Bix died and was born again a metaphor. He has become, as we've seen, a trance, emotion & love, courage & memories; he’s a riddle wrapped in an enigma; he’s a pickup line. (Jazz, for that matter, is politics, freedom, and blogging.) Now, Bix is a shining example of the "general discourse of pluriactivity" and an apparently troubling trend that encourages Iowa farmers to embrace said pluriactivity . . . which is what again?
Dictionaries are innocent of this word, but German research papers are not. According to one, the term is 20 years old and coined as an attempt “to gather under an often loosely defined concept a plurality of atypical employment forms, going from multi-salaried employment (the same job for several employers), to combination of statuses (employed and independent) and/or professions (peasantry and commerce), via polyvalent employment (several professions for several employers).”
What does this have to do with Bix? “I firmly believe that there are thousands of Bixs in Iowa, and other agricultural states,” the anonymous MySpace blogger writes, “who in their adolescence are wrongly dissuaded of their multiple talents simply because their community leaders cant envision a way to gainfully express them.”
What does this have to do with pluriactivity?
Maybe, your son or daughter is a great painter. Fine. But painting is a hobby, not a profession, so focus on math so goes the conventional wisdom.
I can accept that. I can accept that beat poets, free jazz improvisers, abstract artists and the like will always have trouble making a living here in Iowa. New York, San Francisco and Paris are great places for people with those interests to find their niche. But what about agriculturists? In Iowa, of all places, shouldnt agriculture be a viable pursuit?
It should. I’m still not clear what this has to do with Bix, but the cause is good so I’ll shut up. Except to say that the wonderful photo (that accompanies this blog post about Bix & pluriactivity) is not of Bix but of trombonist Jack Teagarden.
SPEAKING OF MYSPACE: Bix, like everyone else in the world, has his own page. He lists his musical styles as “Indie/Grindcore/Christian” and lets visitors know that “I like to play the trumpet and blow my horn. I also like to drink whiskey and tute my whistle.”
He has 96 friends.
IMAGE: One of Bix’s friends—at least in real life—was Pee Wee Russell. And that’s one of Pee Wee’s paintings above. Pluriactivity in action: When he wasn’t barking through his clarinet, he was “producing a series of seemingly abstract canvases that were actually accurate chartings of his inner workings.”
[August 14, 2006]