Mr. P.C.'s Best of 2011
Jazz is a finite resource, right? So when people write long compositions or take long solos, aren't they stripping the planet? What will be left for our children and grandchildren?
Saxophonists Against Future Exploitation
Of course there are the jazz depletion deniers who say we can always find more. They want us to mine the music of remote aboriginal tribes, for example, then distill it and extract essential elements of jazz. Pentatonic scales, maybe, or out of tune vocals. But that's a short-sighted approach that simply postpones jazz music's extinction.
Rather than plundering the planet, we could do much better by modifying our behavior. We really don't need saxophonists who spit out hundreds of notes per minute; instead we can develop more note-efficient players able to coast on a whole note or even rest for measures at a time. And in the place of modern composers writing wasteful extended works for big bandliterally thousands of notes per piece!we can go back to the sensible and economical model of lead sheets for trio.
But conservation alone won't be enough; we must turn to alternative, renewable sources of jazz. These, of course, are colleges and conservatories, which efficiently convert tuition dollars into vast numbers of jazz performers and composers able to crank out low-grade jazz in tremendous quantity. There's no end to the number of programs our planet can accommodate, and no limit to the number of notes their graduates will produce.
Problem solved! Anyone who tells you otherwise is in the pocket of the jazz industry ("Big Jazz"), a greedy monolith that squandered the abundant jazz resources in flusher times, and is now desperately clinging to its last vestiges of power.
Dear Mr. P.C.:
My fiancé does nothing but play Jazz all day and all night. He says he's playing "Monk," but it sounds crazy and you can't even dance to it!
I've finally gotten sick of this and told him that he has to choose between me and the music. After all, he'll never make any money playing that weird crap. We're going to need lots of it (and good credit too) for the down payment on the house with the picket fence, and lord knows that our future children are going to be spoiled and very expensive.
Should I leave him? Or should I stay and try to mold him into my adolescent fantasy dream man?
Dear Jazz Widow:
Whoa!!! Have you even asked your fiancé whether he might have a plan for the family's financial future? Jazz musicians can be surprisingly resourceful when it comes to money. For example, he may already have scoped out a lucrative job that perfectly complements the modest income he makes playing "weird crap." And while the work itself may be somewhat degrading, he's confident that over time you'll get used to it.
Dear Mr. P.C.:
Okay, here's one for you: Last week I played a gig in a bar with a quartet. Part of the deal was free dinner, so I said what the hell and ate a greasy burger and fries. Thusly was my piping lubed, and before long my bowels sent out an urgent cry of distress. I hustled into the bathroom, sat down and produced an enormous stool. We're talking more torpedo than Tootsie Roll; a real plugger.
So I wiped and flushed, and suddenly a torrent of water and soiled toilet paper came gushing back at me. I jumped back and managed not to get any on me except my shoes and the bottom of my pants. Meanwhile, the floor is soaked, the toilet is full to the brim, and the giant stool remains nestled in the bottom of the bowl. It's clearly not going anywhere, and no amount of flushing will change its mind. It's become a freaking porcelain-framed art installation.
Then I hear the drums start to play a samba beat, which is our bandleader's way of summoning us. What can I do? If I go to the bandstand I'm leaving a disgusting mess, and my wet footprints will mark me as the culprit who abandoned ship. If I stay and try to clean up, not only will I be late, but I'll get more on me, plus with the stool in blocking position inside the toilet there's really no path to victory. I could ask the bartender for help, but that's most embarrassing of all because she's a really hot chick who might kind of dig me.
What would you have done, Mr. P.C.?
Do you really think that just because the bartendress is a "hot chick," she's never suffered a "plugger" emergency of her own? You've so thoroughly objectified this poor hot woman that you can't even imagine her curvaceous body launching a titanic turdyour lascivious dreams would be shattered!
Anyway, it might comfort you to know that the stopped-up, gushing toilet crisis is a lot more common than you think. A businessman preparing to lead a Powerpoint presentation, an actress minutes before the call to places, and even a politician in his makeup chair before a televised debate are just a few of your kindred spirits out there, pluggers being the great equalizer.