Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Haunted by Ghosts of the Uncivil War

What do people thinks of New Orleans? I just visited this subject in the past week, but I ignored one important block of Americans: right wing bloggers. What did this important if certifiable segment of the alternative media machine have to say?

Browse the headlines or posts of some bloggers like Tempis Fugit, Virtual Memories, Dumbass Central, Mark in Mexico, Insignificant Thoughts and enjoy headlines like "Goodbye New Orleans...and good riddance" and "Rot Underwater for All I Care" and comparisons of Ray Nagin to Marion Barry.

I won't do these people the favor of links that will increase their prominence. You can just go to Technorati New Orleans and browse back a few pages to Sunday and Monday of this week and find the links. These people are some sick puppies.

These people thankfully are not "most Americans" as Suspect Device posits. They are, however, representatives of an incredibly influential block of tens of millions who have drunk the kook-aid, who treat Limbaugh and Hannity as if they were news sources and not shock-jock entertainers.

They are the acolytes of deranged zealots like Michele Malkin and Ann Coulter, people who are so deranged I don't think they're competent to manage their own affairs, much less make suggestions about the management of mine.

These are people who have peered into the abyss and been swallowed by the darkness. It's dangerous to read their rantings. To do so is to peer into the same abyss, to be drawn into the same darkness by our own fallible nature, to think of tens of millions of people who believe every word they hear on AM radio and begin to wonder about the practicality of re-education camps. That way madness lie.

Neither can we just ignore them. The phenomenal success of the rabid right in this country is in part the result of the civility of reasonable people, folks who don't want to have a confrontation at the coffee pot at work with their resident right wing bat-shit-crazy freak. As a result, the bat-shit-crazy freak gets to put his warped views out their as if they had some basis in reality. They win, and ultimately the very civility that lets them get away with it loses.

There is an argument raging on Suspect Device's blog, and behind the scenes via email, over the productivity of ranting about the ranters. It think its a natural reaction, when you read their venomous postings. There's no whay to read them and not start screaming obscenities. If you don't, you need to look at how hard you're hitting the Xanax . Hell, go back and read my posts from the first six months after the Flood, and I'll measure some of them dram versus dram of flying spittle against anybody's for pure boiled-in-lead anger.

I don't do that much anymore. There's too much practical work to be done. What's important for the blogging community is to get the truth out, because all of the Coulter and Malkin wannabees in the world are going at it 24x7 spreading the false memes about NOLA.

We can't fall into an inverse, parallel relationship with the fear-and-hate crowd. Those people have made it possible for their favorite higher ups to make an incredible mess of our country, and incidentally our city. They are a real problem, but we won't solve that problem by emulating them.

Still, we have to answer them, both as Suspect Device and Traveling Mermaid would have us do. We have to answer them here, in our words, and out on the streets of our city, by building a New Orleans that confounds their every prediction and exposes them for a pack of fools and liars.

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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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