Bebop as Historical Actuality, Urban Aesthetic, & Critical Utterance

[Incomplete, Working Draft]
A Paper To be Presented as Part of
"The City as Nature’s Other:
A Still Unresolved American Dilemma"
Final Plenary Session
2001 Annual Meeting of SAAP
UNLV; March 13, 2001

Vincent Colapietro
Department of Philosophy
240 Sparks Building
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA  16802
814/865-1736 (Office)
814/865-0119n (FAX)
E-Mail: vxc5@psu.edu

            Despite the efforts of John McDermott (1976, especially chapters 7 & 8), Joseph Grange (1999), and a handful of others, there is yet the need, especially on the part of philosophers, to articulate more fully a distinctively urban aesthetic based upon our quite diverse urban experiences.  There is certainly no need to suppose that such an aesthetic must be created from whole cloth.  Rather it must be woven together from diverse strands, many of which are virtually ready to hand; moreover, it must be woven by numerous hands.  So philosophers are called to join others in what must self-consciously take the form of a collaborative undertaking.  Like jazz itself, philosophy is "simultaneously cooperative and competitive", a communal celebration of the irreducibility of the individual voice (Hajdu 2001, 31).

Among the strands from which such an aesthetic can be woven are the voices of artists themselves, so often consciously articulating arresting forms of urban sensibility and engagement.  These artists articulate an urban aesthetic primarily in their artistic practices and secondarily in their attendant reflections upon these practices*.  [*Baraka (Jones): "By the forties we find the most contemporary expression of African American musical tradition was an urban one, arrived at in the context of Negro life in the large industrial cities of America.  Just as World War I and the Great Depression served to produce the ‘modern’ Negro, so World War II produced even more radical changes within the psyche of the American black man" (Blues People, p. 177).]   We find among the inaugural figures in the bebop movement nothing less than a paradigmatic group of such urban artists: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Max Roach, Miles Davis and others created a form of jazz in which the city as a site of resistance and transformation, celebration and consummation, interrogation and affirmation, was taken up in the music and, in turn, the music was taken up by a cross section of various cities (most notably, "the war-swollen metropolises of St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York Los Angeles" [Belgrad, 181]).

The chapters of one of Charlie Parker’s biographies (Ross Russell’s Bird Lives! The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker), for example, bear such titles as "The Apple", "The Street" (52nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), and "Down and Out in New York."  The man, the music, and the city are of a piece.

Bebop was not only born in clubs, apartments (see, e.g., Russell’s account of Parker visiting Gillespie’s apartment), and streets in Harlem and other parts of NYC, but also embodied a crucial episode in the radicalization of black urban consciousness* (see, e.g., Baraka [Jones] 1963, 188).  [*Bebop "quickly gained association with a new, urban black consciousness demanding greater recognition for African American contributions to American Society" (Belgrad, p. 181).  The musician Dexter Gordon:  "I really think that it was the start of the revolution, the civil-rights movement … because that’s what the music is talking about.  This is all the young generation, a new generation at that.  And they’re not satisfied with the shit that’s going down.  Because they know there should be changes being made.  And actually it was a time of change because it was wartime and people were moving back and forth all over the United States and constantly traveling – armies, war jobs, defense jobs.  It was a time of great flux.  And it was a time of change, and the music was reflecting this.  And we were putting our voice into what we thought was about to be the thing."]

  Since bebop emerged in opposition to swing,* let’s recall the texture of this background.  [*"Baraka: "Swing had no meaning for blues people, nor was it expressive of the emotional life of most young Negroes after the war.  Etc." (Blues People, p. 181).  In "Jazz and the White Critic," he notes that: "Bop was … a reaction by young musicians against the sterility and formality of Swing as it moved to become a formal part of the mainstream American culture" (Black Music, p. 16).]   For this purpose, I have chosen Charlie Barnet’s "Cherokee."  This standard swing number was, as we will hear at the end of this presentation, transformed by Charlie Parker into "Koko."  The transformation of swing into bebop – of orchestrated compositions like "Cherokee" into improvised ones like "Koko" – is at the heart of bop as a distinctively urban aesthetic.  So, to get in the mood, let’s swing into "Cherokee" (Ray Noble).  [Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra; recorded in New York, July 17th, 1939. reissued on Jazz of the 1930s (RCA Victor, 1997), cut #10.] 

             [Trumpeter Tony Frusella: "When I got out of the army [at the end of WW II] … I got this hot-shit gig with Charlie Barnet.  It was a big band and I was in the trumpet section.  But like it was bull shit because all you’d do was get up and blow the same notes with a bunch of other guys.  It was just like the army" (quoted in Belgrad, p. 186).]  I am of course acutely self-conscious of my efforts in this regard.  The topic of writing on jazz has been thematized in the program of the MLA, wherein it is connected with ongoing reflections on the politics of representation and also on issues of race.  Then there is Ken Burns’s recently aired PBS series on Jazz.  Though African-American musicians like Wynton Marsalis and critics like Stanley Crouch tend to occupy the foreground, it is hard to resist the judgment that orchestrating the movements of this documentary is a white man using an artistic medium (for which he has no inherent feel) for the purpose of narrating social history.  Very few, if any, compositions are played in their entirety; characteristically, only evocative fragments are used and then mostly as background music.  When he undertook this project, Burns had two jazz albums in his collection.  I can assure you that my own collection is more extensive.  But very little is proven

            Bebop is itself partly about the politics of race and the racing of music.  Though the etymology of the word jazz remains uncertain, the word might be derived from one meaning to speed up.  One hopes that this is so, for jazz is first and foremost a verb (cf. Jones [Baraka]), a way of taking up and, indeed, taking back one’s traditions and inheritances.  On their way back from gravesite, the New Orleans musicians would at a respectful distance cease playing the slow, solemn music appropriate for the occasion and spontaneously speed up the tempo.  Like the blues, one witnesses in such performances a mindful reckoning with irrevocable loss and, within the very context of such reckoning, an irrepressible drive to celebrate the somatic present – just this moment as bodily lived, just this expanse of road, etc.  In the face – better, in the teeth - of fragmentation and severance, there is the celebration of intertextuality and intercorporeality.

            Bebop was played at a tempo requiring a technical virtuosity very few white musicians could attain.  Those who made their living playing in swing bands made their art playing after hours in establishments like Minton’s Playhouse on 118th Street in Harlem (cf. chapter 11 ["The Bebop Laboratory"] of Russell’s Bird Lives!).  They refused to let their livelihood rob them of their lives or to let the dominant white culture rob them of their unique modes of musical expression.  If Benny Goodman was the King of Swing (if Duke was only a Duke and Count only a Count and Pres merely a President – that is, lesser nobility), then swing had swung so far from the gravitational pull of the hurling body from which it detached itself and around which it initially orbited as to be hurling toward the void, disintegrating in the process.  [A decade or so later an insecure white boy from the South would emerge as the King of Rock n Roll.]

In 1963 Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones) wrote a piece for Downbeat on "Jazz and the White Critic" in which he insisted that black music "is essentially the expression of an attitude, or a collection of attitudes about the world, and only secondarily an attitude about the way music is made" (reprinted in Black Music [1968], p. 13).  The attitude of bop was informed by suspicion, resentment, and anger (indeed rage against racism in all of its manifestations, from the most subtle innuendo to the most brutal violence), but was at bottom a celebratory reclamation of the inexpugnable humanity of those who were so systematically dehumanized, even demonized.  The attitude of these musicians was expressed in more than their music; their attire, comportment, silence, and self-understanding (they refused to think of themselves as performers and insisted upon being regarded as musicians [Baraka 1963, p. 188]) were indicative of a stance toward the world.*  [*Baraka: "In a sense the term cultists for the adherents of early modern jazz was correct.  The music, bebop, defined the term of a deeply felt nonconformity among many young Americans, black and white. … It also put on a more intellectually and psychologically satisfying level the tradition separation and isolation of the black man from America.  It was a cult of protection as well as rebellion.  The ‘romantic’ ornamentation of common forties urban Negro dress by many of the boppers (and here I mean the followers of the music, and not necessarily the musicians), they thought, served to identify them as being neither house niggers nor field niggers.  … [It expressed] a deep emotional recognition …. Of the rudimentary sterility of the culture they had all their lives been taught to covet.  They sought to erect a meta-culture as isolated as their grandparents’, but issuing from the evolved sensibility of a modern urban black American who had by now achieved a fluency with the socio-cultural symbols of Western thinking.  The goatee, beret, and window-pane glasses were no accidents; they were, in the oblique significance that social history demands, as usefully symbolic as had been the Hebrew nomenclature in the spirituals.  That is, they pointed toward a way of thinking, an emotional and psychological resolution of some not so obscure social need or attitude" (Blues People, pp. 200-201; cf. Black Music, p. 13).  Cf. Susan Sontag: "[E]very style embodies an epistemological decision, an interpretation of how and what we perceive … [selectively] focusing our attention. … [T]herefore the aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art – and, by analogy, our own experience – more, rather than less, real to us.  The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means" (Against Interpretation).  It seems necessary to add that every truly significant style and innovation embodies, along with aesthetic and epistemological decisions, also political, ethical, and indeed ontological commitments.]  For instance, those who were persistent objects of the closest surveillance donned sunglasses (Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker were regularly strip searched for drugs), thereby claiming a public privacy.   They of course did not cease to be seen (if anything, their attire increased the likelihood of being noticed), but their modes of seeing and objections of attention became veiled.  "You do not know whether I am looking at you or not."  Monk in shades is emblematic of the ethos of bebop.

            An urban aesthetic is a self-consciously jazzed (or speeded) up sensibility.  In a sense, speeding up is a matter of survival.  Meandering through intersections tempts fate and cabbies alike (in tempting cabbies themselves to speed up it temps the fates!).  Urban experience is marked by jaggedness and abrasiveness; it is punctuated by abrupt reversals and inversions, in-your-face challenges and over-the-top spectacles, though occasionally landing in places of stunning quiet or exquisite solitude.

            A distinctively urban aesthetic concerns acclimating ourselves to speeded up activities.  As a response to the chaos, instability, and anxiety generated by this drive, however, it also involves playing with increasingly complex patterns of variable tempos.

We are, without question, the playthings of time.  But turnaround is, at least in this instance, fair play: so we play with time, somatically and sensorially inhabiting the media of sound and movement as playgrounds, as sites wherein innovative ways of keeping time are truly hit upon!  In swing, the bass drum is used to keep time, whereas in bebop the cymbal is used, thus freeing the drummer’s feet to accent (Jones [Baraka]).  This simple innovation dramatically opened the field of rhythmic possibilities.

Playing with complex tempos and working through intersecting histories are both integral to the ethos of bebop.  A deep, persistent skepticism regarding mainstream culture in the United States (i.e., white America) is definitive of this ethos.  This entails a division among blacks – between those blacks committed to making it in America, more or less in accord with the demands of mainstream culture, and those blacks who define themselves in part by their opposition to the dominant ethos.  Baraka’s recollection of a remark by a philosophy professor at Howard University ("’It is remarkable how much bad taste the blues contain’" [Black Music, p. 11]) signals the attempt of  a culturally and economically successful black man to distance himself from black music, a leitmotiv in Baraka’s writings on jazz, blues, and other distinctively black modes of musical expression.  In general, the "black middle class confused legitimate political and economic desires with the shame at not having already attained these goals" (Blues People, p. 180).  Such shame drove and yet drives many blacks from this class "to abandon history and the accreted cultural significance of the black man’s three hundred years in America."  Poor blacks and those who identify with them (including the creators of bebop) knew – and indeed know – better: "’culture’ is how one lives, and is connected to history by habit" (p. 181; emphasis added).  Culture as heritage simply cannot be tossed aside; it must be worked through, time and again.

This does not preclude twisting free from the disfiguring and constraining, often enslaving, dimensions of one’s cultural legacies.  It simply means that twisting free requires working through and, in turn, working through requires taking up in a conscious and improvisational way the complex heritage in which one is caught up.  The artistic practices of jazz musicians provide quite illuminating metaphors for the processes involved here. 

The cityscape is a timescape in which the currents of history intersect and redirect each other’s course.  As such, the city is a site wherein the forces of abstraction and those of emplotment operate to sustain, but also to frustrate each other.   Local and global forces conspire to efface this place of its uniqueness and particularity, making of an urbanscape virtually anyplace.  But this conspiracy does not go undetected nor uncontested; it sets countervailing forces in motion, ones driving to preserve or recover the defining features of this unique place.  These forces reinscribe the actual present in historical contexts always in danger of being annihilated: they in effect emplot the present in the history of this place, architecturally and otherwise evoking the genii locus [sp?]. The cityscape as a timescape is the ongoing dialectic generated by these countervailing tendencies.  This dialectic might be identified as the unreconcilable tension between abstracted space and historical place(s).  Tracing out the logic of ever more abstract forms is partly suggested by and partly resisted by the unique forms of this singular place.  The movement of this process invites, perhaps even compels, some to reclaim the thickness of radically singular forms resisting the most minimal iteration (except for those iterations characteristic of kitsch).  Bebop in its ever more frenzied abstraction from the readily recognizable facets of "music" is not so much an abandonment of these features as an incessant exploration of their possible inversions, subversions, and occasionally straightforward reclamations (e.g., Parker playing "White Christmas" straight, though anyone familiar with his playing cannot but hear this rendition in connection with his "assaults" on such simple melodic lines).  Such abstraction works in conjunction with a deliberative return to traditional forms and historical figures.  So Parker’s own reverence toward Lester Young is echoed in James Carter’s reverence toward Parker himself, in a compact disk significantly entitled "Conversin’ With the Elders’" (Atlantic Records, 1996; see especially "Parker’s Mood", the second cut on this CD).

American philosophy has to come to fuller terms with distinctively American forms of artistic practice – film no less than jazz, free jazz as well as bebop, rap as well as blues (cf. Shusterman).  In doing so, it will become more deeply reflexive, thus more truly philosophical, for it will be thrust back upon itself.  In particular, philosophy will be forced to come to terms with the task of coming to terms with what is other than itself.  In "Repetition as a Figure in Black Culture" James A. Snead points out that: "’Coming-to-terms’ may mean denial or acceptance, repression or highlighting, but in any case transformation is culture’s response to its own apprehension of repetition" (O’Meally [editor], p. 62).  In its attempts to come to terms with black music, especially those forms defined by improvisation, innovation, and experimentation, American philosophy will be forced to transform itself into a more truly American and also more truly philosophical verb.  Its being will be one with its doing and in turn its doing will an innovative series of transformative repetitions performing diverse discursive functions, above all, those of reappropriation, reclamation, reconstruction, and critique.  The artistic practices of bebop provide helpful models for understanding the discursive practices of American philosophy, at least when transformed by means of repetition (thus reiterated through such transformations).  The philosophical movements of this European colony are American only insofar as our repetitions of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, et all are transformative of both them and us.  But in our attempts to come to terms with these thinkers and the traditions represented by them too much has been blindly replicated, too little significantly transformed.*   [*The process being described here might be formulated in terms of experience, that whereby experience is turned back upon itself to explore but also to intensify its significance.  In Art as Experience Dewey proposes that: "Ultimately there are but two philosophies" – one takes flight from experience, positing a ground beyond the experiential and thus beyond the temporal and historical, whereas the other "accepts life and experience in all its uncertainty, mystery doubt, and half-knowledge and turns that experience upon itself to deepen and intensify its own qualities – to imagination and art.  This is the philosophy of Shakespeare and Keats" (LW 10: 41; emphasis added).  It is also the philosophy of Parker and Mingus, Gillespie and Monk, et al.] 

 Such a task is in crucial instances closely linked to that of articulating a distinctively urban aesthetic, for these artistic practices are so often rooted in the situated awareness of urban artists.  A dramatic example of this is the bebop movement as a historical actuality.  As such an actuality, it embodies an urban aesthetic and serves a critical function: it is a deliberate assault on harmony in its conventional and canonized forms, a fierce engagement in collaborative experimentation (one in which competition and "cutting" are integral to collaboration), an exploration simultaneously of how to keep time differently than and of how to abandon oneself to the variable tempos of dialogical experience (cf. Belgrad; Jones [Baraka]) and finally a militant reappropriation of its usurped heritage.

In opposition to those who ontologize contingent historical forms and who posit immutable essences, the hesitant pragmatist Wittgenstein urged his auditors and readers: "Don’t think.  Look and see" (PI, I).  In response to his dissatisfaction with what Sonny Criss was playing at the time (1947), Charlie Parker advised: "Don’t think.  Quit thinking" (quoted in Belgrad).  Clearly implicit in this negative injunction was a positive one: Listen and play.  Also play and listen.

Listen, however, first to these words by Amiri Baraka. 

There then came down in the ugly streets of us

inside the head & tongue

of us

a man

black blower of the now

The vectors from all sources – slavery, renaissance,

bop charlie parker,

nigger absolute super-sane screams against reality

course through him

AS SOUND!

- Amiri Baraka, "Am/Trak"" (1968)

So, it is only appropriate in these reflections on bebop that Bird not only be given the last word but also be allowed to speak in his own idiom.  While Parker was verbally gifted and well read* [*Miles Davis on Charlie Parker: "He was an intellectual.  He used to read novels, poetry, history, stuff like that.  And he could hold a conversation with almost anybody on all kinds of things. … He was real sensitive.  But he had this destructive streak in him that was something else. … [H]e used to talk a lot about political shit and he loved to put a motherfucker on, play dumb to what was happening and then zap the sucker.  He used to especially like to do this to white people" (quoted in Belgrad, p. 182).], his musical utterances above all deserve our greatest attention.  Parker’s "Koko" is Barnet’s "Cherokee", transfigured.  This transfiguration was crucial for the inauguration of bop.  It is, moreover, a promising occasion for a consummatory experience.  So listen.               

References

Balliett, Whitney

2000/2001            "Louis, Miles, and the Duke: Ken Burns Brings a Century of Music to PBS."  The New Yorker (December 25, 2000, & January 1, 2001): 158-163.

2001 Collected Works: A Journal of Jazz 1954-2001.  NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Belgrad, Daniel

1998    The Culture of Spontaneity: Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Baraka, Amiri

1963 Blues People: Negro Music in White America.  NY: Morrow Quill.

1968            Black Music.  NY: William Morrow & Co., Inc.

Burns, Ken

            2001            Jazz, a ten-part film series airing on PBS beginning January 8.

Dewey, John

            1934            Art as Experience.  Later Works of John Dewey, volume 10.  LW 10.

Hajdu, David

2001 "Not Quite All That Jazz."  The New York Review of Books (February 8),            volume XLVIII, number 2: 31-33.

Grange, Joseph

1999 The City: An Urban Cosmology.  Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

McDermott, John J.

1976 The Culture of Experience: Philosophical Essays in the American Grain.  NY: NYU Press.

Snead, James A.

1998    "Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture" in The Jazz Cadence of American Culture, edited by Robert G. O’Mealy (NY: Columbia University Press): 62-81.

Texts

Ann Farber: "Our aim is to play together with the greatest possible freedom – which, far from meaning without constraint, actually means to play together with sufficient skill and communication to be able to select proper constraints in the course of the piece, rather than being dependent upon precisely [and antecedently] chosen ones" (quoted in Belgrad, p. 2)

Belrad: "The culture of spontaneity developed an oppositional version of humanism, rooted in an alternative metaphysics embodied in artistic forms.  The basic attributes of this alternative metaphysics can be summarized as intersubjectivity and body-mind holism. … [R]eality was understood to emerge through a conversational dynamic" (p. 5).

" … the avant-garde of the 1940s asserted with renewed force and vocabulary a romantic critique of Western civilization" (p. 6).

"As a cultural movement, spontaneity boasted a formidable intellectual heritage, including the works of John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead, and Carl Jung" (p. 6)

" … the artistic practices of the culture of spontaneity can be recognized as constituting an important chapter in American intellectual history" (p. 6).

"Public intellectuals no longer defined themselves as ‘intellectuals,’ choosing instead the roles of artists, poets, and musicians" (p. 6).

For Belbrad, the texts being investigation are approached "neither as commodities nor as objects, but as artifacts of a cultural practice" (p. 8)

" … artistic texts are polysemous, and do not always function in the service of the power elite" (p. 8)

" … the renewed vitality of an American avant-garde around then year 1940" (p. 10).

"The mainstream of postwar spontaneity eluded the shortcomings of existentialist philosophy, rejecting its vestiges of mind/body dualism in favor of a more radical ‘field’ theory of subjectivity.  Consistent with the tenet of intersubjectiviity, spontaneity embodied a strategy of entering into improvisational ‘dialogue’ with one’s materials.  It was this sense of dialogue – of give-and-take never completely ended, and full understanding never completely accomplished – that accounted for the characteristic lack of closure in abstract expressionist works" (p. 10).

"Swing epitomized the ethos of corporate-liberal culture, whereas bebop consisted of prosodic voices engaged in spontaneous conversation.  ‘Prosody,’ in this sense, refers to the meanings of an utterance that are communicated not by the word-symbol but by its bodily production, including timbre, tempo, and inflection. … Bebop Jazz built on the African American ‘oral’ idiom to encode intersubjectivity and body-mind holism in musical form" (p. 11)

Trumpeter Tony Frusella: "When I got out of the army [at the end of WW II] … I got this hot-shit gig with Charlie Barnet.  It was a big band and I was in the trumpet section.  But like it was bull shit because all you’d do was get up and blow the same notes with a bunch of other guys.  It was just like the army" quoted in Belgrad, p. 186).

"The centers of bebop in those years [1944 and thereafter] were the war-swollen metropolises of St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.  There, the music quickly gained association with a new,, urban black consciousness demanding greater recognition for African American contributions to American society" (p. 181).

"bebop players comported themselves less as entertainers than as serious musicians and intellectuals" (p. 182).  Dizzy Gillespie was given to Tomming, hence his nickname.

Bop soloists often defied the conventional imperative to tonal resolution

Charlie Parker: "I could hear it sometimes but couldn’t play it.  Well, that night I was working over ‘Cherokee’ and as I did I found that by using intervals of chords as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes, I could play the whole thing I’d been hearing.  I came alive"" (quoted in Belgrad, p. 184).

Parker to Sonny Criss in 1947: "Don’t think.  Quit thinking" (quoted in Belgrad, p. 184).  Cf. Wittgenstein

"By contrast [to orchestral performance], the performance culture of bebop emphasized immediacy and spatial intimacy and encouraged expressions of appreciation at any point in the performance …" (p. 185).

LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka): "Swing, the verb, meant a simple reaction to the music (as it developed in verb usage, a way of reacting to anything in life).  As it was formalized, and the term and the music taken further out of context, swing became a noun that meant a commercial popular music in cheap imitation if a kind of Afro-American music.  The term cool meant a specific reaction to the world, a specific relationship to one’s environment.  It defined an attitude that actually existed.  To be cool was … to be calm, even unimpressed, by what horror the world might daily propose. …

            "The essential irony here is that, like swing, when the term cool could be applied generally to a vague body of music, that music seemed to represent almost exactly the opposite of what cool as a term of social philosophy had been given to mean.  The term was never meant to connote the tepid new popular music of the white middle-brow middle-class.  On the contrary, it was exactly this America that one was supposed to ‘be cool’ in the face of" (Blues People [1963], pp. 212-213).

There then came down in the ugly streets of us

inside the head & tongue

of us

a man

black blower of the now

The vectors from all sources – slavery, renaissance,

bop charlie parker,

nigger absolute super-sane screams against reality

course through him

AS SOUND!

- Amiri Baraka, "Am/Trak"" (1968)

"The local sophistication for the newly arrived Negroes was swift acclimatization to the conflicts and strangeness" (Blues People, p. 106).

"Swing had no meaning for blues people, nor was it expressive of the emotional life of most young Negroes after the war [WW II]" (p. 181).

" …. This generation [of blues people, coming to maturity during and immediately after WW II] also began to understand the worth of the country, the society, which it was supposed to call its own.  To understand that you are black in a society where black is an extreme liability is one thing, but to understand that it is the society that is lacking and is impossibly deformed because of this lack, and not yourself, isolates you even more from that society …

"The cultural breakdown attendant upon living in the large urban centers of the North and Midwest contributed to the sense of objective cynicism which had evolved as a dominant attitude toward America among young Negroes in the forties – a sense that certainly provoked the question, ‘How come they didn’t drop the bomb on the Germans?’ in many black neighborhoods"" (p. 185).

John Dewey: "When the instrumental and the final functions of communication live together in experience, there exists an intelligence which is the method and reward of the common life, and society worthy to command affection, admiration, and loyalty" (Experience and Nature [Dover], p. 205).

"McLuhan concluded that in the face of this cultural onslaught, social renewal could ‘only take the form of reawakened critical faculties.  The untrancing of millions of individuals by millions of individual acts of will.’  This was the modis vivendi of artistic enclaves like Black Mountain College in North Carolina and the bohemias of North Beach, San Francisco; and Greenwich Village, NY" (Belgrad, pp. 4-5).

John Dewey: "Communication is the process of creating participation, of making common what had been isolated and singular; and part of the miracle it achieves is that, in being communicated, the conveyance of meaning gives body and definiteness to the experience of the one who utters as well as to that of those who listen" (Art as Experience [Capricorn], 244).

All fixities "have existence and import only in the problems needs, struggles, and instrumentalities of conscious agents and patients.  For home rule may be found in the unwritten efficacious constitution of experience" (The Influence of Darwin, p. 176).

"It all comes down to experience personally conducted and personally consummated" (The Influence of Darwin, p. 188).

" … beings with bowels and brains …" (p. 191)

We are civilized by virtue of the culture in which we participate.  "The final measure of the quality of that culture is the arts which flourish.  Compared with their influence things directly taight by word and precept and pale and ineffectual" (AE, p. 345).