Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Who is more offensive?

posted by Rob at 1:22 PM

Barbara Bush, who while visiting Katrina refugees in Houston, is quoted as saying:
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this - this is working very well for them."
Or Celine Dion, who while on CNN, said this through tears:
"Oh, they're stealing 20 pair of jeans or they're stealing television sets. Who cares? They're not going to go too far with it. Maybe those people are so poor, some of the people who do that they're so poor they've never touched anything in their lives. Let them touch those things for once."
There's actually a hard truth to Barbara's comments, as shameful as they sound. Over the weekend Howard Kurtz complained the media weren't discussing race and poverty in relation to the victims in New Orleans. It appears Barbara and Celine did, though through tin ears and differing perspectives.

If you read Barbara's comments in full, she appears to suggest life might be better for some victims than what they left behind in New Orleans. It comes at a high price - thousands dead, a city destroyed - but a hard truth nonetheless. There is a brighter light ahead for some.

What Dion said strikes me as elitist and pathetic. She seems to be saying that these people's lives will never be as luxurious as when they carted boxes of new Nike sneakers through three feet of water in a dead city. Their lives are gone, she seems to argue, so suffer them a couple of minutes with their carts of ill gotten - and useless - gains.

Both comments can be construed as pathetic, but it's Celine who I feel is the most sad.


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