The American Caliban (substitute) wrote,
The American Caliban

Looting, finding, and blogging

Much is being made of the "looting" versus "finding" picture captions on Yahoo! and the implied racism of the black people looting and the white people finding. I don't think it warrants the blogerati outrage it's generating.

It should be pointed out that the "looting" caption is from the Associated Press and the "finding" one is from Agence France-Presse. So not only did two different editorial staffs issue those captions, but one of them is a translation from French. If Yahoo! actually put these right next to each other that was at best not managing an automated setup and at worst a shoddy piece of layout.

Maybe there's other bad coverage like this, but comparing those two particular captions isn't going to be fruitful.

I do think that showing America's {white|black|blue|orange} underclass looting after a spectacular natural disaster is unhelpful and a form of fear porn for the middle class watching their TVs. Look what happens when disaster strikes! All those tweaker skinheads, gangbangers, and welfare moms will come to your house and take your widescreen TV! Dogs and cats, living together. PANIC GODDAMN YOU!

During the L.A. Riots there was a shitload of looting which was pretty much done by everyone who felt like it. Friends of mine living in a lower middle class part of South L.A. had their neighbors ring the doorbell and say "We're going to the mall to loot. Wanna come?" and college kids busted into the Ralphs to get the good liquor, while at the same time people in South L.A. were looting bottled water and diapers because everything was going to be shut the fuck down for a week. My friend Rhonda saw a woman loot one shoe from a Payless near her house on Crenshaw. She said "Woman, what in the world are you doing to do with one shoe?" and the lady just flipped her off and got in her car.

During the Blitz in London, a time that we're supposed to remember as Brave Little England bearing up with grace under bombs, it was common for thieves to go into theatres and similar places after the alerts had gone off to find purses and valuables that had been dropped in the panic to get to the shelters.

Cyril Connolly wrote of this phenomenon: "Perfect fear driveth out love".
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