Monday, November 27, 2006

Ridiculous Claims to Refute Outright

There have been many essays and letters written regarding Alan Richman's inexplicably bitter and downright erroneous hatchet job on New Orleans in the November issue of GQ, but few have inspired a back and forth with the "writer" himself or, well, just been so damn good.


"This letter is a request for the immediate ouster of Alan Richman from his position as food writer at GQ. The formal inquiry, as voiced by its sole author, Noah Bonaparte Pais, but with doubtless support by countless others, is based around the abject bigotry in Mr. Richman's latest article, 'Yes, We're Open' [November '06], in which the writer had the following (and much more) to say about New Orleans' native Creole people:

'Supposedly, Creoles can be found in and around New Orleans. I have never met one and suspect they are a faerie folk, like Leprechauns, rather than an indigenous race. The myth is that once, long ago, Creoles existed … The 'crab and Creole' salad wasn't as interesting as its name—I was expecting a composition that included chopped up Creoles, allowing me finally to glimpse one of them.'

Furthermore, Mr. Richman, in one of several letters sent to me amidst a recent maelstrom of withering criticism, attempted to acquit himself with the following argument:

'Was I racist? A ridiculous claim that I refute outright … Were Creoles attacked in the streets by non-Creoles egged on by me? Have Creoles been banned from public schools? Is there a national campaign underway to relocate Creoles to military bases, segregate them behind barbed wire? Did anybody even stick his tongue out at a Creole? Please.'

Ironically, this radical defense only goes further toward the realization of Mr. Richman's inherently racist views. Unlike those who flaunt their prejudice (e.g., skinheads or white supremacists), casual bigots do not believe their viewpoints to be slanted at all—they maintain positions which fall within the boundaries of their own self-created mainstream. Hence, when confronted with this accusation, Mr. Richman conjured a holocaustic, Nazi-like dream state with which to contrast his own comments, thereby expressing his own extremist opinion that nothing short of a human rights crisis could possibly constitute harmful racism. That is, in and of itself, the embodiment of casual bigotry, and should be taken as tantamount to a subconscious confession of such.

Needless to say, there is no place in the pages of GQ—or in any other Conde Nast publication, or in any other publication, period—for Mr. Richman's hubris-fueled hatred. As precedent for a dismissal, please review the case of Kevin O'Brien, former head of 13 stations under the Meredith Corporation broadcasting umbrella, fired in 2005 for alleged comments disparaging African Americans, Indians and Jews, and ESPN's recent removal of commentator Brian Kinchen from on-air work, after an offhand remark about homosexuals elicited criticism from listeners. Three weeks after publication, the public outrage at Mr. Richman's article eclipses both these examples.

Another passage from the aforementioned letter provides additional insight into this writer's warped psyche. Asked whether he stands by his words, Mr. Richman answered:

'I'm very proud of what I wrote, but that's not a response to your definition of what I should be proud of and what I should not be proud of. I'm proud because this country badly needs a debate on New Orleans --- my naive assumption was that my story might incite a lively, spirited debate.'

On two points Mr. Richman was proven correct. His assumptions were indeed naïve, and he has certainly incited a debate: Thousands of people nationwide now want to know why GQ would sponsor and publish hate speech disguised as grumpy gastronomic commentary. Having been libeled 854,155 times over, all currently existing Creoles—both in New Orleans and abroad—are owed at least an honest answer to this question."

Noah Bonaparte Pais
Senior Editor, ANTIGRAVITY
P.O. Box 24584
New Orleans, LA 70184

Friday, November 17, 2006

What If They're Not Guilty?

Bad guys' names, faces will be plastered all over town
Billboards to show suspects in crimes
Friday, November 17, 2006
By Allen Powell II

"The New Orleans Police Department and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office are hoping to make the region's most dangerous criminals household names -- and faces -- thanks to a new advertising program from Crimestoppers.

On Thursday, officials from the two departments and Crimestoppers executive director Darlene Cusanza said they hope to promote community cooperation with law enforcement officials by embedding the names and faces of suspected murderers in the public's consciousness through billboards on both sides of the river.

Cusanza said that by Thanksgiving, mugshots of seven suspected murderers will be on the billboards, one at the intersection of Louisiana and Claiborne avenues and one on the West Bank Expressway near Lafayette Street in Gretna.

The faces on the billboards will be changed every two months, and other advertisements will tout Crimestoppers' offer of a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspects, she said. The campaign is expected to last for six months, and the faces for the billboards will be selected by law enforcement officials.

NOPD Capt. Bobby Norton, who was credited by many as the catalyst for the campaign, said that when individuals make it onto the billboards it will be because the police have exhausted all other leads..."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Southern Literary Journals Tend to Reject this Poem.

What No One Talks About
Inspired (specifically) by the story of John Thompson, exonerated from death row after spending over 15 years there on an erroneous murder charge, a charge (officially) stemming from prosecutorial misconduct.
- New Orleans, 2003

in terms of exoneration
is the old guard’s dedication
to the ruination, crucification,
gas-‘em-‘till-we-break-‘em technique
of removing black men
from sunlit streets to solitary
confinement keeps
the maximum security myth
striking deep, digging
dollars for bodies,
the new slave trade –
we’ll teach these niggers
how to behave.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey -


Caricature Zone, Deano and John S. Pritchett, respectively.