What Really Caused Katrina?

Water vapor, warm air, condensation and wind, you say? Oh you sad, sad blue-stater, you just don’t get it, do you? Courtesty of that science-loving radical right, we now know that hurricanes are caused by evil feminists aborting their babies for fun. Except, well, sometimes they’re caused by the sodomites. And occassionally, it’s boobies and Girls Gone Wild. Many of these same sinners also caused 9/11.

via Ryan.

And in other ridiculous right-wing news, does anyone here read The New York Post? I don’t (I think my 50 cents is better spent elsewhere, like on 1/10th of my coffee), but I do read it over the shoulders of other passengers on the subway (thank goodness for huge headlines, small words, simple ideas and big print!). One thing I noticed yesterday was that all the stories covering Katrina were under the page label “Our Tsunami.” Now, Katrina is a horrific tragedy. But is it really “Our Tsunami”? For one thing, it’s not a tsunami by any stretch. And must the right always co-opt someone else’s tragedy for their own gain? I realize in this case they’re just trying to sell papers, but comparing this hurricane to the South Asian tsunami is entirely innaccurate, totally disprespectful and pretty darn stupid.


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14 comments for “What Really Caused Katrina?

  1. September 1, 2005 at 11:05 am

    I think we should start forcing churches to teach science in bible study.

    ;-)

  2. September 1, 2005 at 11:06 am

    Ah, more of God’s conditional love. Jesus died for us all, except fags: you’re going to drown.

    But this is America, right? When 3’000 Americans died in NY, it was apparently on par with the Holocaust, even though it clearly wasn’t. When 1’000+ (that’s the latest numbers I’ve heard) die from Katrina, it’s equivalent to hundreds of thousands of heathenous Indonesians. Starting to see a pattern here?

  3. September 1, 2005 at 11:31 am

    Jill, you got it right when you said they’re just trying to sell papers. It’s a bit of a stretch to point to it as the Right “co-opt[ing] someone else’s tragedy for their own gain.”

  4. Sarah
    September 1, 2005 at 11:52 am

    As much as I despise the Post and would love to pin some shit-stirring on the powers-that-be there, the phrase “our tsunami” is not their coinage.

    It’s actually a quote from the spokesman for the city of Biloxi, Miss.: “It was like our tsunami,” Vincent Creel, a spokesman for the Mississippi Gulf Coast city of Biloxi, said on Tuesday.

  5. September 1, 2005 at 12:00 pm

    I believe the Post took the term “our tsunami” verbatim from the mayor of Biloxi. The governor of Mississippi one-upped that by saying, “I can only imagine that this is what Hiroshima looked like 60 years ago.”

    Obviously a tsunami comparison isn’t accurate, not in scope or human toll. I hate to hear the irrational comparisons but I think that people are so shocked that they are grasping for straws. Entire towns are simply gone. New Orleans is basically destroyed and no one is going to be able to return for months. The true death toll is probably in the thousands. Does that mean the Post (which, suitably, is only 25 cents – the Daily News is 50) should have run the headline? I don’t know.

    I can’t help but recall the American media’s attempts to paint 7/7 as “London’s 9/11,” either – though that particular effort carries political overtones as opposed to sensationalistic ones…

  6. September 1, 2005 at 1:45 pm

    I found the Hiroshima comment a lot more offensive than the tsunami comment. For one, at least a tsunami is similar to storm surge, so although the scale is much, much different, they do have a similar effect.

    Hiroshima was, duh, a preventable act (crime?) of war and caused prolonged suffering due to all the radiation sickness. This comparison is tasteless, though you do have to take into account the emotional state these people are in, having just lived through a traumatic even, then seeing their home town severely damaged. I’ll forgive them.

    The post? Eh, I read it with Rosana Scotto’s voice in my head and grit my teeth.

  7. Lisa
    September 1, 2005 at 1:48 pm

    The New York Post trying to be shocking?! No, say it ain’t so.

    That said your post indicates that you are not aware of the devastation and loss of life. Not only is New Orleans gone, but many towns in Mississippi have been wiped off the map. And at this point there is no way to estimate the loss of life. The search teams can’t deal with all the bodies, more people are dying at the SuperDome and other evacuation sites because they have no water, food, or medical supplies. We are rapidly approaching a public health disaster due to the filth. And those who have survived having nothing–no home, no job, none of their things. I can’t comprehend the tragedy.

    No, it’s not the same death toll as the tsunami, but there were 20-foot waves and 150+ MPH winds. And we will have 10s of thousands dead.

  8. September 1, 2005 at 2:49 pm

    None of those bozos are going to mention that Nawlins is in a Red State. And how about Mississippi which received the brunt of Katrina? Just who is God supposed to be punishing here?

  9. September 1, 2005 at 2:54 pm

    little bit of hyperbole there, Lisa. Perhaps you could back up your claims of “10’s of thousands dead” and New Orleans being “gone.”

  10. September 1, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    “entirely innaccurate, totally disprespectful and pretty darn stupid”

    Isn’t that every issue of the Post?

    Do any of the New Yorkers here know if the Post’s circulation is down, now that we’ve got all these free papers about? I’ve seen a lot fewer Posts on the subway.

  11. Dianne
    September 1, 2005 at 3:11 pm

    I’ve hated the tsunami comparison from the first time I heard it. The hurricane was bad, but the death toll is more likely to be in the hundreds or maybe thousands than hundreds of thousands. Several towns and a major city are seriously damaged, but the country itself isn’t crippled as Indonesia and Sri Lanka were. To be fair, I think it’s a natural, human reaction, not just an American reaction, to feel more sorrow for local tragedies than for tragedies that occur thousands of miles away.

  12. September 1, 2005 at 3:17 pm

    Lisa-

    I wasn’t trying to suggest that Katrina isn’t a horrible tragedy. And I’m not even trying to make the case that one tragedy is “worse” than another (although that case could probably be made). I’m just saying that I think it’s inherently disrespectful to survivors of both tragedies to make such a simple-minded comparison, intended only to illicit a response based on the associations with the word “tsunami” or “Hiroshima” (for the record, I hadn’t heard about the Hiroshima comment; that’s pretty bad).

    I think it was innappropriate to call the London bombings “London’s 9/11.” Of course it’s appropriate to draw comparisons between similar circumstances — terrorist actions (like London and 9/11) or natural disasters (like the hurricane and the tsunami), for example. But I think that the best way to show compassion — and understanding — to the people involved in a particular tragedy is to allow that tragedy to exist in its own right, and to not make it “our” version of something else.

  13. Lisa
    September 1, 2005 at 4:24 pm

    Jill–

    Thank you so much for your response. I agree with you completely! It is disrepectful and diminishes both (all?) tragedies.

    I am a blue-state liberal, but am currently in Houston visiting family and working at a friend’s law office while I await my bar exam results. (Good luck with school–I just graduated and am trying to become a public defender in MN.)

    Anyway, being so close to the tragedy may be making me more emotional. By this weekend, they anticipate 100,000 refugees in Houston–not just at the Astrodome, but at area shetlers, motels, people’s homes, etc.

    Other Ryan–

    By saying New Orleans is gone, I mean that it has to be rebuilt entirely and will never be the same. The refugees have lost everything–even if they had the means to escape and get a motel room here, who could afford to stay in a motel long term? The entire city is being evacuated, so they won’t have their homes, their jobs–they truly have lost everything. Not only I am desolate about their loss, I am devasted that one of the most beautiful city in the world has lost so much. So many buildings, so much culture is all gone. I don’t think that it’s realistic to think that they can pump out all the water, restore electricity, etc. this year or maybe even next year.

    And they have no idea how many have died–the problem is that they can’t even deal with the bodies. There’s about 30,000 people who have found their way to the SuperDone, and the rescue workers speculate that as many didn’t survive. Additionally, many people are dying as they wait to be evacuated. But thank you for calling me on the hyperbole.

    And hey, the fundies say it’s because New Orleans was sin city!

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