August 31, 2005

In favor of looting and laziness

Perhaps I'm missing something, but why the big concern with looting in New Orleans? The city is flooded. It ain't coming back like it used to be. (I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought "Pity I never saw it before it was gone.") There are probably thousands of dead people, sewage, and what have you, floating around, creating a public health disaster in the making, and people are concerned about football jerseys being stolen. Moreover, some of these people "looting" stores for food might actually be hungry, their own homes and larders might well have been destroyed. In that case I'm all for looting.

Another thing I don't quite get is the fuss every year over President Bush's extended holiday cum temporary-office-relocation at his ranch. Where I come from the country's government pretty much hibernates from Christmas through Wellington Anniversary Day (around January 22). Now I concede that the New Zealand government's global importance ranks ever so slightly below the American government's, but it's just silly to expect the President to always be on the job. It has always been clear that the current President doesn't put in long hours, but it's hardly the worst of his faults. It is somewhat ironic that Bush wants to both accrue power to the executive branch and and not work such long hours, but it's the first desire—excessive Presidential power and its application—that should demand the media's attention, not how much time he puts in.

Another thing I don't quite get is why the mother of a dead soldier is given greater moral authority than others to oppose the war in Iraq. I'm sympathetic to what she says, and she and her supporters have done a good job at generating media coverage, and exploiting (I mean this as a compliment) the way the American media covers politics. But giving greater moral authority to the mothers of the dead, the fallen, and those who have served, is no way to debate the war in Iraq. Venerating soldier's mothers perpetuates the age-old notion that women's role in wartime is to breed and raise men for the war. Privileging the experience and critique of those who have served undermines the republican and democratic ideal that the citizens have ultimate authority over the military. The war in Iraq is an issue for all American citizens, not just those with a personal connection to the events.

What connects all of these narratives is the focus on the immediate and personal aspect of cataclysmic events and weightier abstract issues. I do get that.

Posted by robe0419 at August 31, 2005 02:37 PM | TrackBack

to loot or not to loot... i guess if my house has been smacked right out of its foundations, banks arent really working, there are no restos open... i agree with you, looting would be the way to go. I guess the owners really feel more attached to their shit than the souls of the damnified... i bet you theyll end up selling 1dollar bracelets, get 40cts for themselves and give the rest to some fund.


Posted by: javo at September 1, 2005 03:19 PM

Regarding Sheehan and her moral authority: In any discussion, I frequently encounter those who claim authority on the subject based on the limited experience of some relative. In a blog post a long time ago, I criticized the medical system based on an unpleasant experience I had at the emergency room. At least two commenters told me I was full of it with no better justification that 'my wife's a nurse...'. Similarly, such individuals will monopolize the discussion of the recent hurricane or the war in Iraq or whatever if they have an affected relative. It goes both ways though. For every Cindy Sheehan, there is someone who dominates the pro-war argument not because of a superior argument but because s/he had the misfortune to have a relative killed/wounded in the war.

Posted by: Jim at September 12, 2005 03:36 PM
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