I've been listening to Wadada Leo Smith's breathtaking tribute to the Civil Rights movement in Ten Freedom Summers, recalling the years 1954-64. It is a fantastic opus from a man who was part of the movement and has contributed greatly to the body of jazz music. There is an air of improvisation in these compositions, and I imagine don't sound quite the same way twice on stage, but you can listen to them at Grooveshark.
Welcome to this month's reading group selection. David Von Drehle mentions The Melting Pot, a play by Israel Zangwill, that premiered on Broadway in 1908. At that time theater was accessible to a broad section of the public, not the exclusive domain it has become over the decades. Zangwill carried a hopeful message that America was a place where old hatreds and prejudices were pointless, and that in this new country immigrants would find a more open society. I suppose the reference was more an ironic one for Von Drehle, as he notes the racial and ethnic hatreds were on display everywhere, and at best Zangwill's play helped persons forget for a moment how deep these divides ran. Nevertheless, "the melting pot" made its way into the American lexicon, even if New York could best be describing as a boiling cauldron in the early twentieth century.
It is nice having a range of cable news programs again. For the last few years the only one we got from our analog cable subscriber was CNN, but with the new digital cable subscriber we get BBC, Euronews, and other premium channels if we so choose. You realize how badly CNN has slipped behind other news networks, seeming to have adopted the Fox model of generating faux arguments with their round table discussions. Kate Bolduan has emerged as their answer to Megyn Kelly, replete with plexiglass tables so you can see her legs better. Chris Cuomo has become their "Hannity," stirring up unnecessary arguments mostly to hear himself talk, albeit to the left of the political spectrum. Wolf Blitzer lords over the station like Baba O'Reilly, although he tries hard to keep his political views right down the middle.
I suppose the success of Kate Bolduan can be measured by SNL now lampooning At This Hour, and also the fan base she now has thanks to her sexy legs. She also anc…