Wednesday, September the 7th, 2005

dripping from a dead dog’s eye[1].

I didn’t talk about this earlier because I was concerned about coming off as a heartless prick. Now I’ve come to the conclusion it doesn’t matter how I sound. I will follow the herd and do what so many other people in this country do each day, confuse “freedom of speech” with the ability to say whatever they want, whenever they want, at whosever’s expense.

It is probably prudent, however, that I begin with this warning. This post is potentially racist, insensitive and proceeds to kick people who’re already down, as Eric Cartman oft eloquently puts it, “squa’ in the nuts”.

If you don’t want to read this sort of thing, don’t.

In the aftermath of the recent hurricane “Katrina” (like giving it a euphonious woman’s name makes a natural disaster more palatable), I heard numerous reporters look at the horrible state of affairs and exclaim “We’re not Somalia or some third world country damn it, we’re America”.

Honestly, from the footage and reports I saw, it wasn’t apparent. Shops and homes being mercilessly looted, children and adults being raped, they being shot at and killed, needy elderly and babies dying from lack of help, people starving to death in piles of their own waste. For a casual observer, this might just as well have been Somalia[2]—a Somalia where it is easy for people to break into hardware stores and steal firearms.

I’ll make two separate statements now, and you connect them in any way you want.

1. Almost every single person you see in the dilapidated condition described above is black.
2. When I was in Louisiana earlier this summer, I couldn’t help but notice how—and I kid you not—EVERY SINGLE person below a certain socio-economic standard was black.

People in this country cringe every time they hear the word “communism”. This, my dearies, is a direct consequence of your beloved capitalism, unintelligently coupled with remnants of the effects of years of racism. You have a clear (and growing) dichotomy, you proceed to encourage it with your tax cuts for the rich and the wars draining billions from cash starved job training, health and education programmes.

And this is what you get. An intelligent warning system after tons of somewhat-accurate numerical simulations perhaps, but people too poor to have access to means to get out in time. Said people devastated and driven to desperation by natural forces, and then what? Your free-access-to-guns policies result in these people breaking into hardware stores and stealing weapons.

Couple this with the woefully slow response, the pace of which is incorrectly attributed to the fact that the afflicted people are black, but is really due to this country’s incompetence and policies—like the much famed war occupying most of the troops’ attention.

Rampant anarchy and lawlessness is sure to ensue.

And it’s all poor people. Almost all black.

You made them that way. These people may be criminals, but your society set the stage for their crimes.

Peeves follow:

1. My country is very poor, and it sees its fair share of natural disasters on a regular basis. But you know what? At least people don’t resort to stealing weapons and helping themselves to other people’s property. They—people who weren’t EVEN WARNED of events on much larger scale, like a large Tsunami—don’t get angered by authorities trying to help them.

Shooting at helicopters trying to rush to your aid? Whatever your current condition, you have no fucking right to be angry at those who are trying to give you a helping hand. If I were a paramedic or whatever trying to help a group, and they shot at my craft, I would most vehemently let them all die.

Ungrateful maniacs.

2. Oh, media people, just don’t use words like “spectacular” for describing the scale of horrifying events. Learn to use a thesaurus and pick similar words, but with negative connotations. How about, say, cataclysmic?

3. Why the fuck is ICE so important? We gave these people food, and water, AND ICE. Why?

4. And why doesn’t anybody get that none of this has anything to do with being an advanced nation or a third world nation? Or race? The only cause is that people, in general, take things for granted and don’t think forward enough. All goals are short term. All topics are short lived.

Just watch, 6 months or so down the line, none of these events will seem all that important, at least to the rest of us, and we will go back to building our easy-to-break levee systems.

[1] Lyrics stolen from The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus” from their album “Magical Mystery Tour”.
[2] Not that I’m implying this is how I imagine Somalia to be. You know what I mean.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “Yellow matter custard…” from actuality.log. Visit to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

16 Responses to “Yellow matter custard…”

  1. anita says:

    regarding the ice…i believe it has been very hot and humid down there. with no a/c, i think people could at least use the ice to cool down. just a guess though.

  2. pUl| says:

    No offense, but ICE to cool down people who are more than ready to shoot at others willing to help? I mean won’t getting them ICE piss them even more?

  3. anita says:

    my personal peeve right now is when people generalize things like that to the entire population of new orleans! not EVERYONE there was shooting or looting or fighting. there were/are actually people dying all around there who could use things like ice, believe it or not.

  4. wahgnube says:

    People people calm down.

    anita: Maybe it’s third world mentality speaking, but a place being very hot and humid, though annoying, is not a life threatening issue. And having an A/C, though pleasant, is not a necessity. My beef with the ice was not with the ice, but the apparent lack of understanding as to what is a necessity and what is not.

    Besides, I didn’t think a small bag of ice could really do that much good for a very long time. Like in the grand scheme of things—no food, no water, no home, no security—a bag of ice seemed trivial.

  5. wahgnube says:

    pul|: I didn’t mean to imply any link between the ice and the sporadic shooting. They weren’t annoyed because people were getting them ice (it was not instead of something else), they were just annoyed, period.

  6. wahgnube says:

    anita: Again, I didn’t mean to imply everyone was shooting. All I said was, if you’re someone in need of help, you sit down quietly and wait for it. You do NOT get annoyed that it’s not coming fast enough, or it’s not of the caliber you expected. Most importantly, you don’t show your anger by hurting people trying to help you.

    This doesn’t mean everyone was, even if one person was, it is one person too many.

    That was my problem with the whole thing. It was like as if people felt they “deserved” something. They deserve nothing. Most of what is happening is out of the kindness of other people’s hearts, and beggars cannot be choosers.

  7. anita says:

    well actually, some people there have died due to heat exhaustion. especially little babies. and people who are sick, wounded, and/or starving, are probably very weak as it is. add some really hot weather to the mix, and it is a serious matter. also, some people could have used ice to put on injuries, reduce swelling, etc.

    my other comment wasn’t directed at you really, but i feel like those of you who weren’t brought up here (or in a similar area) don’t really understand why some people there acted the way they did. i’m not condoning their behavior in any way, or accepting it, but i think i have a better understanding of why it happened.

  8. wahgnube says:

    Explain it to me then. I am curious, does it in any way involve a sense of entitlement?

  9. anita says:

    i don’t think it’s entitlement so much as it is a feeling of anger at the fact that they’ve been screwed over all their lives. like, oh you want to help us NOW? well, f you.

    i’m probably not capable of explaining it very well, and there’s no way i can fully understand it either having not experienced what they have. but i think there’s a lot of division in that area, between the upper class and the lower class. whereas in places where everyone is poor and more or less equal, you don’t see as much anger and violence.

    and apparently there are a lot of drug addicts in that area. doubt they are going to act civil at a time like this.

    i think the majority of the people there are thankful for any help they receive, but there are those few who just have a lot of anger inside and they don’t know how else to react. they have been brought up feeling that they are treated badly because they are black and/or poor (and in many cases, that is the truth). so they think if they were white, they would have gotten more immediate help. it’s not that they *deserve* more, but that other (white) people would have gotten more. (which may or may not be true, but this is the kind of attitude that has been ingrained in them)

    anyway, it is much a more complex matter than i can possibly sum up…i just hope this clears some things up. not that i am making excuses for those people who have resorted to violence, because what they are doing is horribly wrong and sick, but that is their reality, and that is all they have known. blame society all you want.

  10. wahgnube says:

    I’d typed up this ridiculously long-winded response, but I realized, for the most part, I don’t really disagree with anything you’ve said. Nor did I really say anything to the contrary in the original post—except that I believe this country’s administration seems to be so steeped in incompetence, I think the problem would have been just as bad even if the majority of the afflicted people were not black. I do get how huge the divide is in that area between the upper and lower classes; I saw it with my own eyes.

    So, you do agree (as in I’m clarifying that’s not sarcasm) that their social setup is the root cause for the problems, not the individuals themselves? I wasn’t saying anything else really.

    And oh, I had forgotten about the whole druggies-who-needed-their-fix thing. That rationalizes the sporadic violence somewhat.

  11. anita says:

    yes, i agreed with you about society being the root of the problem, and yes the bush administration is totally incompetent. really, all i wanted to comment on initially was the ice issue, because i do think that ice was needed and useful.

    what bothered me is that you made is sound like quite a lot of people were being violent towards others who were trying to help, and that this type of thing would only happen in the US. then with that other person’s comment, i just got more irritated. (the ice wasn’t going to the gang members! it was going to all the other people who weren’t doing anything wrong.)

    i just don’t like it when people generalize. that’s basically it. same with comments like “you proceed to encourage it with your tax cuts for the rich and the wars…” – maybe republicans do. but i’m not a republican. and over half the country isn’t either. so don’t make it sound like everyone in this country has those beliefs.

  12. wahgnube says:

    OK, I admit, ice is useful.

    I didn’t mean to make it sound like a lot of people were being violent, just that I was trying to push a right-to-firearms-is-bad side agenda. So I made it sound like as if, if people couldn’t own guns, this wouldn’t happen. (Which made it sound like I was saying this would only happen in the US). I apologise for the other person’s comment. If it helps, it annoyed me too.

    OK, I admit I did that on purpose. I equated “this country’s current government” with “this country”. I just wanted to use that sentence so badly. “You have a growing dichotomy, you encourage it…” sounded much more forceful a statement than “You have a growing dichotomy, your current government encourages it”.

    Yes, implying that whatever half the people or more believe, this is what is really happening anyhow.

  13. pUl| says:

    Hey hey, hold it right there. Firstly, there’s no need for anyone to apologize on anyone else’s behalf. That was my *personal* opinion on the ‘ICE’ issue and sure enough I know why I think it doesn’t make much sense as opposed to one, (oh wait…) two other people. And yes, if it annoys someone, it is courteous for that someone to speak out frankly and let me know directly.

  14. wahgnube says:

    ACK, again I’m sorry and didn’t mean to apologise on your behalf. It was mentioned frankly, I stepped in because I didn’t realize you were still following the discussion. I felt it was my responsibility to moderate; The goal here is not to argue or leave anyone annoyed.

  15. anita says:

    i’m sorry if i come across as being very argumentative…i figured out what was really bothering me though. sometimes, people write things about americans that come across sounding really condescending. that’s what got under my skin here.

    i’ll shut up now.

  16. wahgnube says:

    But it’s just so hard not to :). Not to mention it’s so much fun!

    And I did prefix all of this by saying I’m going to interpret “freedom of speech” as “freedom of speech at whosever’s expense”.

    (To be read: Yes, it’s all my fault. I must try to be a little more sensitive in the future.)

1 people conned into wasting their bandwidth.