Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Bell’

A couple times a year, somebody forwards me the text of this e-mail and it always irritates the living crap out of me. Since I’ve got a blog, I might as well address it.

Ordinarily, I find it particularly annoying when viral e-mails convey some kind of sanctimonious message, wrapped up in a story that’s obviously bullshit. This one, however, annoys me because it happens to be TRUE. This is based on an actual column by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post that ran in 2007 and won him a Pulitzer Prize.

Let me say upfront that I like Gene Weingarten’s “Below the Beltway” column. He’s a fine writer. I don’t begrudge him his Pulitzer.

I just wish he’d won it for a different story. And I wish people would quit forwarding this condensed version with its ultimate message about how we’re too wrapped up in our petty concerns to appreciate some of the most beautiful music ever composed, as performed by one of the world’s greatest musicians. Because I find that conclusion specious. And, frankly, more than a little condescending.

Here’s the text of the e-mail:

“A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. (more…)