Friday, April 02, 2021
The knell that is sounded periodically for jazz is ringing again. The jazz press, which loves to weep over even fancied catastrophe, is itself pulling the rope, and there are other signs. Folk music has seized a considerable chunk of those listeners who, fifteen years back, might have been studying jazz. The night club business, which is probably outmoded anyhow, is rapidly falling away, and fewer jazz records are being made. Radio and television have again slammed their doors. Musicians of every stripe are scratching for work. But these are, I'm sure, transitory difficulties sown by faddism, and they have little to do with a problem in jazz that does deserve brooding and even melancholy: the chill that has crept into the music in the past decade. One feels it in the glittering younger pianists, in the crushing sarcasm of Sonny Rollins and the autonomous frenzy of John Coltrane, in the vapid musings of Miles Davis, and, most depressingly, in the drummers shaped by Max Roach.
Whitney Balliett, 1965
Such Sweet Thunder: Jazz Today
London: Macdonald, 1968, 282
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Kierkegaard, Kafka, Connolly, Compton Burnet, Sartre, "Scottie" Wilson. Who are they? What do they want?"
'I've heard of some of them. They were being talked about in London at the time I left.'
'They talked of "Scottie" Wilson?'
'No, I don't think so. Not of him.'
'That's "Scottie" Wilson. Those drawings there. Do they make any sense to you?'
Sir Francis Hinsley's momentary animation subsided. He let fall his copy of 'Horizon' and gazed towards the patch of deepening shadow which had once been a pool.
Friday, March 26, 2021
From the San Francisco Chronicle
Three weeks ago I processed the Capitol insurrection with my high school students. Rallying our inquiry skills, we analyzed the images of that historic day, images of white men storming through the Capitol, fearless and with no forces to stop them. “This,” I said, “is white supremacy, this is white privilege. It can be hard to pinpoint, but when we see, it, we know it.”
And there, across all of our news and social media feeds, was Bernie: Bernie memes, Bernie sweatshirts, endless love for Bernie. I puzzled and fumed as an individual as I strove to be my best possible teacher. What did I see? What did I think my students should see? A wealthy, incredibly well-educated and -privileged white man, showing up for perhaps the most important ritual of the decade, in a puffy jacket and huge mittens.
I mean in no way to overstate the parallels. Sen. Sanders is no white supremacist insurrectionist. But he manifests privilege, white privilege, male privilege and class privilege, in ways that my students could see and feel.
“When you see privilege, you know it,” I’d told them weeks before. Yet, when they saw Sen. Bernie Sanders manifesting privilege, when seemingly no one else did, I struggled to explain that disparity. I am beyond puzzled as to why so many are loving the images of Bernie and his gloves. Sweet, yes, the gloves, knit by an educator. So “Bernie.”
Not so sweet? The blindness I see, of so many (Bernie included), to the privileges Bernie represents. I don’t know many poor, or working class, or female, or struggling-to-be-taken-seriously folk who would show up at the inauguration of our 46th president dressed like Bernie. Unless those same folk had privilege. Which they don’t.
Ingrid Seyer-Ochi is a former UC Berkeley and Mills College professor, ex-Oakland Unified School District principal and current San Francisco Unified School District high school teacher.
Monday, December 07, 2020
Not so long ago I heard somebody in the grove of academe prating something to the effect of racism being something that only white folks did, that this was axiomatic because of the hegemony of the orientalist nexus in the post-colonial discourse, or words to that effect. Then I remembered Martin Jacques:
Monday, October 26, 2020