Rebecca Hagelin at Townhall.com sees the Katrina disaster as an indictment of the gangsta culture. Let’s have fun with her:
Throwing out the thugs
This famous, selfless cry for the safety of others is best associated with the tragedy of the Titanic, when thousands lost their lives in the frozen waters of the sea so many years ago.
Yes. We all remember reading how the people on the Titanic ran up and down the decks yelling (for no apparent reason) "Throwing out the things! Throwing out the thugs!".
I suspect that Rebecca’s original title for the piece was "Women and Children First!". Only then would her opening sentence make sense. Apparently, that was too tame for the Townhall.com editor, so now we have an editorial which starts rather bizarrely. But it gets worse.
Not unlike the rising waters in New Orleans, where the ocean began to fill its natural territory after man-made walls that held it back for so long failed, so the mighty waters of the North Atlantic engulfed the damaged vessel that sought to defy nature’s icebergs and open waters.
Interesting sentence structure there, Rebecca. In other words, New Orleans and the Titanic both flooded. I think we get it.
But, unlike New Orleans where dry land was nearby, the Titanic was a lone ship, in the middle of the vast waters, filled with helpless souls who had nowhere to go save too few lifeboats.
Dry land nearby doesn’t do much good when there is no access to it.
The harsh reality that dreadful day in 1912 is that most of the passengers would die, and they knew it. Yet, amid the panic and impending doom, the accounts of survivors remind us of a time when civility and honor were more important to many than survival itself.
Well, yes, as long as you were of the proper class, as this chart shows:
Let’s return to Rebecca:
So how is that in fewer than 100 years we have digressed to a society where, when disaster strikes, the story is marked by a display of the worst side of human nature rather than the best?
Well, let’s see. In the past five years, I can think of two major disasters in the United States, and several minor ones (smaller hurricanes). Hardly enough data points to make a conclusion about societal digression, but even if I could, I wouldn’t say things are that bad.
Could it be that in a pop culture where the gangsta style is "hip" and is reflected and perpetuated in everything from violent rap and hip-hop music, to the clothing styles, to the language and gestures used in "normal" communication, to the negative attitudes toward females and children, that the "style" isn’t just a fashion trend but has actually become a way of life for some?
"For some"? Who do you mean, Rebecca? Care to be specific?
Anyway, the answer to your question is "Um… no".
In other words, in a culture where many people dress like gangstas, talk like gangstas, and strut like gangstas, should we be shocked and horrified that they start engaging in gangsta crime when given the opportunity?
Who is "they", Rebecca?
I can’t help but conclude that if the tragic natural disaster in New Orleans had occurred in a culture that had daily practiced the Golden Rule, rather than the Gangsta Rot, we would have seen more scenes of neighbors helping neighbors and far fewer scenes of neighbors preying upon neighbors.
I have to admit — I had to google "Gangsta Rot". Didn’t help. I hope I’m not practicing it though, whatever it is. It sounds contageous.
This is not to say that lawlessness ruled the past week in New Orleans. The fact is, it didn’t.
Ah. So this is just an attempt to criticize a segment of our culture, even though the criticism is based on a premise that you deny is factually true. Actually, it’s even less factually true than you probably recognize.
The story of the flood is filled with heroic acts of selflessness, and of desperate neighbor helping desperate neighbor even while death loomed around them. And the amazing generosity from countless Americans — in and near the disaster areas, as well as around the nation — is a testament to the goodness of the American people.
Okay. Well, then I guess there’s no problem. Still…
Still, the raping and beating and pillaging and murdering that shocked the world, for many now define not just New Orleans, but American culture.
So then it’s a problem of perception and prejudice with American culture, not reality, right? Why then do you perpetuate the myth, Rebecca?
It’s time to ask ourselves a few obvious questions: Why do we as a nation produce and embrace a pop culture that glorifies rap and hip-hop music…
Because it’s fun to get our freak on, I’m guessing.
…that teaches men to prey upon women and engage in senseless violence…
I got a C-minus in Preying Upon Women 101, but that’s only because I slept during the lectures.
…and that is now, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent survey on media and youth, the number-one music choice of teenagers from all races and every socio-economic status?
Well, that’s not entirely true, Rebecca. Here’s what the Kaiser Family Foundation survey actually said (PDF format):
But let’s continue with Rebecca:
Why is it that we produce, en masse, hedonistic movies, television programs, and Internet content?
Just to annoy you.
Why is it that we continue to make ever more graphic and violent video games for our children? Why have we allowed such selfish messages to have such a powerful voice in our culture?
Seeing as how the Katrina story is filled "with heroic acts of selflessness, and of desperate neighbor helping desperate neighbor:, maybe we should be making more of this stuff.
Mind you, I’m not advocating government censorship, but rather pleading for social and parental rejection to replace the current proliferation and acceptance of such barbaric and destructive messages.
Right. When you ask "why do we make violent video games", you obviously mean us parents who make violent video games.
Other key questions — a bit different but entirely related — for the good people of New Orleans and taxpayers everywhere to ask of Louisiana and federal officials is: Why is it not only common knowledge but also accepted practice that organized crime and gangs hold much of the power and control much of the commerce in New Orleans?
"Common knowledge" is loony bin shorthand for "I googled and couldn’t find it to be true, but I know it must be".
Will New Orleans return to business as usual? Or will you uplift the entire community by throwing out the thugs and their vile wares for which New Orleans is infamous?
Call me crazy, but I think New Orleans is going to be synonymous with something else from now on — government incompetence.
When you think about it, the values of the thugs involved in the post-Katrina crime wave really weren’t all that different from those that have flooded sections of New Orleans with societal sewage for years.
In other words, rap music is shit.
Once the immediate danger has passed and the cleanup has begun in earnest, we must, as a nation, ask ourselves many questions. Along with the formal investigations into what went wrong with the local, state and national emergency plans (or lack thereof), we as citizens must also explore how our failure to teach civility, decency and morality gravely compounded the problems of an already horrific disaster.
I can save us some time. The lack of planning was the genesis of the societal outrage from a segment of the population perpetually left behind and marginalized. Next question.
The stories of the heroic figures of the Titanic and the civility that marked their lives and culture should not be lost. Now is an excellent time to use the lessons of history to build a better future for our children.
Next time, we should lock all rap music listeners and their boomboxes into steerage, where their complaints cannot be heard (or their music).
For more on the lessons of the Titanic, visit www.VisionForum.com and type in “Titanic” under search.
I did. Here is the result page. 12 hits, including several children’s books, and three dolls, like "The Evangeline Doll":
Evangeline has golden hair and sweet brown eyes. Exquisitely crafted, Evangeline can stand and sit alone. As durable as she is lovely, Evangeline is ready to be hugged and squeezed with love! Evangeline comes wearing an adorable pink, feminine dress, complete with white socks and white patent shoes.
Your little girls can relive history when they dress their Evangeline doll in our specially designed, Vision Forum exclusive, historical costumes. Evangeline can brave the voyage to New England as Priscilla Mullins, help Lewis and Clark find the Northwest Passage as Sacagawea, serve tea at the White House as Dolley Madison, stroll the deck of the Titanic as Nan Harper, or climb the Alps as Maria von Trapp. True “little girl” dolls are rare in our age of fashion models and rushed childhood. Playing with Evangeline will fill your daughter’s childhood with memories to inspire her as she grows up to be a mommy.
If only New Orleans gangstas had played with these dolls more growing up. Of course, at $89.00 a pop, I doubt many of them could afford it.