Slate advice goddess Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, dispenses her wisdom in a weekly column on the news website and in a live weekly chat on the Washington Post website. In this week's chat, she gently scolds an advice seeker with some interesting opinions on Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. Under the pseudonym "No Sympathy," the person asks:
I recently caught my Sunday school class off-guard when Hurricane Katrina was brought up, AGAIN! (*Sigh*) I made it known that I have no sympathy for anyone that lost homes, lives, loved-ones, etc., when Hurricane Katrina hit. My reasoning: 99 percent of those people made a CHOICE to live in an area that they knew was prone to hurricanes. Therefore, it was my opinion that I shouldn't have to feel sorry for someone that made a mistake and chose to live in the wrong area of the United States. Does this make me a bad person?
I have my own answer for "No Sympathy," but I'll go ahead and let Prudence handle it:
Do you teach at the Ayn Rand "It's Your Own Fault" Sunday school? When you teach the story of the flood, you must disparage God for instructing Noah to save the living creatures of the earth—according to you they all deserved to drown. By your reasoning, anyone who lives someplace prone to natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards) should be left to their own devices when catastrophe hits. Perhaps you should instruct your students where the proper places to live are, since vast swaths of the earth put populations at risk. Maybe you want to open your home to the millions who must migrate if they follow your principles.
I'm assuming Katrina came up yet again because your students find your point of view morally indefensible. Good for them. Having such a discussion—and citing biblical texts to support various points of view—will make for a challenging, lively class. Although you are very certain about your lack of empathy for victims of the hurricane, I will leave unanswered your question as to whether you're a bad person. I just don't have enough information about you to draw such a sweeping conclusion.
You tell 'em, Prudie. Another participant in the chat also chimed in on "No Sympathy's" inquiry, restoring my faith in humanity:
As one of the people who made a mistake and lost my home and many good friends to Hurricane Katrina, I want to thank you for your answer to this woman. I'm sure that she has never eaten seafood, because it is harvested daily by people who make the terrible mistake of earning their living on the coastline of North America. I'm sure she has no sympathy for soldiers either, since they made a mistake in their choice of profession. Firefighters, policemen, doctors, nurses, etc. deserve no sympathy for any tragedy that befalls them if you follow her line of thinking. I hope she never makes a mistake and needs to ask for help to survive.
In honor of power pop band Jimmy Eat World's gig at the House of Blues tonight, here's the suburban underwear party video for the 2002 single "The Middle." Add some coke and 15-year-olds and it's an episode of Skins.
Jimmy Eat World plays at 8 p.m. tonight. David Bazan & Band opens. Visit the HOB's website for more information.
Sperlings Best Places just published an "America's Top Foodie Cities" report in which New Orleans was not in the Top 10. OK, different strokes, different folks, etc., but I read the Best Places criteria and they left me puzzled:
A city’s food appeal is not just measured by fine dining or Michelin stars; you have to also consider the everyday eating experiences. Is there a unique regional cuisine? Have ethnic enclaves left edible legacies on the area’s tables? The availability of fresh local produce, meats and seafood are other major considerations.
Let's try that with New Orleans and see how we do:
Is there a unique regional cuisine? (Absolutely.) Have ethnic enclaves left edible legacies on the area’s tables? (They have, for hundreds of years, and they continue to do so.) The availability of fresh local produce (some), meats (does sausage count?) and seafood (oh mais oui) are other major considerations.
Unique regional cuisine, ethnic influences, fresh local seafood ... So why did New Orleans get its butt kicked by places like Burlington, Vt.?
Turns out Best Places determined you get those things by having these things ...
... using the following city data: ratio of local restaurants to chain restaurants, number of Whole Foods and cooking stores, number of wine shops, wine bars, craft breweries, and brew pubs; and the number of CSA (community supported agriculture) farms and local farmers markets.
None of these are bad things, of course — but none of them add up to good food. Local restaurants can be just as weak as big chains, and all the fresh farmers market produce in the world isn't of any use unless you know what to do with it. Good raw ingredients /= good cooking.
Most disconcerting of all, though, Best Places seems to equate consumerism (cooking stores! wine shops! Whole Foods!) with cuisine. Having those things doesn't make you a foodie town; it makes you (to continue the -ie trend) a shoppie town. Because when I read what Best Places found praiseworthy about Seattle:
Seattle scores high in numerous foodie categories, with 65 breweries, 93 wine shops, 55 farmers markets and 29 CSA farms, not to mention the seafood.
... I don't think that guarantees Seattle has good food (though it does).
I think it means that Seattle has money.
(Via Food Dude, who pronounced the whole exercise "a waste of electrons.")
Local expert on viral videos and penis enjoyment ABC 26 News is debuting a new show tonight in its latest attempt to boost ratings. ABC 26 will take your fake bath salts, WDSU, and raise you a News With a Twist: a lighthearted program complete with booze and a "barroom inspired" set from the same decorating team behind The Real World: New Orleans house (Blaine Kern Fever Dreams & Associates).
Actually, New Orleans folk artist Simon Hardeveld was behind the set design (he's featured in this month's CUE), according to an article in today's Times-Picayune. Besides [The House of Blues' idea of] indigenous New Orleans art and a staircase to nowhere (which I think could use a few Mardi Gras beads), the set also includes a bar, barstools, liquor bottles and "beer-bottle-cap filigree." So, it seems the "twist" here — SPOILER ALERT — is booze. Emulating former WWL-TV anchor Hota Kotb's current Today Show gig, drinking will be a large aspect of the show in the form of a "cocktail of the day" and a closing segment called "Last Call." It even seems from the show's preview (here) that hosts Susan Roesgen and LeBron "LBJ" Joseph are already a little toasty — Roesgen even let out a "Woo hoo!," which we all recognize as the wine-drunk mom's battle cry. It's five o'clock somewhere, amiright?! (Actually, it is five o'clock somewhere. The show airs at 6 p.m.)
The inaugural New Orleans installment of the Wizard World Comic Con brought out hundreds of costumes — attendees paid tribute to sci-fi heroes and villains, comic book favorites, and characters of their own making. But Star Wars costumes dominated the scene. Check out the slideshow below for a look, from Star Wars to steampunk and one of the event's biggest crowd pleasers: a remote-controlled, New Orleans Saints-themed K-9 (from Doctor Who).
Hip-hop producer King Britt is becoming an increasingly familiar face in New Orleans, and at Preservation Hall in particular. He was in town Friday and Saturday to perform his Sister Gertrude Morgan Experience live at the CAC (previewed in Gambit here). The Friday performance had moments of brilliance when he balanced recordings of Sister Gertrude Morgan with the live rock band and his mixing. Some songs, including one accompanied by collaged video projections of the Vietnam War and Nazi rallies, went further afield, and at times the band reduced Morgan's presence to incidental, but it was an interesting - if short - show. If nothing else, it was easy to understand why Britt thought he could mix music incorporating Morgan's powerful voice.
Preservation Hall artistic director Ben Jaffe sat in on a couple of songs on tuba. Britt and Jaffe also are involved in yet another multimedia performance this week. In October 2009, Preservation Hall released the video above, which features Britt's remix of the Preservation Hall Band performing "St. James Infirmary." That arrangement of the song was chosen by Trey McIntyre, the choreographer and founder of the Trey McIntyre Project, for a dance piece premiering this Friday at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Titled The Sweeter End, it's a companion piece to his 2008 work Ma Maison, which was commissioned by the New Orleans Ballet Association. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform an extended version of "St. James Infirmary" live onstage with the dance company. And the two groups will reunite for five performances in other cities, with the two dance pieces bookending a set by the band.
When you're in a band for more than 20 years, the routine gets boring. Why not just turn your live set into a Wheel of Fortune concept and let fate decide whatever it is you'll be playing? Sure, says Yo La Tengo. Read the Gambit interview with Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan to see what the indie rock veterans have up their sleeves.
As the chintzy, brass-laden theme music blared, guitarist/vocalist Ira Kaplan chose a random member of the crowd to come on stage and, with one flick of the wrist, decide the musical fate of the entire audience. The concept was simple. The band would perform two sets for the night: the first, a selection of ultra-rarities determined by a makeshift Technicolor wheel rolled onto the forefront of the stage; the second, a more traditional grab-bag assortment spanning the band’s discography.
That audience member inadvertently spun to The Sounds of the Sounds of Science, an experimental instrumental score to an undersea documentary — to the audiences dismay. Everyone groaned. The band, "undeterred, ... obeyed the wheel’s prophecy," and played a 20-plus minute set before a second set of the familiars and fan favorites.
Yo La Tengo can spend 20 minutes playing saxophones, for all I care. It's the band that brought the below video (with guest stars David Cross and Bob Odenkirk of the late, great Mr. Show) to Planet Earth, so they'd get a pass:
The band hits Tipitina's at 10 p.m. tonight with William Tyler. Tickets $15.
Jeremy Alford spent several weeks digging into what's gone wrong in the Louisiana Democratic Party, which has botched several elections and seen several significant defections to the GOP in recent months. New Rep. Cedric Richmond is now the only Louisiana Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and there are rumors that Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, the highest-ranking Democrat in state office, is mulling a flip-flop to the Republican Party. (Caldwell told Alford: "No comment.") As Louisiana becomes more and more firmly a red state and the Tea Party gains clout, what can the Donkey Party do to right its own ship?
(This week's cover was designed by Gambit art director Dora Sison — and, for you grammarians out there who think it should be "whoopass" ... "whup" is actually the past tense of the transitive verb "whip," so we figured that the logical result of "getting your ass whipped" would be "a can of whupass." But we're sure some of you will feel differently ... )
AMC Theaters announced the schedule for its Best Picture Showcase. The local outpost of the cinema chain hosting the screenings is the AMC Palace 20 in Elmwood. The schedule is as follows (listed with the run times):
Saturday, Feb. 19
11 a.m. Toy Story 3 (103 minutes)
1 p.m. 127 Hours (95 minutes)
3 p.m. The Kids Are All Right (106 minutes)
5:45 p.m. True Grit (110 minutes)
7:45 p.m. The Fighter (116 minutes)
Saturday, Feb. 26
11 a.m. Winter's Bone (100 minutes)
1 p.m. Black Swan (109 minutes)
3:10 p.m. Inception (148 minutes — dayum! That's a movie within a movie within a movie.)
6:45 p.m. The Social Network (121 minutes)
9 p.m. The King's Speech (119 minutes)
If you have super-human bladder capacity and an Adderall-grade attention span, you can get a one-day pass for $35 (if any of you take advantage of the one-day option and manage to survive nine hours of back-to-back critically acclaimed cinema, you are required to report back to us with a detailed account of your experience). You also have the option of paying $60 to see all 10 films across the two weekends, if you're really serious about this.
Yo La Tengo headlines Tipitina's tomorrow night — grab a few radio sessions, rare tracks and radio jingles on the band's website. Check out Noah Bonaparte Pais' interview with the YLT's Ira Kaplan in this week's Gambit. Follow the band on Twitter to enter to win tickets to the Tip's show.
Weirdo-funk lounge reptile Quintron has announced his new album, Sucre du Sauvage, will be released April 12 on Goner Records. The album was partially recorded during his residency at New Orleans Museum of Art — the record's B-side features found sounds and field recordings from City Park. Meanwhile, here's Quintron with King Lee on "Tireshop," an ode to the St. Claude Tire Shop, sung by the late Lee.
Music mogul Russell Simmons is "hijacking" MySpace — because people are still using MySpace — to find the next big thing. Representing Louisiana: New Orleans MC Dee-1 (currently at No. 2) and Louisiana-born you've-heard-her-on-commercials Lelia Broussard (holding down No. 1). Dee-1's latest is I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 1.5, which is available for free on his website. Volume 2 is due out soon, and you can find his other mixtapes — also free — on his website.
Broussard offers her EP Waiting on the 9 for free if you sign up for her e-mailing list. (You can also stream songs from her new album Masquerade.)
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