Sunday, December 11, 2005

Music & democracy

So much about democracy is little understood in Modern American culture, that it takes a community-level discussion to reveal the basic patterns. The following may seem obvious, but really, we don't think about it or talk about it much.

Democracy happens even without voting, to varying degrees. -- when you're a DJ at a regular milonga, some 10% of the crowd is very vocal about music. But the rest vote with their feet. They're either dancing, or they aren't. They're having a good time, or they're sulking. Sometimes that has to do with the music, and sometimes it doesn't, so you have to get to know a crowd over time. But when you do, the crowd has essentially voted on the musical format.

Don't change my vote unless I tell you to. -- A vocal dancer recently let me know that his tastes had changed, and that certain kinds of alternative music really added spice to the evening for him. He was changing his vote.

Given over two years of this kind of voting at The Tango Center, as we embark on using a computer tool to poll ranges of musical percentages for an evening, we have to make sure (A) that these opinions get recorded and (B) that we don't move them around ... you vote once, until you change your vote. Oregon voters continually have to vote down a sales tax forwarded them by the State legislature. We have the opportunity, electronically, to let someone's vote stand until known otherwise.

Why are we embarking on this exercise in electronic voting? Partly because we want to see if it's a useful tool, something that could be used for weightier matters, outside of the Tango world. But, also, we have two major Tango extravaganzas a week, and many smaller ones ... so many people are involved, and the population is so much in flux, that there needs to be a community memory. We're loading that community memory with pertinent community opinion.


Post a Comment

<< Home