Saturday, August 18, 2007

What IS Jackson Jambalaya?

While looking for a good Jazz article to post, I discovered this passage by Nat Hentoff:

"I write a weekly column on civil liberties, international human rights and other endangered species for the United Media Newspaper Syndicate. The column reaches about 250 papers. Not all run it every week, but many do. In those papers I see, jazz does not appear to be covered regularly, if at all.
But in one of them, the Port Folio Weekly in Virginia Beach, Va.—among its lively reporting and commentary on local and national politics and the arts—there is jazz reportage, about the area and beyond. In a recent "Editor's Notebook,"
Editor in Chief Tom Robotham wrote: "Jazz, needless to say, does not have mass appeal, and if I were to choose stories based solely on what we think large numbers of readers 'want,' jazz stories would never see the light of day."
This attitude by a newspaper editor is becoming less frequent. "It's always been my belief that a good publication doesn't simply give readers what they want," Robotham wrote. "It brings readers into new worlds. It says, in essence, listen: You may know nothing about this subject; you may even find it distasteful. But it's full of light and wonder—and if you open yourself up to it, you may add a whole new dimension to your life."

By contrast, a good many daily, and even some weekly, editors are interpreting a fairly recent journalism philosophy—community journalism—to mean that editors should go out into the community, find out what readers want and give it to them. That's why you'll find little of the horrors suffered by citizens in Zimbabwe, Sudan or Tibet being reported in most American papers. Those dictators get a pass. And for that matter, how many Americans know, in depth, the significance to their own lives of key United States government decisions?
But to Tom Robotham, jazz, while not thriving according to jazz record sales, is something his readers ought to know about. Jazz may, he notes, be getting "scant media coverage elsewhere…but somehow I can't bring myself to give up on a musical genre that expresses so many nuances of the human spirit. When I listen to the best active jazz artists—to Jacky Terrasson, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, Roy Hargrove, Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Cyrus Chestnut, David Murray, Jane Ira Bloom and others—I always ask myself: 'How can anyone not love this stuff?'"

There are many thoughts that come to mind when I read his quote about how newspapers should not just give people what they want, but try to bring readers into new worlds. I would have said that newspapers try to give people what they think they want. I could shred The Clarion-Ledger with that philosophy as it publishes restaurant reviews written by the owners themselves, eschews book reviews, changes the editorial pages from a collection of writings by nationally respected columnists to a primarily "talk-back" focus that is really just a fancy named for Bubba's barroom bullshit, and so on.

I will not go down that path and focus instead on Robotham's philosophy. His ideas spell out the purpose of this blog. True, I am a jackass to alot of people in my posts. My favorite writer is Voltaire and my favorite philosopher is Nietzsche. I served in the military around people who wore Ranger and Special Forces tabs; guys who were tough, realistic, and had seen real combat. I took classes at Mississippi College School of Law under Professor Page, a true genius who could argue your side better than you, even while opposing you. What does this mean? There are not too many people I actually respect so I feel just fine being the jackass at times.

However, I want this blog to be something more than just taking potshots at everyone. I think newspapers should bring people into new worlds as shown in my jazz posts. Hopefully those posts are written in a way that will encourage people to try jazz. I've inserted a "Book of the Day" feature. Books are rarely discussed in the media anymore. I applaud The Jackson Free Press for including regular coverage on books. How often have we read a good book because someone else pointed it out to us? Sometimes astronomy photos with explanations are posted as this is a subject usually ignored by the media except in case of disaster. I have found it catches people's interest as they wonder about what goes on in the skies above.

Although at times I have scooped the media but this is not really a news blog (I will post scoops when I discover them.). Reporters are so busy covering the story itself that they don't always have time to sit back and connect all the dots, which a few stories here have done. Humorous Youtube clips are posted because lets face it, we don't laugh enough. I've also tried to put together the best list of links for both the Jackson area and the media and blogosphere. Links are added to those lists based on how good and relevant they are, not just because of their philosophy. That is one reason advocacy groups usually are not linked even when I agreed with their ideas.

Iraq and terrorism are covered because these issues will dominate our lives for quite some time and are literally matters of life and death. The websites and stories linked have been from true experts or reporters who are actually in the field, not simply articles written by left- or right-wing rags sitting in air-condictioned officers while sipping bourbon in the ivory tower. Hopefully when you read the posts about Iraq and terrorism, you have learned something, not just had your thoughts validated.

A blog such as this is not bound by the same rules as the media. As it has changed from its beginnings 11 weeks ago, it will continue to grow and change. It is very much like Jazz: changing, improvising, adapting. You may not always like the coverage. However, you might find yourself loving the coverage the day after you were cursing it, even if you were the target.

Jambalaya means that anything and everything can be added, seasoned, and served. There is not an agenda here as there are at some websites or blogs. There are no consitutient groups or political allies to please. I am just as likely to bash a Republican as a Democrat. The only agenda here is that I hate stupidity and don't mind calling it out when I see it. That and trying to give people a different way to look at things even if the tactics I use seem extreme at times. This blog is about pointing out stupidity, having serious discussions, learning new things, and last but certainly not least: having fun. Hopefully it has done the same for the reader as well.


Pugnacious said...


I've been reading the dripping syrupy sweet sarcasm that's posted at Oxford, Columbus and Jackson--under different monikers, of course--.and I'm wondering now if you aren't NO's "Mencken?"

BTw, I'm surprised that you didn't quote Groucho Marx in your Columbus post:"I wouldn't want to beong to any club that would have me as a member."

Kingfish said...

Nice try. Haven't posted in any of those papers or sites under a different name. If I do it, it will be under Kingfish. You can do better than that if you are going to slam me.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS