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Joshua Bell - Busker?


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I'm sure the reason this "test" was done under the worst possible

conditions imaginable, was because the writer WANTED it to fail.


After all, if everyone gathered around, threw lots of money, and

applauded,  there would have been little point to the article,

and no one would be discussing it now. The writer

needed an extreme result, and set it up so as to maximize the

chances of that happening.

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I feel like the author introduces it fairly:

"an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"

Also, the conditions weren't the "worst possible conditions imaginable." It was Josh Bell on his favorite instrument playing solo rep in a boomy acoustic (that the article called "surprisingly kind"). It was simply a "banal setting at an inconvenient time."

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Let's be naughty and cynical and suggest.......

Even if he had a sandwich board beside him reading:

"I'm Joshua Bell one of the finest living violinists

playing a violin worth $Xm.......

Listen now for free or pay $100 next time at Carnegie Hall."

Would any more people have stopped

and known or believed what was written?

Such is the state of our elevated art. in the general puplic conception.......

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I don't think that's cynical, especially given the location they chose for their experiment. I used to work in that area and use that metro stop -- ground zero for the Departments of Labor, Transportation, and Energy, and the U.S. Post Office. Tired bureaucrats shufling in from the distant suburbs. You could have put the entire National Symphony there, and I'm conifident no one would have looked up.

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Now THAT is cynical Richf. Also, it seems a little ignorant of America's celebrity-obsessed culture. If Josh Bell was wearing a sandwich board or had a sign or heck, if anyone bothered to announce to the crowd that he was famous, I bet quite a few more people would've stopped. Granted, not all of them, but a much higher number. We are a culture who really enjoys seeing famous people.

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Being from Washington D.C. I believe the experiment was a little skewed. If you are in the metro station in the morning people enter to quickly catch a train for the most part- they will not stop for anything. If he had been up and out on the street (where most musicians in Europe play) you might have seen more people stop and listen. A weekend would have produced different results also. So if one is from Washington given the variables under which this "experiment" was conducted-the results are not all that surprising when you think about it.

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