Monk is right about music but politics is a different story. We are going through rough political times where far too many are just playing what they want. Trump says kill the compromise border bill, and the Party of No complies because governing means play what you and the boss, not the people, want. Congress and the Senate are split on this, and we remember what Lincoln said about a house divided.
Jennifer Rubin keeps on slamming them:
Republicans overwhelmingly were against Biden’s popular infrastructure bill and in favor of shutting down the government, defaulting on the debt and conducting bogus impeachment hearings that the voters do not want while opposing a tough border control bill.
Trump says he’s more popular than Taylor Swift and, yes, he’d certainly like to be. The GOP is doing its best to blow its chances to win the upcoming election. They did that with Roe v. Wade and are now doubling down on the issue. We could go on but it’s clear that their political actions are all self-serving.
The Democrats are not exempt from the stupidity of playing whatever you want. Senator John Fetterman, parading on the Senate floor in his gym clothes, demonstrates massive support for Israel while “simultaneously cheerleading the bloody bombardment of Gaza.” He wants no ceasefire because he’s too busy trolling antiwar protesters. Then we have the spectacle of Fani Willis, who should be deposed for ignoring the consequences of doing what she wants, namely messing up a serious case against Trump and his defenders.
But Monk was right about music. The public indeed will catch up if the music merits it. This was true of Monk’s music, Ornette Coleman’s, Mary Lou Williams’, Sonny Clark’s, and that of a number of contemporary players. Classical musicians were often late to be recognized by their publics. Among them, Antonio Salieri, Alexander Scriabin, Franz Schubert, Charles Ives, and of course Gustav Mahler.
Monk was also talking about his own reception, which took some years to flourish. His eccentric personality got him laughed at; his technical approach was misunderstood; and he had his run-ins with the police. Musicians appreciated his ground-breaking music in the 1940s but it took him 20 years to get famous with the public.
Other artists have understood what Monk was saying. Longfellow put it this way: “Art is long, and Time is fleeting.” Van Gogh: “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
My favorite quote about art, which also applies to music, comes from Picasso: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Monk’s genius made a music that was totally fresh and indeed washed away that dust of everyday life.