Editorials: Supporting the arts; A woman’s wise counsel; and End the lies

supporting art, not celebrity
Yes, Panama does needs to do better at paying our musicians and composers. No, it’s not a good idea to leave it up to the lawyers. And are we so dependent as to always look north for a model of how things should be done? Look a bit farther north, to Canada, which subsidizes its performers and composers. Photo and electronic manipulation by Eric Jackson.

What could possibly go wrong?

The pushbuttons are about to reopen, but there is a legal hang-up.

Attorneys for the Panamanian Society of Artists and Composers (SPAC) are demanding royalties for the music played in the rooms of these by-the-hour motels for clandestine sexual liaisons.

So do the lawyers get to install devices to monitor the sounds in the rooms, so as to enforce their clients’ intellectual property rights?

We might also ask other rude questions – terrible invasions of privacy, it will be said – about the successes to date of such collection efforts with respect to others who play copyrighted music. How much has gone to which musicians and composers? How much has gone to lawyers?

What Panama ought to do is, without intermediaries taking a large cut of the proceeds, properly subsidize our musicians, composers and other creative people.

To do so other than on the bases of who belongs to which political faction, business organization or illustrious family would be no simple matter. However, the present extensions of juega vivo into our music scenes have for years made this country something of a cultural backwater.

Our best musicians and composers have to leave Panama to work with their international peers and seek their fortunes. Here it’s hard for them to work without regard to the patronage of politicians, beer companies or rabiblanco families. The effect is that we may be a commercial and transportation hub but we are not much of a cultural crossroads.

We can and should do better than suggested.


The former first lady lectured her son, it was secretly recorded and is just now leaked after several years. People with values can relate. Even if some of Panama’s worst snobs consider it a terrible scandal. Photo by Eric Jackson.

What did she say?

“…pinche Club Unión, lleno de gente acomplejada, y la mitad son unos ladrones, sin valores, sin principios…”

“… damned Union Club, full of self-conscious people, and half of them are thieves, without values, without principles …”

Así es.


So, how much?

So much that they have gotten a lot of people killed. So little that nothing that he says during the last month of the campaign should be taken at face value as news. His utterances may, however, be useful in footnotes to an indictment.

It’s fitting enough that Joe Biden chooses the occasion of the president’s illness to shift emphasis to the positive things about what he and the Democrats intend to do. The outlines of Building Back Better have always had their proper time and place to rally an emerging Democratic consensus on its own merits.

Mock what Trump says. Or ignore it. Just vote him out, and be ready to rout his thugs if he won’t accept it.


A Palestinian proverb.

Bear in mind…

Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

What we truly and earnestly aspire to be, that in some sense, we are. The mere aspiration, by changing the frame of the mind, for the moment realizes itself.

Anna Jameson

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.

Eleanor Roosevelt


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