Saturday, September 03, 2005

late night ramblings

Last night I had to listen to another New Yorker talk about how much that city came together in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, contrasted with what is happening in New Orleans.

There's this annoying tendency among New Yorkers to compare their city favorably against all others, whether it's the capacity to get a really good pastrami sandwich or for the residents to rise above in the face of a crisis.

Whatever. I love New York. It IS superior to most other cities. But it also sucks in a thousand different ways. Get over yourselves.

I reminded this woman that New Yorkers didn't "come together" in such a fabulous way in 1977 when residents looted during a more than 24 hour blackout, causing $60 million in damage (I looked the number up this morning). She didn't know what the hell I was talking about, but refuted it nevertheless, suggesting that the looting occured later. Two things wrong with that comment: it's not true and it's irrelevant.

In September 2001, New York City was experiencing a relative economic heyday. The 30,000 or so residents that were displaced in downtown Manhattan? Many were wealthy or at the very least had the resources to get themselves out of the area.

In 1977, the city of New York was in the toilet economically. It was hot as sh*t and there was a serial killer on the loose.

In New Orleans, in 2005, the city is not doing well economically, the weather is hot and the people who have been displaced are poor and are in subhuman conditions.

There is no coming together.

She also seemed to think that most people in this country perceive the people in New Orleans as animals and criminals and that the media is to blame. I let her know that this was a load of bunk as well. The portrayal of the people in New Orleans has been as victims of the ineptitude of the relief process and of the small number of people who have acted out violently, having been pushed to the brink by the conditions in which they are being asked to survive.

Does anyone else feel differently?

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