Where Has All the Freedom Gone? Long Time Passing...
So, I'll start with what's been bothering me recently.
The New Orleans Saints. WTF? So Monday night was their return to the Superdome, and it was given the treatment of a king reclaiming his throne after years fighting abroad. ESPN unnecessarily spent the whole day there, pontificating on why this is such a huge deal for America and for the country's history. ESPN should change it's name to Lifetime for Men, because all they do is fluff pieces about widows, players' rough pasts, and memorable games. What happened to recent events, like playing clips of games known as "highlights?"
Let's talk about the damage. Hurricane Katrina RIPPED apart New Orleans, terrorized and killed many, left even more homeless, with no future and with no options. The Superdome became a warehouse for the deceased and diseased, the dying and the trying. The seats, the field, a good part of the roof, it was all ruined. So 13 months and $185 million later, the Superdome is back. And ready to rock! (Courtesy of awkward pairing U2 and Green Day. An aside: Bono-you're pretty cool. Changing your existential-lite taut surrealist piece you titled "Beautiful Day" to include lyrics about Hurricane Katrina is a bit surreal, yeah, but a bit tasteless.)
<----speaking of Tasteless, yet somehow Tasty! Does someone want to tell this person (woman?) that Katrina was not GOOD?
The Saints won. 23-3. Spike Lee was there. And talking to the Monday Night Football anchors. Kornheiser (the real-life Jason Alexander) asked him if this means New Orleans is alright. He responded, "How the fuck would I know? I'm just here to promote my 9 billion hour long documentary, which you can watch on HBO now or on HBO on-Demand." Okay, he didn't say that, but come on, what the hell is he doing there. Avery Johnson was there, who grew up in New Orleans. Allan Toussaint and Irma Thomas sang the National Anthem. (She's still alive? AWESOME. I bet she didn't sing, "Wish Someone Would Care" or "It's Raining.")
And while this was an important event, it was dwarfed by the ridiculousness of the writers who needed to prophetize and regale the awesomeness of this day.
Par Exampla, Michael Smith, writing for ESPN.com, had this to say:
Often, we try to make sporting events more meaningful than they really are. We try to attach some real-world social significance to them when in fact they are just games. This is different, though. Sports are this country's great escape, but the moment those thousands of people filled the Dome to escape Mother Nature's fury, that building became more than just an arena. This game is about life and death. I honestly cannot think of a more important sporting event. Ever. You try. The Saints are coming home to a building thousands actually called home during the flood.
First off, this game was NOT about life and death. No one had their lives on the line with this game. GAME. IT'S A GAME. You know what GAME is life or death? Russian Roulette. Second of all, Sports are NOT America's great escape. The movies are. More people watch movies than go to/watch sporting events. No statistics here, but I feel it. YOU SUCK, Michael Smith. BOO!!! Woody Paige 4 eva!
My favorite article though was written by ABC News, a bastion of accurate, non-fearmongering news. Their use of positive, feel-good quotations were overshadowed by Joe Horn, who sounds like the most depressed man ever. If he were drinking by himself at a bar, he'd probably get the bar to sui out before the end of his monologue. Bukowski was depressing sad, Joe Horn is hilariously sad.
"They can sit in those seats," said Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, "and say 'You know what? Okay, the city needs $200 million. We need some money for something else. But for four hours, I can sit with my kids and I can enjoy my football team.'"
Good point. For the 72,000 sitting there. Because you know who doesn't have TV? New Orleans' residents. As you later say, the 9th Ward doesn't even have running water. He goes on.
Joe Horn said that the quick repair of the Superdome should give people a sense of hope that the rest of the city can bounce back.
"If you can rebuild a place that's 1.9 million square feet," Horn said, "you should be able to come back here and rebuild a 3,000-square foot house."
You WOULD think that, right? So listen to the guy who oversaw the renovations talk himself out of why that's so...
Doug Thornton, who oversaw the renovations this past year at the Superdome, said those concerns are unfounded because the $116 million that FEMA kicked in to repair the facility could not have been used for neighborhood rebuilding, because it was set aside for public facilities like the Superdome.
"This money … in no way took away from money that was being allocated to the home program or the … individual neighborhoods," Thornton said.
I'm sorry, but to me, the Superdome is nowhere NEAR the first thing FEMA should be paying to fix. Plus, quick math, it cost around 185 million to repair the Superdome. FEMA put in $116 million. So where's the other $60 million coming from? I assume it's from the City of New Orleans, which gets everything from taxes. So, really, the citizens of New Orleans are paying for this. Is this what they wanted? The first thing to fix is the football stadium? Really though? I mean, really? Since 70,000 people attend, does that mean that they are paying for $857 seats?
Drew Brees with the awkward comment, "You don't realize how die hard these fans are until you come down here and they you start winning, and it's crazy," Brees said." Note to Brees: Die Hard? Not a good way of putting it.
And finally, more depressing Joe Horn.
Saints receiver Joe Horn spoke of people he has met who said they just couldn't go back into that building because the memories were still too raw.
"They said, 'Joe, I've been a season ticket holder, I've been going to the Dome watching games, but after what I've seen, baby, after what I've seen and what I went through, I cant step foot back in there,'" Horn said.
Well, okay! So in short: Hurricane Katrina was absolutely horrifying. Not just for the destruction, but for the lack of governmental help afterwards. Anyone talking about why this game was monumental for the reasons described above should not be allowed to comment on such things anymore.
I will leave with one of my favorite rappers at the moment, Lil Wayne, and his track, Georgia Bush.
"Then they telling y’all lies on the news
the white people smiling like everything cool
but I know people that died in that pool
I know people that died in them schools
now only to survive what to do
got no trailer you got to move
now it’s on to Texas and to Georgia…"
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