Answering Richard

I am writing this as a separate blog entry but it goes right along with Response to Richard. And it has to do with moretprs. But first I wanted to add that the observation that a lot of the stalwarts have left is true, but a lot remain. Even some of the people whose behavior I find snarky (new word for me) are well-informed and experienced fl teachers with lots of good ideas. Too bad their manners aren’t intact. Both David Stillman and Marilyn Barrueta were valued members. I think I saw a post from David some time ago. Sadly, Marilyn departed this world a short time ago. Richard Lee posted not too long ago but I hear nothing from him now. Bill Heller posts from his vast experience and Laurie “Wonderful Laurie” Clarcq is still with us as are many others like Bunny and Terry and so on.
To moretprs (the last 3 are on it, too): recently two things occurred. Not so recently, a couple of months ago, someone objected to the dancing of the little girls in a Shakira clip. I tried pointing out that this eroticizing and sexualing of pre-pubescent girls is a complicated issue and is very tied up with cultures. BAM!!! No way, dude. You know, the old I-know-evil-when-I-see-it routine. When people are blinded by their religion, I just back off; that’s why I do not follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Anytime someone evokes God (god, in my dictionary), I’m done with it. Otherwise, I’d just declare the cretins on the listservs that I’m right and they’re wrong ’cause god said so. Boy, life must be easy for folks who think like that.
Then, very recently, I held forth on the politics covered in Cuba and Its Music and mentioned my impatience with conservatives who want us to portray the U.S. as the world’s savior doing no wrong. I wrote that if anyone is uncomfortable with my saying so, I would leave. One person wrote in to say they thought I had a right to my opinion but another forum might be more appropriate. That’s all I needed. I’m off. Done. Here’s why (from Cuba and Its Music by Ned Sublette, p. 424, after he has spent 5 pages on the political situation in Cuba in the early 30s):
“This has nothing to do with music, right? Except that now you know why very little happened between 1930 and 1936, and why when stability was once againachieved, in 1937, an explosion of pent-up creativity appeared on every musical front. And you understand why an entire generaton of Cubans was undereducated: the school system was in turmoil, with the only university in the country shut down for most of a ten-year stretch from 1927 to 1937. And watch this spot: the frustration of this unfinsihed revolution would fuel Fidel Castro’s revolution, with many of the key forces already established as of 1933.”
That last line is what conservatives want to avoid b/c pushing back to the first half of the 20th century we find one country that controlled the economy, the military, the government, and racial politices: the U.S. That conflicts with the conservative line that Cubans were gay, happy, care-free people until the dirty Commies took over, and we had nothing to do with that.
I’m not saying that the goal should be to get American students to take a realistic look at U.S. foreign policy – I doubt that will ever happen – but simply that you cannot understand the development of art if you don’t understand the social and economic context. But that clashes not only with the conservative agenda of controlling the narrative, but it also clashes with the “no politics” dictum of so many teachers. Imagine examining the rise of rock ’n roll without ever mentioning segregation – how would kids understand the movie Hairspray? But way too many teachers are very uncomfortable with politics and totally uninterested in economics.
Thus, my views are unpleasant to some on moretprs and so those interested can go to………… my blog!!! TA TA!!!!

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