Live music is illegal.
Anyone who has been self-employed understands how difficult it is to make a living do so, let alone as a musician. Lives of many musicians are being destroyed as a result of being banned from working and thus without income.
One would hope that the music community would harbor a few free thinkers who might say, “Enough! Freedom is essential to the human spirit.”
As I scour the internet for any sort of dissent coming from musicians regarding the government’s heavy authoritarian response to coronavirus, I am saddened and deeply disappointed. Most everyone is content to push for a government solution to a government-caused problem. I perked up momentarily when I saw an article about Christian McBride’s recent Civil Rights Suite, which pays homage to Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, and Martin Luther King, Jr. – brave people who risked and gave their lives for freedom! Alas, the interview was published in JazzTimes on March 16, just as “flattening the curve” was reaching fever pitch and local governments began shutting down businesses across the country. There was no mention of an impending nationwide loss of civil liberties – a poignant moment for jazz’s modern irrelevance.
Instead of providing much-needed commentary or going on strike to protest ridiculous authoritarian measures imposed without discussion or evidence, musicians race to the bottom by streaming music out of their living rooms, obediently following “mass-telecommuting” orders from their governors and purchasing expensive new microphones and audio interfaces. Many consider themselves lucky that Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom are here to enable them to “connect” with fans in “this new reality”. Even the musicians who are “speaking out” about their plight and recognizing that streaming performances are not sustainable ultimately agree with the statists that the economy needed to be shut down.
Everyone did such a good job towing the liberal line on Facebook all this time; now is not the time to speak out and ruin what fledgling career you might have left after coronavirus is over (as if it ever will be). Hopefully your live-streamed living room concert doesn’t contain anything that calls into question the state of emergency or the government’s response, since the same internet and media behemoths who trained society to replace open civilized debate with internet likes and comments are now happily charged with censorship.
The media-hyped narrative surrounding coronavirus has intentionally induced mass hysteria instead of logical discourse and action. Since the controlled media dominates the narrative of holy essential workers fighting the invisible enemy while the rest of us howl in support, would-be dissenters feel pressured to stay silent. Artists are being punished in the same way as other “nonessential” workers, but are also expected to champion the lockdowns in order to stay in line with their “liberal” friends and fans, in direct conflict with their self-interest.
Government and media are waging psychological and economical warfare against the public. Where are the minority and civil rights advocates who were once outspoken about the police state? Where are the choirs of virtue-signalers and women’s marchers that were “absolutely terrified” of a Trump presidency? Is anyone calling out or resisting the media’s psychological terror program? Now that all of our constitutional rights have been suspended and a lying authoritarian is in charge, the response from the creative left, other than digging their own grave, is crickets.
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Ann has made a living as a pianist and music teacher for almost 15 years. She is passionate about collaborative live music, freedom, and peace.