Today’s earworm is a double-barreled blast from the past. How politically incorrect (and remarkably twisted and ironic) is a New York Jew in blackface singing a song about Dixie that was written by another Jew? The Ku Klux Klan must have been beside themselves. (Not to mention Black Americans).
And to add insult to stomped into the ground injury, in Jolson’s most famous film, The Jazz Singer, Jolson’s character, the son, is cast out by his cantor father for neglecting the religious repertoire and singing “jazz” which to the ultra conservative father embodies all that is anathema to orthodox Jewishness. This is that same “jazz,” the musical genre developed and perfected by another culturally marginalized group, Blacks, that was preempted by white performers and “mainstreamed” into white America culture, in a large part by Jewish musicians. (George Gershwin‘s Rhapsody in Blue comes to mind — which is in itself made up of several musical traditions run through the Cuisinart of the American melting pot — that opening clarinet solo is straight out of the klezmer tradition, and particularly recognizable as such in that contemporary recording I chose because that’s Gershwin playing the piano. And how like that wailing clarinet is to the soaring melodic lines of the hazzan.) This preempting of jazz is part and parcel, unfortunately, of a precedent begun with Ragtime and Dixieland, that continued with Blues and Rock and Roll, — the preempting, bleaching, sanitizing and mainstreaming of “race” music. I can’t begin to imagine being Black and seeing the scene in the film “Back to the Future” where Marty McFly, played by that quintessential white boy Michael J. Fox, is shown to be the source of some of Chuck Berry‘s hottest licks — again adding insult to injury by doing it on the same kind of guitar Berry used. At least, Fox was himself a fairly accomplished rock and roll guitarist, and was actually playing the guitar in that scene, and not just pretending to.
However, having been born in “the land of the free and the home of the Braves,” this Texas girl feels free to like klezmer, conjunto, oud, Ofra Haza, Indian vocal music, Gaelic music, Tahitian music, polka, bagpipes, Norwegian music, or whatever kind of music I please (or whatever music pleases me, actually).– and equally free to generally not care for a lot of popular Country and Western music.
And speaking of injury, the white cat has done something to his right forepaw. I see no obvious signs of trauma, like a bite or puncture wound, or broken skin of any kind. He didn’t howl in pain when I tried to palpate it, so most likely he’s sprained something. He’s been gimping around — I’ve helped him into the litterbox once already — it’s a “compound” jump and requires the use of both forepaws. Still, he was able to jump up onto the lid of the wastebasket* and from there to the top of the toilet tank, and from there to the sink counter so I could turn the tap on for him — drinking from the sink tap is a really big deal with him. (I lifted him down.) There’s no point in taking him to the vet — nothing that the vet could do except x-ray it, and he’s already hurting. Catching him and cramming him in a crate, carting him to the vet and having him hauled out and manhandled by strangers? Not helping. Truly not helping. I’m afraid he’s up under my chair, and I’m going to have to roust him out from under when I want to get up — he’s right where the foot rest has to go when it folds up, so I can’t sit up or move the chair until he gets out from under it. Poor old man. He’ll be 15 in three days. I almost hate to go about in the house because he feels honor bound to escort me everywhere, and he hobbles around after me on three feet like a guilt trip . . . I guess I’ll have to find a box or something so he can get up on the foot stool and from there to the night stand, and from there onto the bed. The jump up on to the foot stool is too high. It needs two working front feet. I wonder if he hurt his paw jumping off the bed. My bed is very high — almost too high for me to sit down on without giving myself a little boost up. Don’t know. He was fine when I went to bed. When I woke up, he wasn’t on the bed. He was lying in the floor in the path of where I’d have to walk to go anywhere else once I’d gotten out of bed. It was when he followed me to the bathroom that I noticed he’d hurt his foot somehow. Poor little guy. The black one is curled up between my legs. I’ll have to sit up carefully — and slide the black one off gently but unceremoniously before I can start trying to get the white one out from under the chair. I’m going to have to get up soon anyway. . . . Life gets complicated sometimes.