Terrifying Our Parents
Posted August 6, 2012on:
Compare these two men:
I just wanted to observe that the man on the right is no more obnoxious and terrifying to parents today than the man on the left was in his day.
Today, a lot of parents cringe at hearing the faint sounds of hip-hop emanating from their kids’ headphones. That is the same way parents in the 1920s reacted at hearing the sound of jazz pouring out of the Victrola in the next room.
And, in both cases, with good reason. Not only are the words as indecipherable to the ear, and rhythms as unsettling to the nervous system, but both kinds of music carry the same criminal undertones.
Remember, early jazz musicians were not nice people. Jelly Roll Morton was a pimp and a drug dealer. Louis Armstrong practically grew up in prison. Sydney Bechet was convicted for assault and deported from England. Gangster rappers have nothing on these people.
So whenever folks try to make you feel like a dork for preferring hot jazz to whatever bunk they’re playing on the radio these days, you can be reassured that eighty years from now, only dorks will be listening to hip-hop. In 2092, hip-hop will be “retro,” and those who listen to it, dance to it and study it will be considered specialists and eccentrics. Rap will be a subculture, just like swing is today.
And those of us who are still listening to jazz? Well, I guess we’ll be like Beethoven fans or something. Makes you think, doesn’t it?