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Dystopian Dixie - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Dystopian Dixie
My entry from earlier this evening on the "cinematic" reporting of the madness in New Orleans bows in admiration to the ones on interdictor's LJ, drawn to my attention by _luaineach, which demonstrates the power of blogging to give a sense of reality that standard journalism only rarely achieves. I suspect that I would disagree with him on almost every point worth arguing, were we to discuss politics in the friction-free environment of some think tank. But I'm awed by his persistence in getting the word out under absurdly trying circumstances and can even live with his less-PC moments because I've never believed that looting constitutes a viable politics of resistance.

Maybe I witnessed one-too-many privileged, white frat boy wander out of the Berkeley Gap with a pile of new chinos during an "anarchist" uprising. Maybe the petty Bürger blood I inherited from my grandfather the camera-store owner still flows too freely inside me. Maybe I'm too much of a fascist law-lover. Whatever the reason, I have a hard time having sympathy for anyone taking advantage of a situation where people are dying in large numbers to raid stores when they could be contributing to the relief effort by simply not looting.

As I've said already in comments, the impoverished neighborhood underneath the Cypress Structure in West Oakland did not take its collapse during the 1989 Loma Prieta quake as a call to loot, but as a call for help. The only looters I know of were the "radical" German Autonomen -- one of whom stole my checkbooks and left scabies on the clothes of mine he'd borrowed without asking -- who, upon seeing the television coverage at Jeremy and David's place, said, "How zou vie get to zies road? Vie can take zair vallets if zay are dead." Pardon me if, even fifteen years later, I still haven't managed to wash the taste of that brand of anarchism out of my mouth.
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_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: September 1st, 2005 07:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Isn't interdictor completely *anti*-looting? That aside, I also suspect that you would disagree with him on almost every point worth arguing. :)

But, it's definitely an intersting read and, yes, love him or hate him it's a remarkable thing.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 1st, 2005 07:37 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Right. He's anti-looting. And so am I. So that's why I can live with his most un-PC comments in this particular context, since they are directed at looters for whom my own bleeding heart has been wrung dry.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: September 1st, 2005 07:54 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh. Duh. Sleepy sleepy. I totally misread that sentence.
pissang From: pissang Date: September 1st, 2005 07:39 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Deviant behavior seems to be a result of the politics you mentioned in an earlier post--the (non)relationship of the polis to its citizens. Read this way, looting is the breaking through of a subcutaneous rupture. I'm thinking specifically of riots as opposed to intellectualized anarchism. Like Spike Lee shows us in Do The Right Thing, the events of a traumatic day and the events of a history can mingle quite combustibly. I tend to agree with you that people a)should take responsibility for their own actions and b)often look for ways to profit personally from tragedy. At the same time, urban revolt seems to lend itself to this odd new critical reading. Can we apply the intentional fallacy to looters? Don't know if I make sense. Just thinking...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 2nd, 2005 03:25 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I like that idea of using the intentional fallacy in an overtly political way. It's really smart. I'm all for taking what you need to survive in an emergency. But what was that guy with twelve bottles of steak sauce doing?
From: e4q Date: September 1st, 2005 09:01 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i had not long been on LJ when the 7.7 bombing happened here (london) and i was struck by how much more useful the bespoke LJ community was in terms of straight news and information than the tv or even the radio. updates were prompt and dispassionate, information was clear. really impressive. completely contrasting with the hysterical blowsy repetetive pornography of tv footage...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 2nd, 2005 03:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Definitely. If you have the right URLs, bypassing the mainstream media is the way to go.
chefxh From: chefxh Date: September 1st, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Berkeley "anarchist uprisings" -- oh PLEASE.

And I would have thrown that German ghoul out on his ass. But then I was there, too, and still haven't gotten over the Loma Prieta quake (90 days later I was in Tucson).
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