For the context of this essay by Dymphna, cast your mind back fourteen years to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit new Orleans during the last week of August, 2005.
Note: The domain where Bill Whittle’s “Tribes” essay was originally posted is no longer extant, so the link has been replaced with one to a mirror of the original.
Sheepdogs Driving the Bus
Originally published on September 6, 2005
The blogosphere is reverberating with the drums echoing from Bill Whittle’s fine essay about the divisions of people into tribes. What follows is not exactly a summary; it’s closer to a synthesis of his ideas written for those of us with the attention span of your average Cub Scout. That being said (“that” meaning you should go read the real thing here), let’s look at Mr. Whittle’s fine images, beginning with the Pink People.
Whittle’s PPs are typified by Hollywood types, though Pink is not confined just to Hollywood — it’s simply that there are more Pink People per square inch in Hollywood and its environs than there are anywhere else, except perhaps in Washington, D.C., a place for which Pink People also have an affinity…
When you Think Pink, consider Sean Penn in his rescue boat — a four-person “rescue” boat which Mr. Penn fills with four people, one of whom is his personal photographer. A boat in which the plug had not been fastened so that there are many hilarious (or hideous, depending on your sensibilities) pictures of Mr. Penn bailing the boat with a red plastic cup. Mr. Penn, Pink Person extraordinaire, was not out to rescue anyone. This was merely his trip to Iran translated to American. He was in New Orleans to appear to be rescuing someone. No doubt he left money there also, to show he was acting in good faith (since he does not act particularly well, acting in good faith may be all he has left in his small bag of tricks). Mr. Penn may even have left some of his good-faith money with the mayor, who is definitely a Pink Person — a Pink Person appearing as a mayor. This pink-to-pink transfer allows all the Pinks to feel good, and to a Pink, feeling good is the summum bonum.
Pink people wear rose-colored glasses. They prepare for the future by grabbing as much material wealth as possible and then looking down on others, whose actions in life may originate from different motivations. Pink people do well until they are called upon to act decisively for others in situations where they themselves may be at risk. This situation does not cause a change in color. They simply scream in place until a grey person eats them or rescues them.
The grey people? Here is where I synthesize Mr. Whittle’s comments. He describes this grey as the color of concrete. Where Pink People are soft, Grey People are hard, like the graphite in mechanical pencils. They are that way on purpose because they act purposefully, wherever they are.
Some of the Grey Guys are Good Guys and some aren’t. The first group of GGs are the wolves, either those who are loners or those who run in packs. Some of the Grey Guys appear to be Good until push comes to shove and then they turn their coats and what you thought was a sheepdog, herding the rest of us, becomes a wolf, eating the rest of us. The sad misfortune of the Sheepdogs-turned-wolves in New Orleans — the police officers ‘captured’ on videotape breaking open display cases and looting stores — is that they cannot turn their coats back again. Once exposed, the wolf skin sticks tighter than mendacity does to Michael Moore. None of them may go home again because they helped demolish the place where they live and move and have their being. As the farmer says, not even an animal defecates where it eats. But those people did, ergo, they slipped below the level of animal to some subroutine in the reptilian brain we all possess.