By Simon Dickel and Kindinger
»After the typhoon« strains the cultural and political responses to storm Katrina. instantly after Katrina, and through the previous 9 years, its devastating outcomes for the golfing quarter, New Orleans, and the yank kingdom were negotiated in more and more cultural productions – between them Spike Lee's documentary movie »When the Levees Broke«, David Simon and Eric Overmyer's television sequence »Treme«, or Natasha Trethewey's poetry assortment »Beyond Katrina«. This publication offers interdisciplinary views on those and different negotiations of typhoon Katrina and places specific emphasis at the intersections of the kinds race and class.
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Extra resources for After the Storm: The Cultural Politics of Hurricane Katrina
The Bathtub’s community, with its different take on materialism and living, is further characterized by its multi-ethnic make-up. Having introduced Hushpuppy and her father, the opening sequence picks up speed and noise. Here the interracial community is not only displayed visually but also aurally by zydeco music, a southwestern Louisiana genre that merges Cajun music, blues and rhythm and blues. Yet, even this celebratory opening sequence ends with an ambivalence that runs through the whole movie.
The Bathtub’s community is not black, but a colorful mixture of different races, an idealized or utopian mixed-race community that is displayed as uncorrupted by politics, religion or consumerism. In this community, there is no typical parental love, no love characterized by bourgeois rules. Hushpuppy’s father does love her, however, he is shown as rough, trying to teach her lessons, lessons to make her survive after his death, to be as independent and self-reliant as a grown-up man. Furthermore, in contrast to Blake’s poem, the hardship of life is not to be accepted as if heaven were waiting after death.
Moreover, referring to herself as “a Hushpuppy,” places her in the midst of this interspecies community; after all, as a hushpuppy originally was a piece of food to be thrown to dogs to hush them during a hunt, Hushpuppy’s name – and her objectification when using it in this scene – significantly points to her as part of the food chain, part of a larger scheme of things. Towards the end the film assumes a more spiritual tone (reminiscent of Terrence Malick’s recent films as The New World or Tree of Life), letting Hushpuppy realize the universe’s interconnectedness: “The entire universe depends on everything fitting together just right.
After the Storm: The Cultural Politics of Hurricane Katrina by Simon Dickel and Kindinger