Three more Mingus pieces via bud Greyhoos and then one more from me at the bottom. I don't know as much about jazz as I wish - there are only so many hours - but I was turned onto Mingus by an English professor at Anne Arundel Community College (there's a story) about the time Earthgirl and I first lived together in a marina house in Deale MD (google map 6064 Drumpoint Road, Deale MD and you can see it), and while true that Mingus' music strikes pleasure tines in my brain most jazz - most music - doesn't, I also associate Mingus with wonderful times sitting in the backyard listening to Mingus, watching the sailboats come and go while steaming the blue crabs we pulled from our pots we threw off the docks and BBQing fresh bluefish friendly fisherman gave us, and awful times too, sitting in the backyard listening to Mingus with my friend Henry, a black man, and his white wife Donna, and being called over in private by two boat owners who demanded I get the fucking nigger and his white whore off the property, waking up in the morning after I told them to fuck off to find my car tires slashed, Henry and Donna's car tires slashed. The local cops taking the police report thought it was funny.
- There was a big gun control vote in Maryland during POTUS 88 when we were living in Deale, I had a bumpersticker on my car advocating whatever the liberal position was (I don't remember the details), I woke up one morning to find my tires slashed and my car encased in pro-gun bumperstickers. The local cops taking the police report thought it was funny.
- New tribalism and participatory meaning.
- America the ugly.
- Boston as soundstage.
- Existential threats.
- The state and anti-racism.
- We never intended to live for long in Deale - the marina house belonged to a family friend from Earthgirl's side, he rented it to us to give us a place to see if we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but we both worked in DC/MOCO, the commute was hell, we would have moved back sooner or later, the incidents with the locals just made it sooner.
- Technologies of the self.
- The book has changed aspect.
- Silliman's always generous litlinks.
- I never got Zadie Smith either.
- Shakespeare Insult Chart.
- So yes, I like Mingus for the music, and as bonus, whenever I hear it I remember two important years of my life with remarkable clarity.
IF A CLOWN
If a clown came out of the woods,
a standard looking clown with oversized
polkadot clothes, floppy shoes,
a red, bulbous nose, and you saw him
on the edge of your property,
there'd be nothing funny about that,
would there? A bear might be preferable,
especially if black and berry-driven.
And if this clown began waving his hands
with those big, white gloves
that clowns wear, and you realized
he wanted your attention, had something
apparently urgent to tell you,
would you pivot and run from him,
or stay put, as my friend did, who seemed
to understand here was a clown
who didn't know where he was,
a clown without a context.
What could be sadder, my friend thought,
than a clown in need of a context?
If then the clown said to you
that he was on his way to a kid's
birthday party, his car had broken down,
and he needed a ride, would you give
him one? Or would the connection
between the comic and the appalling,
as it pertained to clowns, be suddenly so clear
that you'd be paralyzed by it?
And if you were the clown, and my friend
hesitated, as he did, would you make
a sad face, and with an enormous finger
wipe away an imaginary tear? How far
would you trust your art? I can tell you
it worked. Most of the guests had gone
when my friend and the clown drove up,
and the family was angry. But the clown
twisted a balloon into the shape of a bird
and gave it to the kid, who smiled,
letting it rise to the ceiling. If you were the kid,
the birthday boy, what from then on
would be your relationship with disappointment?
With joy? Whom would you blame or extol?