Thursday, October 4, 2012

Claire vs. Akin in the key of F

"Jazz is an open-ended music designed for open minds." — Author Unknown

WHEN PAUL AND I were in Kansas City Saturday night for the Gary Burton/
Chick Corea/Harlem String Quartet concert, we sat next to an affluent-looking, silver-haired couple. They seemed like a pair you might see sitting on a bench in an art museum reflecting upon a Matisse or meet while on a group tour of the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice

Paul was seated next to the woman, and we chatted with her affably. Eventually conversation shifted to current events, and I almost said "How is Claire doing in the polls?" with the assumption that she was surely a Claire McCaskill supporter, or at least not a supporter of her keep-'em-barefoot-and-pregnant, fictional science opponent, Todd Akin.

I judiciously censored myself and asked instead if she liked Senator McCaskill. The answer was a vigorous "No!" 

I was quite honestly shocked that this worldly, intelligent woman could be in favor of a guy who is so neither of those things. I stopped myself from audibly choking and managed to say something, while non-partisan, still alluded to Akin's ignorance of human biology. She agreed that he doesn't know beans about reproduction, and in the end said that in her mind it was choice between the lesser of two evils. (Really?)

I haven't been able to shake how Akin's political label, and apparently hers, seemed to trump critical thinking — or stop wondering how any woman could be for someone as anti-woman as Akin is.

I admit to having profiled this couple based on intangibles, part of which was the venue. I don't know if it's true about people who like jazz, but I do know from acquaintance that the majority of the ones I know who play jazz are socially liberal progressives. 

There are exceptions of course. I can think of one who implausibly imagines himself to be big business capitalist — he gives music lessons for crying out loud. I'm sorely tempted to point out that parroting propaganda in favor of policies that keep the ruling class rich, doesn't make him one of them any more than cheering on LeBron James makes him a $120 million pro basketball player. It amazes me how prevalent this ridiculous self-deception is — how the very people who suffer most from the (ever-widening) wealth disparity continue to vote against their own self-interest.

There's another player who is awash in wackadoodle notions that range from believing that contrails are part of a federal government's conspiracy to poison us — to secret codes existing in the Bible that can be cracked by counting the number of letters in sections and passages. 

Aside from those extreme outliers, the rest lean heavily toward being progressive, critical thinkers. 

Makes complete sense to me, actually. In jazz nothing is static, everything moves, changes and is relative. You have to be able to dodge and weave, go backwards and forwards. up, down and around in your own individual way while still staying within certain parameters and being part of the whole. Everyone in the group matters, but nobody gets to matter more the rest. Jazz is the ultimate musical melting pot. 

I was just now chatting with Paul about our next-seat neighbor at the concert in Kansas City, and Paul tells me that he thinks she had a mistaken idea of what sort of music she about to hear, and it didn't turn out to be at all what she'd expected. She said something beforehand about getting "wild and crazy" and "rocking and rolling" or words to that effect, not exactly descriptive phrases a person would usually attach to jazz, and Paul says that during the concert she didn't respond to what was being played in any way — no tapping of feet, getting into it or any other visible sign of feeling what she was hearing. That explains it. I feel better now.

PS: Happily, Shiva seems recovered from her marathon bout of vomiting. We certainly got a little glimpse into the unknown that is her past as a result.
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