August 31st, 2005

good grief

Via a bunch of people

This is getting pretty widely propigated around the internet, but it's so fucking sad and hilarious it's worth repeating here:

Black people loot things. White people find things.

Why does this happen? Why is everyone from the public tut-tutting the police for "allowing" looting to take place? Why would anyone take poor people to task for "stealing" food and drink and medicine when they're trapped inside a flood zone with no power, no clean drinking water, and no idea when or if they'll be rescued? Why is it important that we make a show of condemning people who steal a TV or a gold chain from a store who's going to write off its entire inventory as destroyed by flooding for the insurance money anyway? Why would anyone even begin to give a weeping shit about looting in the middle of the biggest natural disaster in American history?

There are hundreds of thousands of people right now with no home and no idea where they're going to go. All night, workers were risking their lives, dodging fires and downed power lines, trying to rescue people who have been sitting on their roof for 12 hours because everything they own, an entire lifetime of savings and work, is under twelve feet of water. This will take years -- years to clean up, and may drastically change the entire face of the Gulf Coast region. Katrina may very well precipitate an economic upheaval, and will certainly cost tens of billions of dollars. New Orleans is slowly and inexorably disappearing from the map. And in the face of all this, some people -- let's face it, lots of people -- find it necessary to bitch that a handful of black people are busting into flooded stores and stealing a few hundred bucks worth of half-submerged merchandise? No wonder no one in New Orleans government for the last 50 years could be bothered to come up with a workable, decently funded emergency plan; our priorities are fucked.

(ETA: Here's another great moment in bias-free captioning: the white woman "looks through (her) shopping bag", like she's just wandered in to buy some sundries, while the black guy "jumps through a broken window", that criminal son of a bitch.)

Black people gouge; white people take advantage of price fluctuations

Meanwhile, just in case you were worried that Hurricane Katrina might force right-wing ideologues to show some human decency, Jordan Ballor at the Acton Institute's PowerBlog writes lovely little defense of price-gouging. Delightfully, he caps off his piece, which apparently is not meant as a joke, by presenting to any of his readers who might have religious qualms a Biblical justification for "situational pricing".
stella stella can't you hear me yella

Curt Billings, Medieval Scholar! To the Stars!

“Hey, Curt!”

“Hey, Dennis. Givin’ the old car a polish, eh?”

“Yeah, she can use it. Hey, how’s the medieval scholarship going?”

“Oh, you know. You win some, you lose some.”

“Yeah? Is it keepin’ you busy?”

“Oh, man, it never stops. It’s always something in the medieval scholarship game.”

“Really? What do you do, exactly?”

“Uh…well, you know how it is. A little scholarship here, a little, uh, medieviality there…say, how’s the insurance business treating you?”

“It’s fine. What I mean is, what exactly do you do? What are your actual duties as a medieval scholar?”

“I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested, Dennis. It’s pretty dry.”

“No, really, I’m quite interested. How many people can say their neighbor is a medieval scholar?”

“Not a lot of people. I guess.”

“So, what’s the story? What’s a typical day for you?”


“Just give me the abridged version.”

“Well, you know. I’ll, uh, get up, have some orange juice, and head to the place, the place I work…”

“The university?”

“Yeah, that. And I’ll go look at some medieval books, and do, uh, do some research. Find out some things that maybe people don’t know about the medieval zone. Or, times. Time zone. We also call it the ‘middle ages’.”

“Uh huh.”

“And then, you know, some lunch, at, uh, well, you know there’s a really good cafeteria at the university, where I, uh, scholar, and a lot of the kids eat there, so I’ll go have a burrito, you know, keep in touch with the young people. And then, really, it’s just back to the office to write a, uh, what is it?”

“A monograph?”

“No, no, you know, like a short paper dealing with some aspect of an scholarly discipline. In my case, you know, medievialism. Like, I just did one for Medieval Scholar’s Digest about, uh, the economic, uh, crusades of Lord Sidney Montgomery and King, uh, King Arthur. Er. Or maybe I’ll call up some other medieval scholars…”

“Like who?”

“Oh, phew! There’s, uh, there’s Greg, and Rusty, and Dr. Smith, and, uh, Professor, uh, Turtlewax…I mean Turtletaub, and there’s another guy named Curt…”


“And we’ll talk about what’s up in the world of medieval scholarship.”


“Of course I sometimes sneak in a little Minesweeper, you know how that goes, right buddy? Ha ha.”

“Ha ha. You’re not really a medieval scholar at all, are you, Curt?”

“What? Sure I am! What a question. Didn’t you see my business cards?”

“Your business cards that say ‘CURT BILLINGS, MEDIEVAL SCHOLAR AND NOTARY PUBLIC’? The ones with a unicorn on them? Yeah. You could have gotten those anywhere. They don’t even say where you teach.”

“Yes they do!”

“They say ‘Prestigious College, U.S.A.’ The number on them is a pay phone.”

“Budget cuts.”

“Come on, Curt.”


“What do you really do for a living?”

“I’m a mediev..”


“I restock the produce section at Jitney Jungle. Also, I’m a notary public.”

“So what’s the medieval scholar thing all about?”

“Well, when I was in high school, everybody looked up to the kids who did medieval scholarship. They always got all the attention, and they would date cheerleaders and stuff. When they’d have the medieval scholarship tournaments, the whole school would show up and go crazy.”


“And the captain of the medieval scholarship team was our homecoming king, and he went on to start his own car dealership. I guess I just wanted to glom on to some of that medeival scholar's glory.”

“Curt, did this medieval scholarship team wear helmets and shoulder pads?”

“Yeah. And these cool gold and green uniforms. I guess it was something to do with heraldry or something.”

“And did they play games on a big field with, er, other medieval scholars, with a brown ball?”


“See, that was a football team.”


“Not a medieval scholarship team. Football. Football is a popular sport, while medieval scholarship is an obscure, little-studied academic discipline.”

“Well, fuck.”

“Sorry, man.”

“Do you know how much those business cards cost me?”