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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Pluck Or Fiddle Yes, But Speak No More, My Leader

After watching the TV debate between the USA Republican Party Presidential contenders I think that each of them playing to us on a musical instrument would be a better test

It has been frequently said with some authority that learning a musical instrument is good for a child's development, and at the other end of our lives, good for keeping our faculties intact into old age. It has even been suggested that musicians are less likely to get Alzheimers disease because of the skills they have acquired, coordinating as they do physical, intellectual and creative abilities.

Would not these features, if indeed they do help keep us at our peak, be the ones we should especially require from our politicians?
We could set them the task of learning to play a musical instrument and see how they get on in six months. They would all start from a level playing field. The result would be a musical measure of their ability to develop the qualities also required for political leadership.

Dazzling performances distract us from the crazy content

I watched the American Republican Party Presidential Candidates' debate on Fox TV last Thursday and thought it would be an excellent test. Without wishing to blacken names unfairly I would guess that some of the smooth talkers on display would probably make a hash of playing the guitar. They would be far too concerned with not making mistakes, stopping to search for the right notes every few seconds. In contrast one of the other candidates almost admitted to being impetuous. He appeared to improvise his declarations with flair through nicely varied rhythm and pitch. I wasn't surprised he received the greatest rounds of applause, although I think the audience was more swayed by the manner of his delivery rather than the crazy things he was saying, not unlike the effect caused by the dazzling performance of an indifferent piece of music.

Two of the candidates - OK, I will name them - Perry and Romney - look alike, smile a lot, have similar speaking voices and quite scarily, could be not only brothers but also resemble the late President Ronald Reagan. They even speak with a similar tone and inflexion. Could it be that President Reagan was their father? If only they had known, rather than call him "Mr President, sir" it could have been "hey dad, when you come back from talking to that Russian man with the funny mark on his forehead can we go to McDonald's?"

Our leaders would be required to periodically play us a piece of their choice to stay in office

Having seen TV interviews and debates in the UK, Spain, Italy, Venezuela and Mexico, I was impressed by the tough questions put to them on USA television, as opposed to the deferential approach taken towards politicians by interviewers in some Latin countries. In the UK such set-piece debates do not encourage direct interaction between the candidates, nor such tough and personal questions from the interviewers.

The more I think of it the more I like the idea of setting them the six month task of learning a musical instrument. Instead of us having to endure outrageous proclamations and banalities we would ask them to play us sixty seconds on their chosen instrument, more would be unnecessary and unbearable. Flow, technique, dedication, expression, rhythm, coordination, bluff and nerve would be on show or not in their displays. It would spare us the tedium of listening to carefully rehearsed half-truths and cut straight to the chase. Better still, it would all be over in a few minutes, and we would then have fun choosing between them while they fussed and fiddled back-stage, furiously declaiming only to each other in the absence of a larger audience - us the electorate.

Once in place our leaders would be required to periodically play us a solo of their choice, and participate in a chamber music piece or band. Any sign of decline would precipitate their demise.

Only politicians with pluck would survive. All the others would be left whistling in the dark and reduced to the ranks.

You know, I think it might work.

December 2011

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=889 .
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