The Concocted Controversy About “La La Land”

This cooked-up conflict was inevitable once attention took off about this modern musical. The dig is that it has an “incorrect,” even hostile, attitude toward jazz. C’mon — the thing is part fairy tale. The jazzman lead is named Sebastian, not Wynton. To present him as the film’s golden standard of integrity and honesty is a severe misreading. He’s a dreamer — and dreams can be absurd and ridiculous as well as ideal. This is a musician who correctly recounts that the essence of jazz is that every performance is streaked with the new — but who insists that the best of the music is the same old, same old. This makes him, you know, self-contradictory and more than a bit ludicrous. In fairy tales, dreamers are allowed to realize even absurd dreams, in part anyway, and we the alert audience are supposed to understand this is a ritual, not a comment on the real world.

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