Sunday, April 8, 2007

Pearls Before Breakfast

This is brilliant. Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten convinced violinist Joshua Bell to play his $3.5 million Stradivarius for quarters in the Washington, DC subway during rush hour back in January. How'd it turn out? Read for yourself (video is included). Enjoy! (via Throwing Things)
It's an old epistemological debate, older, actually, than the koan about the tree in the forest. Plato weighed in on it, and philosophers for two millennia afterward: What is beauty? Is it a measurable fact (Gottfried Leibniz), or merely an opinion (David Hume), or is it a little of each, colored by the immediate state of mind of the observer (Immanuel Kant)?
UPDATE: Thanks to Roy in the comments for the link to sawlady's thoughts on busking.


lucy said...

What a great story, thanks for the link. To me, it is an urban variation on stopping to smell the flowers - a reminder to stop and look at beauty wherever and in whatever form it occurs.

Also reminds how much I love DC and that I have to plan a trip there soon...

sravana said...

Wow, thanks for the link. J Bell is an awesome musician - what a great story, what an unhappy outcome!

I would be sending this to you-know-who, but since that's over, I won't be sending it now.


Keera said...

What an interesting article and idea! I'm not sure I'll be able to look at street musicians in quite the same way again. Thanks so much for posting this!

Roy said...

There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:

She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

alice said...

Thanks for the tip, Roy.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed the article as much as I did!