Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Response

My response to dangle-27's comment regarding this post: Oh, please. I thought the Mermaid got me wrong, but I was content to let her have her say. This is ludicrous. Aquarian Self-Help pc-newspeak doesn’t mean shit to me (o my god swearing). My messages are not “spun”; nor do I accept the blanket use of the term “rant.” My posts are my opinion of things as I see them. I will continue to post my opinions in whatever form or language I so choose until I see fit to stop. Worries about how other Americans who may still want to help – or however you choose to designate that group - might feel about my tone is way down on my list of concerns. You’re awfully concerned about my tone, but choose to blithely dismiss Malkin and Instapundit. Malkin and Reynolds have thousands more readers than I do, and reflect points of view far more common in America than you seem prepared to believe. Not worth mentioning? I beg to differ. And if you don’t like them, try poking around in here: http://technorati.com/search/nagin?language=en&authority=n “As for the rest of the country moving on, well yeah…what do you expect? Cancellation of little league ball games, the closing of swimming pools this summer, hunger strikes, vacations canceled or people pulling their money out of the bank accounts and hiding their stash in their freezers? Perhaps a national day of mourning once a week?” No, I expect most Americans unaffected by the hurricanes to move on, but they cannot be allowed to forget, and they cannot be allowed to cease caring. What you‘re not factoring into the dynamic is that the bored, over-it people in Idaho and Wisconsin and Nevada all have congressmen and senators who will be voting on Gulf Coast restoration funds for years to come. If you let them forget or cease to care or cease to be outraged, then their legislators will also forget, cease to care, and cease to be outraged, and you can kiss restoration money goodbye. If you can keep the people informed, if you can keep the people aware of the ongoing disaster and keep them inclined to write letters and speak up, then you can keep pressure on DC. “...But after less than 24 hours after the election, Ray Nagin makes the comment that if businesses leave because of his re-election, he will send them a postcard. What do you expect the reaction to be? Saying things that will turn people against us, whether you are a Blogger or a Mayor is just senseless.” I’m sorry, but I must be reading you wrong: are you really suggesting that we all moderate our speech so that we don’t say anything that might offend someone, or “turn them against us?” What? I agree about the Mayor; someone in a leadership position with the media circling should always measure his words. But I’m not concerned about my blog turning some big business against New Orleans; I’m worried about shitty schools and broken levees and corrupt politicians turning business off and squandering good will. My opinions are, I’m sure, not of substantial concern to any significant businesses. Neither are yours. Neither are any local blogger’s. And if you think that “positive” blog speech is going to have an impact in bringing business in – in spite of the levees, the streets, the schools, the crime, the tax structure – then you’re delusional. What I have to say isn’t addressed to businessmen or even most Americans, anyway. What I have to say is and always has been addressed to the people of Louisiana. From the time I started the Suspect Device comic strip, almost ten years ago, my stated, printed, unchanged aim is to goad readers into rejecting the political process as theater and reclaim it as a basic responsibility of every citizen. Channeling positivity is just as necessary as channeling anger: restraining your outrage at the Corps, not taking the opportunity or the initiative to stand up and say, “This is wrong and I won’t let it happen again”, worring that more anger might turn money away -- that’s not positive. That’s craven. What kind of positive steps have you offered, other than not saying anything that may turn others against us? Two final things: your comments about the working poor now living in conservative cities run by white conservatives and loving it is unfounded, unsupportable, and racist. There have been poor people in New Orleans for centuries, and to try to pin their ever-increasing numbers on Bill Clinton is idiotic; there was more economic prosperity in Clinton’s eight years than there has been in a generation. And these displaced citizens don't want to come back? Really? How do you know? Regarding my language: I’m not here to shock. I write how I want. If you don’t like it, well, you know the cliché. And my “messages” are not “spun”. I make no effort to “disenfranchise” or alienate or whatever PC-buzzword you’d care to toss out, and your implication that I only intend to hurt is as absurd as it is offensive. If anything, I intend to agitate (if I intend to do anything other than note an interesting article). My line about the debate team is the most insensitive thing you’ve ever read? I was mocking the positive blogger stereotype of finding trivial “good news” while the bad news piles up at the door. Just like all that “good news” from Iraq that never gets reported, come to think of it. If that’s the cruelest thing you’ve ever read, you need to get out more: A patriot:
So about 100,000 niggers in New Orleans, and they ARE niggers, throwaway people, by definition, will soon be "led" back to the promised land? With the HELP of FEMA? Ha....them assholes at FEMA can't even move a fucking camping trailer without a mile of paperwork...I say bulldoze that fucking shithole, and let's just start over....never was a good town, screw the tradition, and the "culture" which is basically a bunch of hard up niggers, working for a few rich White pinheads...always been that way down there....
God did it:
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge," he continued.
“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."
A Commenter:
To be perfectly honest, I couldn't give a rat's ass less whether New Orleans sinks beneath the waves and stays there. The best reason anybody can give me for caring about the place at all is "the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans" — i.e., its pollution by the French, its decadent Mardi Gras festival, its many 24-Hour Voodoo Convenience Stores, etc. — and frankly, I'm just not impressed. FUCK New Orleans. Let the Caribbean have it. … Granted, they haven't searched everything yet… but the confirmed Death Toll thus far for all of Louisiana is only 154. And what's likely to happen to that number when all is said and done? Double? Triple? Quadruple? Hell, how about multiplying it times TEN? Even then, that'd be a hell of a lot less than "many thousands" — and it ain't even close to five digits. So I'd really appreciate it if the MSM would stop acting like it was the end of the fucking world. 154 confirmed dead so far? SO WHAT? More people die in traffic accidents on an average weekend — and those people don't have the luxury of an Evacuation Order warning them of their impending danger.
What you won’t hear, except from me, is that "Let the good times roll" is an especially risky message for African-Americans. The plain fact is that they tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society.
I can keep going, if you want. You can dismiss them like you did Malkin and Reynolds, but these are the voices of people who are "over" Katrina. This is how it is. And it isn't right, and all the positive vibes and pretending that things are going swimmingly won't. do. shit. EDIT: Slate has good post on the +/- brouhaha over yonder.


Anonymous slate said...

I just came over to drop you a note about the post I just put on my blog regarding the two "blogger" views. I was too busy to link, but you are linked on my blog and I read you daily. Thanks for posting the crap you found. I found some and it was too disheartening for me to post, but I did comment on it. I think we need all perspectives right now, and yours is a valid one.

5/23/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Suspect Device said...

Thanks. Good take on it in your post.

5/23/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I’m glad I read your latest posts today. I came across the Brendan Loy post too and started trying to gather all the contradictory, moronic, crap and comment on it, but can’t really handle it anymore. I would almost rather have the outwardly racist shit flug at me, than listen to the morons who actually think they are helping by posting their little white centrist excuses for voting for Nagin, or have to read opinions of those who left town and one of their favorite restaurants is Juan’s. Keep up the good work…

5/23/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

Wow, Greg...where do you find this subhuman blog swill? I hope the people who are in a position to help New Orleans don't think that these are our people.

5/23/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger TravelingMermaid said...


All I want is for my city to come back. For the levees to be built to CAT 5 protection, not 3, not 4, FIVE! I want Nagin, Blanco, Landrieu, Vitter and everyone in between to DEMAND it! Yes, I'm mad too -- in between being tired, depressed and sick of NO ACTION toward CLEANING UP THIS MESS OF A TOWN! If you care to read my blog you will see this. I am very much aware things aren't going swimmingly.
Forget politics - I don't care if you're Dem, Repub, Independent, Green or whatever - just do the right thing.
IF I misconstrued what you were saying in that post, please enlighten me. I love N.O. - have lived here 28 years. Want to live here many, many more. I assume you do too (You do live here?) I want all the help we can get and I don't mind making nice to get it! If my positive blog is trivial...so be it. It started as therapy after K. anyway, not for civic or political reasons. For selfish and self-absorbed reasons.

Well, I'm rambling now.....last words: everyone has their point of view, everyone can write what they like on their own blogs and everyone can choose which ones they don't want to read. I must admit, although I may not necessarily agree with your style, I do still check out your posts. (Kind of like rubber-necking a car accident -- I'm joking!)
I appreciate Slate trying to make peace even tho I didn't realize the effort was necessary.
BTW - Dangle is not racist just because he is more conservative.

OK. Gonna post this without re-reading. Hope I don't regret it.


5/23/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Ok, I'm having trouble posting living in a room at my mother-in-laws these last days in Fargo with my son, which means having his TV shows always one. (Going to make him turn off Kim Possible in a minute and go read). I'll try to finish tonight's post before the T-storm roles through and I have to shut down, but here's the basic thrust:

You're all right. TM is right, and we need positive voices speaking for NOLA.

We also can't ignore the seething edge of right-wing bloggerdom. These people represent the kook-aid drinkers at the coffee pot who still talk about the damn busses (but would have a fit if their locla gov't declared martial law and started hauling buss divers out of their houses).

We cant' let these people coast.

5/23/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Dangle 24-7 said...

If you can defend what this city has been for the last 30 years, then do it. If you want it back exactly how it was, then we will lose.

You call me a racist? You call me a right winger? There are posts in my blog that prove otherwise but I will not defend myself against you or any lunatic who attacks people; kids who come here to help and sleep on cots and floors. I can only hope that these little blogs remain low profile or we will be in deep shit.

If we ever have to resort to other measures and from what I read of you, I just know in my heart that all you will do is sit back and write bullshit because you will not have the balls to do the job we will end up having to do.

And yes, I’ve already said you have the freedom to say whatever you want. How about using the freedom to think?

5/23/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Suspect Device said...

I'm going to drop the topic pretty soon because there's no shifitng minds, and before the level of discourse drops further (since dangle is now talking about who has the "balls" to do something or other - what the hell are you talking about, anyway? Where did I ever defend the last 30 years of NOLA?).

I live in Lafayette. I never claimed to live in New Orleans and make frequent mention of my location. I work in Baton Rouge and had been published in New Orleans every week (pre-k) for eight years. A substantial portion of my livelihood went away after Katrina; and while I have a long connection to the city, I got hit by Rita, not Katrina (and I did get hit by Rita). That's another reason I don't make mention of many specific meetings or happenings in the city; since the storm , I've sent a substantial amount of time there, but I'm not a resident.

What I am is a longtime observer of NOLA and Louisiana politics, and unlike the many poeple who got politicized because of the inept response to the storm, I've been railing against these clowns in print and on the web for years. I've seen how they operate and respond to pressure. I am firm in my belief that while some public servants respond to the carrot, Louisana public servants barely respond to the stick, and if you want one to do the right thing, you need a bushel of carrots, two sticks to beat him with and a third to ram up his ass. If you do not keep on these people and keep on them hard, HARD, they will not come through for you, and that's a solid gold guarantee.

I'm not insulting kids who come down and sleep on cots and clean out houses. I'm flabbergasted by the idea that the presence of kids on cots somehow makes up for bungling and inattention and disdain, and that continuing to call out the bunglers and rouse the inattentive has become some kind of counter-productive whining. I'm irritated with the notion what "all these negative bloggers -- all they do is cuss and attack" when it's been the "negative" bloggers who have been on the case since September and have not only kept readers informed but have formed action groups, done campaign work, etc., and in fact have made a positive impact on New Orleans (and before aspersions are cast, I have donated my time and labor money to recovery and will continue to do so).

Okay, sure, positive voices are needed. The world need to know that there are good things happening in New Orleans. But positive attitudes, thinking, whatever, are much more personal statements than they are political ones. If they motivate you to get out and do good work, great. But they do not take the place of the stick, ESPECIALLY when dealing with Louisiana politicians (don't even get me started on the DC administration). They will sell you out for a dime and won't get off their asses for anything under a dollar. Don't end up like Jemima Puddle-Duck, thinking that the nice fox who lets you lay your eggs on the pile of feathers in his smokehouse is doing so out of the goodness of his heart.

So, if you don't have the heart or the stomach for engaging those crooks and bunglers who would let New Orleans -- and St. Bernard, Terrebonne, Cameron, Vermilion, etc -- die, either through inattention or active theft, then direct your energies where you feel more comfortable. But don't think the fight is over because you want out, and don't think that those of us who concentrate on bringing incompetence to light are somehow lesser because of our choice.

5/24/2006 03:27:00 AM  
Blogger Suspect Device said...

Ian -- they're not hard to find. Google or Technorati "Nagin" and they pop up right quick.

5/24/2006 03:31:00 AM  
Blogger Dangle 24-7 said...

You are playing the same game ray Nagin plays with our lives. Landrieu was the politician and wasn't going to say "Fuck you Bush", now—may I have the money? Remind me to kick my heart surgeon in the nuts when I need open heart surgery.

I could give a rat's ass who is on what side of center. And if attacked, then attack back. I have done that time and time again. But you can attack in the Ray Nagin style or you can attack in the Mitch Landrieu style. You can turn people off or you can do it with style.

If we are going to have any success in saving South Louisiana, everyone knows we need to speak in one voice or at least send out the same message. Diplomatically, it would be wise not to offend those whose help we need. There are still faith based organizations bringing people down here to help. If you don’t understand the meaning of that gesture, I can not explain it to you.

As for my politics, I am sure I have you quite confused. Since I disagree with your methods, I have been thrown into a right racist trash bin. That OK. I have been ganged up on by Objectivists for defending our evacuees in Texas, (was called a leftist comme pinko) I have banned (In principle only) a racists who left racist comments on my blog and I have also had intelligent conversations with people different opinions.

A good example of this was this posting and exchange following my taking a blogger to task on not rebuilding New Orleans.


Tom still writes me every so often and wants to know how things are on the local level. He truly cares. Had I told him he was a fucking idiot, perhaps there would be one less sympathetic person out there for us.

In any event, I have never nor will I ever advocate a pacifist movement. I do advocate debating an issue with words that will not cause people to leave the room will at least allow them the chance to hear your side. A debate is nothing more than a platform to make your point and when the debate ends; there is seldom if ever a winner.

Such is the case with this topic.

5/24/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Marco said...

I'm from upstate NY and I care, have donated and continue to blog about the New Orleans and the forgotten Parishes in the rest of the State. In one way, the bickering is not very fruitful, but in another friction can produce apsects of thought, vision and ultimately action that can benefit the recovery. It all comes down to keeping a hot fire under the feets and asses of the politicians. If you let them slide in the least, then you're looking at aeons for viable recovery. At least you're alive and kickin' and not permanently glazed. Everyone has their own style. The national ADS is something we all must combat on a lot of fronts. Joe-Six-Pack is trying to make a living with gas @3+ a gallon. The national media is useless. They're not going to do a weekly slot on NOLA soon. Bloggers can keep hitting the points hard since you are in the fallout and debris. You have to live with it everyday. I don't have to tell you what that does to one. I admire the people who are rebuilding AND blogging. I wouldn't have the energy. I don't know how they do it. I look at the faces of the people and see that there's a strength that comes from love of the city and the land and the unique way of life. The few times that we've visited NO, we have sensed that way of life. It's a precious way. It has to be preserved. There's no other way. It's up to you to show why this is important to the rest of this somnolent country. Say it however, but keep saying it loudly.

5/24/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Suspect Device said...

Dangle, I said your comment was racist (among other things), not you or your ideology. I still think it's wrongheaded, but I don't intend to brand you, personally, as a racist.

As for matters of stlye, we're going to have to disagree. I don't think I call everyone a fucking idiot, although I call them as I see them and there are some fucking idiots out there for sure. I have nothing against faith-based charities or anyone who is truly helping. (I don't think the scientologists or Operation Blessing are doing much to help, to be honest -- didn't OB claim to have donated $80 million in drugs and medicine, a donation that never showed up anywhere other than their own press releases?)

And, again, I have no intention of running off people who want to help.
But I do intend to keep presure on those who HAVE to help and seem to want to weasel out of it. Saying "fuck you, Bush, now where's the money" is, as you note, stupid. But assuming that the same kind of attention and money would be given to Lousiana as was Florida or NYC, and instead hearing loud talk about how stupid it is to have a city below sea level and how you can't give those people money and how people "in that part of the world" will just have to be patient -- it seems to me that the first "fuck you" didn't come from my end.

Come to think of it, why should we even have to ask? If you're in the habit of calling the fire department every day and yelling "Fuck you, firemen", then I can see them taking a little longer to get to your house. But if you're just a regular Joe whose house catches on fire -- maybe partially because the fire department didn't put out a couple of other blazes in the neighborhood -- I don't think you should have to beg the fire department for water when they show up. If you do, THEN it's "Fuck you, fire department."

Every conversation should begin reasonably; but when it's obvious that the other party is not going to be reasonable, then you have to take another tack. I don't think Pat Robertson is reasonable; I don't think those "let niggertown slide into the sea" people are reasonable, and I have grave doubts about the reasonableness of about 4/5 of the Louisiana legislature and maybe 7/8 of the Bush administration. I don't think Rick Santorum (who wanted to fine hurricane refugees) or Tom Tancredo are reasonable, and I won't attempt to argue them around to my position. Disagreement is not unreasonable; prejudice, pigheadedness and stupidity are.

Short version: There are people who want to help, and they should be welcomed, encouraged, and thanked profusely; there are fucking idiots whose piglike utterances need to be responded to and shut down before they become part of public discourse; and then there are people who are supposed to help, but dont. And when they don't, you have to get on them and stay on them until they do.

5/24/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Dangle 24-7 said...

We are not that far apart and we want the same thing.

I agree with much of the long version and most of the short version. My point is - calling a fucking idiot a "Fucking Idiot" is calling someone something most already know and re-enforces their (The fucking idiot) ideology.

It fuels the flame while possibly extinguishing allies.

Quote from one of your previous comments regarding a statement I made:

“Two final things: your comments about the working poor now living in conservative cities run by white conservatives and loving it is unfounded, unsupportable, and racist.”

There have been many accounts of these examples on various newscasts. I have provided some links on my blog today illustrating this and although these examples may be the exception, they do exist and if more people stick a toe in the water, we will lose them to these cities and states.

I recall a young black woman who evacuated to Houston and was in utter shock because her daughter’s teacher stayed in school to "6PM every night and sometimes later" (her words; not mine) to meet with parents. She also found herself a “better” paying job and stated she would not be coming back.

This is not “unfounded, unsupportable and racist”. This is a genuine fear I have.

I am hoping you and I can find a common ground.

5/24/2006 10:24:00 AM  

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