Southern Man

Friday, December 17, 2010

Office Music

Southern Man has fairly wide and eclectic taste in music and keeps himself surrounded by music pretty much all of the time. The topic came up the other day over lunch: what music is appropriate to play in your office?

The problem is that, while universities are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas where new ideas from all cultures are welcome, the truth is that in this domain of political correctness you must be very, very careful to not offend anyone (except white male Christians, upon whom it is always open season). In universities, "multiculturalism" is all about the acceptance of other cultures coupled with the rejection of our own. So Southern Man is pretty careful with his office music.

During the workweek he alternates between a Live 356 station that plays a lot of chamber music and what is possibly the finest instrumental jazz station ever created on Pandora. The common element is that this is music without words, thus reducing the chance that a student might be offended by the sounds that waft from Southern Man's workspace. And he gets lots and lots of compliments on his choices from passers-by. Seriously, that Pandora station is really good.

But since Thanksgiving he's been going through his sizeable spindle of Christmas CDs (Southern Man is still stuck in the late 20th century and has not yet dumped everything to MP3) but again playing only instrumental works during the workday as to not offend his numerous Muslim and Hindu students. Many of whom have given him small gifts and wished him "Merry Christmas" regardless of our differences in religion.

At night and on weekends is a different story. The volume goes up - way up - and the selections range from post-hardcore and screamo (genres introduced to Southern Man by his teen son) to current pop / rap (ditto for teen daughter). Or classical or jazz or blues or contemporary rock or big-band or even light country (thanks to youngest daughter, who is quite the little Carrie Underwood fan). Southern Man does not hesitate to sing along.

And, since Thanksgiving, Christmas music with overtly Christian words.


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