"It's no big thing to make a lot of money, if all you want to do is make a lot of money. (From Citizen Kane)
"More harm is done by fools through foolishness than by evildoers through wickedness. (Sufi saying)
This is the third in a series of pieces examining the current state of the jazz business and how we got here. In the first, Hello... I Must Be Going we saw that although nearly half a billion dollars has changed hands in the past 15 years to supposedly improve conditions, the scene for musicians has gotten significantly worse (unless of course, you buy into the Republican economic philosophy that a tiny percentage receiving the bulk of the benefits signifies a healthy economy).
In the second part, Prelude to a Kiss-off, we looked at how during the late '70s and early '80s the potential for true artist self-empowerment and expanded opportunity was a tangible near-reality. At the conclusion of that piece, I pointed to the circumstances that brought about the complete reversal of that potential and created an entirely new landscape of exploitation from a completely unanticipated enemy - the Fine Arts and Culture establishment. I also mentioned that I, our organization Outward Visions, and a number of similarly dedicated colleagues were entirely overlooked in the planning of the new funding initiatives. We'll go into why a little later, but first it's important to consider two very basic and disturbing facts to get a true understanding of why all this has occurred:
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