Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Where you left your heart

I give up.

I can't write what's in my heart about Mardi Gras. It makes me too proud, and it hurts too much.

Besides, it's already been done better.

Editor B explains that it's a lot bigger than the chestbaring boozefest you see on TV.

The Krewe du Vieux parade says it all to me... check out B's post about it, and he points to a great pic at The Third Battle Of New Orleans.

And Robert Tallant said it pretty well in 1948 too.

Bill Joyce put it in a picture instead of words, but since the White House Press Corps got its knickers in a twist, you have to go there to see it.

The Post kind of gets it, God bless them, and they represent the spread of the loss too.

Public radio gets it too, from Morning Edition's story about Lundi Gras to Weekend America's painful soundscape of New Orleans.

Maybe the message is just that I hate, hate, hate, hate TV news.

Leave it here, cher: none of these Yankee Puritans with their incredulous tones on CNN or ABC can come to my Irish wake either. (Because that's a likely problem.) If you don't know why community ritual is vital to healing, well, hell Jed, I don't even want to know you.

(Which is not to say that I don't understand the people who don't have it in them to participate. I do. I hope that, if it hurts too much this year, it won't next year. And if you never do come back, I sincerely wish for you that it doesn't hurt to watch it from afar.)


Blogger tommyspoon said...

I've long believed that one of the biggest problems that this country has is too much lent and not enough carnival.

If you want a travelling partner for next year's Mardis Gras, let me know. I'll even drive.

9:59 AM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger John B. said...

I would love to go to New Orleans to experience Mardi Gras...it is one of the few 'goals' I have in life...and I thought that it would be unattainable after Katrina.

The people down there need the celebration, and we all need to be able to let our hair down a bit.

As a Catholic, I love Lent as a liturgical season, it is a season demonstrating more than any other God's gift to humanity of Christ, and Christ's gift to us through his suffering on the cross.

The contrast between Mardi Gras and Lent couldn't be greater, and there is nothing wrong with that.

11:12 AM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Alison said...

I don't know how I feel about Mardi Gras this year. I'm totally down with the Irish wake aspect of it, and with using the event as a venue for protest, but as one woman from the 9th ward put it this morning (I am paraphrasing), "it's awful nice for them to spend all this money on a party, but I don't have a house." Spending for previous Carnivals has typically topped $1.56 billion. With a B. Even given a smaller scale celebration this year, how many wheelbarrows would that have bought you?

11:27 AM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Joe said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:47 PM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Joe said...

Alison, I'd respect the news better if they had your honesty. If this was about using the money for rebuilding instead of partying, there'd be a useful debate.

Thank you for pointing up how much still needs to be done. And I didn't mean to call anyone who agrees with you a "Yankee puritan".

But what I see on TV is perfectly-coiffed people clucking about how strange it is to be happy when you're supposed to be sad. NPR and the Post and the Times use their power to focus the debate. Why not CNN?

So let's open up that economic debate... one argument is that it's an outpouring of mostly private money to kickstart some components of the New Orleans economy. Not the same as rebuilding houses, I know well, but an important long-term issue nonetheless. What happens to those businesses if we put that off for a year?

Another argument is that it would've bought exactly no more wheelbarrows for my crew, because it would have been flying partiers to Rio or Mobile instead. (Or paying for repair or relocation for the people who can afford it, and still leaving those without means in the cold.)

The best piece of coverage was that Marketplace told us yesterday that about 2/3rds of the relief money is gone, and the rebuilding charities still need our help.

I just don't believe suspending the event gets this much attention.

6:58 PM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

I'm totally fine with people cutting loose, be they from New Orleans or elsewhere.

I was a junior in high school, about to go to a huge party. I got a phone call that an elementary school/junior high friend of mine had just suffered a nervous breakdown. I was devastated. I voiced that I wasn't sure I wanted to go to the party. My wise mother said: "Staying home won't help Bob."

Maybe partying doesn't help the homeless people. But not partying doesn't either.

Mardi Gras or wheelbarrows is a false dichotomy. We can do both.

That said I will NEVER do Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I hate crowds. But Rio...I could be talked into. I dig the Latin women.

11:01 PM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Joe said...

You hate crowds of Americans but like crowds in a foreign city with a stunningly high crime rate?

Yeah, OK, Brazilians are pretty hot, I can see that. ;-)

10:11 AM, March 01, 2006  
Blogger Paros Shepherd said...

I want to comment on your TV news statement.

I believe the world would be a much better place without it.

It would be much better for people to choose which news items they wish to see.

So there is still room fro progress in electronics.

8:31 AM, March 02, 2006  
Blogger lemming said...

Hey, watch what you say about Yankee Puritans!

After reading B's struggles over the last six months, I'm all in favor of the Mardi Gras festivities going ahead. Laughter is an important part of recovery.

I'm not sure how I feel about Fox (or was it Court TV) airing six hours of back-to-back episodes of "COPS - New Orleans - Mardi Gras" (from the pre-Katrina years, obviously) on Tuesday night.

2:07 PM, March 02, 2006  

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