Friday, September 02, 2005

there's just a thin layer between us and total ratshit

I have had the overwhelming feeling today that if all this New Orleans carry-on happened in my home town, or in any of the cities i've lived in, the spiral into lawless mob-rule would be more or less the same.

I'm pretty comfortable in my western middle class cocoon watching disasters on telly, reading about famines in the paper, feeling bad for a minute before worrying that I'm nearly thirty and my most valuable possession is a pair of shoes (which need fixing, incidentally).

But if I was corraled into a stadium with no food, no water and pounding heat after having all my possessions washed away (ok, that's one benefit of the aforementioned) by a biblical deluge, I reckon I'd get pretty shirty too. Fuck it, I'd be pissing-on-my-socks terrified. I'm an utter and devoted coward. A mean fucker with knives wants my underpants and my broken shoes?

"Why certainly, good sir, and may I say, your one eye lends you a dashing mystery. I don't care what others say."

Put a gun in my hand and I'd undoubtedly shoot Mean Fucker instead of giving up my broken shoes and pissed-on socks. Not having much of a clue about guns, I'd probably shoot him in the ear, at a stroke justifying and increasing the tempo of the ensuing beating. Nope, I wouldn't come out of such an ordeal smelling of roses.

If there is any good to come out of this, and surely good comes out of everything, just as bad does, it is that we can no longer presume that bad things, disorganisation and collapsing societies only happen in far away countries we visit. ("Ya, such a great experience, man. The people are so real.")

We're all humans and disaster, whether it is war, famine, flood or other stuff, can happen however civilised you think you are. Some of the dumb fuckers moaning about how Africa should be left to sort out its own problems would do well to remember that.

Sorry for the serious post. Normal service will be resumed shortly.