Sunday, June 24, 2007



ADDENDUM: My mother reports that Kermit's manager says Bush was addressing the people picnicking, not Kermit, and that video footage confirms that Bush had stepped away from Kermit before making his janitorial remark.

(I have seen Kermit play, he is awesome.)


Bush to New Orleans Jazz Legend: "Pick Up All the Trash"
Thu Jun 21, 12:31 AM ET

The Nation -- Before Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans and ruined many of its cultural landmarks, people from all over the city -- all over the country, in fact -- would flock to the Bywater section to see trumpeter Kermit Ruffins' weekly gig. I was in New Orleans immediately before Katrina and had the privilege of hearing Ruffins play. Inside a small, smoky bar, with his band positioned literally inches from its raucous audience, Ruffins commanded the room, using popular R&B arrangements like John Legend's "Ordinary People" as his platform for long, cathartic improvisations.

After the show, I spent twenty minutes talking music with Ruffins' sidekick, the then-19-year-old prodigy, Trombone Shorty. A few of Shorty's young friends stood nearby and listened in. The street was filled with the sound of easy chatter from liquor-sodden revelers who had stepped outside for a smoke. A Stevie Wonder song drifted from inside the bar. I think it was "My Cherie Amor." I was a world away from the dour east coast jazz scene where staggering door fees, drink minimums, and dress codes created an uptight atmosphere that favors the well-to-do, excludes young people, and keeps listeners at a distance from performers, who are often conferred undue reverence.

Anyone who saw Ruffins in his element knew that behind the Bush administration's incompetent response to Katrina was a deep-seated disrespect for the culture that thrived exclusively in New Orleans. The White House had no idea what was at stake when Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast. To Bush and his cronies, New Orleans was little more than a cesspool of black Democrats. By the time the city was flooded, their consituency was safely evacuated.
Yesterday, George W. and Laura Bush hosted Ruffins and his band, the Barbeque Swingers, at the annual Congressional Picnic. Bush's remark to Ruffins is the ultimate symbol of his disdainful attitude towards the culture of New Orleans that he allowed to drown under the floodwaters of the Mississippi:

MR. RUFFINS: Well, thanks for having us.

THE PRESIDENT: Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. (Applause.)

MR. RUFFINS: Thank you. Thanks for having us. We're glad to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Proud you're here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it's over. (Laughter.) God bless you, and may God bless America. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)


Anonymous said...

The "intelligence test" must be applied to these things. Would any president tell a black musician he had invited to the White House to pick up the trash before he leaves? Of course not. It´s beyond preposterous.

The internet is taking this type of absurdity to great lengths. People are writing grossly slanted "news articles" and then shipping them out into cyberspace as fact.

I recently received one from a conservative friend that claimed Nancy Pelosi had condemned the advancing stock market because it only helped "the rich." This does not pass the "intelligence test," and was obviously fabricated, but my friend believed it and was forwarding it to others. An advancing stock market helps the middle class primarily, and Pelosi would not have said that. She is not stupid.

When one reads these things, it´s best to take a breath and ask (before forwarding it to others): Is this possible?

Neither the Bush story nor the Petrosi story is plausible.

This casts a dark light on The Nation magazine.

Celeste said...

Oh, I think the false interpretation of the Bush story is more than possible (even though not true this time). The "intelligence test" must be applied not only to the reader, but to the speaker. Bush has said an incredible amount of documented, moronic things.

gratefulbear said...

Celeste is right. We cannot apply a normal standard of intelligence or "common sense" to a president who has repeatedly said and done unintelligent and incredulous things.

I also don't attach much credulity to an anonymous blogposter who won't even sign his or her name.