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At the secular Jewish school my daughter learns things about Jewish history, which I hope makes her feel different than Drew, a kid I knew in high school that was ashamed of having Jewish lineage, hid it, made everyone know he had no use for this accident which was the fault of his mother and not as important as his father’s Christian background. I would have been pleased to share my chocolate Hanukkah coins with him or point to Jews he could be proud of but it never happened. He wasn’t the only Jew I met like that in the high schools I bounced around. I changed them each year. I think from a young age I was planning to be good with touring. I read Bob Dylan once saying about a life on the road that he saw it as a privilege. I don’t usually come across musicians asserting that view but I agree with him. I’ve agreed many more times with him than not. In fact, it makes me reluctant to get on the bandwagon when anyone speaks ill of Dylan. He’s just done too many things I learned from, I’m disinclined to assume I know better.

In my current PhD situation I have to read certain academic writers who are associated with ideas related to my thesis. It’s a little bit awkward to sort, because a lot of the ideas I have came not from academic literature. A lot came musicians whether Bob Dylan, Cecil Taylor, Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell, Meredith Monk, Sun Ra, the Beatles and many more. It’s so very obvious to me when I stand back and try to figure out where/ how I heard/ thought this or that first? My wife Magali once wrote in an academic paper how she learned history lessons from liking the music of groups like the Clash. Precisely. I’d like to say that in the academic circles but I also sense it could be shot down and yet at the same time, everytime I turn around in academia presently, people acknowlede Indigenous ways of knowledge, implying the history of Western thought might be unfairly privileged. I don’t know where to go with that but it’s true I can read Derrida and agree with pointing out the distortions we take for facts about the use of language, especially as it is written but I could also say (perhaps more truthfully), dynamo hum, dynamo hum, where’d you get that dynamo from?

1 Comment


  1. I used to pepper my philosophy papers (undergrad, mind you) with George Clinton slogans, citing album and track number.

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