Tuesday, September 20, 2005


One of the most interesting things that has occurred to me while watching the debacle of post-Katrina is the snapshot that the catastrophe of New Orleans and the anti-social behavior of the inner city hooliganism that was on display to the safe comfortable living rooms of lilly white America. Gasp! How could those wicked pore folks act that way? Yeah.. I know. I had the same reaction. I was unhappy with the idiots who were left to their own devices there at the Superdome. And I was unhappy with the TV images of looters. And I was unhappy with stories of rapine and pillaging coming out of the policeless Sin City (secretly exulting in the agonies of a city famous for its whore houses and speakeasies).

But that was actually just the horror of a middle class white guy watching children (and a whole lot of adult males without parental guidance) finally getting their hands on a plasma screen TV even if they didn't have electricity to run the damned things back at the hovels they lived in. Hell, they probably didn't have the necessary cable hookup they would need to see themselves gutting the Circuit City on Canal Street. What maroons!

What has been lacking is the intellectual connection. Why did those folks act so uncivilly? I know for a fact that New Orleans, in spite of its seedy reputation as a place where college boys could practice their projectile vomiting skills there at Jackson Square and as purveyors of the mostly fictional city of sin (decadent Anne Rice novels and all that crap)... is in truth a city mostly of courtly antique Southern manners and the quiet courtesy of traditional black manners. A place where even beslobbered college freshmen would be treated with courtesy by the elderly shoeshine boys plying their trade outside that wonderful donut shop around the corner from Pete Fountain's club (ah, powdered sugar on hot pastry served all night long... just the right mixture of decadence.... classic jazz and diabetes!).

How did it all turn out so ugly? Well, City Journal's Kay Hymowitz has revived the discussion of the Moynihan Report (will the Great Society ever release us from the strangle hold it has on our collective throats?)

Do you really want to understand what has been happening in New Orleans? Well, go read this thing. I know, I know.. the talk radio crowd has it all figgered out. The loony left is blaming evil Bush and the angry right is blaming loony liberals... but we all know that this is just the pointless finger pointing of people who really don't have a clue because they need their understanding to come in sound bites rather than whole sentences with subjects and verbs. Ah, the joys of post modernism.

Hymowitz wrote a really good book called Liberation's Children -- Parents and Kids in a Post Modern Age. This article is just a slice of that.

Go read a book. Learn something.