July 17, 2005

Where you are, does everyone assume you like jazz?

Read Oscar's post. My comment is over there. Then come back here and answer my question. Or stay over there and answer Oscar's question. Or answer his question here and mine there. Whatever you like. Your call.

32 comments:

Ron said...

Much of tree town is a jazz-mandatory zone. I hate that! I wear a jazz chip on my shoulder because people are such boors about it...

"one bad note is an accident, but two bad notes? That's jazz!"

Stuntmother said...

On the other hand, I still hear a lot of easy-listening piped into stores, dressing rooms, elevators and on hold and no one assumes I actually like it. It's there because marketing people discovered that people respond to music: shop longer, wait longer, stay calmer. Jazz, no matter what your taste in music, has got to be better than Mancini.

ziemer said...

the jazz fan/liberal analogy is a good one.

i assume the reasons liberals assume everyone is likeminded is because they impose a rigid orthodoxy on thought. there is no dissent.

with conservatives, the same is not true. even in a room full of members of the federalist society, one does not know anyone else's views in advance.

they may be libertarians; they may think congress exercises a police power they don't have; they may think the judiciary exercises legislative functions; whatever.

you never know exactly where anyone else is coming from, so you don't casually make remarks that assume another person holds a particular view, even in a room of self-identified conservatives.

jazz is not really the monolith that liberalism is, however. even amongst themselves, they disagree vehemently on different types of jazz, so i'm not sure where they get the attitude.

Ann Althouse said...

Ziemers: I don't think liberals are monolithic. I've certainly heard many feminists very at odds with traditional liberals. I've heard liberals concerned about things like hate speech tangling with first amendment absolutists. I've frequently seen people on the left vilify those not as far on the left. I've heard critical race theory types disagreeing with every other type of liberal. In fact, within the academy, most of the debate is liberals disagreeing with liberals.

ziemer said...

i've also seen those on the left vilify those not as far on the left.

but i see that experience as enforcement of the orthodoxy, more than intellectual diversity.

miklos rosza said...

liking jazz is supporting black people, therefore it is virtuous by definition. it is both "uplifting" and contributing to the "struggle."

liking blues music can be similar.

whereas the vast majority of the black audience prefers destiny's child or jay-zee, etc.

Dirty Harry said...

Jazz reminds me a lot of baseball: Completely American and dull.

But the stories, people, and history behind both are endlessly fascinating. I love reading about both and loved Ken Burns' 20 hour meditations on both.

ziemer said...

to use another sports analogy, jazz fans are like football fans in assuming everyone is likeminded.

but with football, there is a practical reason why every man should be a football fan.

it gives us something to discuss with any total stranger, as opposed to having to talk about something like... our FEELINGS! what a horror that would be!

Ross said...

My girlfriend actively dislikes jazz. If it's on the radio when she comes home, she'll turn it off.

Unless, of course, we're talking about Hugh Masekela, a live album of whose she's played ad nauseam in the couple of months since a friend gave it to us.

Which makes me think that NOT liking jazz is sort of tantamount to NOT liking music. It's a pretty large genre.

The Mojician said...

In each of us there is a place that relates to music. Each person vibrates harmoniously with distinct types of music and does not vibrate harmoniuosly with other types. Some of this has to do with familiarity of the beat or the melody, but some of it is embedded in our brains from birth. I always look to the movie Awakenings where different patients were moved by far different forms of music from each other. We either dig a form of music or a particular song or a particular beat or we don't. It either speaks to us or it just bounces right off. Some people dig jazz and others don't. I don't really know whether there is any correlation between people for whom jazz is harmonious and liberal thinking. I suspect that there are some people who pretend to like jazz to try to fit in with a particular crowd.

nina said...

...and that is not unusual. Pretending you like opera is another biggie. It's okay to say you don't dig opera, but if you say you love it, you are in with any number of "enlihtened" types whos company you covet. Jazz and opera share this. Other music is more unpredictable in what status it is likely to buy you.

Palmer said...

Yes Miklos, and liking any music by white people means supporting oppression and exploitation. Sheesh. Liking jazz is not equivalent to supporting black people. Liking jazz is just that - enjoying a particular genre of music.

Elizabeth said...

No matter the topic, there'll be at least several conservatives positing on how it's just more evidence for how liberals are shallow or conformist or alarmist or amoral or fill-in-the-blank.

And where one might argue that conservatism offers a diverse rainbow of ideologies, the practical outcomes are consistently orthodox as conservative voters and candidates kowtow to the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Enlightenment actions of the hardcore social faction. When I see conservatives actually out there in the streets, actively opposing anti-gay legislation and challenging the nitwits who want to replace science with theology in our schools, then I'll be impressed by the movement's diversity. Otherwise, all a GOP candidate has to do is promise tax cuts to one side, "family values" to the other, and that's all she wrote for that campaign. Diversity? Not so much.

And none of that has squat to do with jazz.

Lars said...

Jazz has been out of favor for 40 years. It seems to be making a modest comeback. Let's hope it can transcend Kenny G.

Rob said...

I find this pigeonholing by political bent or favorite musical genre etc. the most alarming trend in the country today. Individuals are not demographics. I understand a need for tribalism, but it's all so vicious!

I love Jazz, have since I was a kid. I love fusion, dislike smooth, and am not a huge fan of bop or swing but I'll listen to them. I like some folk, some rock, am diffident about soul, dislike punk, am beginning to appreciate some rap ( or maybe it's hip-hop; I dunno). I listen to a lot of indie emo because my kids do. I'm socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and religiously agnostic. Um, maybe that should be "agnostic religiously".

What slot do I go in?

rich glasgow said...

I'm almost an old white fart and I've loved good jazz since before hearing the Ramsey Lewis track, "In Crowd" on the Sex Ed film strips in 7th grade...(circa '65...OK, I am an old fart!).

IF you like good jazz, seek out Quincy Jones' early album (available on CD), "Walking In Space"...entire CD is fantastic! Get it!

ziemer said...

things seem to have deviated from the original issue -- why some people express given opinions as if it were a given that no one could possibly disagree -- and changed to jazz music itself.

i could easily go on as to why it is not actually intellectual diversity for liberals to declare anyone to the left of ted kennedy a fascist, while the debates we conservatives have actually are diverse, but why bother?

so i give up exploring intolerance, and will just go with the flow -- i love john mclaughlin and the mahavishnu orchestra, and i consider anyone who doesn't a barbarian.

ziemer said...

oops. i meant liberals consider it appropriate to scream at anyone to the RIGHT of ted kennedy that he is a fascist, not LEFT. sorry about that.

ziemer said...

and to elizabeth, it's hard to know what to say except you really need to expand your social circle.

i've never met an anti-gay conservative in my life.

i have many liberal blacks friends who hate gays, many liberal gay friends who hate jews, and many liberal jew friends who hate blacks.

i disapprove of their views on these matters. and it makes it difficult sometimes to remain friends with them.

but i don't know any conservatives who hate gays.

amba said...

Ann is right that a lot of people like to think of themselves as the kind of people who like jazz. But that's nothing but the older-generation version of white kids liking hip-hop.

For me jazz was an acquired taste. I had to learn to like it, because it's the only music my husband (77, white, Eastern European, labor-camp survivor, streetwise, former jazz bar owner) will listen to, in the car or elsewhere. And I came to love it, though I still feel rock'n'roll is the proper accompaniment to driving.

Jazz is like Abstract Expressionist painting (an analogy and homage made by the painters themselves). It is not easy and natural to enjoy, because it's a fine art, like classical music, not a popular art. At its best, what I love about it is that it is intellectual and emotional at the same time, thinking-feeling with no separation between them.

amba said...

Although, I must say, it's not totally an acquired taste. My family was into Broadway musicals, and when I was about 6 I was taken to see/hear "Guys and Dolls." Imagine what a 6-year-old made of "the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York"! But I especially loved the song "My Time of Day," which is a difficult, dissonant, jazz song. I knew there was something great about it, though I had no idea what.

Ann Althouse said...

Amba: Interesting to bring up Abstract Expressionist painting. Although no one cares what kind of painting you like anymore, not that long ago, it seemed that you were supposed to recognize the superiority of Abstract Expressionism. The good, smart, evolved, enlightened people aligned themselves with AE.

Ron said...

For myself, growing up in Detroit, jazz was the music for black people -- the black people who were moving out of Detroit! The ones who remained behind listened to blues or gospel, but not jazz.

Elizabeth said...

ziemer,

My social circle is quite large, thanks, and includes people of many stripes. I too have met all the various liberals you describe, and have no less problem with them than you. I don't neatly divide the world into liberal and conservative, by the way.

I have no clue how you're defining "conservative" or perhaps "anti-gay" if you truly believe what you're saying and not playing games with rhetoric. But the only way you can honestly say you've never met an anti-gay conservative is by using one or both of those terms idiosyncratically.

leeontheroad said...

To answer the original question: generally, no.

I'll say at the outset: I like jazz.

At my workplace, where "the big guy" is a jazz musician and collector, our unstated underling agreement is to avoid this as a discussion topic.

In another setting, the assumption tends to be that I appreciate and know a great deal about traditional church music. There, a "heresy" may be that American gospel music and the 1982 hymnal rank equally in my preferences.

Among young folks, the uncritical asumption tends to be that I know the latest hip hip recording. I have usually enjoyed their shock at how uncool I am not to have done so.

amba said...

Hip hip? How hip is that!

leeontheroad said...

not very, amba. My editing is notoriously bad :-)

dick said...

I used to like jazz, the older jazz of the bop, swing, etc era. When it got to the current stuff, count me totally out. I have tried, God knows I have tried again and again to like it with friends who drag me to the latest jazz clubs to hear these fantastic musicians. I am bored out of my skull within 10 minutes of the squeak, buzz, blat, etc of the music. the syncopation is interesting for a couple of minutes, then it becomes a drag as well. When the musicians trade off with their various noises to the approximate tune, that ends the lesson and I am out of there soonest.

Ravi said...

ziemer: "i assume the reasons liberals assume everyone is likeminded is because they impose a rigid orthodoxy on thought. there is no dissent."

Look in the mirror. Liberals would say the same about conservatives. That's why the dialogue in this country is so bipolar. No one is considering the view from the other side. Conservatives appear to be absolutely ideological and orthodox from a liberal perspective.

Jack said...

After completely neglecting to read all of the comments above (but reading both the post linked and your comment to it), my response to your question is:

Yes, everyone here assumes I like jazz, but I live in a small town in France, so that may not be indicitave of anything....

Jack said...

Or indicative even...

(I have an excuse!!! Learning French has really messed up my spelling and grammar in English!!!)

Tomy said...

There are two kinds of people, those who likes Jazz and those who don't. Some people can acquire a taste for it if they are forced others to do so, other people, circumstances, the environment or whatever. But this phenomenon is an intrinsic feature of humans: "adaptability". However if you like it and it gives you pleasure, or any kind of sense of feeling. It's OK.
I am a guitar and a pianist player and and I think, if you like Jazz, something weird happens into your brain. But, don't worry that's OK.
Music is an intellectual creation with emotional content, but in Jazz, improvization is important and this by itself diminish dangerously its intellectual part.
I am so inclined to think that Jazz fans must have a personality , kind of perception of order, personal experiences and environments that globally leads to an increase of low intellectual analytic status.
¿How many scientist or thinkers enjoy Jazz? Is a good question.

P.D. Excuse my grammar mistakes I'm not an english language native.