[volt-nuts] Way OT [WAS: do you like Labview in your labs?]

Charles P. Steinmetz charles_steinmetz at lavabit.com
Tue Dec 7 03:53:33 UTC 2010

Chuck wrote:

>The famous violinist Joshua Bell, on a dare from Washington Post humorist
>Gene Wiengarten, stood at the entrance to a busy Metro (subway) station, and
>played his heart out for a whole day.  Quality playing, and quality pieces
>of music that concert goers would have payed hundreds of dollars to see at
>venues all around the world... And only 3 people stopped to listen.  The
>rest just hustled through ignoring the busker.

>Joshua was rather upset after he finished his dare.  It caused
>him to rethink his position in the world.  He did not like going
>from darling of the champagne and caviar set to being ignored
>by people that would have paid to attend his concerts.

It was 43 minutes during a morning rush hour:


At the risk of getting even further off topic, I'll amplify briefly 
on Marvin's response to this.  The answer lies in the psychology of 
solitude in crowds, which is demonstrated nowhere better than among 
mass transit commuters during rush hour.  The commuters weren't "just 
ignoring" Bell, in the sense of not noticing him -- which is how the 
Post interpreted it.  Rather, regardless of how nice, or beautiful, 
or worthwhile his playing was, he was, in the commuters' view, 
intruding into their psychological space and assaulting them -- no 
different from the guy who accosts passersby with construction pail 
percussion, or sermons delivered on a crowded subway platform.  The 
commuters noticed him, alright, and they were doing the most polite 
thing they knew to do when faced with the unwanted intrusion -- 
*studiously* ignoring it.

More than a few commuters probably considered a somewhat less polite 
response -- pulling the violin out of his hands and stomping it into 
little pieces -- and I'll wager that at least a third of those 
present would have cheered and clapped if that had happened (perhaps 
only until they learned it had been a Strad).  Time and place....

Best regards,


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