I didn’t wear parachute pants in the 80’s. I honestly cannot take too much credit for that, because the reason I didn’t was because my parents (mostly mom) simply would not tolerate her son looking that dumb. I did have a mullet in high school and I did cinch and roll up the hem of my Girbaud jeans while wearing a Tommy Hilfiger or Coca-Cola rugby shirt. My efforts at being cool were always undermined though, by my glasses, braces, non-athleticism, and complexion.
In spite of my efforts to the contrary, I give my mom credit for teaching me the difference between a fad or trend and something more substantial and worthy of my attention.
That brings me to this: What happened to the tearing down of Civil War monuments? What happened to “_______ lives matter?” What about inserting rainbow colors into your personal profile picture to support LGBT, or maybe an arabic character to show you’re a christian defying muslim violence? Are all of these just trends? Were they all only as legit as MC Hammer’s pants? (Yes, some still wear them just like some still follow the other trends mentioned) What about “gun rights?” Will it fade again, until the next shooting? Will politicians surf this wave until a better one comes along?
In music, there is popular music, then there are “standards,” then there is classical. Pop music is whatever is the current trend or fad. Could be good quality, high artistry or the polar opposite – doesn’t matter. Standards are songs or instrumental pieces that may have been pop at some point, but have a certain something – a “je ne sais quoi” – that makes it stay when the trend recedes into history. Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” for example, or “Silent Night” at Christmas time. Classical is something accepted as the foundational quality of its category. A “classically trained” musician doesn’t just learn to play some fun songs, but starts with the most rudimentary of skills – scales, chords, rhythm patterns – and learns them carefully, thereby gaining an understanding of the building blocks of all the genres. Where one drummer may know how to play a bluesy swing beat, a classically trained drummer can explain that the swing of the beat is created by imagining triplets on the beats and then not playing the middle note of each triplet. But let’s get back to fads and trends.
I would humbly suggest that, in this political season (we are always in a political season in modern times, whether anyone is running for office or just trying to keep it) we should analyze whether our politicians, preachers and other public speakers are following fads, singing the standards, or are classical artists.
Because we need some classical artists.
I have no patience left for politicians who attach themselves to the most popular charity or social movement to gain traction at the polls. I urge voters to ask questions and look into whether the candidate cared about the civil rights of anyone other than themselves before they started their campaign. Look into whether the republican actually stood for conservative values before they paid their filing fee, or whether the democrat ever helped ‘the common man’ before making him into a slogan.
What if we voted for people who learned a skill from the ground up, who worked in the trenches, and who is familiar with the amino acids of their particular brand of biology, instead of those who can merely sing a catchy tune with an auto tuner just long enough to hit the top of the charts?
I think if the voters would vote for classical quality instead of trendy tweeters, we might make some progress. But classical is boring, isn’t it?
I mean, like, ya know, who wants to take the time to learn to appreciate Vivaldi when you can dance to Vanilla Ice?
And who wants to study the credentials and history of a candidate when you can judge them by their appearance or wealth or if they are angry about the same things I am at the moment?
I resolve to cast my future votes based on the time and effort a candidate has put into knowing the job for which they are applying, and how successful they have ever been in doing similar jobs.
I am neither maligning nor endorsing any particular candidate for any particular office here, just encouraging intelligent votes. Because dumb votes come from and sustain the dumbness of a nation.