Author Topic: New Orleans  (Read 2249 times)

GuyFawkes

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New Orleans
« on: February 09, 2006, 02:44:47 AM »
This is inspired by the peak oil thread.

1/ I live in the UK, so this is a foreigners perspective for you USAians

2/ This is not a flame or troll.

In the 1940's the american military machien came to the south west uk to get ready for the landings in france, we'd never seen anything like we, we had petrol rationing, yank logistics was so awesome you guys had chocolate, stocking and cigarettes.

I still own an adjustable up to 3 inch pipe die that my dad pinched from the yanks, fab quality, still cuts good threads

I grew up in engineering, caterpillar, allison, detroit, onan, ruston bucyrus, plus 40s, zippo, buck, I could go on and on, fabulous quality goods, but the most amazing this was at competitive prices, available in any humanly imagineable quantity, and delivered to your site in days at worst, hours if ut was urgent

yeah, we english invented the industrial revolution, but the yanks made it a commodity and delivered ir anywhere on the planet you  liked in any quantity you liked, makes a hell of an impression

then in the sixties I stayed up late as a young boy home on leave, watching a 405 line telly, watching the yanks send men to the moon, and then just to rub it in send a 4WD to the moon and play golf on the moon for fucks sake.

we went to the cinema and saw all these 16 year old american kids running around in hot rods, god we hated you, because we wanted to be you, because america could do anything.

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skip forwards a bit, I'd owned and run vettes and harleys, zippos and bucks, drunk coke, dug the grateful dead, worked for that american invention the corporation, I was still jealous, but grown out of the envy

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skip forwards a bit, world trade centre comes down (bear in mind I grew up during the communist emergency in malaysia, then in africa was swapo was kicking off, and off course we had noraid funded ira bombings here) and the blunt truth is there wasn't a hell of a lot of sympathy, "hello and welcome to the real world" was pretty much what most people felt... bear in mind when my real trade of engineering dried up I slid into computers (via an early interest in CAD) so I wasn't exactly personally untouched by WTC, I know people who died there.

But, and forgive me for saying this, it wasn't that much of an impact, sure the telly just spooled the tapes for days till everyone was sick of it, but, speaking for myself, it was sort of "surgical" like standing next to someone who catches a bullet, everything around WTc was intact, not at all like for example an earthquake zone, which is a hell of a thing to experience, EVERYONE is a part, not just a witness, strange, but I hope you know what I mean.

However, america was still the 8000 lb gorilla, america could rebuild a couple of towers in double quick time with two towers twice as high if it decided to.

what I'm trying to say here is WTC was an "event" in history, but not one that touched what "America" meant to people over here, hope that makes sense, america was still this awesome place where you could order a fleet of 50 "semi" tractor units and have them delivered anywhere on the globe in a week, and then they'd ask you what colour you like them, and if you wanted air conditioning and satellite navigation in each one... still and awesome place.

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then new orleans happened

I dunno about you guys, but it would be really hard for me to overstate the basic lack of belief in our own eyes.

sure, events like WTC and new orleans can happen anywhere, but the rest of the world together can't equal america when it comes to fixing shit double quick

this is the country that could and did do anything, anywhere on the planet, at any grgantuan scale it chose, and here was a (admittedly major) disaster ON ITS OWN DOORSTEP at the end of it's OWN HIGHWAYS and OWN RAILWAYS and so on, and it looked like mogadishu or the ganges flood plain

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I have a memory, I was ten and got myself into a hole in the ground I could not climb out of, it was only about six feet deep but the sides were machine dug (was for a swimming pool) and I was stuck, so my dad comes out, reaches down and just pulls me out, effortless, powerful, godlike.... (bet he's turning in his grave.. lol)

now, I'm not saying we saw aamerica as like a dad or big brother who would watch over us, but there was that same sense of ability and power that was just there, no need to discuss or question or analyse, it was just there, like the ocean.

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years later my dad was dying, he'd had heart attacks, and was going down with emphysema and leukaemia, I can remember carrying him upstairs to bed at night cos he couldn't climb them himself.

one of these nights I was holding this "bag of bones" and I remembered being pulled out of that hole in the ground, it was a profound moment, the world looked different to me after

that is the closest I can get to the aftermath of new orleans for us here in europe, I can't think of any better words to descibe it.

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I hope nobody takes this as a flame or a troll, and I've tried to stay away from saying anything political or religious, because I don't want to start an argument, but the "peak oil" thread and the black helicopter fellas reply kind of triggered this, and this just seemed like the right place and time to get it out of my system.

cheers
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Doug

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Re: New Orleans
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2006, 03:23:40 AM »
Yes I know what you mean.
Being a Canadian growing up between the the ten foot tall yank armed to the teeth and the ten foot tall soviet armed to the teeth you get the feeling a super power is actualy "super" with men in space, super sonic jet liners and mega construction projects.
Then one imploded one evening without a wimper whilst we all slept, and the other slowly dropped to its knees from a thousands cuts from Cheaper better imports, natural disasters, terrorism and most sadly of all apathy.

There is a leason to be learned for all here, nothing last forever. And it doesn't matter where you live or what you do, you must be prepared for the change and live a life that reflects it.

Doug

rpg52

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Re: New Orleans
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2006, 03:26:51 AM »
Great post, both this and the peak oil one.  Having always lived in America, (in California no less), I can appreciate the perspective of someone outside looking at the television, commodity view of the USA that an outsider may see, and easily misunderstand.  Corporate America in the '50's did have the business of business figured out.  Like any process however, when you draw it to its' logical end, it tends to start eating itself.  Coming out of WWII, America had no doubts about where it was going and how it was going to get there.  Unfortunately, the process of building houses and freeways across the landscape, supplying huge pig cars to haul your fat ass around, doesn't do much for the other parts of being human.  Huge suburbs, gigantic box stores selling cheap crap, fast foods to ruin you health, etc. all look good from the outside, but for the people living in them, there was something missing that even shopping couldn't fill.  An interesting trend is the rebuilding of portions of American cities to resemble parts of Europe.  People now find it satisfying to inhabit a space with small shops, public transit, unique spaces that don't resemble every other place.  This shift is slow, there are still more suburbs being built, more box stores, more cars to match those spaces.  What has been ignored though is the investment in public infrastructure:  roads, bridges, hospitals,etc.  What happened in New Orleans was the complete failure of government to provide for those not wealthy enough to afford the SUV, mini-mansions, etc.  Those that could afford it hopped in their car and left town.  The ones left behind were all those too poor to afford a car.  They tend to be invisible, until they are sitting on a rooftop or wading down the street. 
My own personal opinion, (and I'm likely a very tiny minority) is that until fuel becomes expensive enough, we won't value human labor, and we won't fix the problems.  Years ago, I learned the lesson that (for example), no one valued good quality vegetables and fruit, because I was competing against the crap being sold in the grocery store.  If crummy, hard tomatoes were selling for 30 cents per pound, I couldn't exceed that by much, even though mine were ripe and sweet.  I ruined my back trying to compete with the price of diesel that grew, picked and delivered those crummy tomatoes to the store.  When the price of fuel gets high enough, all those machines will be replaced with human labor again (yeah, I know, we will have to sweat again, and it won't be fun.), but, our farms, forests and shops will again be inhabited by people that care for the land and for each other.  We won't be able to afford to have nearly as much stuff, but if life is good, what difference does it make?  On the other hand, we may have already exceeded the Earths' population cap.  Declining populations tend to result in wars and other ugly stuff (some would argue it is already happening), but there are limits to everything.  Geez, you bring out the worst of my philosophical garble GuyFawkes.   I still don't know if I answered your question.   :-X
Ray
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kyradawg

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Re: New Orleans
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2006, 05:03:45 AM »
Ray your beautiful!

Peace&Love :D, Darren

SHIPCHIEF

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Re: New Orleans
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2006, 07:40:33 AM »
The great experiment called AMERICA is not over yet.
Fundimental changes back to reality are taking place.
Don't believe everything you see on TV.
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