The Way We Die Now

The ten essays “The Year of Outrage” in Slate are extremely helpful to understanding our current internet culture.

We’ve had a few jazz pile-ons recently. By Slate standards they were all small potatoes – at least there’s no “Django Gold” or “Sonny Rollins” on the page or in the calendar – but they were certainly there. The only general interest pile-on I participated in was the Dr. V magical putter fiasco. When I realized that the whole world had descended on the author, I regretted posting. Enough was enough. DTM isn’t here to police Grantland, anyway.

Generally I hope my topical bits on DTM are reasonably measured. Certainly I have never been mean to anybody on Twitter. But have I always been bland enough about everything? Probably not. Reading this Memeteria piece about about a recent cello concerto reminds me to always act as if an opposing side in a future court case will look over my social media record with an eye to conjuring my doom.


I love the essays, but clicking through Slate’s calendar of outrage at the top of the page is strangely boring. It’s hard for me to feel like much of this really matters.

Jamelle Bouie closes “The Sadness of Liberal Outrage”  with a telling sentence:

If outrage stands in for activism, if we’re focused on the moral temperature of Internet individuals, then we’re distracted from the collective action—and collective institution building—that makes real reform possible.

Back to Sonny Rollins and Django Gold: Of the whole shebang, I was most saddened by Sonny himself making a video to rebut a fictional piece on the New Yorker website. Sonny is bigger than that – unless he submits to social media policing and joins the fray.

I didn’t exactly approve of Gold’s topic, but I certainly knew it was satire right away, and even laughed out loud at: “… In walked Bud Powell and Charlie Parker. We must have jammed together for five more hours, right through sunrise. That was the worst day of my life.”

The troubling thing about Gold’s piece is not making fun of jazz or Sonny; I’d hope jazz or Sonny could take it. The troubling thing is that there is so little jazz coverage in the New Yorker any more in general. The only way to combat that problem, of course, is to make jazz music that is exciting and relevant.