Skip to comments.Critic's Notebook: Literature of 1992 L.A. riots is fragmented
Posted on 04/22/2012 1:25:01 AM PDT by thecodont
One of my favorite pieces of writing to emerge from the 1992 Los Angeles riots is a poem by a writer named Nicole Sampogna, called "Another L.A." In it, the poet traces the odd dislocation of living on the Westside while so much of the city burns. "They send us home early, again," she begins, "supposedly for curfew sake, / but I know it's to beat the traffic." And then: "over there the smoke rises, / horns blare, streets scream, / shoot, loot, / bash windows, bash heads, / lights out / knocked out / by a black & white with a baton. / but, here / will the pizza man deliver after sunset?"
How in such a place do we evoke the larger story? How do we find common ground?
No equivalent sense of history emerges when we think about 1992. Instead, we are left with fragments, snapshots, the loose tiles of what former Mayor Tom Bradley liked to call "the glorious mosaic," which the riots revealed to be a lie. That's true even of King's memoir "The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption" (HarperOne: 245 pp., $25.99), which seeks to capitalize on the 20th anniversary of the riots but never offers a coherent point of view. It's unfair, perhaps, to expect this of King, who was thrust, or thrust himself, into a situation beyond his control. Nonetheless, it's also emblematic of the vagaries, the displacement, the lack of a collective vision, our inability even now to take a broad, inclusive perspective on the riots and what they mean.
...Either way, I keep coming back to Sampogna, to Coleman, George and Rayner, and their sense of "our (dis)connection," of the riots as a story we have never quite known how to tell.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
I think it is fantastical that anyone expects compelling literature to be sparked by an examination of brainless nihilism. The reason for the “fragmentation” is that all of this navel gazing was done after Watts and nothing had changed by 1992 and nothing has changed as of today. Examining and re-examining a culture of nearly unmitigated failure is boring.
They should have did a poem on the inaction and ineptitude of daddy Bush during this event.
Did he even do/say anything? I don’t remember. Just asking.
If I recall, the only public statement he made said something to the effect of “This type of behavior will not be tolerated”
Examining and re-examining a culture of nearly unmitigated failure is boring.And, as the posted piece illustrates, leads to leftists engaging in acts of literary masturbation that are extremely boring (and painful) for the reader to watch... though presumably it was "good" for the author.
As for the riots themselves, my brother lived (and still lives) in LA at the time and he told me that during that time the local news media discovered the "trick" of flying a helicopter above a storefront of an as-yet-unattacked store and filming it, while the TV announcer said something like "look, here's a corner that is safe, just to show you there are parts of this area that have no riots", so they could be there when the rioters, getting the news on their own TVs, rushed to loot the unoccupied building with the news helicopter getting live coverage of the initial breakin.
A symbiotic relationship between the high-ranking filth and the low-ranking filth.
I wonder how much of the left-wing self-abuse literature mentions THAT little tidbit.
How does a leftist academic express ‘stupid people shouldn’t breed’?
Examining and re-examining a culture of nearly unmitigated failure is boring.
Dems are flaming racists and live off race division and hate. The better they can polarize minorities against Whites in the name of wealth and opportunity redistribution (socialism) for having to live with inherently dirty, racist white people, the more power they have.
Dems incite and maintain racial hatred and sub-cultural divisions for power. It is a segregation system of the heart and mind. That is what the diversity doctrines are about. They keep minorites separate in heart and mind from whites and their dead white male racist constitutional freedoms and Repulic. Equality is said to be socialism.
Just what was Bush supposed to “have did”?
Sounds like the UN’s bluster: “This is a warning; if you do it again, we’ll issue another warning!”
That's why they've been doing everything they can to foment them.
Bush said and did everything a President does at such times. He also provided FEDERAL troops (Marines), not just the National Guard, which was a big bad thing.
There was also a lot of illegal alien looting which no one was allowed to talk about.
Clinton used the LA Riots and hurricane Andrew to hammer Bush and the liberal media blamed all of it on Bush.
That’s amazing, that the broadcast media would do something like that.
Leftists are allowed to put profits (ratings) over people.
The Bushes never defended themselves, did they? It seems like they always were waiting for someone else to go on the offensive against the lib-dem-crappola. Just trying to be “nice-nice”, or what?
“He also provided FEDERAL troops (Marines)...”
The orders should have been: Shoot on sight to kill, IMO. Rioters need killing.
I always thought it was because the Bushes were embarrassed to do anything conservative; but, they had to sometimes only to get the votes. They hoped their liberal friends would just be understanding.
That worked out real well, didn’t it? LOL.
Having actually been there and lived through it, I can tell you that by the time the troops arrived, the riots and looting were pretty much over. The whole thing started on Wednesday afternoon with the Reginald Denny beating, peaked at about 4 PM Thursday, and was fairly quiet by Friday. The first real numbers of troops (1000 CANG) hit the streets at 8 PM Thursday night. Combined with a curfew, that pretty much drove all the malefactors to ground by dark Thursday.
Thursday from about 1 to 6 PM, though, was as close to being in a war as I care to be. Looters made several attempts to get into the appliance store at the end of my block, fires were burning all around, ash was floating down like snow.
Here's a true story: At about 11 AM Thursday it hadn't quite gotten to our neighborhood (The Miracle Mile area, if you know L.A.), and we needed some food. We drove a few blocks to the nearest supermarket, a nice store in a nice, heavily Jewish neighborhood. Walking in, I saw lines going all the way to back of the store and people--old white, probably Jewish people--just walking out with stuff. There was a riot going on and they weren't going to stand there waiting in line. So I'm standing at the door taking in this scene and I hear the manager telling the security guard to do something. The guard says, "The cops aren't going to come. What do you want me to do? Shoot them?" My wife and I got back in our car and drove to a little health food place further down the road, which was fine.
Wow; just wow. I’m glad you both made it.
My brother lived in LA and he said the local street gang kept the looters out so they could do the looting themselves.
Oh, I got better stories than that. About a mile away was a gun store. When the S started to HTF, the owner called in all his employees. They armed up, posting guys on the roof with shotguns and bandeliers of shells. Some gang guys came by and told hem to walk away, but they refused. The gang guys stayed away. The best part of his, though, was that the liquor store next door in the little strip mall was also untouched and was the only place you could buy beer on Friday. And on Friday, you NEEDED a beer.
At least, a beer, BH-T! At least...
I live over the hill but could clearly see (and smell) huge plumes of smoke. Ashes fell everywhere like the wildfires we have in the fall.
During the riots, Charlton Heston said he got a number of calls from big Hollywood anti-gun lefties:
“I got a few phone calls from firmly anti-gun friends in clear conflict. ‘Umm, Chuck, you have quite a few . . . ah, guns, don’t you?’
‘Could you lend me one for a day or so? I tried to buy one, but they have this waiting period . . .’
‘Yeah, I know. I remember you voted for that. Do you know how to use a shotgun?’
‘No, I thought maybe you could teach me. This is getting a little scary.’
‘I noticed. It does that sometimes. I could teach you, but not in an hour. You might shoot yourself instead of the bad guys. The Marines are coming up from Pendleton; that’ll end it. When it does, go buy yourself a good shotgun and take some lessons.’