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Friday, March 20, 2009

The Trouble With Jazz

From Sex And Social Health: A Manual For The Study Of Social Hygiene, copyright 1924 by Thomas W. Galloway. Mr. Galloway's book just came to my bench today for repairs and I stumbled across the following admonition on the subject of Jazz (emphasis mine):

Dancing.--Specifically to take up the much fought-over problem of social dancing, I am myself an utter believer in the value of it. In our War Camp Community Service during the war we did our utmost to see that the soldiers and sailors in the camps had an opportunity to dance, taking care, at the same time, in the selection of the girls, in supervising the kind of dancing carried on, and in knowing how the girls got home. It was the opinion of officers and men that dancing properly looked after in this way had a most beneficial influence.

The kind of dancing is of great importance. At the beginning of the war I wrote to the Superintendent of West Point to ask him what their regulations were in that respect. He sent me an interesting little statement accompanied by illustrations of his own, the most important feature in which was the existence of a daylight zone between the dancers, a very wholesome regulation.

Another vitally important element is the kind of music. The trouble with jazz is that it depends for its attraction on the direct, almost physical, effect of certain kinds of sound. It is, whether in a good or bad sense, purely sensuous. It is the kind of noise which is used to heighten the intensity of orgies among savage tribes. It is not adapted to civilized society and should not there be admitted--least of all as an accompaniment to the dancing of young people.1

1. Thomas W. Galloway, Sex And Social Health: A Manual For The Study Of Social Hygiene (New York: The American Social Hygiene Association, 1924) 311


At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of like Cobra Lilies, huh? :pride:


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