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Definitions, Ironies, Semiotic Whirligigs, Wisecracks …
Artist: one who is willing to undress in public
Once you start undressing in public, as Thomas Wolf observed, “You can’t go home again.”
one who undresses the public as well as himself
one who dresses himself and the audience the way they want to be dressed
selling as well as buying their vanities
one who undresses the public and is somehow praised for it
one who makes the public strip without even being aware of it
Of course opinion as to which artists are great, which supreme, changes from generation to generation, fashion to fashion.
The above couple of jeux remind me of the observation I once heard that a minister is one we pay to be virtuous for us: at least to dress and comport himself virtuously.
I’ve made hay with that in my variations on jazz artists:
the jazz artist is one who dresses (and behaves) the way the public longs to dress but doesn’t dare.
Of course my beloved jazz has been co-opted by that egregious rock.
It wasn’t so bad when it was just R&B: R&B was part of jazz.
Note: speaking of our paying jazz musicians to be drunks and junkies and to get syphilis in proxy for us, don’t forget that jazz was originally whore house music. (Above all don’t forget that whores was about all that blacks were allowed to be.) In fact, the etymology of jazz traces it to the West African crios of the age of expansion for fuck.
Thus, jazz music was the music the white patrons of New Orleans whore houses fucked by.
I didn’t know till Ken Burns’ wonderful documentary that pianists like Jellyroll Morton had a peep hole into the whores’ rooms so they could know when to crescendo, when to pianoroll.
You realize further of course that Jellyroll’s very name means pussy.
Man alive, how that cat used minor VI / diminished VI progressions! Minor IIs too.