Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Modicum Of Research Needed

Dear Heroes screenwriters:

Your touching montage of flooded-out homes superimposed over a melancholy facial expression fell a little flat after having the owner of that melancholy facial expression say, "Half the folks in this county are still living in FEMA trailers." This is because Louisiana does not have counties. It has parishes. This is important to know when writing dialogue for fictional Katrina survivors in New Orleans.

This kind of sloppiness makes you look very bad. It makes you look like you care about the Gulf Coast aftermath of August 29, 2005, only insofar as you can use it to boost your show's ratings. Like you said, "Oh hey! I know what makes viewers feel sorry for characters! Hurricane Katrina!" and then just went ahead and sprinkled the words "New Orleans" and "Katrina" and "FEMA trailers" indiscriminately throughout the script. It makes you look callously unconcerned with actual Katrina survivors and the realities of their lives over the past two years, seeing as how you couldn't be bothered to research those realities.

In short, it makes you look like an exploitative git.

Next time, fact-check. Read Metroblogging New Orleans or Poppy Z. Brite's blog. At the very least grab a map. Maps are useful and chock-full of details. I recommend them.


A Jefferson Parish Native
(origin: 1.5 miles west of the 17th Street Canal)