Peikoff CD offer -- and rejection (2005)


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To begin with, here's an amusing little quote from Ayn Rand Answers to chew on:

Speaking of one’s ability to know another’s sense of life, now might be a good time to make a request: Please don’t send me records or recommend music. You have no way of knowing my sense of life, although you have a better way of knowing mine than I have of knowing yours, since you’ve read my books, and my sense of life is on every page. You would have some grasp of it-but I hate to think how little. I hate the painful embarrassment I feel when somebody sends me music they know I’d love -- and my reaction is the opposite: it’s impossible music. I feel completely misunderstood, yet the person’s intentions were good. Nobody but my husband can give me works of art and know infallibly, as he does, that I’ll like them. So please don’t try it. It’s no reflection on you or on me. It’s simply that sense of life is very private. (p. 187)

Considering Rand’s remarks (which I had actually heard way back in the 70s, when I rented and hosted the “Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture course they appeared in) to be a decent guideline for gift-giving, and considering the fact that I knew Leonard Peikoff was a fan of jazz music, I decided to offer him a copy of my jazz duo CD by approaching him in the following manner:

November 15, 2005

leonard@peikoff.com

Dear Dr. Peikoff: Allow me briefly to introduce myself: Professionally, I have been a trombonist and musical arranger since finishing my M.A. in 1971, and I have been working 5 days a week at Disneyland since 1985, playing a combination of marches, ragtime, show tunes, Disney tunes, and Dixieland jazz. I also tour several weeks a year with a jazz group called the Side Street Strutters, who regularly play at Disneyland. (My own assignment is the Disneyland Band.)

I have been a fan of your lectures and books since the 1960s, and I most recently have been enjoying the DIM Hypothesis lectures and your DVD "In His Own Words." From the latter, I learned that you like jazz music, so I would like to offer you a copy of my jazz duo CD, "The Art of the Duo." It was recorded in 1992 with my piano player, Ben Di Tosti, and it contains a number of swing and easy listening tunes, including an original of mine. I think you would find it quite enjoyable. Let me know if you would like a copy, and where I should send it.

Best regards,

Roger Bissell, musician-writer

AchillesRB@aol.com

P.S. -- In case you don't wish to receive the CD and/or are curious as to its contents, you can hear brief clips from the CD at this web address: http://www.gemtone.com/art_of_the_duo/

Much to my mixed delight and chagrin I received the following reply

Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 11:06:11 -0800

To: AchillesRB@aol.com

From: Leonard Peikoff <leonard@peikoff.com>

Subject: Re: Message from web site viewer

Dear Mr. Bissell,

Thank you for your comments on my work, and for your kind offer to send me your CD. The fact is, however, that I really only enjoy jazz on the piano, and so am not really a suitable audience for your work.

Best wishes,

Leonard Peikoff

(Dictated but not read)

Gee, too bad about that extra instrument (trombone), cluttering up what would have otherwise been a perfectly acceptable piano jazz CD. Sheesh. No matter that it contains some of the finest jazz piano playing you’re ever going to hear anywhere. Double sheesh.

A friend of mine, with whom I shared the above, had the following cryptic comment:

“HOLY SHIT! :)

To which I replied:

“What, that I actually got a reply? Or that the reply was such B.S.? :-)”

And he clarified:

“Just that you got a reply. But what a farce to not take your CD, given that he only likes piano. I guess I'll have to write him now and tell him I'd like to send him a Bill Evans CD. LOL :lol:

Double :lol: . And farce is right.

REB

P.P.S. -- my CD is still available from the above-mentioned gemtone.com website, as well as from www.cdbaby.com. Or you can save several bucks and mail a check for $12 to me at Roger Bissell, P.O. Box 5193, Orange, CA 92863. But be forewarned, the CD contains trombone playing. :roll:

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Can anyone here recall any incidents in which [LP] was ~intentionally~ funny?

Oh, sure: his joke about love making the world go round (a joke pertaining to Platonic philosophy), if one considers that funny, rather than a groaner. He did have a sense of humor, though, but not an obvious one -- the sort of stuff like in the Dudley Moore/Peter Cook "Round the Fringe" imitation of G. E. Moore and (?) -- I'm drawing a blank on who the other philosopher is.

Ellen

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The funny thing is that I'm with Peikoff here. Not with regard to his silly reply, but concerning his musical taste. Now I have no great affinity for jazz, but I can appreciate some jazz piano music and play sometimes some jazz pieces myself (ragtimes of Scott Joplin, transcriptions of Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Count Basie). I'm allergic to the sound of the saxophone however, that really grates on my nerves; now I can tolerate a trombone, but I still prefer the pure piano music.

Peikoff's reaction is of course ridiculous. That pompous "Dictated but not read", as if he's too busy to read those two lines (I can't imagine that Rand would have done that!). I wonder whether he would have accepted your offer if the CD had only contained piano music, somehow I have a feeling that he then would have found another excuse. I certainly wouldn't have refused it, trombone or not...

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Dragonfly,

This is pure speculation, but I don't think piano had anything at all to do with it.

If Roger had been a staunch member of ARI and adhered to the party line, my feeling is that he could have offered a CD of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto re-orchestrated for accordion, harmonica, banjo, tuba quartet and shot gun and it would have been graciously accepted.

Michael

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Michael, you're terrible! :lol: What's worse, you're probably right! :cry:

Jonathan, there are no concrete plans for a second CD at this time, but Ben and I have played together on three CDs in the past 2 years, backing up an old fellow who sings standards and dixieland and novelty tunes. We are joined by a rhythm section and a trumpet and sax/clarinet player, and our solos are definitely secondary in importance (though not quality) to the guy's singing.

My personal plan is to lay out at least one CD project this year and execute as much of it as I can -- but I haven't yet decided whether it will be a jazz nonet (9-piece) project or a trombone + orchestra (mostly synthesized plus several live assistant soloists) project. I am particularly eager to get some of my original songs recorded, even if just as instrumentals -- and I have some really pretty arrangements of other people's songs already written -- so the material is there. I just have to gird up my loins, so to speak, and do the work!

My wife has agreed that we can consider the previous project closed and "paid for," and that we can push forward on another project, so it's really not a matter of lack of finances. Just time and energy and gumption. (That's what conditional freedom/teleological determinists call willpower. :-)

So, stay tuned!

REB

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Can anyone here recall any incidents in which [LP] was ~intentionally~ funny?

Oh, sure: his joke about love making the world go round (a joke pertaining to Platonic philosophy), if one considers that funny, rather than a groaner. He did have a sense of humor, though, but not an obvious one -- the sort of stuff like in the Dudley Moore/Peter Cook "Round the Fringe" imitation of G. E. Moore and (?) -- I'm drawing a blank on who the other philosopher is.

Ellen

___

For some reason, it seems that my signing on doesn't work unless I hit the "quote" button in replying to a post. The "Guest" (Anonymous) post above was by me -- and contained two errors. (That's the sort of stuff which happens when I'm working on a copyediting project: I make silly errors in my own stuff. It's the "conservation of error" principle.) The "love makes the world go round" joke which Leonard used multiple times I believe pertained to Aristotle's theory of attraction for the Unmoved Mover. And the Dudley Moore/Peter Cook show was called "Beyond the Fringe." I was conflating that with "Round the Horn [or Horne?]," another British-humor show, but less sophisticated than "Beyond the Fringe."

"'Moore,' I said, "have you any apples?', and we were friends for life."

Ellen

__

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You know, that just says if effing all, Roger. About the only person on the planet that really has a reason to be that shitty in that situation is a record company guy. I know because I used to do that for an indie. There's a point where you can't stand the sight of a new CD.

Outside of that, though, what's to lose? How hard would it have been to say "Thanks for the kind words, and if you wish, do send me a CD."

I really need to watch my thoughts. I was thinking of the right term for him in that situation, it involved an early form of feminine hygiene product that dispensed liquid.

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Rich, I appreciate your solidarity in the CD-offer matter.

Peikoff had absolutely nothing to lose except perhaps 5 or 10 minutes of his time in opening and playing a cut or two from the CD. And he would have heard some of the most wonderful, creative jazz piano playing there is. (Not to mention my own not-too-shabby efforts. :-)

However, I do agree with the other person (can't click back to see who without losing what I've typed) whose comments (re: Art Tatum, etc.) suggested to me that Peikoff's taste in jazz piano players might be so narrow that my partner's style would have turned him off, too.

Rand was right. To each his own. And I can't get inside Peikoff's mind to know whether he was simply saving himself from hearing something in all likelihood he would not enjoy -- or just being an unadventurous,

narrow-minded dolt.

I'll continue to enjoy (and criticize) his fine lectures, and he'll continue not to hear my music. Fair enough.

Happy New Year, everyone!

REB

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Roger:

can't click back to see who without losing what I've typed

Why's that? It isn't even necessary to click back, you can find the previous posts on the same page by using the scroll bars. And if necessary, you can always click to read other threads or even search the web in the meantime. The safest way to do that is to open a new page, so that you can't lose your editing page in the forward/backward chain.

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I agree with the "narrow" part, Roger. But I'm a musician to the bone, and in that kind of instance, what with your background, achievements and all, the question that comes to my mind is why he wouldn't be the least bit curious. I guess it's the eclectic in me, I would've been thinking "Well, he clearly isn't sporting a mohawk, and I don't think his aesthetic would be anywhere near Nine Inch Nails, or Korn, or even Megadeath...let's give it a turn, what the Hell<tm>."

But that's me. Send me the fucker, I'll listen to it, and you'll be down twelve bucks. Or, you can wait until later this year, when the new On The Air CD gets done and we'll indulge in trader mentality... :-({|=

Oh well, you can't be having an at-gunpoint audience (I've tried that, and they always seem to have more guns than we do, especially in the west side bars).

I'll betcha Nathaniel will listen to mine if I send him one...

nyah-nyah, nyah nyah-nyah :D/

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Send me the fucker, I'll listen to it, and you'll be down twelve bucks. Or, you can wait until later this year, when the new On The Air CD gets done and we'll indulge in trader mentality... :-({|=

Watch your mail, buddy, here it comes! :-)

I'll betcha Nathaniel will listen to mine if I send him one...

nyah-nyah, nyah nyah-nyah :D/

Probably. Both he and Barbara listened to mine, so your chances are pretty good, I'd say. Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah. (Actual song lyrics -- not mine.)

REB

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