around? You're missing your chance for an EXODUS!" Racism is a cancer of humanity, used to divide and conquer us all. Stunned, I've been loathe to highlight such negativity. On the WWL forums for victims of this disaster I was amazed to learn two new epithets, which I don't want to reinforce here or in my own mind. But I also learned that to many more than I'd imagined, the victims had been written off long ago. As much as I'd like to see it otherwise, racism definitely contributed to the gross incompetence and delay in rescue efforts.
posted by roboto at 10:17 AM on September 3, 2005


I'm glad Kanye said something. It's about time someone did. Does George Bush care about black people? He hasn't done anything the entire time he has been in office to suggest he does. (Or about poor people, gay people, and all sorts of other people for that matter.) Fuck Bush. People should be ashamed that what is happening in New Orleans can take place in one of the richest countries in the world. The relief effort in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami was better handled -- and the tsunami wasn't being discussed in the news for several days before it hit.
posted by chunking express at 10:23 AM on September 3, 2005


b_thinky: I'm not sure if either you or Bill O'Reilly can actually read, but this looks like the governor asking for help to me. (PDF)
posted by robhuddles at 12:21 PM on September 3, 2005


robhuddles: I can read, and it looks like the president read that letter because he did meet her request and declare a state of emergency in advance of the storm. From the little I know (and I could be wrong, it's just what I've seen in news reports) this gave the governor more resources at her disposal - resources she did not use.

I guess most people here didn't take any government classes in school. The President of the United States is not the boss of the Governor of Lousiana.

But if it's eaiser for your simple mind to believe "George Bush doens't care about black people" be my guest.
posted by b_thinky at 12:40 PM on September 3, 2005


Even if the Governor did/did not request help, it is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security to take charge of the disaster -- at least, according to their mandate on their website:
"In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility...for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness."
posted by ericb at 12:44 PM on September 3, 2005


Worth repeating: The federal government's Department of Homeland Security assumes "primary responsibility....providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort."
posted by ericb at 12:50 PM on September 3, 2005


The President of the United States is not the boss of the Governor of Lousiana.

But, he's the boss of the federal government!
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on September 3, 2005


Predictable Tragedy
"The most damning question about President Bush’s leadership has less to do with race than with an unwillingness to heed alarm bells."
posted by ericb at 1:04 PM on September 3, 2005


b_thinky: I can read, and it looks like the president read that letter because he did meet her request and declare a state of emergency in advance of the storm.

"I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance will be necessary."


I know that's followed in the letter by specific lists of requests, but generally, is that sentence intended to express a financial need, or more generally a "We're fucking doomed here, please come and help, send all you can"?
posted by VulcanMike at 1:12 PM on September 3, 2005


"New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard last Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday....In addition to Guard help, the federal government could have activated, but did not, a major air support plan under a pre-existing contract with airlines. The program, called Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, lets the government quickly put private cargo and passenger planes into service." [Associated Press | September 3, 2005]
posted by ericb at 1:29 PM on September 3, 2005


Two examples of gross incompetence!
posted by ericb at 1:30 PM on September 3, 2005


Well, you know George doesn't like to look over detailed memos when he's on vacation.
posted by fungible at 1:34 PM on September 3, 2005


I have no opinion on Blanco's performance given what I've read.

In addition to the 8/28 letter, she sent a new request Friday. She asks for the LANG to come back, which won't happen, but it's probably a popular position there right now. She has a laundry list of supplies and assistance needed, from medicine to generators. And she begs Bush to get involved and kick ass, if necessary, because apparently that's the only way people in this administration will act.

After all, the position of FEMA director is apparently vacant.
posted by dhartung at 1:35 PM on September 3, 2005


It was, without a doubt, the funniest thing I've seen on TV in a long time.

My bet: we'll see Mike Myers recreating this on Saturday Night Live soon. But they'll find some way to take the fun out of it.
posted by cptnrandy at 1:37 PM on September 3, 2005


But if it's eaiser for your simple mind to believe "George Bush doens't care about black people" be my guest.
posted by b_thinky at 3:40 PM EST on September 3 [!]


Call it as you see it, I guess.
I KNOW it's easier for you to think that somewhere in all this mess there's a democrat who screwed the pooch on this one. (which I wouldn't dare deny out of hand).

I'm no fan of hers, especially after her 'shoot to kill' speech, but claiming a governor has special powers bestowed by the federal government means jack shit. Or, if not jack shit, pathetically little. The buck stops where? It hasn't stopped in 5 years, but I think, if you squeeze really hard, you could place all the blame on the victims.
posted by Busithoth at 2:01 PM on September 3, 2005


there's a democrat who screwed the pooch on this one

Hey, what goes on in my bedroom is my business!
posted by ericb at 2:36 PM on September 3, 2005


From that letter (PDF) (emphasis added):
August 28, 2005

The President
The White House
Washington, DC
Through:
Regional Director
FEMA Region VI
800 North Loop 288
Denton, Texas 76209
DHS assumes primary control after a disaster, and all requests from the LA Governor's Office get routed through FEMA - which is run by ex-Arabian Horse aficionado Mike "Brownie" Brown - because FEMA's now a department of DHS.

I dare you to guess where the slowdown in this particular chain of command lies.

I never thought I'd end up defending LA politicians.
posted by Coda at 3:46 PM on September 3, 2005


b_thinky: I can read, and it looks like the president read that letter because he did meet her request and declare a state of emergency in advance of the storm.

And...what? Do you think that "declaring a state of emergency" is just like Bush waving a magic wand and uttering "abracadabra!"? Jesus, do you think this is fucking Disney's Fantasia, where all the brooms and buckets were going to dance by themselves all the way to New Orleans?

Do you seriously, SERIOUSLY believe that the President did his job by the literal act of "declaring" a state of emergency? Do you not understand -- truly, do you not comprehend -- that such a declaration must be followed by a series of decisions and actions lasting more than a few minutes? Do you not understand that various governors offered to activate their national guards on SUNDAY, and the President FAILED to issue the necessary orders to take them up on their offers until WEDNESDAY? HE WASTED THREE DAYS. I cannot spell it out any simpler than that, though you seem rather profoundly confused such straightforward facts.
posted by scody at 6:21 PM on September 3, 2005


President FAILED to issue the necessary orders to take them up on their offers until WEDNESDAY?

Actually, worse -- not until Thursday due to paperwork glitch!
posted by ericb at 6:41 PM on September 3, 2005


george bush doesn't care about black people and neither does your mother-in-law. we're not going to stop telling the truth about this on bumper stickers and otherwise even if it "divides" us from assholes and their "modern dialogue." if you put your check book up in the face of this, it's all on you. rock on, kayne.
posted by 3.2.3 at 9:29 PM on September 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


NYT:

But Mr. Bush, reflecting concern within the White House about the president's standing among blacks, notably said in his radio address that "we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters all along the Gulf Coast, and we will not rest until we get this right and the job is done."

Yeah! Fa-shizzle.

Good Lord.
posted by fungible at 9:46 PM on September 3, 2005


Interesting that, of all places, W decided to send Hurricane Katrina to a region with a large African-American population. The man is obviously a racist.
posted by b_thinky at 10:56 PM on September 3, 2005


Celine Dion on Larry King's special--incredibly honest and moving--and furious also. She gave a million bucks but says--they don't need my check--they need to be saved and given water. why are they still there? ...
posted by amberglow at 11:40 PM on September 3, 2005


b_thinkly: Interesting that, of all places, W decided to send Hurricane Katrina to a region with a large African-American population. The man is obviously a racist.

Nice (read: pathetic, transparent) attempt to sidestep the issue, b_thinky, but you know good and well that no one here has actually accused Bush of "sending" the hurricane. We are accusing Bush of failing to act in the face of the hurricane, and in the face of the disaster it caused. So I'll ask you again: 1) do you actually think Bush fulfilled all his duties as commander-in-chief, in the face of a massive national disaster, by simply signing a single executive order? 2) in light of the magnitude of the disaster, how do you justify Bush's four-day delay in dispatching the National Guard after various states had offered their services?

Please answer directly. Your failure to do so will be interpreted as a lack of intelligence, good faith, guts, or some combination of the three.

Go ahead, chief. You've got the floor.
posted by scody at 2:04 AM on September 4, 2005


"Honestly, people just expect too much of government, and this test has given it a failing grade. From what I've read about FEMA, aside from stoking conspiracy theories, it's often been the place for presidents to stick contributors and fratboy buddies. Clinton raised the bar way too high."

Goodness...and we're at war, too.

I guess we're more secure after all.
posted by black8 at 2:13 AM on September 4, 2005


ascullion writes "Golddigger?

"Unless it's supposed to be ironic, or something clever like that that I couldn't possibly understand."


You're making a common mistake of attributing the sentiment conveyed in a story about one individual to the attitudes of the author when dealing with the entire group by which said individual is represented. Most people who wish to appear "politically correct" do it once in a while - more often in terms of race or religion (supporters of Israel are prone to this, for instance) and less-so with feminism.

"Golddigger" is a story of one particular women whom the narrator in West's song dislikes. It, in itself, is not misogyny, even if West himself associates directly with the narrator in this particular instance.

ascullion, you did, unfortunately in this instance, shoot before you looked - West (whatever you may think of him for his comments on TV) is not your stereotypical rapper and generalised comments about rappers will often miss their mark when aimed at him. As yours has done.
posted by benzo8 at 3:27 AM on September 4, 2005


Benzo8 - I've been coming back irregularly to this post to see if anyone responded to that point, and I'm surprised to see it took so long. And your response is surprisingly condescending.

Most pop music doesn't have the narrative depth required to distinguish between criticism of an individual and a group, and this Kanye West track falls into that category. You may be clever enough to read this song in an inoffensive way, but most people aren't. Even if they were, sheer repetition reduces any nuances that may have been intended.

For the record, I applaud his comments on the telethon, and don't think for a second that he's a stereotypical rapper. Which is why I was so disappointed in 'Golddigger', and disappointed that no one in the media has been brave enough to point out the brazen misogeny of it. But I suppose, but within it's peer group, it's a pretty mild example.
posted by ascullion at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2005


ascullion - believe me, I know about narrative structure in songs - it's what I do. I'm a song-writer and composer by trade. I apologise if I came over as condescending, but the way you phrased your question opened yourself up to that kind of response: "Oooh, maybe it's all clever and I just don't understand...?"

Anyhow, plenty of pop songs have the narrative depth you are talking about. Very few writers can produce a decent body of work entirely from personal experience, and as such, most writers are practised and adept at creating songs that represent feelings, emotions and beliefs that they don't themselves have, and most performers are expert at interpreting those songs without taking on each emotion in turn as they run through a two hour set.

I will offer you two examples - Tina Turner, "Private Dancer". Tina wasn't a prostitute, or even an escort, but she sang that song like she believed it, every single time she performed. You felt it, you saw the character and you believed. Of course, the really important thing about this example is that the song was written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits - and he certainly isn't even a woman...

And secondly, pretty much the entire catalogue by Eminem (or you could choose Marilyn Manson for the same reasons). Along with acts such as Alice Cooper, these are artists whose entire remit is to play a character - Marshall Mathers doesn't believe many of the things that Eminem sings, and, to confuse it another level, Eminem wasn't "Stan" and didn't become obsessed with himself to the point of killing himself. It's narrative.

And quickly, a third example - Sarah McLachlan's "Possession" sounds like a cloistering love song when she sings it: "And I will be the one to hold you down, kiss you so hard, I'll take your breath away". Actually, those lyrics came from an obsessisive fan's letter to Sarah, but the narrative structure of the song lets us believe it's a love-song, and still we understand that Sarah is unlikely to stalk the man she loves quite so insanely.

Now, if you believe Kanye is misogynistic, well, that's one thing. If you believe the character describing the girl in "Gold Digger" is misogynistic, that's another. But if you really believe that there's no separation between the two, then you ought to investigate Kanye's work more deeply and also open your eyes to the fact that "most pop music", as you dismiss it, consists of incredibly well crafted songs with rich narrative structures and character driven stories (all in, sometimes, sixteen lines) - even if they're then sung by groomed idiots and listened to by ungroomed ones...
posted by benzo8 at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2005


scody: I will withold judgement of all performances until all the facts are known.

I tend to believe most of the responsibility lies with the locals, though I may be proven wrong when more facts are released.

From what I've read, the governor had numerous resources at her disposal that she failed to use.

I think the Feds have done a spectacular job since they got involved.

As for the response, I think it's probably more like a 2 day delay (the floods occured late Monday/Tuesday I believe (could be wrong - I didn't double check) and federal coordinated relief arrived late Thursday). I think the delay was probably due to it being hard to get in, and they were ineffective at first because there were no eyes on the ground established by the locals to report what was actually happening.

You may resume irrational Bush hating now.
posted by b_thinky at 11:43 PM on September 4, 2005


Most pop music doesn't have the narrative depth required to distinguish between criticism of an individual and a group, and this Kanye West track falls into that category. You may be clever enough to read this song in an inoffensive way, but most people aren't. Even if they were, sheer repetition reduces any nuances that may have been intended.

ascullion: I'll attempt not to be condescending in this reply, though I'm a bit baffled by the points you make.

Ongoing themes in West's music include economic status, materialism and especially his own struggles with his wealth. All Falls Down covers both of those subjects at great length -- materialism -- "Couldn't afford a car so she named her daughter Alexus...Single black female addicted to retail" -- and his own personal struggles -- "I can't even pronounce nothing, pass that versace!/Then I spent 400 bucks on this/Just to be like n**** you ain't up on this!"

Golddigger takes this concept further, and describes a character who consumes without those same reservations -- without the same guilt, even -- because she spends others' money to satisfy her material impulses. He specially mentions how she uses child support to support her spending rather than her child. Misogynistic? Even without the context of his other work, I think it's obvious that he's railing against spending without appreciation, and not "women."

There are small audio interludes in the new album that also speak to economic disparity -- in one the leader of the "Broke" group asks "Should we let our women go and be with the cat with the car?" -- "Yes, because we can't afford no gas." I'm no expert, but given the content of the clips, they don't have a chance of providing for a woman because they can hardly afford food. Later, Kanye is thrown out of the group because he was pretending to be broke, but has been "eating every day" and because he had new shoes. His defense for staying among the group? "I'm trying to stick to my roots."

The fact that in a distraught moment on national television, Kanye again summons the theme of his own wealth, consumption and a feeling of responsibility suggests that he's speaking from the heart on his records.

I sit here and feel guilt, frustration and helplessness over the disaster in NO, and betrayal from the government I trusted to prevent this disaster from unfolding. If I had millions of dollars in my pocket and felt those same emotions, I'd probably be even more distraught -- I'd be saying "Hell, I don't want this to happen... What can I do? Where do I sign? I would have signed before, if I knew this could happen."
posted by VulcanMike at 11:53 PM on September 4, 2005


"...the floods occured late Monday/Tuesday I believe (could be wrong - I didn't double check)"

You're right (midday Monday is when people first started noticing it); but if you're not sure then as far as I'm concerned you don't know enough to be offering your surmise about what actually happened.

"From what I've read, the governor had numerous resources at her disposal that she failed to use."

This is untrue, it's spin from someone in the White House (now revealed as Rove) which the Washington Post has already printed a correction for. She declared the emergency on the Friday the 26th, and so did the President. The press release from the White House on the 27th (Saturday) about the President's decleration says that:

"Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency."

That was two days before landfall of what was at that point a Cat 4 storm soon to become a Cat 5 storm aimed right at New Orleans. The levees were built to withstand a Cat 3 storm and countless studies have asserted that a Cat 4 or 5 storm hitting New Orleans would do enormous damage and certainly break the levees resulting in at least 50,000 deaths.

From newsweek:

"President Bush could have "federalized" the National Guard in an instant. That's what his father, President George H.W. Bush, did after the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Back then, the Justice Department sent Robert Mueller, a jut-jawed ex-Marine (who is now FBI director), to take charge, showing, in effect, that the cavalry had arrived. FEMA's current head, Michael Brown, has appeared over his head and even a little clueless in news interviews. He is far from the sort of take-charge presence New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani conveyed after 9/11.

Up to now, the Bush administration has not hesitated to sweep aside the opinions of lawyers on such matters as prisoners' rights. But after Katrina, a strange paralysis set in. For days, Bush's top advisers argued over legal niceties about who was in charge, according to three White House officials who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Beginning early in the week, Justice Department lawyers presented arguments for federalizing the Guard, but Defense Department lawyers fretted about untrained 19-year-olds trying to enforce local laws, according to a senior law-enforcement official who requested anonymity citing the delicate nature of the discussions.

While Washington debated, the situation in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast deteriorated..."


You offer another excuse for the delay:

" I think the delay was probably due to it being hard to get in, and they were ineffective at first because there were no eyes on the ground established by the locals to report what was actually happening."

...which is mind-boggling, really. All of fucking America could see what was happening, it appeared on our TV screens. From Monday night on, just by following all the news sources I follow online, and the Time-Picayune's real-time reporting at nola.com, I could tell you which areas were flooded, that many people were at and moving to the Superdome in large numbers, etc. Just what do you think they needed to know to do something? There were ways into the city because, um, the press and a whole bunch of others used them. Harry Connick, Jr. was able to get to and from the Convention Center.

Here's something from the Washington Post:

""One reason for the slow White House response, said a Republican who has been in contact with several officials, is that so many high-level officials and aides were on vacation. Vice President Cheney, for instance, was in Wyoming and did not return unil Thursday, and Nicolle Devenish, the president's top communications adviser, is getting married in Greece with a number of mid-level aides in attendance.""

Furthermore, one of the much ballyhooed post-9/11 measures that was taken was the creation of the National Disaster Preparedness Plan which specifically claimed to be able to respond immediately to a major disaster in an urban area on a Federal level.

Ask yourself: once Federal resources were (semi) massively brought to bear on the matter, how long has it taken to manage to evacuate most of the living from New Orleans? Two to three days? How can anyone in their right mind claim that New Orleans and Louisianna could ever have accomplished this on their own in a timely manner?

In other words, there is no doubt that Federal help would be needed, there was no doubt that New Orleans was about to be struck by a major disaster (never mind that the storm veered off--no one expected it to and the levee failing later that day was only part of what would have happened had the storm not veered off), the governer had declared emergency on Friday and so had the President, FEMA and other federal agencies had the authority to do whatever needed to be done, and we have been told by our government that it would do all these things in a timely manner if needed.

There is no escaping the conclusion that the Federal government has horribly failed in this matter.

Now, the question of where the responsibility lies for that...that's another discussion. Certainly Bush bears some because had he chosen, as any President could have chosen, he could have made these things happen when it became apparent that they weren't. Instead, he was on vacation. Nevertheless, it's apparent that the whole structure of disaster relief on the Federal level failed.

And none of this is any different than had Al Qaeda managed some form of nasty terrorism in one of our major cities.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:53 AM on September 5, 2005



"I will offer you two examples - Tina Turner, "Private Dancer". Tina wasn't a prostitute, or even an escort, but she sang that song like she believed it, every single time she performed. You felt it, you saw the character and you believed."

"pretty much the entire catalogue by Eminem (or you could choose Marilyn Manson for the same reasons). "


I think it's interesting that you've picked such weak examples. Tina Turner's song does nothing but draw an image of a bland stereotype (much like Golddigger) and elicits no emotion from me (or, frankly, anyone else I've ever met). Why? Because of a weak narrative.

Bringing up Eminen/Marilyn Manson highlights the other point of my argument - that repetition/removal from context dulls any intended nuance - hence the hoards of people who misinterpret the work of both artists.

Stripped of the context of the albums and Kanye's history, Goldigger sounds like any other lazy misogynistic hiphop rant. It's naive to think that the majority of people listen to it and think "ah, well, given Kanye's history of speaking out, I'm sure this is just an skit with a higher moral purpose".
posted by ascullion at 4:01 AM on September 5, 2005


I guess we can leave it at us having different conceptions of the public's ability to interpret art.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:18 AM on September 5, 2005


Actually, no. I just finally got around to reading Time magazine's cover story on West, and they get it. If they get it, then I think it's pretty reasonable that the rest of the country will get it as well.

The College Dropout was 76 minutes of someone cramming every thought he'd ever had about himself into rhyme. It was immaculately produced, but what made it compelling was the contradictions. The song Jesus Walks mixed spirituality with skepticism and rap with gospel. All Falls Down slammed the "single black female addicted to retail" but concluded with West admitting, "I wanna act ballerific, like it's all terrific/ I got a couple past due bills, I won't get specific/ I got a problem with spending before I get it/ We all self-conscious, I'm just the first to admit it." Throughout, West careered between the Protestant ethic and street fantasies, revealing himself to be wise and stupid, arrogant and insecure, often in the same breath. But by baring his flaws and being self-critical--and daring listeners to do the same--he created a fresh portrait of African-American middle-class angst, and you could dance to it.
posted by VulcanMike at 10:39 AM on September 5, 2005


b_thinky: I will withold judgement of all performances until all the facts are known

Plenty of facts are publicly known and positively verifiable right this very minute. What you're waiting for is spin. And then marching orders.
posted by scody at 11:13 AM on September 5, 2005


The next president must heal a nation divided along harsh political and racial lines.

The next president must be able to produce sick beats and dope flow.

The next president must be Kanye West.
posted by recursive at 1:26 PM on September 6, 2005


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