Jazz isn't dead

Letters to the Boston editors, August 10, 2012
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  August 8, 2012



Regarding your report on the end of jazz programming at WGBH ("Gone, gone, gone," Arts and Entertainment, July 13), jazz isn't dead. Capitalism is extending its ugly tentacles into heretofore "public" airways, like the rest of privatization efforts, and it's succeeding. Even the rest of NPR is becoming commercialized — don't you see the writing on the wall?

Jazz shouldn't be defined by radio play or even "education," except in the streets, clubs, grass-roots and musician playing-efforts. If those couple hundred protestors would regularly come and hear live jazz, and bring their friends, the scene would be much more healthy and wouldn't have to rely on technology to exist. And by the way, bringing in the same old acts and emphasizing "safe" styles, or pop-oriented bands mostly covering eras of the past, doesn't help. To quote from the motto of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz is "Ancient to the Future."

Jazz ain't dead, we are!



The firestorm that has erupted around the Pax Centurion's reply to my letter in their current newsletter is something that should have happened 20 years ago (See "Shit Boston Cops Say," July 6). But I am glad it's happening now and, judging from casual conversations with beat cops, they're pretty happy, too. It seems the hatred spewing from Officer James W. Carnell is not representative of the Boston Police Department at all.

The point is not that individual police officers can be nasty, but that our system pushes them in that direction. In any reasonable world, two-thirds of the Fortune 500 CEOs would be in jail. But they're rich. So when we complain, they use their money to put the cops in between us and them. This makes the cops complicit in subverting the very rule of law they swore to uphold. It can't be easy.

The cops are the 99 percent, and we should all be working together to force the one percent to obey the law like the rest of us. I figure the best thing we can do is to raise awareness of the issue and, by all means, talk to cops.


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