On “Fanhood,” the annex
14 Posted on June 15th, 2012 by Himself
I don’t do Twitter. It’s a generational thing, I know, but still…I only bring this up because I have no idea what prompted AngryWhoDat’s jeremiad this morning. Not like it’s a bolt from any sort of blue.
And, for the most part, I agree with him. My loyalty is with the team, rather than particular players. For the most part. If Brees went on to play for another team, I’d still be a fan, and I’d be pissed at the Saints for letting him get away. Decades from now, we’ll still remember Drew Brees as a great player; but we’ll likely remember Steve Smith as a great player too, and still hate his guts. I’d hate the punk even if he joined the Saints and scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. Fine, great, got your ring, thanks for your services. Now go the fuck away.
But that’s not what this is about. Because I also disagree with AWD. Specifically, I disagree with this:
[The photo accompanying the post] popped up in a google search and was tied to this page, a blog from 2010. It’s a fun read. He’s completely wrong, but I respect the “fuck you all” attitude with which this guy carried himself.
No, it was not a fun read, and I don’t respect the guy’s attitude. (But yes, he was completely wrong.) If you haven’t already clicked the link, be warned that it’s yet another of those “why are New Orleanians still pulling the Katrina card?” posts. I know you’re probably as sick of the accusation as I am, and wish it would just go away. But it won’t go away, because the Internet won’t let it: it’s going to keep cropping up from time to time for the rest of our lives.
And so, it has to be answered. Plus, this “The_Creator” guy is simply wrong about everything. He knows nothing about New Orleans, nothing about the Saints, and pretty much nothing about what a fan is. So I’m going to school him. If you feel like sticking around, be my guest; just be aware that from this point onward, the rest of this post is directed toward one person. Not you. Unless you’re “The_Creator”—who is probably stujo, after all. Everyone else is.
First of all, TC, New Orleans didn’t “milk” Hurricane Katrina. That would be the media, which concocted a phony storyline so it could sell it across the country, to folks like you who don’t know shit. Folks in New Orleans didn’t mob the reporters when they showed up, screaming “Ooh! Ooh, me! Pity me! Pity me!” They were too busy being numb, because their homes had been wiped off the face of the fucking planet. What happened in New Orleans was in no way analogous to the attack on New York City; it was more like the attack on Dresden.
But guess what? Within a year, while thousands were living under blue tarps or in trailers, the state managed to get the Superdome back in usable shape and the huddled multitudes in New Orleans sold it the fuck out. You like photos? Here’s a video. This is the first game in the Dome in 2006, barely a year after the hurricane:
Notice the crowd? This is following a 3-13 season and the costliest natural disaster in American history. This is the Saints, a team that had won but a single playoff game in its history, and yet the fans packed the Dome and screamed until their ears bled. At this point, they had no way of knowing their team would have a winning season, that it would advance to the conference championship, that in a few short years they’d be celebrating a Super Bowl win with a parade that looked like this:
What a bunch of phonies, right? All 800,000 of them.
I’m not even going to address the “why should I feel sorry for New Orleans” meme. You’re just a hateful prick using his ignorance as misdirection, hoping no one will notice you’re a hateful prick (fail). No, I want to keep this to one subject: how you completely misunderstand the nature of fandom, in general and in New Orleans. You use Cleveland and your own august self as examples of true fans. I’m sorry, Cleveland? A fan base known for throwing batteries at opposing players? Using your team as an excuse to indulge in thuggery is your model for fandom? And you: New York Yankees, Boston Bruins, Miami Dolphins, Phoenix Suns. Do you live in four places at once? I get it, you live in East Bumfuck, you don’t really have a team, so you have to adopt one (or four). You don’t really care at all about New York, Boston, Miami, or Phoenix; you just need a team to root for in order to indulge your delight in rooting against everyone else. Your paradigm of a true fan really is someone throwing batteries.
That’s not the way it is in New Orleans. The Saints are an extension, and a representative, of the community: love of the Saints is really love of New Orleans. At this point, I have to admit that people in New Orleans have it easy, especially compared to Cleveland or East Bumfuck: there’s a lot about New Orleans to love. The place has character, it has soul, it has history. It’s not just a wide spot in the road that either grew like a cancer or stayed tiny because nobody from anywhere else gave a shit.
See, the thing is: we love the Saints. When we wear bags on our heads, that’s a joke. An in-joke: it’s for us, you’re not expected to understand it. When the Super Bowl champions are ahead by three scores with four minutes left and one fan turns to another and asks “You think they’ll pull this one out?”—that’s a joke. It comes from years of misery shared by millions of long-suffering WhoDats. You’re not part of it.
As for those bandwagon jumpers, they’re not part of it, either. Don’t confuse them with the real fans who have been here all along. But also: don’t confuse them with yourself. Because while their own “fandom” may be shallow and fragile, it’s at least based on positive motivation: they’re genuinely happy to see other people, who’ve suffered a lot over many years, finally get their chance to celebrate. Their hearts are in the right place. Your heart is stuck up your ass.
And you know what? Maybe in that crowd of 800,000 attending “Lombardi Gras,” there were a few hundred thousand who were bandwagon jumpers, just looking for a good time. But notice something: they went to New Orleans to find it. And they were welcome. As you would have been, too, even after people found out what a dick you are. That’s just the way New Orleans is. Your hotel? Yeah, go to Rampart Street and then take a left on Bienville, away from the river. Keep walking. Can’t miss it.
FYYFF. That’s a New Orleans thing, too.