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Friday, March 2, 2012
Jazz &, er, Golf
The action by Justice for Jazz Artists (see below) is getting a mixed reaction. Most people who contacted me are supportive of the action and there's a great deal of support online. I received emails from a couple of folks involved in the operation of clubs in NYC (sent to everyone who signed the online petition?) that fiercely defended the way they do business. A fellow Boston jazz blogger, Stu Vandermark sent me an email saying that it was a bogus effort. He wrote about these kinds of actions here.
I'm not sure whether the campaign is not well timed or focused, but I continue to believe, especially because of union slacking, that such a campaign is needed.
I realize that the idea of tarring the mass of jazz club operators with the brush of avarice and lack of concern for jazz musicians doesn't always ring true-good luck if you go into the business of jazz to make a quick buck. The idea of pushing back specifically at them may or may not be the best strategy, but having a specific target means the issue is much likelier to get out there in public. And get out there it must. It's one way to wake people up to the real issue: who gets subsidized in America.
Think about just one example: golf courses. The golf courses in Las Vegas are estimated to use 22 BILLION gallons of water a year for irrigation. The golf courses on Long Island use 50,000 POUNDS of pesticide a year. Precious water syphoned off, pesticide use running amok and corporations can write off their support of golf tournaments.
Fine. Let it be. I like a nice chip shot as much as the next guy. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking we haven't made the choice-that it all "just worked out that way." Tax codes are written by Congress. Media conglomeration rules are written by Congress. Government controls the allocation of natural resources, as it does that paltry business known as support for the arts via NEA and NEH; both constantly threatened with defunding.
Maybe this campaign can help us all start to make some necessary connections.