I’ve always liked jazz. Of course, what I listen to is the classics, which are necessarily going to be the ones that aren’t only the best sounding, but also that didn’t have offensive lyrics that kept them from being played in polite company.
I even watched that 10-disk documentary on the history of jazz and found it an inspiring story. Wow, it was all about the troubles of the downtrodden and stuff. Things that anybody who’s had difficult times can identify with, black or white, rich or poor. And there were a few stories in it about the really incredible poverty a lot of the musicians lived in – it was the Depression, after all.
I knew a lot of them were heavy drinkers and drug users, but a lot of creative people have been so, throughout history. If we swore off the work of every artist who liked to get drunk or stoned, we’d be left with… I don’t even know. Not much.
And throughout, there was the dismissal of how silly parents were to worry about the effect jazz might be having on their kids. It was only talked about in the context of the parents being narrow-minded and racist.
Here’s what they didn’t mention:
We’re not talking about “Jelly Roll”, we’re talking about a LOT of songs where men brag about killing their girlfriends. And not for screwing around because you’re paralyzed, like in “Ruby”, but because she was late for a date. Also graphic, disgusting depictions of sex. And drugs.
I’ll never look at jazz music the same again. I have a sudden urge to go buy CDs of music composed by people who were trying to get on a king’s good side.
So it looks like the moral panics were right, white people being corrupted by sick lyrics written by black people has a long history.
I can’t find this now, I looked, but: A while back in the race realist blogosphere, someone talked about a recent documentary on the history of rock music. They reported that several black rock musicians from when it was a new genre stated openly in their interviews that they wanted their music to make white people stop being so repressed and controlled and instead adopt black sexuality, which apparently means thinking about sex too much and doing it too casually. The person who posted this pointed out that back when there was still moral panic about rock music, these same musicians scornfully denied charges that they were doing just that.
Hell, I’m going to the opera next week. We honkeys should listen to honkey music.