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Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette...

March 2010

By Published: March 4, 2010
Should I share some helpful hints followed by my business card offering voice lessons, or just smile widely and try to find something—anything—good to say about the singing?

Help me Mr. PC!!! class="f-right s-img"> —signed, "But I Thought (I) Could Help"

Dear Bit

Dear Bitnc

Dear Bitcl:

I can't do it! Every time I try to type your horrifying acronym, my body rebels—my fingers cramping, throat gagging, eyes watering. And in this case—contrary to what I've learned from Air America—torture elicits a truthful confession: In college, my still-evolving gender awareness was found inadequate by more fully formed feminist thinkers, who castigated me mercilessly. That instilled in me a terrifying fear that I now recognize as my social conscience.

You're a troubled soul, Bitnch. At first read, you don't seem to like either yourself or your "loving fellow singers/friends." But I see someone much nicer inside: You want to be a good person, you're trying to do the right thing, but you're disturbed by your own disgust at the wretched singing around you. Well, guess what? Most people have a sneering inner monologue running pretty much 24/7, but they've learned to ignore it or laugh it off. If anything, you're just an unusually sensitive, inwardly aware being, albeit a self-proclaimed Btich with an unnatural fixation on Beverly Sills.

So hear me now, and hear me well: As your reigning advice columnist, I hereby grant you dispensation from this fruitless self-questioning. Consider your thoughts as free-range chickens: Let them run about as they please, unfettered; it's the healthiest and most natural state, after all. They need to be exercised, streamlined, to shed their excess fat.

But with this dispensation, I offer an equally important note of caution: Just as a free-range chicken needs boundaries (predators, after all, await beyond the protective fencing of the farm), you must never let your inside thoughts become outside words. Stand guard, unwaveringly; do not blink. Only if you fail, and that terrible stream of insults leaks out, do you live up to your own nasty billing, "Bitch." (Ah, quotation marks! You said it, not me. Though I must admit it feels strangely liberating...)

Confidential to Jay in San Diego:

I'm sorry you don't find me amusing. Maybe I'm just not myself right now. I accompanied a vocal workshop all weekend where they worked on tag, all weekend where they worked on tag, all weekend where they worked on... tag .........eennddiinnggss.

Have a question for Mr. P.C.? Ask him.

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