The Know-It-All-Brother-In-Law, known to the Acronym Oriented (or A.O.) as the K.I.A.B.I.L., forwarded me this piece, Pearls Before Breakfast, which ran in Sunday’s Washington Post.* If you haven’t yet read it, or heard about it, I urge you to spare the thirty minutes it will take to read the whole thing. The writer, Gene Weingarten, does a masterful job of extending both the dramatic tension and the multiple interpretive strands of a fascinating and telling event.
Have you read the piece yet? No, that’s okay, I’ll wait.
Oh no; I’m still here; don’t worry. Keep reading.
Ah, you’re done? Good. Now I can continue with a clear, spoiler-free conscience. I know that I put the pro in prolix (the gar in garrulous; the verb in verbose!), and I just asked you to read something that takes a good half hour to read. So in deference to your limited and valuable time, dear reader, I’ll just garnish the side of an already full plate with a few questions. Plus, plenty, and by plenty I mean hundreds of folks, have written about it already. (Here are Technorati’s blogospheric findings for the search string “joshua bell dc,” for your edification).
For the moment, all’s I want to do is draw your attention to the piece and invite you to contemplate the various obvious questions spinning off from it: What you would have done had you been in that indoor arcade? You know, hustling off to work of a January morning? What if a different musician were playing a different genre of music, on a different instrument? And, to tie it into this blog’s parenting theme: what if you had kids along with you? Would you be more or less likely to stop and smell the concert violinist?
*The Freakonomics Blog hepped him to it — but wait! don’t link there yet! spoiler warning! get back to it after you’ve read the WaPo article.