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<nettime> The Immersion of New Orleans
Nicholas Ruiz on Fri, 21 Oct 2005 16:38:26 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> The Immersion of New Orleans


The Immersion of New Orleans

Nicholas Ruiz III

Sometimes a city must be sacrificed, so that people can exhale.  The omnilateral
spreading of our species can only be furthered as hope floats away from the city
of New Orleans. Like the recent New Orleans displacee said in the television
news, ?Now I can leave this town?I?ve never had such an
opportunity!??that and on his way to Houston to get some pants.  Courage or
recklessness?  Perhaps the only difference is in winning and losing.  If those
on the inside can see us, those of us on the outside of New Orleans, on the
outside of the world?s latest sacrificial offering, can attempt to see past
the context of media obliteration, past the screening of the immersion of New
Orleans.

	Of course, every smile of the media clown has its sinister lining, and for
us non-participants, a sign of the real hidden joy borne by the hosts of the new
victims manifests itself in baleful anticipation, as the gun sales rise in the
cities that receive our American refugees, an ironic greeting for the displacees
of New Orleans.  In the midst of the mediated screen of Texan empathy lies the
factual fear of absorption.  Not to be outdone, back in the disaster zone, the
Gulf coast reveals its own ironies; casinos (Mississippi claims 10% of its state
budget reflects casino taxation) highlighting the simulation of southern values in
the Bible belt.  Especially the holiest of His states fill their state coffers
with the excesses of extracurricular Sunday evening slot machines and paper-bagged
beer.  Another reminder of the supplementary speculation we call the just economy.

	Too much goodness in our hearts, minds and screens--but little to be found
on the freshly looted streets filling with the muscle and hate of that
ultra-postmodern Venice.  Unlike Venice, which took years to flood, New Orleans
was flooded in a few hours.  The city of New Orleans itself is a speculation gone
bad, wedged as it was between two gargantuan sources of water, below sea level,
damned and leveed for the always spreading masses.  Speculations hold that
development contracts will explode all over the city map, as the bidding wars
begin?and a ?new? New Orleans is sure to rise as quickly as they can pump the
water out of the old one.  I liked New Orleans, for what it?s worth.

	          How to imbibe this event?  What is it?s meaning? What is our new
ontological location, now that that another ?world-changing? cataclysmic event has
occurred.  A chance for the do-gooders to do good; the finger-pointers to point
fingers; Bush isn?t responsible for the severity of our complacency, and the
aristocrats merely capitalize upon it?despite the editorial pieces and listserv
diatribes of the free-thinkers; a chance for the speculators to place new bets,
build bigger casinos, build them inland and get it right this time, so the Good
News poker hands will never have to fold?  I say forget about New Orleans and
build a new city, in a new American place, maybe in Iraq, where at least the
imbecility is out in the open and not hidden in the barrio waiting for a hurricane
to uncover it. Now that would be honest.  Infinite casinos in the desert?we
specialize in that, no?

	  We began and continue our new millennium with the entire prowess of
flies, taking off and landing, repeatedly wherever we can, leaving our urine and
feces behind.  The dissolution of New Orleans reminds us of our shit, we still
refuse to take care of. Cash for the victims is a sign of the metaphysics of
Capital, where suffering is always bought and paid for.  New Orleans signifies the
lightness of our new locations, new Capital, new identities, all tokens that we
are, unbeknownst to ourselves, still alive and reprogrammable?all we can hope for
is a hurricane to remind us.  Perhaps then, we can start again.  In the eye of the
ruin lies our hope and our souvenir of where we have been and where we are going.
But the survivors of the storm will instead be turned into the sacrificial bread
to be broken at the mediated dinner table of the world, reminding us all of how
?good? we?ve got it.

	If the ambiguity of New Orleans as an event leaves us feeling a little
light, a bit nauseated; there is always the laceration of Capital to wake us from
our sympathetic malaise.  Positions have already been taken?go long the builders,
developers, clean-up outfits and architectural face-lifters and short the casinos,
retail setups and insurance companies with heavy exposure in the Gulf.

 Just another day on the trading floor of our lives.  What New Orleans offers us
is a bit of exposure?another crack in the surface of the screen; 9/11 made a
similar offering.  New Orleans shows us that humanity prefers its empathetic
compassion to be best delivered from the barrel of a gun?or at least, best
dispensed when the police are on duty.  Chaos does not envelop us during tragedy,
rather chaos saves us from the banal machinations of our undead lives.

 For those of us that are eternally watching the events unfold, the screens of New
Orleans show us all that nothing can save us from ourselves?like so many of the
police that never showed when called for duty during those irregular days of our
latest pandemonium. One might be tempted to say that the great white American
underbelly lies exposed and fully parched in the full heat of the still-burning
spotlights of that late, great city of New Orleans.





-- 
Nicholas Ruiz III
GTA/doctoral candidate
Interdisciplinary Program in the Humanities
Florida State University
Editor, Kritikos
http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~nr03/




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