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Kelly J. Cooper

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Common Beauty [Apr. 11th, 2007|04:18 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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This made me cry.

It's not a sad piece of writing, per se. No one suffers or dies.

But there's one line in it...

First, let me explain that it's a Washington Post story about an experiment they did. The put the famous violinist Joshua Bell on the platform of the L'Enfant Metro Station in D.C. and had him play for 40 minutes to see what would happen.

Go read it, then come back. I'll wait.


It's a long piece, I know, but seriously... read to the end. Go on!




Ganked from ronebofh, by the by, who has additional comments on the piece's author.

Spoiler thoughts:

That one bit, where they describe a mother gently but firmly dragging her son away from the music, I started tearing up and then the author of the piece says:
    The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother's heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.
And I started to cry.

The author (Gene Weingarten) remarks on it in a follow-up piece, that many people wrote in to tell him it made them cry. So I don't feel quite so stupid. I'm still reading his replies to people and I haven't even watched the video yet. I'll probably cry some more.

I once got on a return train (here in MA, on the Red Line of the T) to go back a station and listen to more music by a couple of guys who were doing a brilliant job on Kendall or Central Square platform (I forget which). I'd gotten on my train, but I couldn't stop hearing the music, so I went back and listened for a while and then bought their CD. One of the best decisions of my life. And honestly? I only left because I felt like a freak standing in front of them, listening. I totally get the guy who hid on the other side of the space. If I'd thought of that, I'd have done so as well.

I always listen to the buskers a bit, to see if I like the music. And if I do, I usually stay for a song. I've missed trains to do it... I've spent quite a while in Harvard Square doing it...

But this past summer, when I stopped on my way to Harvard and smelled EVERY SINGLE FLOWER I SAW, including the roses, ya know what I found? Most of them didn't have a scent at all. They breed out the scent most times, when they're going for good looks.

I'm not sure what any of this means, but I think it's important.

[User Picture]From: tcb
2007-04-11 09:39 am (UTC)
ya.. on the one hand I wasn't surprised, on the other I wanted to be. I always stop and listen to the subway musicians, especially if they're good. it is sad how so many of us are too busy to be bothered to appreciate the beauty of the world around us..
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[User Picture]From: bookly
2007-04-11 09:44 am (UTC)
They breed out the scent? Please tell me that's unintentional. Otherwise, it sounds like they don't WANT us to stop and smell the flowers.
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[User Picture]From: drwex
2007-04-11 02:34 pm (UTC)
Scents are generally undesired in display flowers. For one thing, they make some people sneeze. Some people find them unpleasant. The visual aesthetic is what's desired.

Scent has been removed from flowers in more or less the same way as flavor has been removed from food. It's a production thing.

kjc, thanks for linking to that story. Very interesting read.
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[User Picture]From: r_ness
2007-04-13 05:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that article. I think I'll post.
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