Not A Day Goes By

Well, today is that day, but I must confess that I already broke the taboo first thing this morning when my CD alarm clock went off. In fact, I’m breaking the taboo right now as I write this. The mere notion that I somehow could have lasted an entire day without it was naïve on my part, but the sad reality is there are many people for whom today is everyday.

Today’s schtick, which I linked to above, though highly thought-provoking, is a very apt metaphor for a much larger geopolitical problem. Too many people make excuses for not listening as well as for not making their voices heard. To bring it extremely close to home, from our log stats we know that many more people read these Chatter pages than the people who add their own comments to them. Why is that? We all have thoughts about topics that are worth expressing. Sadly, this issue transcends the minutiae of our own little subset of society. There are too few people who are willing to speak out even on the most pressing issues facing the world today. Worse still, there are few people who actually listen when folks do speak out.

Back in 1969, then U.S. President Richard Nixon coined the phrase “silent majority” to refer to people who supported the U.S. military presence in Vietnam. Since then, other right-leaning political figures in this country and elsewhere have invoked this silent majority to claim consensus on issues that were clearly out of touch with most people. And sometimes they succeed. Such is the price of a silence response and zoning out what others are actually saying.

To not speak or to not listen is always the wrong thing to do. It’s another form of fasting. My thoughts about fasting of any kind are old news so I’ll only reiterate my view that deprivation is ultimately just deprivation. Granted, perhaps I’m missing something here—admittedly meditation proved impossible for me—but I don’t buy into the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” philosophy. Staying away from something I care about more than anything else for 24 hours, in the final analysis, means that those are 24 hours I’ve lost.

13 thoughts on “Not A Day Goes By

  1. Frank J. Oteri

    Colin:

    I confess that my post was somewhat oblique, in part by design, however I’m not sure I get at all what you mean in your response to it. But maybe that’s because I always felt more empathy toward Raymond Chandler than Hemingway. Please explain…

    Reply
  2. rama gottfried

    quietude
    i wish i had known about this no-music day previously. it’s a great big problem for music that it is everywhere all the time. composition seems to necessarily be in conversation with the other sounds we are confronted with; the sounds we hear effect the way we hear.

    …ok back to the music in my head. try turning that off! (just kidding, don’t do that)

    Reply
  3. JKG

    Presumptious…
    What kind of Marxist, megalomanical liberal could even conceive of such a holiday? That page is the most ridiculous and fatuous page I have seen in a long, long time. Wait a minute – is it sort of like a “day without an undocumented immigrant?”… or a “day without gays?” or one of those dubiously thought-out protest ploys? I have nothing against undocumented immigrants (although their employers should be run out of business), nor do I have anything against gays (although I, myself, do not adhere to that lifestyle) – I DO, however, have a great deal against snot-nosed liberals who inherit most everything they own, and then patrronizingly politicize everything in their wake. Thanks for clueing me in for the fact such tripe exists! Please, FEEL FREE TO LISTEN TO ANY MUSIC YOU LIKE, ANY TIME YOU LIKE IT!!!

    Reply
  4. philmusic

    I’m not sure I get all of this, but here are two related points.

    1)Listening, even to ones self, is the hardest skill to learn.

    2) Many people don’t make comments because they are afraid of being wrong, or misunderstood.

    Reply
  5. Frank J. Oteri

    What kind of Marxist, megalomanical liberal could even conceive of such a holiday?

    What makes you assume that such an idea was coming from the left? From my vantage point, it’s the folks on the right who usually do most of the censoring from the Third Reich’s entartete musik down to the Taleban and Islamic Republic of Iran’s proscriptions against secular music making. Granted, the Stalinist-era Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China’s Cultural Revolution, and Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, to cite three rather well-known examples, offer an almost equally appalling scorecard in the freedom of speech department but since when did any of these folks claim to be liberals. Mao Tse Tung in fact made a rather famous speech against liberalism.

    Don’t forget that the word liberal means free. And who are the folks in our own country who have set up bonfires of various heavy metal and rap albums because those records don’t happen to conform to their particular world view? I’d hate to think what they’d do with most of the music I hold dear (whether it’s contemporary composition, free improvisation, or non-Western traditional musics) if they actually had the power to crush it.

    Reply
  6. philmusic

    Right wing culture?
    I had a talk a while back with a pipe organ dealer asking him if the recent political climate, that was the neocom revolution, was increasing sales of church organs. He said no, those Churches were not his customers. Evidently the culture wars don’t involve Bach.

    Reply
  7. Colin Holter

    Sorry to have been unclear – I don’t want to be one of those NMBx respondents.

    What I meant was that the “hard-boiled”-ness (or, as we might say thes days, the “hardcore”-ness) of willingly abstaining from music is kind of vain. If we’re lucky enough to have access to music, to pretend that we make some sort of statement by not listening to it is kind of weak.

    Reply
  8. rama gottfried

    novelty
    i disagree. i don’t think there is anything vain in suggesting that people refrain from listening to “music” for one day. think of it as an awareness day. sure that reeks of liberalism, but to me we have a serious noise pollution problem, and an economically created situation which promotes an over-saturation of crap being forced down our ear lobes. if there could be a way to help people increase their awareness of what they are absorbing into their brains we might make some progress here – and that’s good for the composing business.

    Reply
  9. Colin Holter

    I guess my problem isn’t with the “not listening” part but with the “declaring a day of no listening” part. I probably listen to at least four or five hours of music a day, most of it popular music (is this what you mean by “music”?); it would do me good, I’m sure, to give it a rest for a day. On the other hand, my gut reaction to The Day The Music Died is to wonder where the dude who invented it gets off telling me what to do.

    Reply
  10. rama gottfried

    no boss day
    ditto on the instructions aversion. i don’t mean pop music, i just say “music” because the semantics have been batted around so much it’s kind of a non-term to me now. what i’d really like is for people to realize that music is an art … in addition to being wall paper.

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  11. Armando

    …yes. I do wish more people rememebered this rather than see it as a commodity or industrial product. I don’t know, however, what a “day without music” or “day the music died” (the link appears to be broken now because I cannot open the link that would explain what is being addressed here specifically) is the right approach to it.

    (Increased music education might be a start. But now I’m being idealistic.)

    Reply
  12. sgordon

    Well, even if you tried to not listen to any music, there’d still be an endless loop of 4’33″ playing.

    JKG – quit looking for any excuse to be all “liberals bad!” Yawn. Dude, that’s sooooo oooooold. Like, Bill O’Reilly was kind of funny in a freakshow way when he first hit the scene, but now that he’s a cottage industry that kind of bloviating is so in it’s out. Liberal whining annoys me as much as the next guy, but knee-jerk conservative bitching is just as bad. Save it for the next time a debate on arts funding comes up, ’cause this one’s a real stretch.

    Really, what’s so liberal about it? I mean, you need to do more than just shout “Liberal! Marxist!” – back it up, man. I mean, the idea that we should have less of something – anything, be it music or shopping or Fudgesicles – strikes me as an inherently conservative notion.

    Me, I think it’s just a silly idea. But I have lots of days when I go without music to begin with – too much can be overkill, it saturates the senses and loses it’s power. Heck, at least one day per week I don’t watch any pro wrestling. There’s only so much a man can take. But I don’t think it’s anything that warrants a holiday. To each their own.

    Reply

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