Stuff that Lives

20 08 2009

Picture 3

This is a response to the recent debate started earlier this month by Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal. Patrick Jarenwattananon at NPR’s A Blog Supreme has a great link list of reactions. This debate has angered me, but I realize what a waste of time it is for a musician to respond, so I had to limit myself to the Twitters!

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2 responses

20 08 2009
DJA

Scott, it seems to me like your response is a bit tangential to the Teachout thing, which was more about “attracting younger listeners” than “bailing out” jazz. That said:

1) I’d be very hesitant to put the auto bailout and bank bailouts in the same camp. One is preserving a crucial manufacturing sector — an America where we no longer make stuff is a scary place. The other is handing over buckets of no-strings-attached cash to the people who broke global capitalism in the first place.

2) Notwithstanding that there’s no “arts bailout” to speak of on the table (and that certainly wasn’t what a conservative like Teachout had in mind!) — it’s hard for me to see why the arts should be any less deserving of stimulus money than any other sector of the economy. (See here, for instance.)

3) Take a look at what Dave Douglas has to say here. Is he wrong? If so, why is he wrong?

21 08 2009
glowsinthedark

It’s definitely tangential, but the article and some reactions just got me thinking about this supposed jazz decline, and how much it’s about journalists talking to each other, and not about what’s actually happening. Obviously, it’s got me confused.

1 and 2) This thought just came to me based on the fact that funding in this manner is great for the artists, but it tends to put jazz in a category apart from other music. It just seems like a natural reaction to a declining audience would be to throw more money at the problem, and I think that’s missing the point. The solution is to do what we’re already doing, which of course the Teachout article failed to mention. Book shows, promote, and bring the music to the people (not just university season subscribers).

3) Overall I agree with him. I love his line “We carry all the contradictions right within ourselves.” That is what this post is addressing. Arts funding is great, individual artist grants even better, but I’m still conflicted because the money confuses matters infinitely. Who pays for culture, and is culture even something that should be bought. You know, like those Putumayo CDs at Starbucks.

Luckily, all I have to do is keep writing, recording, and presenting music!

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