A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar

From The Atlantic magazine, a short piece on Josef Skvorecky, a refugee to Canada from the Prague Spring of 1968.  In the intro to his book The Bass Saxophone, he lists a set of regulations that had "engraved themselves deeply on my mind," issued during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.  They were binding on all local dance orchestras.

  1. Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoires of light orchestras and dance bands;
  2. in this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;
  3. As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;
  4. so-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);
  5. strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);
  6. also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches);
  7. the double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions;
  8. plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden;
  9. musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat);
  10. all light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.
The Atlantic calls this perhaps "the single most remarkable example of 20th-century totalitarian invective against jazz."  Gotta watch out for that there foxtrot. 

In addition to the ritual use of phrases like " Jewish-Freemasonic," "Jewishly gloomy," " Negroid excesses," the reader is struck by the impulse of the Late Modern State to micromanage with detailed regulations.  "The double bass must be played solely with the bow."  "Drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat" are prohibited.  (But with an exception made for military music!)  "Not to exceed 20% of the repertoires."  "At most 10% syncopation." 

That sort of nit-picky over-regulation has no place in a free republic and could never happen here.

1 comment:

  1. Due to the new National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) there will be new rules for internet blogs:

    1. Pieces in Christian POV (so called Right Wing) are not to exceed 20% of the posts in all blogs and webpages.

    2. In so called Christian commentary preference is to be given to compositions supporting the Brights and posts expressing the joy of liberal thought rather than gloomy conservative posts.

    3. As to vocabulary preference is also to be given to politically correct word choice over hate speech (so called Christian) however, the word choice must not exceed a certain degree of enthusiasm commensurate with the Bright sense of tolerance. On no account will Christian excesses in words (so called irony) or in monologues (so called sarcasm) be tolerated.

    4. So called Christian (Conservative, or hate blogs) posts may contain at most 10% of complaints, the remainder must consist of the natural praise of liberal thought devoid of the hysterical complaining characteristic of the Christian anti-gay, anti-Muslim hate speech and conductive to the to the violence alien to the Brights.

    5. Strictly prohibited is the use of words alien to the Bright spirit (so called virtues, moderation, calls for chastity) as well as all modifiers which turn the noble sound of liberal and Bright speech into a Judeo-Christian rant.

    6. Also prohibited are so called facts appealing to what is known by all except in blogs and webpages written by liberal Brights.

    7. The word processing program must be used solely with the mouse and no keyboard shortcuts.

    8. Use of words ending in "ly" is prohibited since it is damaging to the internet and detrimental to the liberal Bright compositions. If a "ly" word must be used it is absolutely desirable that strict care be taken lest the word be more than 5 letters long.

    9. Bloggers are likewise forbidden to make vocal complaints (so called kvetch).

    10. All blogs and webpages are advised to restrict the use of photographs of all colors and substitute for them icons and modern art images or some bland image of a flower or some-such.

    ***In the spirit of things feel free to Jazz this up and riff away.


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