Thursday, July 23, 2009

Calvin, Lola Beltran, and Mahalia Jackson: We Didn't Really Need Calvin (Fred Reed)

Fred Reed isn't impressed with the WASP culture in America:

I have concocted a theory that does wonders to explain American politics: We are ruled by history’s most boring people. This is a seminal political idea, up there with Plato’s invention of Stalinism in The Republic.

I refer of course to those thunderously bland people, the white middle-class Protestants, or Hagvacas (House and garden variety Caucasians). Just typing the words makes my fingers want to sleep. In all things that distinguish mankind from a loaf of store-bought bread, Hagvaca score zero. Unless it involves transistors or regulations. These they can do.

Consider music, the soul of a society. Caucaso-prots of the middle class barely have any. From early on blacks have been the main force driving American music, starting with whatever Ledbelly and his contemporaries did, through blues, first in those silent, hot, humid fields in Mississippi where time dripped slow as Karo syrup on cracked china, and later in a thousand hopping gin mills in places in Chicago where whites didn’t go. Gospel, which Elvis understood but Yankees can’t, and then jazz, and rock, to today’s hiphop and rap—all have more black roots than an inattentive bottle blonde.

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1 comment:

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