A Vote for Louis

So I’ve been avoiding like the plague any references to the Presidential election on this blog. “Plague” seems an apt word to describe everything that’s been going on, doesn’t it? Thankfully, my readers don’t come here for that stuff. Also, my readers comprise a diversity of political views and I respect that. Honestly, the whole election process goes on far too long in my opinion. This shit needs to be shortened by at least seven months. I’ve reached the point where I just want this purgatory to end. Tomorrow, mercifully, is the day.

But rather than evade the subject entirely – as I am a voting, tax-paying American citizen after all – I’ll just say that my cynicism and disdain for political personalities, and the whole unethical, dirty business of it, runs deep. Not that I wish ill will on anyone, mind you. But I’m starting to believe that there is something inherently wired in the character of people who devote themselves to pursuing power and high political office. That trait – a certain brand of ambition –  is something that I approach warily. Maybe I’ve just read “Macbeth” too many times. It’s one of my top three favorite Shakespeare plays. This whole election season brings to mind a quote from Act I: “And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray’s in deepest consequence.” Where is Banquo when we need him?

While today may be the Monday before Election Day, it’s still Music Monday here on Museworthy. And I think we could all use a reminder that America has produced cultural figures of sublime quality, talents, and inspiration. Politicians should take note.

In what I think is one of the finest jazz musician portraits I’ve ever seen, this is Louis Armstrong in 1956, photographed by the great Bob Willoughby. Look at that smile. The smile of a man who never forgot where he came from; born into poverty in New Orleans, son of a prostitute, grandson of slaves, sent to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys when he was 11 years old. Grew up to become a virtuoso musician and the most innovative, influential trumpeter in music history. Enjoy the track below. I hope it dances through your head as you go to the polls tomorrow 🙂

LouisArmstrong

“He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone along the way.”
– Duke Ellington on Louis Armstrong

12 thoughts on “A Vote for Louis

  1. John Giesecke says:

    Thank you for avoiding the “slime pit”. You are a joy to my week, a cultural addition to life. Thank you.

  2. “Lay on Macduff!” So, Macduff was the Thane of Fife. My last name is Fife and the Fife’s are part of the Macduff Clan. Not that any sane person should care about any of this, but maybe it will garner me some brownie points with you.

    • artmodel says:

      Todd,

      That is so cool about Macduff! And you don’t have to score brownie points with me. You are a permanent friend of Museworthy 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  3. Jennifer says:

    Tomorrow is here … as unbelievable as our result back in July. Currently being cheered by your Louis Armstrong link. Take care xx

    • artmodel says:

      Jennifer,

      Armstrong cheers better than anybody! Listen as often as you can, that’s my advice. Yes, stunning results for both of our countries. Times are a’changin’.

      So happy to hear from you! Thanks for commenting. Hope things are well.

      Claudia

  4. Bill says:

    I once had a friend who was a young, classically-trained pianist. Apparently had never listened to anything else. Well, the college where I was working needed someone to teach an introductory course in jazz, my friend needed the money, and he condescended to take on the course. I think he figured what the hell, how hard can this be? It’s probably almost like a bastardized version of real music.

    Well, he spent the entire semester raving about jazz in general and Louis Armstrong in particular. He was like a teenager who had just discovered girls or beer — a total convert. It did get a little tiresome after a while, but he was right. He was the bee’s knees.

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      Love that story! Louis Armstrong has that effect on people. Also worth pointing out that he is one of those figures who has earned both popular appeal and respect among well-versed students of music, like your friend.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Claudia

  5. Jim O'Neil says:

    OK, OK, I’ll give Louie my popular vote, however My Electoral College votes for another voice from the era, Sammy Davis Jr.;

  6. Lynne says:

    Liked and appreciated the thoughts you shared on Jeanne Hébuterne. Very kind.

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