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Re: GG "Creative Lying"

> Jim said:
> >Hard to say though. Anyone that's read Kazdin's book knows it isn't well
> >written.
> I don't want to be argumentative, but I am wondering what makes you say
> this.
> I have read this book.  While  Andrew Kazdin was certainly bitter about
> being
> dismissed by GG, I thought that he gave us a different perspective on
> Glenn Gould.
> Anne Smith

Uh oh, Anne, all this talk technical talk about Gould's piano and here we go
making more subjective value judgments again.

Let me say a few words and then I'll stop and let someone else pick up the

Number One, his tone is so bitter and haughty, we know it cannot be trusted.
He's really going out of his way to make Gould sound bad and dismissive of
his friends.  For example, he closes chapter Five with  "Some where within
the last three years of his life, he gave up on 318 altogether and began
playing a Yamaha piano.  I can only assume he believed that it provided him
with an appropriate combination of tactile and acoustical suitability.  The
switch does seem to indicate, however, that 318 had never quite gotten back
into its original mechanical shape.  So it joined a growing list of
abandoned old friends and colleagues."

Notice all the assumptions and the swings in tone.  Maybe there's something
really wrong with Cd 318, maybe there isn't and if he's so unsure he should
refrain from saying that emotionally charged and hurtful last sentence.
Bad writing, in other words.  Losing control of the facts and his tone.
What did Gould do with CD 318?  Does anyone know?  Where was it stored in
his last years?  Kazdin should go into this if his going to make such strong

Number two: page 174.  He talks about Gould buying CD 318, but doesn't make
it plain that Gould paid for the instrument in 1974, after it was damaged.
He says "The complications of customs charges and other bureaucratic matters
made it particularly difficult for Steinway in New york to rationalize the
costs of maintaining one of their instruments in Canada full time.  They
made Gould one of those offers that cannot be refused, and he responded by
buying piano 318 from them..."

No mention in that passage of the damage to CD 318 and all the repairs that
were being done to it, or speculation that perhaps Gould wanted to own the
instrument so he could make all the adjustments he needed without worrying
about what Steinway thought.  Kazdin tips his hand in the end with his talk
of Gould abandoning CD 318, but isn't it likely he bought CD 318 so he can
make as radical surgery on it as needed to get it back in its old shape.
Couldn't it be he wanted CD 318 do heal it?

Bad writing not to consider that.

Number three: Kazdin tried to dramatize the scene of the discovery of the
damage to CD 318, even going so far as to use quotation marks without citing
a source!, in which someone at Eaton's supposedly said to Verne Edquist that
"We've just had an accident.  Someone's dropped a full-sized grand."

Now this is too sensational, and Kazdin tries to cover his butt by saying
"officially" no one admitted responsibility for the damage.  Bad writing,
trying to make the Eaton movers look bad.

Here he is own the Handel recording.

"It has always amused me that upon the release of the Handel record, critics
and musicologists had a field day, attempting to draw deep meaning from the
fact that after so many years of recording on the piano, Gould suddenly
switched to the harpsichord.  Gleefully they would delve into the
psychological ramifications of the change and in every possible way strain
to unearth some hidden meaning.  Regardless of how hard they tried, the real
explanation remained the same: Someone dropped the piano."

Notice the condescension, the haughtiness, the superior I kno"w more than
all those learned geeks" tone.  Notice the over-simplification.  Gould had
made tapes of playing Bach on the Wittmayer before the drop.  Isn't the real
reason for recording the Handel a bit more complex than a simple
unavailability and damaging of CD 318?  Hadn't Gould made other recordings
on different pianos?  Hadn't he recorded on the Wittmayer before?  Isn't
Gould's recording of them more complex than CD 318 simply being unavailable?

I think the answer if yes, although Kazdin, in an ugly effort to make
himself look good, says no.

Bad writing in other words.

And that epilogue, about Gould's brain swelling after his stroke.  "The
irony is overwhelming.  His brain...his greatest asset, is what killed him."

Okay, let's take all this bad rhetoric apart.  First of all, the irony is
almost certainly not overwhelming that Gould would die of swelling of the
brain after a stroke.  Such a grand word "overwhelming."  Second, I would
assume that the brains of human beings are always their most valuable
assets. Nothing special about Gould in this case. No brain; no person.  No
need to point this out to us.  And his brain did not kill him.  There was a
blood clot in his right cavernous sinus and his internal carotid artery,
which, according to Dr. Ostwald, "was the immediate cause of circulatory
impairment to the right side of Gould's brain and the resulting paralysis,
coma and death."

I offer to you Ostwald's account of what happened to Gould as being much
more descriptive and appropriate to what really happened and killed Gould.
It makes more sense to me to talk about that clot being the cause of Gould's
death, not the swelling that occurred as a result of the clot.  Kazdin again
makes a gesture towards reason when he says "Apparently they trauma of [a
stroke] causes the brain to enlarge..."

Why the "apparently?"  Why go so far out into the dramatic realm of is
wonderful brain killed him?

Trauma and pressure TO his brain killing him, not simply his brain.

Bad writing.

Kazdin also says the "doctors administered every kind of treatment known to
them in an effort to reduce the swelling."

Every kind of treatment?!  Really.  I doubt this.  For example, I've heard
that it helps to open up the skull to relieve the pressure on the brain, but
I don't think this was done in Gould's case.

Once again, bad writing for the sake of sounding "dramatic."

At the beginning of chapter three, Kazdin says "Gould's brain was his chief
asset, his most loyal companion, and in the end, his mortal enemy."

Bad writing.   His brain was not his mortal enemy.  The blood clot was, the
pressure was, the damaged caused to his brain by the pressure and lack of
oxygen to his brain, but not simply his brain.

Those are some of the many exambles I could pull out of Kazdin's book to
show why it is written badly.