TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brassmedic » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:56 am

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:21 pm
But burning things smacks of 1930s Germany.
And there it is: Godwin's Law. https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/godwins-law

Thread's over. Good night everyone.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Vegasbound » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:40 am

Maybe some day beards wiil be obsolete and the Smith Brothers will be clean shaven.


Incidentally, I like "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from "The Jungle Book" even though I think the film deserves to remain in the vault.


What do you have against beards? As a bearded trombonist I am offended......and who are the smith brothers? :idk:


Also zip-a-Dee-do-dah is from song of the south, but let's not get into the History of that studio and its founder

Serious question from those of you stateside, what about the history of the Democratic Party? It was the pro slavery party of the south

Probably not a question for this thread
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by TimBrown » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:37 am

I don't perform in public any more. But for those of you who do - when groups start up again, I wonder how many of you will be performing those pieces you have either railed against on this thread or wanted to. Will your ideals or your wallet prevail? Will you perform "Jingle Bells" embedded in a composition as a part of a secular Christmas concert? Or will the horn come down from your face at that point. Will you play an embedded "Dixie" in a Civil War fantasy as part of an historic re-enactment? And since this thread is specifically about Lassus Trombone, will you ever even perform the tiniest snippet of it embedded in a piece, even if it's a piece on what has historically been wrong with music? If you don't, will you get called back, even though you were politically, socially and righteously correct?

And imagine you get called in last-minute as a sub. You have no idea what is on the set list until it unfolds in front of you and you see what you see. You turn to your right or left and quickly ask a band-mate if you are really going to play this and the band-mate looks at you as though you were from Mars, while he says, "Well, duh, yeah!" What are you going to do, man? Do you have a plan?
Last edited by TimBrown on Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:01 am

GBP wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:57 pm
Thank you those of you have spoken up against this piece. This is the type of courageous conversations that must occur if we are ever to overcome the grip institutional racism has on our country.
I haven't spoken up against this piece (though I have in the past. Sometimes I see things from different directions as time passes.) I haven't defended it except in the sense of correcting what I see as wrong, like the idea there are lots of similar pieces just as good. I've focused on a different aspect of the conversation, and explained it badly, I guess.

I think this is a complex issue that has more than one possible viewpoint. I see some of you violently disagree, but I think most real world issues are like that. Further, I think this piece is racist but not racism.

This piece was written in a racist time with a racist title, granted. It has survived 105 years, not because it espoused racism, but because it's a catchy tune. Think about that for a moment. We have statues and other symbols that have survived and are defended because they stand for racism, that are poorly executed. They survive because of the message. That isn't really true of this piece. The number of people who know about its racist past is inconsequentially small. (as, probably, are the people who hear and play it)

Now I come to my point, I'll try again and probably fail again. GBP says
This is the type of courageous conversations
etc. I don't think that's true. I don't think there's anything courageous at all about attacking a piece nobody really cares about and 99.9999% of the country have never heard of.

We all oppose racism, right? Enough to do something real? Or are we making a statement that is meaningless but makes us feel good?

I'm imagining a neighbor, person of color, coming home after picking up a teenage son who's been arrested for Driving While Black or any of a number of instances of what institutionalized racism leads to, and I rush over to his driveway all excited and say, "Dude! Dude! You'll be so proud of me! I've stopped playing Lassus!"

I think this is maybe a debate only privileged white people can afford to have.

I hope that's not too offensive. It's my perspective. I don't claim it should be yours. I do claim there's more than one way to look at this.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:19 am

Not as catchy as Lazarus Trombone, by Luciano Berio and the 5th work in his series of works for solo instruments, which uses voice multiphonics and spooky glisses to create a ghostlike effect, which is not even close to the sound Lazarus made as he rose from the dead.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by bigbandbone » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:46 am

I wonder if Mr. Yeo is a man of conviction? I wonder if he vigorously investigates all the composers of the pieces he is paid handsomely to play. If he doesn't, why not? And if he did find a composer he finds objectionable would he refuse to play their works? Or would he / does he sit in his chair, play the music, and collect his paycheck.

And where would this end? Investigate conductors before you perform under their baton? The director of the Big Band you are asked to join? I wonder if CG Conn was a racist? I'd hate to have to give up my 72H!

My head is spinning! I think I'll go practice low notes, but first I guess I should investigate Phil Teele, it's his stuff I'll be working on!
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:07 am

timothy42b wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:01 am


Now I come to my point, I'll try again and probably fail again. GBP says
This is the type of courageous conversations
etc. I don't think that's true. I don't think there's anything courageous at all about attacking a piece nobody really cares about and 99.9999% of the country have never heard of.

We all oppose racism, right? Enough to do something real? Or are we making a statement that is meaningless but makes us feel good?

I'm imagining a neighbor, person of color, coming home after picking up a teenage son who's been arrested for Driving While Black or any of a number of instances of what institutionalized racism leads to, and I rush over to his driveway all excited and say, "Dude! Dude! You'll be so proud of me! I've stopped playing Lassus!"

I think this is maybe a debate only privileged white people can afford to have.

I hope that's not too offensive. It's my perspective. I don't claim it should be yours. I do claim there's more than one way to look at this.
This is an absolutely terrible justification. First of all, it's entirely apparent from the conversations that have happened over something that you are saying is totally inconsequential (which it definitely isn't inconsequential given the number of people who are fighting about it) that no, not every member of the trombone playing world opposes racism, or cares about it, or understands what it really looks like it, so don't pretend that they all do.

This is not an either or situation. You can "do something real" (like protest the treatment of black people by the police), and still want to see "smaller" instances of racism to be dealt with too. Do you really believe that Doug Yeo wrote this article to get a pat on the back about it from his black friends? To brag to them about it? Also it's not at all your place to tell a black person what is and isn't a "worthy" example of racism to deal with. THAT smacks of YOUR privilege. Have you actually talked to any black people about this?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:33 am

timothy42b wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:01 am
GBP wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:57 pm
Thank you those of you have spoken up against this piece. This is the type of courageous conversations that must occur if we are ever to overcome the grip institutional racism has on our country.
I think this is a complex issue that has more than one possible viewpoint. I see some of you violently disagree, but I think most real world issues are like that. Further, I think this piece is racist but not racism.

This piece was written in a racist time with a racist title, granted. It has survived 105 years, not because it espoused racism, but because it's a catchy tune. Think about that for a moment. We have statues and other symbols that have survived and are defended because they stand for racism, that are poorly executed. They survive because of the message. That isn't really true of this piece. The number of people who know about its racist past is inconsequentially small. (as, probably, are the people who hear and play it)
I’m with you. I see a lot of congratulatory chest-beating for being woke, at the expense of losing most of the points of the conversation. I see reasonable questions about censorship and reception being batted aside on esthetic terms. I see cancel-ites piling on a bandwagon without being willing to address the deeper points they’re espousing. I also see Doug Yeo making a moral-superiority argument as an exceptionally privileged white man, and that maybe taking his argument as Gospel misses a heck of a lot along the way.

I’m not going to defend the advertising materials for these pieces, but I’m also not going to give Doug a free pass on the idea that we should always judge previous zeitgeists with modern criticism. If that’s what we’re going to do, we have to tear down western culture and start again. Those advertising materials are overtly racist, and are undoubtedly so so that they can capitalize on a specific market. If you don’t think minstrelsy was acceptable in the 19th century, then you’re using a hammer to drive in a screw. I can’t fault Fillmore for using a common marketing tactic in his market, even though I can call it repulsive and indignant. There’s a difference there that I don’t think some of the people reading understand.

I also can’t personally fault the music itself. I just can’t. Go to IMSLP and you can find a public-domain edition of the piece from Fillmore with absolutely no mentions of any of the racist content. I would actually venture that most of us who have performed the piece have played from an edition with no mention of racist advertising. So then I have to ask myself: Is there identifiable racism in the piece itself? Is the glissando itself inherently racist? No. Is the “trombone smear” itself inherently racist? No. Do I have to know an enormous amount of historical-contextual information to decide that this piece is racist? Yes. And then I have to decide what to do next, and as Tim mentioned above, I cannot help but notice that the piece survived 100 years on esthetics alone when publishers, editors, and arrangers scrubbed the overtly racist content from it.

Doug’s argument, in a reduction is: This piece of music was conceived and built in racism, and should be wholly discarded on those grounds alone.

The counter to that is: Two entire generations of musicians preserved the piece in absentia of the racist materials as strictly a novelty piece, on esthetic grounds alone.

If we’re going to follow Doug’s principle, then we need to start looking hard at all music that was conceived and built in racism, regardless of how we now perceive it as modern musicians. And we have to decide if we’re going to define racism as just the Black experience in America, or as a prevailing 19th century institution that was very much invested in “othering” all over the globe. Either way, you’re going to have to cherry pick your examples. I don’t think Doug Yeo gets to be the arbiter of what is tasteful and what is not. I don’t think anyone does. But if you want to follow Doug’s reasoning to its logical conclusions, you need to eliminate huge parts of the Western canon. Wagner is just the tip of the iceberg. But if we’re not going to allow music to speak for itself, and we’re going to make these decision on supplementary materials, then yes, you’re cancelling a lot of stuff. BurgerBob is fine with that, which is his right. I assume when he takes his next audition, he won’t play the Wagner excerpts because they were written by one of the most explicitly racist composers in western history, and if the creative context is racist, the piece itself must also be. If you’re jumping to cancel “Lassus Trombone,” my broader question is are you ready to cancel things with a lot more historical importance, or are you jumping on this pile because it’s an easy lift? Everyone from Bach to Mile Davis is waiting for that answer.

Or, do you take the counter to Doug’s approach? Do you acknowledge the racism present at the piece’s creation, and then acknowledge the intentional stripping of that racist content by subsequent generations of musicians? Why do we get to ignore them and their esthetic tastes, when the piece in question was preserved because of its musical value? There are ample examples in the visual arts of paintings that were “sanitized” to represent contemporary values. There are also ample examples of pieces destroyed because of vulgarity. I know we’re not talking about burning copies, but we ARE talking about erasing a piece of music from the our collective conscious. Doug’s call is specifically we should ALL stop playing this piece. Again, this piece is a easy lift.

I have to wonder if our current immediate cancellation-reaction is not a symptom of the rise of neo-facism. In other other fascist states, history has shown similar movement to purge the artistic record of undesirable content. I know that’s outside the scope of this thread, but it’s a thought that’s been playing on a loop in my head.

I want to reiterate that I have no problem at all with a person saying they don’t want to perform this piece. I have real problems with telling someone else not to perform it, and that is what we are debating.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:50 am

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:33 am
I want to reiterate that I have no problem at all with a person saying they don’t want to perform this piece. I have real problems with telling someone else not to perform it, and that is what we are debating.
Nah, that's what you are debating, and it's a sideshow. I'm tired of being compared to the literal Nazi's because I care about not alienating black people with racist minstrel music. Nobody is putting a gun to your head to make you stop playing this music, so don't be so dramatic.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by TimBrown » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:03 am

I applaud all those who are trying to think, say and do the right thing. I also believe that social change comes about better and faster if we polish a rough-cut gem, rather than publicly smashing it with a sledgehammer because there is still a flaw in it. Pobody's nerfect (a comedic line from "The Good Place").
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:20 am

Redthunder wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:50 am
brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:33 am
I want to reiterate that I have no problem at all with a person saying they don’t want to perform this piece. I have real problems with telling someone else not to perform it, and that is what we are debating.
Nah, that's what you are debating, and it's a sideshow. I'm tired of being compared to the literal Nazi's because I care about not alienating black people with racist minstrel music. Nobody is putting a gun to your head to make you stop playing this music, so don't be so dramatic.
1. Doug Yeo’s article is very much telling others they shouldn’t perform this music, from a position of authority as an eminent performer and professor.
2. It’s not minstrel music. It outlasted minstrelsy by 100 years. Our perception of it grew beyond minstrelsy as the society changed.
3. I didn’t compare you to a Nazi. I compared you to a futurist who wanted to silence an offensive past in response to a worldwide rise in Fascism.
4. You don’t get to imply that people who are cautious about censorship want to alienate “black people,” just like you don’t get to imply that “black people” is some kind of homogeneous group. That’s intellectually dishonest, at best.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:29 am

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:20 am
1. Doug Yeo’s article is very much telling others they shouldn’t perform this music, from a position of authority as an eminent performer and professor.
2. It’s not minstrel music. It outlasted minstrelsy by 100 years. Our perception of it grew beyond minstrelsy as the society changed.
3. I didn’t compare you to a Nazi. I compared you to a futurist who wanted to silence an offensive past in response to a worldwide rise in Fascism.
4. You don’t get to imply that people who are cautious about censorship want to alienate “black people,” just like you don’t get to imply that “black people” is some kind of homogeneous group. That’s intellectually dishonest, at best.
Doug's "authority" is that of any other citizen and he's exercising his free speech, just like you are. Again, he's not making you do anything. He's just talking. Again, he's not putting a gun to your head.

Oh sure, I'm not a nazi, I'm just another "f" word that's doing all of the things you associate with fascism.

When other people state their opinions, it's fascism, but when you do it, you're just fighting for freedom.

Jesus. This is ridiculous. And I'm the intellectually dishonest one? Do you need someone to hold a flag behind you and shake it a bit while you create a diabolical enemy out of us?

Also, since you think it's unfair that I brought up what black people might think about this debate, I'll ask you just like I asked Timothy42b - have you actually discussed this with any black people? Do you even care what they think? My guess is no.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:45 am

Yeah, it is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous that you are being so incredibly presumptuous.

For starters, none of the Black artists I’ve spoken with would presume to speak for the entire Black community. Their opinions have been far more nuanced than the hammer you’re currently wielding.

If you find yourself constantly being compared to fascists, which I did not do, then perhaps you need to look at what it is that you’re saying and how it’s being received by the people you’re saying it to.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:53 am

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:45 am
Yeah, it is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous that you are being so incredibly presumptuous.

For starters, none of the Black artists I’ve spoken with would presume to speak for the entire Black community. Their opinions have been far more nuanced than the hammer you’re currently wielding.

If you find yourself constantly being compared to fascists, which I did not do, then perhaps you need to look at what it is that you’re saying and how it’s being received by the people you’re saying it to.
Lol, just like I asked Bruce, can you actually point to where I said ban the music? Erase the history? Can you show me anybody else that said that? You are strawmanning hard. Where's my hammer? Doug said we should stop putting them on concerts for entertainment. I agree with him. The entire premise of your argument is based on a misrepresentation about what Doug's actual point is, and you and many others seem to be doing it on purpose.

Yep, I'm a real goosestepper.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:00 am

Redthunder wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:07 am
timothy42b wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:01 am


Now I come to my point, I'll try again and probably fail again. GBP says etc. I don't think that's true. I don't think there's anything courageous at all about attacking a piece nobody really cares about and 99.9999% of the country have never heard of.

We all oppose racism, right? Enough to do something real? Or are we making a statement that is meaningless but makes us feel good?

I'm imagining a neighbor, person of color, coming home after picking up a teenage son who's been arrested for Driving While Black or any of a number of instances of what institutionalized racism leads to, and I rush over to his driveway all excited and say, "Dude! Dude! You'll be so proud of me! I've stopped playing Lassus!"

I think this is maybe a debate only privileged white people can afford to have.

I hope that's not too offensive. It's my perspective. I don't claim it should be yours. I do claim there's more than one way to look at this.
This is an absolutely terrible justification. First of all, it's entirely apparent from the conversations that have happened over something that you are saying is totally inconsequential (which it definitely isn't inconsequential given the number of people who are fighting about it) that no, not every member of the trombone playing world opposes racism, or cares about it, or understands what it really looks like it, so don't pretend that they all do.

This is not an either or situation. You can "do something real" (like protest the treatment of black people by the police), and still want to see "smaller" instances of racism to be dealt with too. Do you really believe that Doug Yeo wrote this article to get a pat on the back about it from his black friends? To brag to them about it? Also it's not at all your place to tell a black person what is and isn't a "worthy" example of racism to deal with. THAT smacks of YOUR privilege. Have you actually talked to any black people about this?

Timothy42 has talked to at least one black person about it, me. Notice how he has dismissed everything I have said. The imagine what a black person would say part of his post is a gem. I don’t have to imagine, I have live it everyday.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:05 am

GBP wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:00 am

Timothy42 has talked to at least one black person about it, me. Notice how he has dismissed everything I have said. The imagine what a black person would say part of his post is a gem. I don’t have to imagine, I have live it everyday.
I'm really sorry that your experiences and opinions about this are being dismissed.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:09 am

Redthunder wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:05 am
GBP wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:00 am

Timothy42 has talked to at least one black person about it, me. Notice how he has dismissed everything I have said. The imagine what a black person would say part of his post is a gem. I don’t have to imagine, I have live it everyday.

I'm really sorry that your experiences and opinions about this are being dismissed.
Here is what is truly sad, I expect to be ignored or called uppity or be dismissed.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:18 am

GBP wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:09 am
Here is what is truly sad, I expect to be ignored or called uppity or be dismissed.
Thank you for posting here. Truly. I really appreciate your willingness to continue to share your experiences even despite these things.

One thing that is so bizarre about this debate is that people are accusing Doug and others as wanting to "erase" or "forget" the history when he was the one who shone a light on the history to a large number of people for the first time that didn't know. The history was ALREADY FORGOTTEN AND ERASED AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. And, it took someone of his stature and background in order to attract a large discussion, despite it being pointed out that there were definitely other people that already knew about the background of this piece.

I wonder if this article would have triggered even half the reaction to it that it has if a black trombonist had written it.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:17 pm

GBP wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:00 am

Timothy42 has talked to at least one black person about it, me. Notice how he has dismissed everything I have said.
More than one.
Notice how he has dismissed everything I have said.
No. Not true, not even close. I have disagreed with what you said. That is not the same as dismissing.

I'll repeat what I disagreed with.

Specifically, I do not think it is even slightly courageous for a priviliged white person (and that is most of us here) to think they are fighting racism by not playing a song most people don't even know is racist. They might as well wear a Black Lives Matter teeshirt under a sweater.

I don't insist you agree or anybody agree with me. I don't even insist not playing that song could be the right thing to do. But courageous?

People do a lot of things that have zero impact, but makes them feel good or safe. Okay, that's human nature. As soon as they feel good, many have no reason to continue into actions that might matter.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:22 pm

timothy42b wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:17 pm

More than one.
Notice how he has dismissed everything I have said.
No. Not true, not even close. I have disagreed with what you said. That is not the same as dismissing.

I'll repeat what I disagreed with.

Specifically, I do not think it is even slightly courageous for a priviliged white person (and that is most of us here) to think they are fighting racism by not playing a song most people don't even know is racist. They might as well wear a Black Lives Matter teeshirt under a sweater.

I don't insist you agree or anybody agree with me. I don't even insist not playing that song could be the right thing to do. But courageous?

People do a lot of things that have zero impact, but makes them feel good or safe. Okay, that's human nature. As soon as they feel good, many have no reason to continue into actions that might matter.
You still haven't addressed the other issue I mentioned earlier, which is that it's not your place to dictate which examples of racism are worthy to address, and that it's entirely possible for people to address more than one issue at once.

This is not and will NEVER be an all-or-nothing discussion. So stop making it one.

Here's the thing about racism - it's big and small issues TOGETHER, macro and micro not either or. They are inseparable, and you can't just address one without the other.

You need to address systemic racism of the police department, of our education system, of our workforce. You also need to address smaller scale stuff that affect individuals and more niche communities like ours. Like how racist songs that have been whitewashed and are still played by high school and college bands all over the country.

Nobody has ever said this was the only thing to do to address the racism that persists in our society. This is just ONE example.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by elmsandr » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:56 pm

Another interesting facet to this discussion on Lassus that also ties in to the Syrup/Rice/Whatever brands changing that goes often un-investigated: what message do we send by keeping something around when we KNOW that it was racist by design?

'Yeah, we know that was racist, but that guy kinda liked it so we kept it around. If that bothers you, sorry!'

Not sure how that isn't making the same mistake as the original. Keeping it around now would clearly note that it is not worth giving up anything, no matter how trivial, because it works for some of us. That has to sting a little bit to hear. Folks come forward, point out that it horrible, that this has a palpable effect, even if very minor, almost zero... and that discomfort is seen and not addressed because it "doesn't matter."

I do agree with Tim that this takes no courage to give up Lassus, heck, I'm not sure it takes any courage for most amateur ensembles to give up Wagner... would anybody notice if my community band no longer plays Elsa once a decade? That does not preclude doing something more substantial, but it could communicate an unwillingness to do anything else by keeping it.

We make these decisions all the time, some intentionally, some unitentionally. This music was sold with the advertising copy and subtitles for a while. Then it was taken off. To save ink? Nah, they knew it was wrong then. We aren't putting 2020 morality onto 1915 music... there were plenty of folks who knew it was wrong then and just did not care. The question is do we care enough now?

Random last point, many of the other Trombone Family pieces are a lot better than Lassus... If we are going to go for the racism, how come we couldn't get stuck with the better ones? I was not aware that they were a suite of sorts, but I've played about 10 of them as small section features over the decades. Some had the original subtitles on them... was a youth in an adult ensemble then, now thinking a bit about the adults that ran those groups and wondering what, if any discussions were had about these when they were programmed. I will note that I do not believe we ever played the subtitled ones twice, but I don't know if that was intentional or not. Interesting to think about how I would/should react to that today. I hope that I will be more vocal when presented the opportunity.

Cheers,
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by paulyg » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:00 pm

I'm honestly at a loss for words.

The argument for discontinuing performance of this piece was clearly articulated by Doug Yeo. It is very straightforward- the piece has a legacy of racism, and further performances harm the performers and the audience by communicating nostalgia for a racist past, turning the performance into a racist present. That seems very straightforward to me, and easy to understand. Nobody wants to burn the piece, or any others, or any books- we just want to stop performing this piece, for the sole reason I mentioned above.

On the other hand, from the crowd that wants to preserve this piece as part of the performing repertoire, I've heard circular arguments, ad-hominem attacks, slippery slope arguments, and "whataboutisms." The discussion has swayed away from "is it right to continue to perform this piece in light of this information" to "why do people want to take this piece away from me."

I have news for those people: nobody is going to take this piece away from you. Despite what's been brought up, the trombone secret police are not going to storm into your homes, search your music shelf, and toss all of your "trombone family" arrangements into a bonfire in the street. You will not be hauled off to secret prison for being in possession of a "forbidden" work. This is not Nazi Germany.

Fair warning, though. This bell cannot be un-rung. EVERYONE knows the explicitly racist background and content of the piece now, thanks to Doug. While you're still free to play it at home, and perform it, don't expect adulation from your fellow performers or the audience. And, while it's your prerogative to continue to give air time to this abhorrent rag of a piece, it is society's prerogative to judge you for it. Believe me, we will, because frankly, tolerance of the vigorous defenses of this racist work, tolerance the rabid personal attacks on people trying to elevate your understanding, and tolerance your general narrow-mindedness have an expiration date. You will find yourselves left behind by good and decent people, a band of fools tooting lamely into the void.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:18 pm

The term courageous conversation is used by minority affairs and human rights organizations. It refers to having the courage to point out racism in people and institutions when you see it. It does take courage. Courage to accept being dismissed, being labeled, being told that your cause doesn’t matter. There are examples in this thread. It is very difficult for people to admit that they have racist beliefs because those beliefs are so ingrained in American culture. I have have always wondered how many black trombonists are members of this site. When I first got on the site there was one who posted a lot. He hasn’t been in in years. There are things that have been posted that have made me wonder if this is a community I really want to be a part of. Sadly, I am so used to behavior like this from musicians, I am almost numb to it. Most of my playing and teaching career, I have been the only black person on staff. Music has along way to go. I applaud Doug for his courage. This might cost him opportunities. Yet he is willing to accept that. Doug and Kapp are my heroes.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by WilliamLang » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:38 pm

the entire classical music world needs to take a hard look at who we are, who we play, who we work with, and who we commission moving forward. the brass community sadly might have the most work to do.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:11 pm

paulyg wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:00 pm


The argument for discontinuing performance of this piece was clearly articulated by Doug Yeo. It is very straightforward- the piece has a legacy of racism, and further performances harm the performers and the audience by communicating nostalgia for a racist past, turning the performance into a racist present.
Doug's argument distilled a bit is that anything conceived in racism remains racist and damaging for ever, even long after anyone knows it started that way.

It is not unreasonable to think and discuss whether that must be the party line, or whether other viewpoints are possible. Is it possible for the meaning of any type of art to change through time? What about the reverse - pieces conceived with good intent that acquire connotations? For example, Onward Christian Soldiers. It's in our hymnal, not overtly racist, but was a well known Klan rallying song, and for that reason I decline to sing or play it.

Doug preached a good sermon but he isn't the sole arbiter of all musical opinion.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by paulyg » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:17 pm

timothy42b wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:11 pm

Doug's argument distilled a bit is that anything conceived in racism remains racist and damaging for ever, even long after anyone knows it started that way.
After all of this, you STILL don't understand that by now, EVERYONE knows? And if they don't yet, they will shortly?

Perhaps it's time to check in to a home.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:46 pm

timothy42b wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:11 pm
Doug preached a good sermon but he isn't the sole arbiter of all musical opinion.
Nobody ever said he was.

The fact that Doug wrote the post has literally nothing to do with why this discussion is happening.

The overt racism in the material Doug presented is the reason why the discussion is happening.
Last edited by Redthunder on Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by mrpillow » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:46 pm

Wow.
Organologique et plus!
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:55 pm

Can we cut to the chase about this?

Some of you think that the history of this song is not a good reason to stop performing it. Fine, that's your opinion, and clearly we all see this differently.

But can some of you please stop cloaking your disagreement in other reasons? Trying to "well ack-shually" your way into feeling justified about your position isn't a good strategy. It's disingenuous concern trolling. Clearly, we all have the ability to talk about this as freely as we like until we are blue in the face. There is absolutely zero censorship occurring.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:22 pm

Redthunder wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:55 pm
Can we cut to the chase about this?

Some of you think that the history of this song is not a good reason to stop performing it. Fine, that's your opinion, and clearly we all see this differently.

But can some of you please stop cloaking your disagreement in other reasons? Trying to "well ack-shually" your way into feeling justified about your position isn't a good strategy. It's disingenuous concern trolling. Clearly, we all have the ability to talk about this as freely as we like until we are blue in the face. There is absolutely zero censorship occurring.
No. You can insist on insulting people who don’t agree with you, but you’re not cutting to chase. There’s an entirely different chase that you, and others, are either willfully (or not) choosing to ignore.

You don’t get to cherry-pick your examples. Period. If this piece is too racist for you, but countless works by Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bach, Monteverdi, Caccini, Gershwin, Bernstein, Puccini and yes, Wager are ‘just racist enough to be ok,” then I call BS. I am more comfortable throwing out the entire lot than I am arbitrating the racist content within a given piece of music and deciding how much is ok and how much is too much.

It is NOT courageous to come down against “Lassus Trombone,” a novelty piece by a 3rd-tier composer composer. “The bell has been rung” against a novelty piece by a 3rd-tier composer. And the guy that rung the bell did so from a position of privilege as a professor and emeritus player in one of the most important orchestras of the world. Courage would be coming down against “Elsa.“ Courage would be coming down against “Magic Flute.” Courage would be coming down against “Porgy and Bess.” Courage would be coming down against the makeup of American orchestras, which resemble a bottle of White Out, or American conservatories, which do the same. Courage would be using your platform to spotlight Black performers struggling in the classical world. Courage would be talking about all those “diversity panels” which often include 1 BIPOC. Courage would be a long hard look at academia that perpetuates this. But courage isn’t smearing Henry Fillmore and leaving the rest alone.

You’ve either got to see the racism inherent in all of this music, or you’ve got to admit that you’re cherry-picking and that this is an awkward, hard conversation without definitive answers that we have to have in order to move forward as artists and citizens.. If you want to burn down the whole thing and start again, I’ll be right there with you. But I’m not going to banish Fillmore and let somebody more profitable stand. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:26 pm

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:22 pm
No. You can insist on insulting people who don’t agree with you, but you’re not cutting to chase. There’s an entirely different chase that you, and others, are either willfully (or not) choosing to ignore.
Show me where I insulted anybody? Also, pot, meet kettle.

You don’t get to cherry-pick your examples. Period. If this piece is too racist for you, but countless works by Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bach, Monteverdi, Caccini, Gershwin, Bernstein, Puccini and yes, Wager are ‘just racist enough to be ok,” then I call BS. I am more comfortable throwing out the entire lot than I am arbitrating the racist content within a given piece of music and deciding how much is ok and how much is too much.
Whataboutism. Next.
It is NOT courageous to come down against “Lassus Trombone,” a novelty piece by a 3rd-tier composer composer. “The bell has been rung” against a novelty piece by a 3rd-tier composer. And the guy that rung the bell did so from a position of privilege as a professor and emeritus player in one of the most important orchestras of the world. Courage would be coming down against “Elsa.“ Courage would be coming down against “Magic Flute.” Courage would be coming down against “Porgy and Bess.” Courage would be coming down against the makeup of American orchestras, which resemble a bottle of White Out, or American conservatories, which do the same. Courage would be using your platform to spotlight Black performers struggling in the classical world. Courage would be talking about all those “diversity panels” which often include 1 BIPOC. Courage would be a long hard look at academia that perpetuates this. But courage isn’t smearing Henry Fillmore and leaving the rest alone.
I didn't say it was courageous. GBP did. Also, more whatboutism. Next.

You’ve either got to see the racism inherent in all of this music, or you’ve got to admit that you’re cherry-picking and that this is an awkward, hard conversation without definitive answers that we have to have in order to move forward as artists and citizens.. If you want to burn down the whole thing and start again, I’ll be right there with you. But I’m not going to banish Fillmore and let somebody more profitable stand. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.
Oh look, all-or-nothing thinking and MORE whataboutism. You keep reframing the debate about something that it isn't about.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:30 pm

Also, brtnats, since you're so worked up about it, can you even show where anybody suggested that they wanted to banish the entirety of Fillmore's works or his entire legacy?

...

I'll wait.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brumpone » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:38 pm

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:22 pm
It is NOT courageous to come down against “Lassus Trombone,” a novelty piece by a 3rd-tier composer.... Courage would be coming down against .... Courage would be a long hard look at academia that perpetuates this.
What signal is the defence of this piece sending about the perpetuation of all the things that actually do require courage? If you wish to make a start on the courageous stuff, start, and build momentum.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:53 pm

brumpone wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:38 pm
brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:22 pm
It is NOT courageous to come down against “Lassus Trombone,” a novelty piece by a 3rd-tier composer.... Courage would be coming down against .... Courage would be a long hard look at academia that perpetuates this.
What signal is the defence of this piece sending about the perpetuation of all the things that actually do require courage? If you wish to make a start on the courageous stuff, start, and build momentum.
I’m not defending the racist content in this piece. I’m saying that if you’re going to cancel Fillmore on those grounds, and not Mozart or Tchaikovsky on those same grounds, then that’s arbitrary.

@Redthunder: You’re too busy screaming to listen. I’m done with you. Pax.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by paulyg » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:13 pm

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:53 pm

I’m not defending the racist content in this piece. I’m saying that if you’re going to cancel Fillmore on those grounds, and not Mozart or Tchaikovsky on those same grounds, then that’s arbitrary.
You're so wrapped up in your own wrong assumptions about what people are saying here that you can't see that you're actually defending this piece, explicitly. Here's a direct quote of you defending this piece:
brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:20 am
1. Doug Yeo’s article is very much telling others they shouldn’t perform this music, from a position of authority as an eminent performer and professor.
2. It’s not minstrel music. It outlasted minstrelsy by 100 years. Our perception of it grew beyond minstrelsy as the society changed.
3. I didn’t compare you to a Nazi. I compared you to a futurist who wanted to silence an offensive past in response to a worldwide rise in Fascism.
4. You don’t get to imply that people who are cautious about censorship want to alienate “black people,” just like you don’t get to imply that “black people” is some kind of homogeneous group. That’s intellectually dishonest, at best.
I read this list as an argument that Lassus Trombone is music that has transcended its racist roots, and is still acceptable to perform (especially point No. 2). If that weren't enough, there's this:
brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:33 am

I’m with you. I see a lot of congratulatory chest-beating for being woke, at the expense of losing most of the points of the conversation. I see reasonable questions about censorship and reception being batted aside on esthetic terms. I see cancel-ites piling on a bandwagon without being willing to address the deeper points they’re espousing. I also see Doug Yeo making a moral-superiority argument as an exceptionally privileged white man, and that maybe taking his argument as Gospel misses a heck of a lot along the way.

I’m not going to defend the advertising materials for these pieces, but I’m also not going to give Doug a free pass on the idea that we should always judge previous zeitgeists with modern criticism. If that’s what we’re going to do, we have to tear down western culture and start again. Those advertising materials are overtly racist, and are undoubtedly so so that they can capitalize on a specific market. If you don’t think minstrelsy was acceptable in the 19th century, then you’re using a hammer to drive in a screw. I can’t fault Fillmore for using a common marketing tactic in his market, even though I can call it repulsive and indignant. There’s a difference there that I don’t think some of the people reading understand.

I also can’t personally fault the music itself. I just can’t. Go to IMSLP and you can find a public-domain edition of the piece from Fillmore with absolutely no mentions of any of the racist content. I would actually venture that most of us who have performed the piece have played from an edition with no mention of racist advertising. So then I have to ask myself: Is there identifiable racism in the piece itself? Is the glissando itself inherently racist? No. Is the “trombone smear” itself inherently racist? No. Do I have to know an enormous amount of historical-contextual information to decide that this piece is racist? Yes. And then I have to decide what to do next, and as Tim mentioned above, I cannot help but notice that the piece survived 100 years on esthetics alone when publishers, editors, and arrangers scrubbed the overtly racist content from it.

Doug’s argument, in a reduction is: This piece of music was conceived and built in racism, and should be wholly discarded on those grounds alone.

The counter to that is: Two entire generations of musicians preserved the piece in absentia of the racist materials as strictly a novelty piece, on esthetic grounds alone.

If we’re going to follow Doug’s principle, then we need to start looking hard at all music that was conceived and built in racism, regardless of how we now perceive it as modern musicians. And we have to decide if we’re going to define racism as just the Black experience in America, or as a prevailing 19th century institution that was very much invested in “othering” all over the globe. Either way, you’re going to have to cherry pick your examples. I don’t think Doug Yeo gets to be the arbiter of what is tasteful and what is not. I don’t think anyone does. But if you want to follow Doug’s reasoning to its logical conclusions, you need to eliminate huge parts of the Western canon. Wagner is just the tip of the iceberg. But if we’re not going to allow music to speak for itself, and we’re going to make these decision on supplementary materials, then yes, you’re cancelling a lot of stuff. BurgerBob is fine with that, which is his right. I assume when he takes his next audition, he won’t play the Wagner excerpts because they were written by one of the most explicitly racist composers in western history, and if the creative context is racist, the piece itself must also be. If you’re jumping to cancel “Lassus Trombone,” my broader question is are you ready to cancel things with a lot more historical importance, or are you jumping on this pile because it’s an easy lift? Everyone from Bach to Mile Davis is waiting for that answer.

Or, do you take the counter to Doug’s approach? Do you acknowledge the racism present at the piece’s creation, and then acknowledge the intentional stripping of that racist content by subsequent generations of musicians? Why do we get to ignore them and their esthetic tastes, when the piece in question was preserved because of its musical value? There are ample examples in the visual arts of paintings that were “sanitized” to represent contemporary values. There are also ample examples of pieces destroyed because of vulgarity. I know we’re not talking about burning copies, but we ARE talking about erasing a piece of music from the our collective conscious. Doug’s call is specifically we should ALL stop playing this piece. Again, this piece is a easy lift.

I have to wonder if our current immediate cancellation-reaction is not a symptom of the rise of neo-facism. In other other fascist states, history has shown similar movement to purge the artistic record of undesirable content. I know that’s outside the scope of this thread, but it’s a thought that’s been playing on a loop in my head.

I want to reiterate that I have no problem at all with a person saying they don’t want to perform this piece. I have real problems with telling someone else not to perform it, and that is what we are debating.

Maybe get your own arguments straight in your head. I see YOU as the person bringing up "cancelling" other pieces, not the people trying to get you to acknowledge that this piece is racist (which you emphatically refuse to do).

You also seem to fall back on the idea that because this piece has been performed for a hundred years, it can't be racist anymore. If only it were true that time cured that affliction.

There is no good reason to perform this piece anymore. There are a lot of bad ones.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:15 pm

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:53 pm

I’m not defending the racist content in this piece. I’m saying that if you’re going to cancel Fillmore on those grounds, and not Mozart or Tchaikovsky on those same grounds, then that’s arbitrary.

@Redthunder: You’re too busy screaming to listen. I’m done with you. Pax.
Lol are you for real dude? You rest your entire argument on the entire premise of “WELL WHAT ABOUT X?!?”

You won’t actually answer any of my questions about the gaping holes in your argument, and you keep doubling down.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:07 pm

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:22 pm
If this piece is too racist for you, but countless works by Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bach, Monteverdi, Caccini, Gershwin, Bernstein, Puccini and yes, Wager are ‘just racist enough to be ok,” then I call BS.
Is there an element of self importance and elitism permeating this discussion?

You just mentioned 10 dead white guys that 99% of the US have never heard of.

Fillmore? Make that about 5 Sigma. The symphony orchestra is a dying beast, but the town band was buried some decades back. We're really arguing about something less than consequential.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:13 pm

We are talking past each other and neither side wants to even consider the other's arguments.

I'm seeing a lot of "don't confuse me with facts, I've made up my mind", labeling contradicting examples as "whataboutism" and a clear refusal to engage in constructive discussion.

I think we can all agree that the promotional material from 1915 is stomach churning. Where we seem to diverge is that over the intervening 100 years that material has been abandoned, much like "Mammy" Aunt Jemimah (she now looks more like a normal person). Some seem to say that the racist text is a Mark of Cain and can never be erased. Others say the mark has disappeared some and we can discuss the piece on its merits (or lack of them).

I believe this is a "slippery slope" and as we start down this path many other things that may have more artistic merit will be attacked in the spirit of "Woke". As somebody who lost a considerable amount of family between 1940 and 1945, and who has a cousin who managed to escape from FIVE different Death Camps, living 2 years in the forest, I am very sensitive to this kind of mob censorship.

I still respectfully disagree with Mr. Yeo.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Bach5G » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:23 pm

And if the Weimar regime had cracked down on anti-semitism and fascism?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:27 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:13 pm
We are talking past each other and neither side wants to even consider the other's arguments.
Bruce, I asked you yesterday to provide a clear example of anybody advocating for banning music of any kind. I considered your argument. You did not bother to respond. That is hardly "talking past" one another. I have asked questions to BOTH brtnats and Timothy42b, and they simply DO NOT answer them. I'm not "talking past" anybody.
I'm seeing a lot of "don't confuse me with facts, I've made up my mind", labeling contradicting examples as "whataboutism" and a clear refusal to engage in constructive discussion.
Labeling something as. "whataboutism" when that is exactly what it is, when somebody tries to redirect from a discussion about one topic to try and prove "hypocrisy" is hardly a "refusal to engage". Whataboutism is a logical fallacy and has been recognized as such as a tactic for changing the focus of a debate on a new, irrelevant topic.
I believe this is a "slippery slope" and as we start down this path many other things that may have more artistic merit will be attacked in the spirit of "Woke". As somebody who lost a considerable amount of family between 1940 and 1945, and who has a cousin who managed to escape from FIVE different Death Camps, living 2 years in the forest, I am very sensitive to this kind of mob censorship.
I ask you AGAIN, where can you demonstrate that "mob censorship" is happening?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:36 pm

Just look at the title. You want to censor 15 pieces of music for being "unwoke". Where do you go from here? Beckmesser in "Meistersinger" is a caricature of a Jew. Do we now ban Meistersinger? The dialog in Huck Finn shows illiterate Blacks. Do we ditch that as well?

OK. I see the Whataboutism charge coming up. But that's the actual argument. If we destroy this piece for not being "woke" do we move on to other items that are not of our current mindset? Where does it stop? Or will we be left with nothing but Kenny G?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:40 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:36 pm
Just look at the title. You want to censor 15 pieces of music for being "unwoke". Where do you go from here? Beckmesser in "Meistersinger" is a caricature of a Jew. Do we now ban Meistersinger> The dialog in Huck Finn shows illiterate Blacks. Do we ditch that as well?

OK. I see the Whataboutism charge coming up. But that's the actual argument. If we destroy this piece for not being "woke" do we move on to other items that are not of our current mindset? Where does it stop? Or will we be left with nothing but Kenny G?
Oh my god Bruce. You are trying to discredit one accusation of a fallacious argument by using an even more egregious fallacy with the "slippery slope".

Also, the title is not in any way shape or form, censorship of any kind, or a mob rule.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:45 pm

[*]
Bach5G wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:23 pm
And if the Weimar regime had cracked down on anti-semitism and fascism?
Then the discussion of those traditions would be very different! I’m not at all against talking about racism in music, and I totally agree with Tim above, that there’s a lot of elitism built in. But I don’t understand, functionally, how someone like Doug Yeo decides ‘this piece is racist enough that I’m going to leverage my position to make everybody know I disapprove of it’ but simultaneously looks past so many other examples that are as bad or worse. Some people in this room may say I’m engaging in whataboutism, but when you’re having a discussion about a principle, then other similar examples are relevant. I honestly don’t see how anyone can claim to objectively judge the offensive content of an artwork, especially without indulging in some serious biography digging.

I disagree with Doug Yeo on a lot of things. This is just another. He has clearly incited a mob of righteous warriors to his cause. I wish he was here to here to help nuance the discussion.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:48 pm

brtnats wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:45 pm
Then the discussion of those traditions would be very different! I’m not at all against talking about racism in music, and I totally agree with Tim above, that there’s a lot of elitism built in. But I don’t understand, functionally, how someone like Doug Yeo decides ‘this piece is racist enough that I’m going to leverage my position to make everybody know I disapprove of it’ but simultaneously looks past so many other examples that are as bad or worse. Some people in this room may say I’m engaging in whataboutism, but when you’re having a discussion about a principle, then other similar examples are relevant. I honestly don’t see how anyone can claim to objectively judge the offensive content of an artwork, especially without indulging in some serious biography digging.

I disagree with Doug Yeo on a lot of things. This is just another. He has clearly incited a mob of righteous warriors to his cause. I wish he was here to here to help nuance the discussion.
Since you clearly don't know what "whataboutism" is and why it's a bad way to defend something, here's an article for you.

Read it, don't read it. But just know that YOU freaked out and refused to engage because I (and several others) pushed you to respond to THE TOPIC AT HAND, while you tried to fight a broader culture war.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-a ... in-meaning
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:54 pm

Redthunder wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:40 pm
BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:36 pm
Just look at the title. You want to censor 15 pieces of music for being "unwoke". Where do you go from here? Beckmesser in "Meistersinger" is a caricature of a Jew. Do we now ban Meistersinger> The dialog in Huck Finn shows illiterate Blacks. Do we ditch that as well?

OK. I see the Whataboutism charge coming up. But that's the actual argument. If we destroy this piece for not being "woke" do we move on to other items that are not of our current mindset? Where does it stop? Or will we be left with nothing but Kenny G?
Oh my god Bruce. You are trying to discredit one accusation of a fallacious argument by using an even more egregious fallacy with the "slippery slope".
OK. So we can't discuss anything but "Lassus Trombone"? And just because there was a pretty slanderous advertisement for it in 1915?
Redthunder wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:40 pm
Also, the title is not in any way shape or form, censorship of any kind, or a mob rule.
What part of "ditch Lassus Trombone" is not an incitement to mob rule? We have a slogan. "Lock Her Up".

This is total destruction not constructivism. What can we play instead that won't put our audience to sleep and is of reasonably low difficulty?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by paulyg » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:56 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:36 pm
Just look at the title. You want to censor 15 pieces of music for being "unwoke". Where do you go from here? Beckmesser in "Meistersinger" is a caricature of a Jew. Do we now ban Meistersinger? The dialog in Huck Finn shows illiterate Blacks. Do we ditch that as well?
Not "unwoke," Bruce, very actively racist. What is the obsession with downplaying the actual racist content in this music?
BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:36 pm
OK. I see the Whataboutism charge coming up. But that's the actual argument. If we destroy this piece for not being "woke" do we move on to other items that are not of our current mindset? Where does it stop? Or will we be left with nothing but Kenny G?
I think that makes 100% participation in that particular straw man argument from people on one side of this. This discussion is not about other pieces of music, it's about Lassus Trombone. As for the rest, let's burn that bridge when we come to it. The point is, we're here now, and we're having THIS conversation now, and there's a troubling amount of resistance to even acknowledging that this piece is very clearly racist.

If you believe that by taking collective action to not play this racist piece of music ever again, that we're hopping on a train with no brakes to Nazi Germany, then I'm sorry- I can't see a lot of room for growth or progress in your mindset.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:00 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:54 pm

OK. So we can't discuss anything but "Lassus Trombone"? And just because there was a pretty slanderous advertisement for it in 1915?
Doug's article is about how Lassus Trombone is a racist piece of music, and because of that, Lassus trombone should not be played as entertainment anymore. When you bring up things like "What about Wagner!" you are trying to say that Doug is a hypocrite because "what about all of these other things that he DIDN'T write blog posts about".

Wagner (or any other person, composer, instrumentalist) and his troubled opinions are well worthy of a discussion, and it HAS been discussed before. But the point of "whataboutism" is that the existence of one bad thing does NOT negate or cancel out another. Additionally, I don't believe for a second if we DID talk about all of those other troubled examples brought up to distract from what this is really about that the same people who brought them up would be engaging in the same kind of bad faith arguments about THAT too.

What part of "ditch Lassus Trombone" is not an incitement to mob rule? We have a slogan. "Lock Her Up".

This is total destruction not constructivism. What can we play instead that won't put our audience to sleep and is of reasonably low difficulty?
Really? And I'm the one being accused of lacking nuance?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:42 pm

Where I'm having trouble with this is how you define Lassus Trombone as racist.

No doubt the ad from 1915 has some really problematic descriptions. But absent the title and the description, what is racist? Is it the trombone smears? Stravinsky uses some in "Pulcinella". If you had this piece with a different title, say, "Snowflakes Falling on a Red Field", would it still be racist?

What next? White supremacists like the tune "Dixie" It was written by a Northerner, Dan Emmett, for a Minstrel show. And Abraham Lincoln was said to enjoy the tune.

Understand. I am horrified by cops taking it out o Blacks. I agree that there are barriers put in the path of Blacks by White owned businesses. There's lots of injustice out there. But is this where we have to draw the line?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:55 pm

paulyg wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:56 pm
Not "unwoke," Bruce, very actively racist. What is the obsession with downplaying the actual racist content in this music?
Paul, I have an immense amount of respect for you, but that’s the part you’re not hearing. The actual music doesn’t have any racist content. The titles used to. The marketing did. But in the intervening years, the titles were changed and the marketing materials dropped. I don’t think anybody here is saying that those elements weren’t racist. People are asking a totally valid question and getting chided like children: If we are to remove these 15 pieces from concerted repertoire because of how they were originally conceived, and pay no regard to what they have evolved to, why? People can throw a whataboutism fallacy all over the place, but if one removes the actual racist content from a piece of music, and still deems it racist because of original intent, that feels likely slippery ground, and some of us are asking about the theoretical limits. It seems absolutely pertinent to ask the question and get a straight answer without having accusations levied. It’s certainly how I thought we operated here.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:57 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:42 pm
Where I'm having trouble with this is how you define Lassus Trombone as racist.

No doubt the ad from 1915 has some really problematic descriptions. But absent the title and the description, what is racist? Is it the trombone smears? Stravinsky uses some in "Pulcinella". If you had this piece with a different title, say, "Snowflakes Falling on a Red Field", would it still be racist?

What next? White supremacists like the tune "Dixie" It was written by a Northerner, Dan Emmett, for a Minstrel show. And Abraham Lincoln was said to enjoy the tune.

Understand. I am horrified by cops taking it out o Blacks. I agree that there are barriers put in the path of Blacks by White owned businesses. There's lots of injustice out there. But is this where we have to draw the line?


I think that makes 100% participation in that particular straw man argument from people on one side of this. This discussion is not about other pieces of music, it's about Lassus Trombone. As for the rest, let's burn that bridge when we come to it. The point is, we're here now, and we're having THIS conversation now, and there's a troubling amount of resistance to even acknowledging that this piece is very clearly racist.

If you believe that by taking collective action to not play this racist piece of music ever again, that we're hopping on a train with no brakes to Nazi Germany, then I'm sorry- I can't see a lot of room for growth or progress in your mindset.
Just rinse and repeat.
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