Kurt’s so good

We all need a bit of Kurt Vonnegut in our lives (see quote above). I’m reading A Man Without A Country – his memoir of life in George W Bush’s America (and his final work, actually). Here’s Kurt talking about the effects of music – and blues – on our shaky human psyche:

“The priceless gift that African-Americans gave the whole world when they were still in slavery was a gift so great that it is now almost the only reason many foreigners still like us at least a little bit. That specific remedy for the worldwide epidemic of depression is a gift called the Blues…the wonderful writer Albert Murray, who is a jazz historian and a friend of mine among other things, told me that during the era of slavery in this country – an atrocity from which we can never fully recover – the suicide rate per capita among slave owners was much higher than the suicide rate among slaves.

“Murray says he thinks this was because slaves had a way of dealing with depression, which their white owners did not: they could shoo away Old Man Suicide by playing and singing the Blues. He says something else which also sounds right to me. He says the Blues can’t drive depression clear out of a house, but can drive it into  the corners of any room where it’s being played. So please remember that.”

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