Saturday, October 22, 2005

An explanation for the rumor-mongering.

This brings us back to rumours and “reports” about “subjects supposed to loot and rape:” New Orleans is one of those cities within the United States most heavily marked by the internal wall that separates the affluent from ghettoized blacks. And it is about those on the other side of the wall that we fantasize: More and more, they live in another world, in a blank zone that offers itself as a screen for the projection of our fears, anxieties and secret desires. The “subject supposed to loot and rape” is on the other side of the Wall—this is the subject about whom Bennett can afford to make his slips of the tongue and confess in a censored mode his murderous dreams. More than anything else, the rumors and fake reports from the aftermath of Katrina bear witness to the deep class division of American society.

This very challenging article offers a psychoanalytic explanation for the apparently racist rumor-mongering about Katrina that even some African-Americans like Mayor Nagin and his Chief of Police helped to spread. Blageur encountered rumors as evacuees were being moved to Lafayette and Lake Charles. Suddenly the internet was afire with tales of rape, wandering gangs, random vandalism and assault. Police issued press releases denying the rumors, but that didn't help. The rumor mongers insisted that they had "personally seen" events that proved later not to have happened. Blageur tangled with some of them on a local bulletin board where he was accused of being naive and immature.

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