The Washington, D.C. area PBS affiliate has lately been airing a documentary titled “D.C. In the 90s.” An hour long, it’s a look back to what Washington was like during, well, the 1990s. That the city was rundown is a classic understatement. It’s also a digression.
The documentary is mentioned because when the last decade of the Millennium began, 9:30 Club was apparently THE music club in Washington, D.C. Bands like Nirvana played there ahead of achieving global stardom. Then Black Cat came along. By 9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz’s own admission, Black Cat was a better music club in most ways. Soon enough its owner Dante Ferrando was booking bands that had historically been booked by Hurwitz.
Competition from Black Cat plainly threatened 9:30 Club’s existence, but as the documentary went on to inform viewers, it didn’t put it out of business. It just improved it. 9:30 among other things moved to a better location that was more band friendly, and was soon enough back on top. Hurwitz acknowledged in “D.C. In the 90s” that competition is what forced the 9:30 Club to fix what it was doing wrong. And the rest is history. To this day the musical venue is a major player in D.C. Competition happily drove its positive evolution.
Which brings us to a question that’s regularly asked about President Trump on television and radio. People ask if there’s a silver lining to Trump’s China and Europe bashing. In particular, they ask if Trump will have been vindicated if his tariff threats result in various nations reducing existing tariffs levied on goods produced in the United States. The answer to the question is no. What Trump is doing is wholly superfluous, and worse, risky.