Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two Critical Articles Against Jazz from 1921

Here are two critical rants against the "new" music of jazz in a publication called School Music from 1921.
       Larned, Kans., Dec. 18, 1920.
Dear Mr. Hayden: A few thoughts suggested by the "Popular Songs" article in November-December School Music:
Supervisors are paid from public funds, presumably as educators. Shall we assume the role of entertainers, at the state's expense?
If pupils "already know" the questionable, indulgence as "light diversion" is unnecessary. Cheap resorts, and "canned" villainy everywhere, will amply supply demands.
If you personally cater to this demand, keep still about it. Do not lend influence through speech and writing to debasement of public taste. The fight against the rag-jazz abomination will be hard enough at best.
Distinguish between the merely light and trivial, and the vulgar and vicious.
A terpsichorean academy in a western city bars jazz. The owner believes that vulgar music means vulgar dancing, and considers jazz music vulgar.
A citizen, protesting through a city daily against jazz in school orchestras, thinks the way to eradicate a bad thing is to "put a good and interesting thing in its place."
   With our wealth of available good music, vocal and instrumental, there is no justification for flirting with the frivolous and vulgar at public expense, just because a noisily demonstrative element seems to approve.
Yours truly,
Le's all resolve t' do all in our power t' discourage jazz music. There's a somethin' about saxophones an' trap drummin that lures us on t' recklessness an' license. Somehow we don't seem t' care what becomes of us while a jazz orchestra is rattlin' an' gruntin' an' shriekin.' We fergit home an' mother, unless mother happens t' be in th' crowd. We feel tough an' bold. We dance with people we never heard of before an' we lounge about the sorceress o' th' Nile. Jazz records are in every home. The modern parlor smells like a star's dressin' room—cigarette smoke, cosmetics, dandelion wine an steam heat—a combination o' fumes unknown in private life before the introduction o' jazz. Once we stop jazz, much o' th' demoralization now so common '11 die out.

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