[Harp-L] Re: Politics and Blues Harp

One cannot be "non political" any more than one can be "non biological" because politics is just the name for people's beliefs and opinions about how society should be organised, run and led. One can, of course, be uninterested in politics, just as you can be uninterested in biology, although sometimes this merely means being too dogmatic or lazy to be bothered having and defending coherent defensible political ideas. 

I would say that liking the blues harmonica is a political statement, whether you know it or not and whether you are interested in politics or not. I think it shows a certain liking for the underdog, the modest, for folk music,  and for the odd or eccentric. If in contrast you are person who is proudly elitist, scorns anything but proper Classical music (ie. up until about 1910) and believes that things should be done the correct way, then you are going to be keener on the grand piano, or the classical orchestra,  than the harmonica. If you are an egotistical snob and want to show off you wealth and general excellence there will be a Steinway Grand Piano or an expensive guitar in your living room rather than a harmonica. Hitler played the piano (badly) and painted (badly), he didn't wail on a Hohner and do quilting.  If you want to brag about your kids, you will brag about their piano lessons or violin lessons, rather than their harmonica lessons.

Like any list harp-l contains a wide spread of political beliefs, along the left-right spectrum. From reading people's opinions over the years I bet however that it contains a narrower spread of political beliefs along the authoritarian-libertarian spectrum because of the nature of the politics of the harmonica. Or perhaps I underestimate people's ability to contain contradictions. 

The left and the right both tend to attribute authoritarianism to more of the other wing than is actually the case, this seems to be a particularly acute issue in the USA at the moment. I bet most of us are reasonably libertarian even if we do not always recognise that. Personally, I find it hard to reconcile libertarian values with objecting to other people's ideas - although there are some exceptions that are not on topic. Also, anyone who listens to the blues has to get over the problem of listening to ideas they do not agree with, unless you happen to approve of murdering women, chasing under-age girls, drinking way way too much and taking drugs. Personally, although I am not a Christian some of the most moving expressions of emotion in Western music come from Christian sentiments.

So I think liking blues harmonica says something about you politically, whether it fits with your self-image or not. I think it makes it probable you have some libertarian values in your head somewhere. Norwegian death metal harmonica anyone?

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