Friday, 27 April 2012
Jazz in Homeland for Guardian.co.uk
I’ve been enjoying the series as much for the importance of jazz to the plot and feel of it as I have for its Wilkie Collins-esque intrigue. In the piece I discuss Claire Danes’s character Carrie’s mental illness and her deep connection to the music of Thelonious Monk. The link between mental illness and jazz is well documented – various pioneers such as Monk, Buddy Bolden and Sun Ra are thought to have had either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. And the free jazz of the type Miles Davis (another fave of Carrie’s) played in the 70s is sometimes connected to Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “schizophrenia” – a sonic shorthand for complete freedom of movement, eschewing fixed allegiances and hierarchies.
“Jazz is the national pastime of the United States,” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre after an eye-opening visit to New York in the 1940s and it could be suggested that the music’s use in Homeland equates jazz with the concept of freedom that, despite the Patriot Act, is still held up as the bedrock of USA democracy. It is a freedom that begs Homeland's paranoiac pivotal question: Whose side are you on?
You can read the piece here.