Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Response to Jeff Greenfield’s Op-Ed

A Response to Jeff Greenfield’s Op-Ed:

I just finished reading your op-ed piece, My Plea To Undecideds: Stay Home!
In it you claim that “with a flick of a page or the click of a mouse,” the electorate has been able to find out everything it needs to know about the presidential candidates because “the media have been covering their every move and word”.
I find this laughable because while it may be true for both President Obama and Mitt Romney, it is not true for Governor Gary Johnson, Dr. Jill Stein or any of the other third party candidates who are running for office of POTUS. They have all been virtually ignored by the media. You write, “The candidates have been at this for years; both President Obama and Mitt Romney began running for the presidency six years ago.”
Interestingly, you don’t even acknowledge that other candidates exist.

Honestly, how much effort have you and your media colleagues put into insuring all the candidates and their platforms are made known to the electorate. Indeed, wouldn’t making a concerted effort to inform them of all their choices, right up to election day, be the honest and ethically responsible thing to do. Instead, you have the audacity to insult and berate undecided voters, telling them they have “the reasoning power of a baked potato” because they haven’t decided between one of two virtually identical corporate puppets.

It strikes me that a more honest statement for you, as mouthpiece of the media, would be to say: “Look, I haven’t given all of the candidate’s in this presidential election even a fraction of equal coverage, and it’s just not fair for me to judge someone who takes time to carefully consider their vote because they give a damn.”

I’ll finish with one last thought for you Jeff.  Perhaps as a follow up to your most recent book, “Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics”, you could write a fictional story about an America where major media news outlets are run by journalists rather than corporations. An America where candidates from all legitimate registered parties who’ve manage to cut through the red tape of the electoral process and made it to the presidential ballot are given equal representation by the news media. As you develop the story and watch it unfold, you might discover that the electorate isn’t as numb or dumb as you make it out to be. Imagine one scenario for example; an America where the media doesn’t muzzle Dr. Jill Stein but instead chooses to shove her down the throat of the public the same way they do Kim Kardashian. Think about that tonight while your stay at home watching the results of the election in which you didn’t vote.

-Jordan Jancz

Friday, November 2, 2012

War on Women

War on Women

The term “Women’s issues” has returned to the media spotlight once again thanks in part to Mitt Romney’s now infamous “binders full of women” gaffe, uttered at the recent presidential debate with Barack Obama. As talking heads weigh in on how this unfortunate remark will effect the now majority women’s vote, Democrat and Republican spokesmen continue to ballyhoo their man as the best man to champion women’s issues.

Yet, in the media, one thing is conspicuously absent from this conversation, one little known fact. At this very moment, America has a presidential candidate who is, drum roll please, a woman, imagine that. Jill Stein of the Green Party has managed to jump through all the hoops and cut through all the red tape necessary to appear on 85% of the American presidential ballot, technically making her eligible to receive the required 270 electoral votes to be elected President of the United States. Perhaps you’ve heard of her, perhaps not. The only news she’s made recently was being arrested at Hofstra University while attempting to crash the aforementioned debate. Call me crazy but during this past week filled with talk of “women’s issues”, does anyone else think it’s odd that a woman who managed to secure the American presidential nomination of a legitimate, albeit small, political party had to be arrested in order to be considered news worthy?

Curious, filled with questions, I went where everyone goes for answers, Google. Narrowing the search parameters to “exact phrase” and the “past year”, I typed in some names. The first, “Barack Obama” yielded 686 million results. That makes sense, I thought, he’s the POTUS after all. Next, “Mitt Romney” came up with 727 million. Interesting but understandable being that he’s the Republican presidential nominee. Then I typed in the name “Jill Stein”. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!? 2 million? Certain I’d made a mistake I tried again. Unfortunately, I was correct the first time, two million four hundred thousand to be exact, less than one third of one percent of Obama’s results.

Next I moved to the Washington Post’s website, www.washingtonpost.com. Using their search engine I sought articles mentioning the same three names. Identical parameters yielded these results: “Barack Obama” - 26,809, “Mitt Romney” - 16,742, “Jill Stein” - 34. I then replicated my search on the websites of other major news outlets: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX and even NPR. The results were proportionately identical. Jill Stein is a woman virtually invisible in the mass media world, statistically less than one third of one percent as news worthy as Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

Now believe me, I don’t live in a cave or a tree and I obviously have access to the Internet. I know that third party candidates are routinely shut out of the electoral process. Aided by the media, the incestuous amplification of the Republican/Democratic echo chamber drowns out all dissent, but ignoring Jill Stein goes beyond party politics and cuts to the heart of women’s issues. Perhaps the “war on women” being touted in the media isn’t being perpetrated by politicians but by the media itself. It’s the media that decides what the public sees and hears, not the politicians. The media decides what’s news, which begs the question…What is news?

Anyone familiar with Daniel J. Boorstin’s, "The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America", knows this is a loaded question. The cornerstone of this book is the “pseudo-event”: a manufactured happening that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy through media exposure. Originally published in 1962, it was written after watching the first televised presidential campaign and tells the story of the use of media power in the early days of the Kennedy administration. I submit it as required reading for journalists and anyone who reads a newspaper or watches television. In it he predicted the current state of mass media political news reporting; yes men running from one manufactured media event to the next, parroting back what the richest men, standing on the tallest soap-boxes, shouting through the loudest bull-horns tell them.

Again I ask, regardless of her political views, why hasn’t the story of Jill Stein, a woman on the American presidential ballot, been considered news worthy? Perhaps, it’s not the fault of the media. Maybe they’re just giving America what it asks for based on what we, the media consumers, watch and buy. Curiosity prompted me to conduct one final Google search. I abandoned politics and chose two female names I’d heard recently; “Honey Boo Boo”, star of TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” and “Sunita Williams”, astronaut, helicopter pilot, space walker and current commander of the International Space Station now orbiting the earth two hundred thirty miles overhead. The results? “Honey Boo Boo” – 156 million, “Sunita Williams” – 2 million.

Thursday, October 25, 2012



Anyone who’s carried an upright bass down a city sidewalk knows that its almost impossible go one block without some wise-guy asking, “Don’t you wished you chose the piccolo?” or “That’s a big violin you got there buddy” or some other highly unoriginal remark.
Yes, I’m an upright bass player and it happens to me all the time. I just politely smile, nod, force a half-hearted chuckle and continue on to whatever gig or recording session I’m usually headed. You see it’s almost impossible to put into words the one thing that every upright bass player knows. The sheer joy of making music on these beautiful instruments outweighs the drawbacks of schlepping them around. It’s something you’ll never understand unless your fingers have coaxed deep earthy tones from those thick strings and you’ve felt their vibrations resonate through that wooden body and fill the room. That said, okay yes, lugging around an upright bass is generally a literal pain in the neck…and back…and shoulders. Perhaps that’s why harmless comments from strangers on the street can be so annoying. The problem isn’t that upright basses are that heavy really, after all, they’re hollow and mostly air. The problem is upright basses are big, bulky and awkward instruments to transport. Anything that makes getting one from point A to point B easier is welcome news.

I rarely do endorsements but when a product comes along that changes your life, it’s hard not to spread the word. That’s why I’m telling every Upright Bass player I know about the Bass-Buggie. This ingenious product takes the majority of effort out of traveling with your upright bass, attaches in about five seconds and allows you to easily walk down the street with no strain on you back, neck or shoulders. Contraptions using a single wheel attached to a rod that slides into the end block at the bottom of upright basses have been around for years but they are hazardous because they transfer all the energy of the bumps and bounces of the street directly to the body of the instrument. The Bass-Buggie instead is a two-wheeled cradle that quickly attaches to the upright bass using nylon straps and a bungee cord and never comes in contact with the body of the upright bass directly. The foam padding of your case plus optional additional foam padding cushions any bumps along the route. Not only that, the Bass-Buggie is totally adjustable so depending on your height you can find the perfect angle to wheel your upright bass comfortably as you walk. Thanks to the two-wheel design, your upright bass balances perfectly, allowing you to maneuver with one arm, leaving your other hand free.

I live just outside Manhattan and am frequently in town for session work.
Whereas I use to load my upright bass in the car, drive into town and hope to find a parking place close to my destination, I now find it easier to take the train into town and wheel my way to gigs. Trust me, if you’re an upright bass player and you don’t have a Bass-Buggie, buy one now. You’ll know why I’m so insanely enthusiastic about this product. http://www.kcstrings.com/bass-buggie