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About JazzTbones

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  1. Petition to create a Secretary of the Arts

    This discussion topic evolved in an animated email discussion between Van, Steve, Ron, Clare, Janet, Warren & myself(JazzTrombones-Alan) I thought it might be interesting to continue it here in a more open venue. Below are my opening comments and the text of the discussion thus far... =============================================== Golly-gee guys, I never thought just emailing a link to a webpage would engender such a heated debate! But since it has taken on a life of it's own I might as well put in my 3(or 4) cents. Everyone has made valid points so far... Steve's Heinlein quote really started the ball rolling, but everyone should know a little more about Heinlein's history and works to better understand what he was really saying . The whore quote was really directed toward a specific group of artists. Heinlein had a general dislike for "classical" artists(musicians, dancers and other government supported types) due to a few unpleasant episodes early in his life. The quote is: "A government supported artist is an incompetent whore.” This was a quote from his sci-fi book "Stranger in a Strange Land" in which he also says: "Government! Three-fourths parasitic and the rest stupid fumbling ... man, a social animal, could no more avoid government than an individual could escape the necessity of bowel movements. But simply because an evil is necessary is no reason to term it 'good.'" "Belief gets in the way of learning." "One way or another, any government which remains in power is a representative government. If your city government is a crooked machine, then it is because you and your neighbors prefer it that way - prefer it to the effort of running your own affairs. Hitler's government was a popular government; the vast majority of Germans preferred the rule of gangsters to the effort of thinking and doing for themselves. They abdicated their franchise." --And from his book- Time Enough for Love: "Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation." "Politics is just a name for the way we get things done... without fighting. We dicker and compromise and everybody thinks he has received a raw deal, but somehow after a tedious amount of talk we come up with some jury-rigged way to do it without getting anybody's head bashed in. That's politics." "Of all the nonsense that twists the world, the concept of 'altruism' is the worst. People do what they want to, every time. If it pains them to make a choice - if the 'choice' looks like a 'sacrifice' - you can be sure that it is no nobler than the discomfort caused by greediness... the necessity of having to decide between two things you want when you can't have both. The ordinary bloke suffers every time he chooses between spending a buck on beer or tucking it away for his kids, between getting up to go to work and losing his job. But he always chooses that which hurts least or pleasures most. The scoundrel and the saint make the same choices." Personally, I could care less about government supported artists(the musicians especially). For starters, there are precious few musicians that ever receive government support or work in an organization that is government supported. Even with an Arts "Czar" I don't think that will change much. Classical musicians in particular are blessed with a fairy-tale somewhat sheltered life of playing in large well-lit, not smoky, comfortable-seating, large-stage, relatively drunk-free venues where everyone dresses up, claps nicely, listens attentively, and doesn't boo if you can't play their favorite song. They usually have a contract for several years and a reasonable to high falutin' salary. This is not the situation for the other 99% of musicians around the world(excluding "pop stars" of course, the discussion of which I will save for another topic). However, the best reason for trying to make sure there is strong support for "The Arts"(be it government, individual, corporate or otherwise) is not necessarily for the benefit of the musicians(or dancers, etc) performing the works. It is for the benefit of the masses of otherwise Arts-uneducated and Arts-challenged people who will listen to the music, dance, etc. Especially the children!-- who, if not exposed to and taught about quality music(not just classical, but jazz and other music which must be studied and practiced to be performed well) may very well fall into the giant abyss of "pop" music, without realizing there are any other music forms worth listening to. In closing I ask you- if I were to set up a petition stating that pop stars and wannabe pop stars can no longer be called "artists" would you folks sign it? I hope everyone (especially the initial group) will continue to comment on this topic for a while. Below is what has been said in several emails over the course of a week so far(starting with my initial "innocent" referral to a webpage): ========================================== On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 5:05 AM, Alan wrote: Check out the site: http://www.petitiononline.com/esnyc/petition.html ================================ On Saturday, January 24, 2009 4:12 PM, Ron wrote: The arts will survive on their own. They always have and always will. ================================ On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 6:12 PM, Steve wrote: "A government supported artist is an incompetent whore." Robert Heinlein ================================ On Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:04 PM, Ron wrote: That's a little stronger than I would describe it, but I do subscribe to the logic. The musical arts by their own merits will prevail themselves to the listened and uninitiated. World or national economies will never change that. ================================ On Sunday, January 25, 2009 11:25 AM, Clare wrote: I can’t let this go without a response. So the military-industrial companies (with trillions of dollars of our money spent very inefficiently to say the least) are competent whores?! Your attitude is why the phrase “starving musician” will remain. The arts help to separate humans from the rest of the animal world. They lift us up out of the funk of normal existence. Why not acknowledge that fact with a little more financial and/or political support? Not necessarily a cabinet position, but you get my meaning. ================================ On Sunday, January 25, 2009 12:32 PM, Van wrote: Alan, you see what you started? For the rest of you, I just want you to know that I spent the bulk of my high school years trying to keep him out of trouble. Clearly, however, my efforts met with only limited success .... =============================================== ===============================================