Spike Lee and Hurricane Katrina's Anniversary

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The day before the unofficial anniversary of the breach of the New Orleans levees, there was a local story of heroism in my hometown of Indianapolis. This will never cross Katie Couric's brand new desk at CBS nor Anderson Cooper's at CNN; yet, this tragic event with an amazing rescue stands as another example of the dedication, spirit and compassion inherent in the average American.

Ever since September 11, our collective inner—grit and patriotism have been evident. Even Oliver Stone, the master of the American conspiracy, recognized the benevolence of Americans to a high enough degree to produce the recent film, "World Trade Center."

Yet, as the main stream media, led by HBO, CNN, The New York Times, Spike Lee and PBS spend all week recapping the tragedies and disasters along the Gulf Coast last August and early September, they will pay little attention to the heroes that ultimately saved hundreds of other lives, building, houses and land from perishing.

Instead of highlighting the college students who rushed down to help, or Wal—Mart, who while Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco screamed and panicked, geared up and brought millions of dollars in supplies via truck down the Gulf Coast,  some individuals, network and newspapers will choose to look backwards.

They'll recap the deaths, rapes, murders, looting, and surely, they will bash the president, FEMA and apparently, Wal—Mart. It seems as though Spike Lee and many reporters forgot that the hurricane actually hit the coasts of Mississippi (not New Orleans), destroying everything in the cities of Waveland and Biloxi. That doesn't make exciting journalism or documentaries, however. Their interests, and apparently ours, do not extend east of Lake Pontchartrain.

There are inherently good and bad people in this world, whether we admit it or not. As Ben Stein once elaborated on this point,

"It is simply not true that all is relative and similar. Beheading Iraqi civilians with a saw on the Internet is absolutely evil. Helping children in Mosul get pure water is absolute good. Sending homicide bombers to blow up elementary schools at a kibbutz is evil. Treating the children of your enemies in the finest hospitals in Israel is good."

I would add that rushing to rescue folks from the wrath of a hurricane or from a blazing plane in a small lake is also good. And while disingenuous filmmakers and media "pundits" like Lee and Michael Moore are not evil, they are not the best of Americans. Exaggerating America's lowest moments is neither patriotic nor helpful. It is one thing to publicize and cover events or to genuinely criticize politicians for their ineptitude, but it is another to use a commemorative day to perpetuate your perceived racial and fiscal inequities therein.

Mr. Lee clearly disagrees, as he showed during a tirade on a recent episode of Charlie Rose's show on PBS, when declared, among much else,

"This was not an act of nature but a criminal act by the army corps of engineers, and somebody needs to go to jail.'

When Rose naively encouraged Spike by asking him for a name, Lee ranted,

'I don't care who, but somebody. It would be symbolic. Maybe Condoleezza Rice since she was out at a Broadway play and buying shoes while her people died. How can we send trillions to tsunami victims in 24 hours halfway across the world but we can't get food to Louisiana in five days?"

There are few celebrities more immature than Spike, and as those in Los Angeles know, that is saying something.

The style of journalism and film—making that the Lees and Moores of the world undertake is blatantly biased and fraudulent. And it truly does look backwards. Americans don't do that. If we did, we would never have made it this far.

Ari Kaufman   8 29 06

The day before the unofficial anniversary of the breach of the New Orleans levees, there was a local story of heroism in my hometown of Indianapolis. This will never cross Katie Couric's brand new desk at CBS nor Anderson Cooper's at CNN; yet, this tragic event with an amazing rescue stands as another example of the dedication, spirit and compassion inherent in the average American.

Ever since September 11, our collective inner—grit and patriotism have been evident. Even Oliver Stone, the master of the American conspiracy, recognized the benevolence of Americans to a high enough degree to produce the recent film, "World Trade Center."

Yet, as the main stream media, led by HBO, CNN, The New York Times, Spike Lee and PBS spend all week recapping the tragedies and disasters along the Gulf Coast last August and early September, they will pay little attention to the heroes that ultimately saved hundreds of other lives, building, houses and land from perishing.

Instead of highlighting the college students who rushed down to help, or Wal—Mart, who while Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco screamed and panicked, geared up and brought millions of dollars in supplies via truck down the Gulf Coast,  some individuals, network and newspapers will choose to look backwards.

They'll recap the deaths, rapes, murders, looting, and surely, they will bash the president, FEMA and apparently, Wal—Mart. It seems as though Spike Lee and many reporters forgot that the hurricane actually hit the coasts of Mississippi (not New Orleans), destroying everything in the cities of Waveland and Biloxi. That doesn't make exciting journalism or documentaries, however. Their interests, and apparently ours, do not extend east of Lake Pontchartrain.

There are inherently good and bad people in this world, whether we admit it or not. As Ben Stein once elaborated on this point,

"It is simply not true that all is relative and similar. Beheading Iraqi civilians with a saw on the Internet is absolutely evil. Helping children in Mosul get pure water is absolute good. Sending homicide bombers to blow up elementary schools at a kibbutz is evil. Treating the children of your enemies in the finest hospitals in Israel is good."

I would add that rushing to rescue folks from the wrath of a hurricane or from a blazing plane in a small lake is also good. And while disingenuous filmmakers and media "pundits" like Lee and Michael Moore are not evil, they are not the best of Americans. Exaggerating America's lowest moments is neither patriotic nor helpful. It is one thing to publicize and cover events or to genuinely criticize politicians for their ineptitude, but it is another to use a commemorative day to perpetuate your perceived racial and fiscal inequities therein.

Mr. Lee clearly disagrees, as he showed during a tirade on a recent episode of Charlie Rose's show on PBS, when declared, among much else,

"This was not an act of nature but a criminal act by the army corps of engineers, and somebody needs to go to jail.'

When Rose naively encouraged Spike by asking him for a name, Lee ranted,

'I don't care who, but somebody. It would be symbolic. Maybe Condoleezza Rice since she was out at a Broadway play and buying shoes while her people died. How can we send trillions to tsunami victims in 24 hours halfway across the world but we can't get food to Louisiana in five days?"

There are few celebrities more immature than Spike, and as those in Los Angeles know, that is saying something.

The style of journalism and film—making that the Lees and Moores of the world undertake is blatantly biased and fraudulent. And it truly does look backwards. Americans don't do that. If we did, we would never have made it this far.

Ari Kaufman   8 29 06