Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Louisiana 1927"

From my recent comment on New Orleans' embrace of "Louisiana 1927" for the L.A. Weekly:

Like so many Newman songs, “Louisiana 1927” is tough to pin down as it moves from a narrator dramatically documenting the flood, to a chorus sung by the flood victims, to an account of President Coolidge’s chilly response to the flooding: “Little fat man, isn’t it a shame what the river has done to this poor cracker’s land.” The politician is insulting, even when sympathizing, and the first verses and chorus are there to set up the satire of a callous, indifferent government — one that spoke to the song’s Nixonian moment as much as Coolidge’s administration.

Obviously, it’s also spot-on today. Much has been made of the photo of Bush during the fly-over, but little has been written about the way the airspace had to be cleared of rescue helicopters before Air Force One could swing by for a look-see. Bush didn’t simply just offer platitudes in the face of disaster the way Newman’s Coolidge did; he actively obstructed the rescue effort for a photo op.

Thanks to Randall Roberts at the weekly, who put in all the cool video in the posting that I'm (so far) too lazy to do here.

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