Thursday, August 26, 2010

If God Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise

Spike Lee came down and blasted a shotgun at New Orleans. His camera caught the good, the bad, the guilty and the innocent. The main feature of Spike's documentaries is the expansive, if schizophrenic coverage they provide.

Here are a few thoughts:

My absolute favorite part of the entire thing was how they covered the plight of the elderly. More than whites or blacks the elderly had it the worst of anyone. Too many stayed in their homes in Lakeview or elsewhere. They had ridden out Betsy and Camile and just weren't evacuating. Too many drowned in their homes. Many more just had more change and chaos than they could take. So many just lost the will to live, more than any physiological illness.

From there, the rest of the film is a mix of the good, the meh, and the atrocious.

The coverage of the levee situation is atrocious. Ivor van Heerden and Brad Pitt are levee experts and Ivor says the reason the Corps is building things right is because the trial lawyers are on their ass! The Corps is given very little chance to speak (for good or for ill), and Dr. Calvin Mackie (the first black engineering professor at Tulane), who was sterling in "When the Levees Broke" dismissing dynamited-levee-conspiracy-theories, was not really referenced.

Good job on covering mental health issues.

The most questionable part of Spike Lee's style is who he decided to put in the film. It's a very mixed bag. John Kerry? Tracie Washington and Brinkley do not speak well to Spike Lee's judgment. Fuck Brinkley. Fuck anyone who wants to put a camera, mic, or pen in front of him. In his horrible book, the "Great Deluge", he writes that in 1927, they blew up the levees to flood all of the black people in the Lower 9th Ward. Nope. That's how shitty a historian he is.

IMMENSE smackdown of Warren Riley, et. al. by General Honore for panicking people about snipers and raping babies. Honore showed real leadership (unlike, say NOPD) and put his body in front of panicky soldiers with loaded rifles and told them to stand down and realize they were in an American city. As a post-script, I've been told they later realized that the alleged "sniper" near Charity was the PVSV popping off relieving pressure on a liquid oxygen tank used for the hospital.

Schools, meh. Would have liked some mention that the School Board was in the process of being flushed down the toilet before the storm.

Crime & NOPD. Man, what a disaster.

Nagin and the history question... Nagin was allowed to talk way too long and say way too little.

Ivor is also an expert on mining and oil and gas safety...

Tracie Washington is an expert on Dispersant

The BP part, meh.

No comments: