The power of the strum of a guitar

The New Orleans tragedy has reminded many people of things they’d forgotten (or would rather forget) are happening in America — institutional racism, neglect of the poor, and our barely functioning government, for example — and one thing that has emerged is the power of photographs and the ways they can be manipulated. The classic example, of course, is the looter/scavenger couplet that exposes all too clearly the arbitrary (and prejudiced) way we apply labels. There’s also the use of pictures of despairing people, a la starving Africans, in order to gain sympathy for their plight.

Is there room for humor here? Of course there is, and Boing Boing found it.
Th Bushguitgreat

What song do you think Georgie is singing here?

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0 thoughts on “The power of the strum of a guitar

  1. “The classic example, of course, is the looter/scavenger couplet that exposes all too clearly the arbitrary (and prejudiced) way we apply labels.”

    That’s not exactly right. The first uproar was actually caused by photos from two different agencies with captions written by two different people. There’s an email [url=http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=17204 ]here[/url/ (about halfway down the page) from Chris Graythen, one of the photographers. While there may be a racial bias at play in this disaster, I don’t think you’ll find any overwhelming evidence of it in the media. And for a good, cut-and-dry piece on the absence of media bias, read Chuck Klosterman’s (I know, I know) essay, [i]All I Know Is What I Read In The Papers.[/i]

  2. As I tried to educate myself about this tragedy and put it perspective for myself, to me, one of the most telling articles, was by Marjorie Cohn, Two Americas, in it she described that Cuba had experienced a Category 5 hurricane last september and no one died. So you realize then, that nobody in New Orleans had to die. That there were policies that could have been enacted, and measures that could have been taken, it was possible to avoid this. The Government didn’t do it. It has made an idealogical decision not to do it. The programs that people actually need our starved. I guess saving yourself from Hurricanes fall into Bush’s “era of personal responsibility”

    I think this may be the most convincing proof, that the Sept. 11th attacks could have been prevented. This was a glimpse into how the current government functions -with contempt for people.

  3. “I think this may be the most convincing proof, that the Sept. 11th attacks could have been prevented. This was a glimpse into how the current government functions -with contempt for people.”

    i fail to see how no one dying in cuba’s category 5 hurricane proves that the september 11th attacks could have been prevented. although your second point may hold true.

  4. My point was this- Governments make decisions about how they are going to function. The current Government has decided that science doesn’t need to be regarded, social programs don’t need to be funded, and official positions are to be given to personal friends with no experience. In that context, a Government is literally unable to function in a way that protects its people. The New Orleans tragedy introduced us to exactly how poorly the current Government functions. If was assume this has been their modus operandi from the time they came into office, then we can also assume had they made different choices about funding and prioritizing before Sept. 11th, they would have been able to prevent the attacks.

    If you think that those in charge would not put their small government idealogy over preventing terrorist attacks, then I think a telling example is how vigorously Republicans opposed the Federalizing of Airport Security immediatly following Sept. 11th. Repuclicans opposed Federalizing Airport Security because they do not belive that the Federal Government has a function of protecting people.

  5. Regarding the looting/finding debate, although the photographer who took that “finding” photo claims no bias — and I believe him — the real trouble is with the photographer/caption writer who labeled the photo of the black man “looting.” And that person may claim his or her innocence, too. But these racial issues are deeply embedded and we might not always recognize them for what they are.

    While discussing this with my mother last weekend, we got in an argument about the old show Amos n Andy. She said it wasn’t racist, just funny! I didn’t want to accuse her of being racist, but I think her prejudices were coming through quite clearly. The show was so clearly racist that if we choose not too notice or ignore it, we are implicated in that. My grandmother was a bit more honest. “It was funny *and* racist,” she said.

  6. I compared Amos ‘n andy to shows that highlight stereotypical Jewish, Italian, and Irish traits…which can also be demeaning..and funny.

  7. Oy. I’m in trouble.

    I’ll just say that the difference is that Amos ‘n’ Andy was produced by white people about black people. Most, if not all, humor about Jewish people (I can’t speak for Italian or Irish) is produced by Jews. That’s a big difference. Also, the big difference about Amos ‘n’ Andy and other depictions like it, is that we are laughing at the characters and their racial depictions, not with them.

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