Treme Is Not OK
Novelist Poppy Z. Brite, who keeps a blog on LiveJournal, has written an anti-Treme screed worthy of her idol Hunter S. Thompson attacking Treme, David Simon, and the film industry as a result of their intrusion into her Central City neighborhood.
Hey, look, I’m not the only wingnut who thinks the “Treme” crews are rude, intrusive assholes. They’ve been in our neighborhood twice, and while they weren’t as disruptive as described in this story — if they had been, I’d be in jail right now for several cases of manslaughter at least — I found them extremely obnoxious, like the fashion photographers in Ray Bradbury’s “Sun and Shadow” who invade a poor Mexican town to glom onto the “picturesque” poverty. Central City is one of the poorest neighborhoods in New Orleans, but as far as I could tell, none of my neighbors was offered any compensation for inconvenience or use of their picturesquely unpainted and rotting housefronts. (I didn’t want compensation; I just put up a big sign saying DO NOT FILM THIS HOUSE.)
… I do not care about how great David Simon is supposed to be. I have not seen “The Wire,” nor am I interested in seeing it. I know some of you like the show and that’s cool. I respect many of the locals hired as consultants by “Treme” (mostly folks who were doing pretty well already, as far as I can tell) and I’m glad if the work has helped them, but I don’t feel that Simon and company have done New Orleans any favors by bringing this show here. Let us keep our (fictional) selves in the public eye as we choose to. Don’t come sniffing around from Hollywood and take it upon yourself to
exploit our paintell our story.
Harsh, but this is the writer who stands shoulder to shoulder with Ashley Morris in her outspoken defense of New Orleans, who coined “We Are Not OK”. Still, I had to ask her in a comment: Should we also say Fuck Spike Lee and Fuck When the Levees Broke? Fuck Josh Nuefeld? Fuck Dan Baum? (OK, fuck Dan Baum and his stupid pink bowler. Or rather, someone else can fuck him. Thanks).
I do not believe Simon is here to profit from our pain. Nothing in his public discussion of his work, or in his prior writing or film work, would lead a reasonable person to believe that is his motivation. He is here to tell a story with important social implications. And he hopes to get paid for it. When I tried to order by inter-library loan one of Brite’s books from the Fargo library in the fall of 2005, they ended up buying a copy instead. I was pretty friendly with the folks at the desk and asked them about it. They said they just wanted to help a writer from New Orleans. I was pleased for Brite that she sold another copy and for everyone else in Fargo who might someday read it. Everybody wants to get paid.
Without looking into Simon’s publicly stated motivation or his work, Brite might as well say: Fuck Zola, Fuck Dickens, Fuck Steinbeck. All they did was try to profit from people’s pain. Right?
— wet bank guy