August 31, 2005

If I Knew What to Say I'd Say It

But regarding , I don't. Folks have it bad--no power, no water, no sewage system--and they need help. Lots of help.

If you need a list of charities, here's one.

I am, however, mad about a couple things. One: The looters. I've seen it suggested that they're all just "poor and desperate," and doubtless some are. But you don't get gunfire from men and women who just want to feed and clothe their families. I imagine you get it more from people like this guy:

On New Orleans' Canal Street, which actually resembled a canal, dozens of looters ripped open the steel gates on clothing and jewelry stores, some packing plastic garbage cans with loot to float down the street. One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.

"No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store!"

Yeah, this is really the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Mind the dead!

So that's . . . disgusting.

Two: This idea that New Orleans is impractical and not cost effective and therefore should not be rebuilt: Neither's New York. Should we get rid of it?

Look, I lived somewhere where the highest priority in city development was what's cost-effecitve and business-friendly and practical to maintain. And I am here to testify that Dallas, Texas, while not the ugliest city in the world, is for damn sure one of the most soulless, aesthetically speaking.

Don't argue with me, Dallasites. You know it's true. It's got all the worst of a big city--dirt, crime, and concrete--sprawled all 'round with the strip-mall jungle of the suburbs. When people use the word "quaint" with regard to Dallas, they're talking about a few tiny (expensive) neighborhoods and enclaves--Lower Greenville, University Park, Highland Park, maybe Turtle Creek or Lakewood--they're not talking about where most people live, which is out in Mesquite or Plano or Allen or Frisco, where everything looks exactly like everything else. And most people live out there because . . . ?--They can't afford the quaint. Even if they could, who needs it when a couple blocks down you've got bars on all the windows? When you could get mugged walking just a block or two out of your neighborhood, just down to the corner store, that's a little too quaint.

I read an article in D Magazine once in which Virginia Postrel went on at length about how Dallas doesn't need to pursue an aesthetic identity; that maybe being only a collection of quaint little neighborhoods was just fine, because look at New York! And just you never mind that Dallas has nothing in common with New York, historically, geographically, or otherwise.

That article proved to me two things: Dallas doesn't need any more Postrels moving in, and Virginia's apparently spent precious little time in Oak Cliff, another quaint neighborhood just full of ambience (and crack). It suggested a third thing: Not every shiny, happy libertoid excited about the future is worth paying attention to--but there, now I'm just being petty.

My point, before it's buried underneath all this gibberish: If all you worry about with a city is what's practical you get something that looks practical. And when's the last time you admired something with the word "practical?"

"Your dress, I love it! It's so practical!"

"Nice Altima you got there, Dan. Looks really practical."

"Their pizza is just the most practical on the block. I love it."

So to hell with practical. You go on ahead and rebuild however you like, New Orleans--because you will anyway and you certainly don't need my blessing, or anyone else's, to do so.

UPDATE: Again via Andrea--Hurricaid, your one-click source for all things hurricane-aid-related.

Posted by Ilyka at August 31, 2005 05:57 PM in news | TrackBack

I love the city of Savannah, and those highly impractical (for traffic) public squares are one of the best things about it.

I took a course called The Changing Surface of the Earth in college, and one of the books dealt with how the current routing of the Mississippi isn't sustainable in the long term. It didn't really have anything do with hurricanes and attendant flooding, though, it was about erosion/sedimentation.

Of course, I'm typing this in West Palm Beach at about only 15 feet above sea level. Fortunately, I'm working on building a vacuum tube that will carry me to Rhode Island in a dizzying 42 seconds in case of emergency.

Still needs a little work.

Posted by: Hubris at August 31, 2005 08:15 PM

Jesus, I swear I wasn't drunk when I wrote that incoherent, rambling comment. Not sure what my problem is today.

Posted by: Hubris at August 31, 2005 09:42 PM

The point I was getting out of it was that anything off the Mississippi is automatically "impractical," but we're not getting rid of anything there so we may as well keep New Orleans, too.

If you think about it, few areas of the continental U.S. are "practical." You've got earthquakes in California and Washington, hurricanes off the Gulf Coast and along the southeastern seabord, tornadoes in the center part of the country, blizzards and landsides up in the rocky northeast--NOWHERE is practical. Go outside the 48 states, over to Hawaii, and you can add in volcanoes and tsunamis. Do we even need to mention Alaska?

So obviously, nowhere's really fit to live and the only solution is DEATH TO AMERICA. Obviously.

Posted by: ilyka at August 31, 2005 10:31 PM

I don't have anything to add, you said it best, so I'll fall on my staples.

*Gratuitous flirtation*

*Marriage proposal*

Gotta stick with what I know.

Posted by: OHNOES at August 31, 2005 11:23 PM