1. I was critical of an aggregation of Twitter stuff that a friend put together and shared here on Facebook. I was rude in my comments.
2. While it was inappropriate for me to be obnoxious on another’s page, I still firmly believe that using twitter to blog is ridiculous.
3. Instead of composing a proper thesis and discussing it, the tweet-blaster gives us 140 characters at a time, like leaky faucet.
4. notice that these “thoughts” aren’t even 140 characters, because when you come to 130ish, you need to stop to move on to the next one.
5. the argument for doing this is, your audience is on twitter. I categorically reject this. It’s an excuse to be lazy, lowering the bar.
6. I wanted to say “it lowers the level of discourse” on that last “tweet”, but couldn’t. It ran the message over 140 characters.
Take a breath…this isn’t Twitter, after all.
7. So-called writers who take to twitter in this fashion rely on others to aggregate the blast into a coherent form. That’s unreliable.
8. A couple of weeks ago, I saw E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post re-tweet the FIFTEENTH part of some NYT gal’s tweet vomitus.
9. He said, basically, “here’s some stuff to read, go find this woman and read the rest of what she had to say. Assuming you can find her.
10. Have you noticed that, at the beginning of each of these “tweets”, I lose two characters in the hopes this “essay” stays organized?
11. This isn’t how thought leaders work. This isn’t an acceptable way to grow an audience. Thought leaders establish a premise, then they
12. (see what happens when you hit the 140-character wall in mid-sentence?) Now your next tweet looks feckin stupid, and you lose the reader
13. Thought leaders, like Jamelle Bouie of Slate, write essays that provoke thought and comment. Here’s his latest.
14. Bouie isn’t looking for a cheap appeal to someone with a minute and a half to glance at their phone. He wants to discuss an issue.
15. Reject tweet blasts. Don’t pander to the people who do them.
It might be a bit too cold out for “Slave Leias” at the Carrie Fisher Tribute parade. (Infrogmation photo)
“Disneyfication” is an accusation hurled regularly at the Mayor of New Orleans and the City Council. When government imposes rules on activities, gatherings, parades, etc., folks get upset. They feel government should stay out of street culture. This is an almost-weekly battle. Musicians, artists, performers, and just average citizens rail against rules. They believe hizzoner and the Council “sanitize” the Quarter with these rules. This sanitation, they argue, turns the Quarter into Disneyland’s “New Orleans Square”, rather than a living community.
Disneyfication is pushed by the community as well
“New Orleans Square” at Disneyland. (courtesy Commons user JonnyboyCA)
City Hall is not the only source of Disneyfication. Look at how Disneyland presents New Orleans. They created a point-in-time snapshot of the French Quarter. Now they maintain that snapshot. This is a deeper issue than scheduled parades, perfectly-clean streets, and no spontaneous/ad hoc cultural demonstrations.
So, the snapshot itself is the problem. New Orleans neighborhoods, are living communities. Residents change, businesses change, buildings evolve. Some of these changes are natural, others, such as demolition by neglect situations, are bad for the community. It is important that everyone’s thoughts and needs be considered when discussing the future of the neighborhood.
Disneyfication outside the Quarter
So, let’s stroll through Faubourg Marigny and into the Bywater. These areas also have historic protections in place. So, they are much less commercialized. They are still primarily residential. Therefore, the residents of these neighborhoods define the culture. They have a larger impact than the residents of the Quarter. We’ve seen an interesting expansion of our Carnival celebration in these neighborhoods. Over the years, ad hoc street parades evolved into full-blown events. These parades now require permits, cops, and serious organization.
Furthermore, Carnival parades happened all over the city. Over time, City Hall and the cops forced krewes into standard routes. The current neighborhood clubs bring Carnival back to parts of town that are outside the standards. Overall, this evolution is popular. It’s ignored by folks who have no interest in venturing into the Bywater.
New Orleans has a rich tradition of parades outside of Carnival season. The most common street parades are put on by the various Social Aid and Pleasure organizations in the African-American community. These clubs continue the “second line” tradition, expanding it beyond just funeral parades for jazz musicians.
While the “second line season” in the backatown neighborhoods continues strong, there’s been an expansion brass band parades. It’s much easier to obtain a permit for such a parade than it’s been in the past, so we see more “jazz funerals” and weddings in this style. These parades are usually short and conform to the traditions of brass band parades we’ve seen develop over decades.
Advocating a snapshot
This year, we’ll have two “tribute parades” in the second line style. As a result, there’s a huge howl from “purists”. These critics view non-traditional events as an affront to history and heritage. By their opposition, these advocates for conformity argue for “snapshots”. They want have a personal view of what a street parade should be. Deviations from that snapshot are viciously criticized on social media. These scolds insist that those who want to modify the style and purpose of a New Orleans street parade are abhorrent to the culture.
What the scolds don’t realize is that they’ve become what they hate. They are a downtown/backatown version of “sanitization”. They are as much part of the Disneyfication trend as the government.
Empathy, George Michaeel, and 2016 are just a train wreck. As if the celebrities that passed this year weren’t enough, the loss of a 53-year old pop star pushed a lot of people over the emotional edge yesterday.
Empathy and George Michael
George Michael is one of those celebrities that I don’t feel a strong emotion connection with. When Wham! hit the scene, I was still holding on to my AOR roots, with Yes, ELP, and their offshoots. Pop? Pfft, I needed to work on adjusting and understanding Prince’s appeal to the teen girls I taught at Redeemer High. I enjoyed the upbeat videos the band dropped on MTV, but I just didn’t have a deep attachment. When Michael went solo, same thing. He wasn’t someone I paused to consider, still, he wasn’t a musician/artist I loathed.
Feeling others’ loss
That’s where empathy comes in. It’s not like I don’t know who George Michael was, and his story. In fact, when Sir Elton did “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with Michael, that boosted his street cred with me in a huge way. Didn’t make me add Wham! or his solo stuff to mix tapes for the car, though. While it wasn’t there for me, I respected my friends who liked him. I listened to them tell me why his music moved them. It’s you do when you take your friends seriously.
His death is the same sort of situation. My feelings are similar to my 22yo kiddo’s, when he said “Aw, that’s unfortunate,” last night. Unfortunate is right. Loss to my personal musical sphere? Nah.
There’s debate as to whether or not 2016 is any worse than other years, in terms of celebrity passings. What happens as we get older, though, is that those who pass are no longer people in black-and-white photos we vaguely remember our parents talking about. They’re guys in vivid colors and big 80s hair. That generates a great deal of sensory overload for empaths.
Cover of my first Urban Fantasy novel, Hidden Talents
Shameless Self-Promotion is important for all of us with something to sell. I’ve got books you should buy, but I’ve also got a couple of freebies for the holidays.
Shameless Self-Promotion: Freebies
I wrote two short stories in my “Talents” universe that I’m offering for free, as a thank you to my readers. Check them out. If you like Urban Fantasy, they may appeal to you. My “Talents” stories are an outgrowth of my novel, Hidden Talents. It’s the first in the “Bayou Talents” series. I’m working on the second novel now. They’re Urban Fantasy stories, but no vampires and werewolves. Folks with “Talents” have paranormal abilities, and I tell their stories.
So, my other universe focuses on dragons. Because my two sons’ vivid imaginations inspire me, I’ve written two novels about three kids in Metairie and a dragon. Yes, #themetrys. They’re not ordinary teens, though, because an Elder Dragon chose to come into their lives via a dragon egg they purchased over the Internet. The first book, “Dragon’s Danger”, traces the story from the beginning, as the teens hatch the egg and help the dragon evolve. The story continues in this year’s installment, Dragon’s Discovery. In this novel, which dropped at Thanksgiving, the teens and their dragon are in their junior year at high schools in New Orleans. They learn more about their friend and the complications of being Blood-Bound to a dragon.
Buy My Books!
In addition to the three novels, don’t forget my five history books! All are published by Arcadia, and are fascinating glimpses into various aspects of the history of New Orleans.
Buy my books in local bookshops, Walgreens drug stores in the metro area, and on Amazon. If you’d like a particular title inscribed, contact me, we’ll figure it out.
New Orleans-themed books are a great way to spend holiday gift cards. Go!