Monday, October 13, 2008

Snapping Your Fingers, Tapping Your Toes: Overrated?

I love Stephen Colbert! And I love Ornette Coleman! So it hurts my feelings when Mr. Colbert makes fun of Ornette Coleman as he does on his show from time to time with no apparent irony - that is, Mr. Colbert's "persona" and his "real self" seem to merge into one when it comes to hating on Ornette Coleman. What Mr. Colbert does sometimes on his show is play some raucous "free jazz" by Mr. Coleman and pretend to snap his fingers happily in time... the seeming point being that you can't snap your fingers and be blithe while listening to Ornette Coleman, that his music can be harsh and complicated, and that this is somehow a bad thing. Mr. Colbert seems to think - once again, without his usual irony - that Mr. Coleman would be better employed in the production of catchy little jingles for all to enjoy. In this and only this, Mr. Colbert reminds me of the pink, cherubic "public intellectual" I saw on C-Span that time, bitterly moaning and whining because he couldn't "tap his toes" to John Coltrane. One doubts that Mr. Colbert or the C-Span intellectual would go to a recital of preludes and fugues by Bach and/or Shostakovich and come out griping about not being able to snap his fingers and tap his toes, and all I'm saying is this: sometimes it's OKAY not to snap your fingers and tap your toes.