Jun 28 2010


Category: energy,environment,Obamaamuzikman @ 8:55 am

One can tell much by noting a person’s sleeves, that part of a person’s garment through which the arms pass.  As a musician I have had many opportunities to observe sleeves.  The favored condition among many of my peers is sleeves neatly pressed with cuff fixed neatly around the wrist by either button or better yet, by cuff link.  Less seen, especially just before or just after a performance is a musician with their sleeves rolled up.  This is because both literally and metaphorically when one has their sleeves rolled up it is an indication that they are doing or are about to do some sort of physical labor.

Many musicians I know feel such a condition is beneath them or to put it more politely, better suited for someone else.  After all, we are “artists”.  We have a gift.  We spend countless hours practicing, studying, preparing to bring glorious music to the world.  We can’t be expected to move chairs, carry equipment, or pick up the discarded sheet music from the floor.  That’s why we have roadies, cartage companies, and students.  Let others wrinkle their sleeves by rolling them up,  conductors, performers and composers must keep their sleeves fully deployed.

Yes it is a sad commentary on many, not just musicians, who for whatever reason decide they are above rolling up their sleeves.  Some feel as though they have paid their dues.  They spent a large part of their lives with sleeves rolled up, now it is someone elses turn.  Some have no idea how to roll up their sleeves.  The very notion that sleeves could be rolled up has never occurred to them.  Some understand the concept in theory only.  They are dreamers who  believe that if they have big enough dreams and can inspire others with a passionate articulation of the dream that those around them will be inspired, they will roll up their sleeves in admiration and then they will go about fulfilling the dream, having been captivated by the vision.

Sometimes this works.  Sometimes different kinds of sleeves can come together in a synergistic way.  The dreamer, with sleeves firmly buttoned leading a phalanx of those with sleeves wrapped up around biceps can bring a dream or vision into reality.  This can work great in the creative world of music, theater, film, and art.

But it doesn’t work so well when it comes to government. History has shown that.  Utopian dreams and those who dream them often become twisted, frightening caricatures of the dream when realized.  I fear such is the case with our nation now.  What will the dream of a “green” future look like when it has become reality?  Charles Krauthammer has a sobering commentary on this subject:

Obama is dreamer in chief: He wants to take us to this green future “even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet precisely know how we’re going to get there.” Here’s the offer: Tax carbon, spend trillions and put government in control of the energy economy — and he will take you he knows not where, by way of a road he knows not which. That’s why Tuesday’s speech was received with such consternation. It was so untethered from reality. The gulf is gushing, and the president is talking mystery roads to unknown destinations. That passes for vision, and vision is Obama’s thing. It sure beats cleaning up beaches.”

I for one plan to pay great attention to sleeves in November.