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Friday Open Thread #6: Learn the words, motherfucker!

May 21, 2010

I believe you know that which is expected of you, and that for which you will be cast out.

Be bosomy and acerbic with each other. The one with the most bon mots wins a night on the town with Aunt Mimi.

28 Comments
  1. May 21, 2010 12:02 pm

    Watching the episodes again knowing what is going to happen is a better way to enjoy the feast. And a layered, nuanced feast it is. I highly encourage catching re-runs.

    Hope we see the guy who plays Daymo’s former drug dealer again. He seems rather intriguing.

    Lucia Micarelli and Phyllis Montana act pretty well for never (?) having acted before.

    Forget Janette, I want to hug Jacques and all his unrequited love business. Wonder if he punches out Davis, too. Seems too well-mannered for that, but you never know.

    I wonder if the McAlarys voted for Rob Couhig or Peggy Wilson in the 2006 mayoral primary. I know they didn’t cast a vote for Landrieu in the runoff, but would they vote for Nagin?

  2. Ralph permalink
    May 21, 2010 12:33 pm

    I have all kinds of problems with the Mardi Gras Indian subplot. I’m not a Mardi Gras Indian, but I know it’s not a full-time job as it’s been portrayed on this show. The way everybody addresses Albert as “Chief” is preposterous. I also have a very hard time believing anyone would lobby for the projects to reopened because his tribe needs a place to stay so they can gear up for Mardi Gras. Getting ready for Mardi Gras seems to be the main concern for Albert and the rest of his tribe. Don’t any of them have jobs or families? Don’t they have homes to rebuild? And does anyone think Indians take their practices as seriously as the ones in this show? I don’t. I really think the writers are overplaying local color here.

  3. May 21, 2010 1:21 pm

    Don’t know where to begin with this one.

    It would have been almost a full-time job making suits in 2006 since a half year’s work on suits was lost in the flood and as we saw on the show they didn’t get going seriously on starting over until almost Christmas. And getting ready for Mardi Gras was a huge deal for a lot of people. Emotionally a lot was riding on having a decent Mardi Gras, to convince themselves that the culture really could come back, to tell the world, “hell yes, we’re still here”, and just for fucking therapy. Certainly it’s not unanimous, Robinette and Delmond don’t apparently give a shit, but plenty of people did. Not sure if you’re from New Orleans or not, but Mardi Gras is almost more important than Christmas and is clung to just as tenaciously.

    As was made clear in Lambreaux’s case, there is no money for rebuilding because the insurance has not come through and Road Home did not exist yet (and was a loooooong way from paying anything out). The best many people without a family war chest could do at this point was gut their house and wait. This continued to be true for many people into 2007, 2008,….

    And of course these people have families. Their families are scattered to the winds, that’s the whole point. Some people came back and had to leave families behind. Sometimes kids came back without their parents so that they could finish school. The separation of families after the storm was something on a scale usually seen only during a war; it was incredibly painful for many. Burying yourself in something you remember from before the storm, like, say, sewing a suit, would have been an ideal coping mechanism. The Indians are incredibly proud people, they’re fighters, and making a suit and parading on Mardi Gras would have been a huge act of defiance against everything that was holding them back post-flood.

    And seriously, do you think we’re supposed to take Lambreaux’s “I need my people to come home” simply at its most starkly literal interpretation? He’s not just interested in getting his gang back together for Mardi Gras, he’s talking about bringing “his people”…black people, working people…home. Which again, was incredibly important at the time because there were plenty of people back then and now who didn’t want “that element” (defined as liberally as you want) back at all.

    As for whether Indians take their practices seriously, just drop by Handa Wanda’s at 2nd & Dryades any Sunday night. It’s open to the public, you can go see for yourself.

  4. greg p permalink
    May 21, 2010 1:24 pm

    And of course, many the Indians do have jobs: Albert builds and repairs houses, for one. (Don’t fuck with his tools, btw.)

  5. May 21, 2010 1:33 pm

    Albert does not just build and repair homes, although he can. He’s a plasterer, and I will be deeply disappointed if he doesn’t at least try to teach the boy a trade.

    If anything, I think the local color is tone perfect: not cartoonish but pervasive.

    Finally, a lot of people wanted the projects open. Hell, I wanted them open. Why tear down craft-built buildings to replace with a lot of stick-and-tyvek crap we’ll be tearing down in 20 years just so somebody can make a buck?

  6. Ralph permalink
    May 21, 2010 1:44 pm

    “Burying yourself in something you remember from before the storm, like, say, sewing a suit, would have been an ideal coping mechanism. The Indians are incredibly proud people, they’re fighters, and making a suit and parading on Mardi Gras would have been a huge act of defiance against everything that was holding them back post-flood.”

    I don’t doubt that but a bunch of people leaving their families to hole up in a bar and get ready for Mardi Gras is hard to take seriously. Surely these people had other irons in the fire. I’m in a couple Mardi Gras organizations. I know there are people who take them very seriously and pour a ton of time and money into them. But I’m not buying what’s going on with Albert and his tribe.

  7. liprap permalink
    May 21, 2010 2:14 pm

    I keep getting the feeling that Janette will eventually open a taco truck, then get harassed for doing so…at least, I feel I can take that more than I can take her schlepping off to NYC to be a line cook someplace else…

  8. May 21, 2010 2:50 pm

    Leaving out all the huge leaps of logic (maybe they don’t have families, maybe their kids are grown, maybe they’re estranged from their kids, maybe their family living situation in-exile doesn’t have room for them), and filling-in-the-blanks of what they do with the 167.75 hours a week that we don’t see them (maybe they have jobs AND work on suits), exactly what is it that you think they SHOULD be doing with their time?

    It might possibly be that your experience in Comus or Krewe du Jieux or whatever doesn’t give you as much insight into Indian culture as you think. Certainly from what I know about the spiritual and cultural importance of the tribes, it kind of transcends just “being in a Mardi Gras organization”.

  9. May 21, 2010 3:10 pm

    What Ray said.

    These are not “Mardi Gras Organizations” in the sense most people understand them. It is a commitment, a way of life. That is what they are trying to save, what I think most of us are here to try to save. Comparing that to riding in Tucks or some other parade is simplistic and ridiculous.

  10. May 21, 2010 3:25 pm

    Ralph, perhaps you sister Mimi can explain it to you.

  11. Ralph permalink
    May 21, 2010 3:38 pm

    Relax. I never claimed my participation in Mardi Gras gave me any inside dope on what really goes on in black Indian tribes. I mentioned that because “raynola” suggested I might not understand how big a deal Mardi Gras is. This “you just don’t understand” rap is unconvincing unless you can tell what really goes on with these tribes. I don’t study the show as closely as you do, but I know enough to realize that very little of the Albert storyline is plausible.

  12. May 21, 2010 4:00 pm

    I don’t see how you can admit to not having any inside dope on Mardi Gras Indian tribes and then in the very same paragraph state authoritatively that the entire Indian plot is not plausible. Either you know or you don’t know. Everything I’ve read or watched about Mardi Gras Indians, everything I’ve seen at Handa Wanda’s on Sunday nights and everything I’ve heard talking to Indians convinces me that the entire storyline is plausible. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that it’s not only plausible but is actually based on actual events, like most everything else in the show.

  13. Ralph permalink
    May 21, 2010 4:50 pm

    “Either you know or you don’t know.”

    Wrong. You don’t need personal knowledge of something to have an opinion as to its plausibility. You buy the Albert storyline. I don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind as the plot progresses. But that two-man practice session was pure bathos. Was that scene Chris Rose’s idea?

  14. May 21, 2010 5:12 pm

    You don’t need personal knowledge of something to have an opinion as to its plausibility.

    Indeed.

  15. May 21, 2010 6:44 pm

    Ray, this reply from you needs a “like” button. B^)

  16. May 21, 2010 7:57 pm

    Having some inside information and experience of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe and a Big Chief, I can say that everything Ralph says is wrong.

  17. May 21, 2010 8:36 pm

    Life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.
    —Luigi Pirandello

  18. Anita permalink
    May 21, 2010 10:46 pm

    Privilege and ignorance together make a powerful set of blinders.

  19. May 22, 2010 11:37 am

    The usual description of the show is that it focuses on the music and musicians. But in reality, I think it’s focusing on the people who are making what we think of as New Orleans culture- the people who live that tradition, make it with their own hands. The musicians, the Indian Chief, the chef, the neighborhood bar owner.

    It’s their life, not just their day job.

  20. mistlethrush1 permalink
    May 22, 2010 12:58 pm

    I’m not from New Orleans and I have no exposure to the Mardi Gra Indians byond an interest and having read about them as well as listening to the music on recordings (Wild Magnolias mostly). I can’t say that I am sure about the entire uthenticity of everything portrayed about Albert and his gang on the show is nail-on-the-head truth, but it’s pretty reasonable to assume that people who take so much pride in their tradition that they put many, many hours of work into hand-sewn costumes for masking on Mardi Gras as well as getting together for practicing their music have invested quite a lot in keeping their traditions alive.

    The scene where Delmond shows up for their practice seemed to me to be more than any kind of rehearsal-It was more like a communing and an affirmation of their brotherhood as well being a way to connect to a primal sort of spirituality.

  21. May 22, 2010 2:05 pm

    Or a plaster or maybe even a lather (I now thing and perhaps not the plaster after reading this).

  22. May 22, 2010 7:03 pm

    I’m not nearly as acerbic as y’all, but I think I won bosomy. Heh.

  23. doctorj2u permalink
    May 23, 2010 8:14 am

    BigRedCotton (Notes from New Orleans) posted this video and it is fabulous! “Ray Nagin”

    “BigRedCotton — May 22, 2010 — Homegoing tribute for Brandon Franklin at Hi Ho Lounge, sponsored by Stooges Brass Band. This is one of my favorite TBC songs:
    “Gon talk to Nagin…and give him a piece of my mind! Give me my projects back!”

    Also featuring footwork of Shalanda Goffner, member of Lady Buckjumpers Social Aid and Pleasure Club ”

  24. Kim Marshall permalink
    May 23, 2010 11:33 am

    I found this Salon article about Treme interesting but off-target:

    http://www.salon.com/entertainment/tv/heather_havrilesky/2010/05/22/treme_bold_but_uneven/index.html

    The comments are great.

  25. May 23, 2010 1:12 pm

    Please note the DONATE widget in the right sidebar for First-Draft’s adoptabirdathon. We are almost already up to a PELICAN! Help us do more.

  26. May 23, 2010 1:15 pm

    Also we get to name the birds we adopt. Maybe we can manage a Treme pelican or two? Or named for Treme characters? Ideas welcome.

  27. May 24, 2010 12:14 pm

    We made the Pelican limit! Hence the change of the photo in the sidebar.

    http://www.first-draft.com/2010/05/blog-for-birds-day-2-we-have-pelican-.html

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