I watched Spike Lee’s documentary on Hurricane Katrina, When The Levees Broke over the weekend. I’ve never been a big fan of his because Lee’s always been a grandstander and sensationalist to me. Example: I thought he made a total joke out of the Son of Sam thing in Summer Of Sam—so I was pretty skeptical about Levees at first. But, I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and for once it appears Spike got it right. I was actually impressed with the presentation of differing viewpoints (he even went after the so-called "liberal" mainstream news media and took a few shots at it here) and to my utter shock and total dismay, Rev. Al Sharpton actually had something useful to say for once! Although I do question the credibility of some of the Katrina victims Lee interviewed (like the two white-trash gals clutching 22-oz. bottles of beer while bitching about FEMA, et al), the documentary opened my eyes to some things I wasn’t even aware of too, like how some of the cops actually joined in the looting—there’s a shot of one of New Orleans’ finest standing waist-deep in the water with an armful of DVDs (somehow, I don’t think he was merely holding them for evidence, either). One thing I could have done without is Lee’s attempt at a big conspiracy theory about the government supposedly blowing up the levees on purpose (it’s pretty obvious they were sub-standard to begin with), but on the whole, it’s a very moving documentary. The shots of the dead bodies floating in the water, as well as the poor elderly people who were left to die at the Convention Center/Superdome are downright chilling.
And if this nightmare wasn’t bad enough already, our own government’s pokey-ass response in assisting those in need was/is just appalling. True, the government/FEMA, et al, couldn’t have prevented people from drowning in the rising waters, but they sure as hell could have and should have prevented the suffering that went on at the Superdome, etc. The most ardent Bush supporter has to cringe at watching him do his "You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie!" shtick for the cameras—even Archie Bunker would be calling for his impeachment at this point! Hell, Bush was so quick to offer aid to Iran (a country that hates our guts) following an earthquake, yet blew his own people off until he could get down to the Gulf Coast to do a photo-op. Then again, as Mellencamp sings so "sincerely", "This is our country…" (Cha-ching!). Anyway, I highly recommend When The Levees Broke—it’s well-worth investing the time to view it.
BTW, for those of you keeping score and were not already aware—I don’t like George W. Bush or his administration! Just thought I’d clear that up…
And while I’m still in "Sir Rant-A-Lot" mode here, I’m growing a bit tired of this whole media-created "feel good" story about how the New Orleans Saints’ successful football season has been some sort of panacea for the people of the Big Easy. What a bunch of hooey! Half the population never came back home, and most of the people who’ve remained are still struggling and the city is still a shambles. While I totally supported the renovation of the Superdome—it’s too vital to the city’s economic survival as they rely so much on convention and tourist dollars—all this jaw-jacking (mostly by ESPN-types) about the Saints’ success on the field being some sort of uplifting rallying point for the populace is a bunch of baloney. Keep in mind, this commentary is coming from a long-time football fan! Yes, it’s great that folks at least have something to cheer for, but most of the people who attend Saints games right now don’t even live in New Orleans, anyway—no one in the city itself can afford to go at $75 a pop for nosebleed seats! This is why their NBA team is still playing most of its games in Oklahoma City, too. Who do the media think they’re kidding?