Talk:Milton Babbitt

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Citation style[edit]

A banner has been placed on this article, stating "This article's citation style may be unclear. The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation, footnoting, or external linking". The current citation style is Chicago Manual of Style, author-date, parenthetical citation format. This is one of a large number of citation styles recommended at Wikipedia:Citing_sources#How_to_present_citations. This style is consistently used throughout this article, and footnotes are not used, so these two possibilities are not at issue. There are two external links embedded in the article itself, one in the list of Babbitt's writings, and one in the References list (apart from the External links section, of course). Is the recommendation to do with these external links, or with the style of citation? Please explain.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:29, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I don't make these tags up, they have a purpose. I do however, draw a very distinct difference between citations and inline external links. The article in my opinion, is currently a bit of an eyesore... probably not due to its major contributors, but because it's littered with CN-tags from readers who rightfully seem to be challenging an awful lot of content here. If the references listed are indeed valid, there's really no reason why they cannot be converted to inline citations to replace some of these CN-tags and give the readers what they want and deserve. My tag is not a badge of shame, it's a request for someone who truly respects the article to address obvious citation issues that existed before I discovered the article myself. Would you rather see it cleaned up, or argue in favour of unsightliness?  -- WikHead (talk) 03:47, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Fair enough, though I do not regard a CN tag as a citation at all, let alone a "citation style". Yes, I agree that these CN tags should be replaced with inline citations—that is what they are for. As a matter of fact, I was responsible for inserting many of these tags, when I could not find verification for the claims to which they are attached. The banner that you used, however, suggests that the formats used for inline citations ought to be changed to some other format. To that extent, it is misleading. In this circumstance, I am in the habit of using {{Refimprove}} instead, though some editors object to having both this banner and the specific in-text markers. I suggest that this banner should be substituted here. Inline external links are a separate problem. They are strongly discouraged in the Wikipedia guidelines, and should be replaced by propr inline citations, with the external links attached only to a properly formatted identifier in the list of references.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:48, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps it seems ridiculous to have many tags in an article to indicate only two errors. Hyacinth (talk) 04:42, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

I see you got there ahead of me Hyacinth. Thanks for changing the banner. However, there are many more than two CN markers—it is the embedded external links that number only two.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:07, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

This could easily have been resolved, had you replaced my original {{inline}} tag with {{refimprove}} in the beginning. {{Inline}} however, is not misleading when no inline citations exist, but have been requested. This tagging assumes that the requested information already existed within the reference list, as the challenged content should never have existed as prose otherwise. (i.e. We write from source material, rather than writing first and looking for supporting references later.) It's obvious that we are both here for the betterment of the project... so please feel free to drop me a note sometime if there's ever anything we can work together on.  -- WikHead (talk) 05:49, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

I see now where you were coming from. For what it's worth, the requisite information is not found in any of the items in the reference list—at least, none that I have been able to check. I have no idea whether the person who originally wrote this material meant to follow the precept you quote, but I think it unlikely. People do tend to write things that they "know", rather than what is present in the sources they put at the end of an article. I have been guilty of this myself. We always expect to find the sources to verify what we write, of course … In this case, it has been a very long time, as you point out.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:00, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Well I'll trust that you'll eventually address those two inline external links, and perhaps gracefully trim back some of the dated-unsourced, if not today, whenever it's convenient. I'm sure it would go a long way with helping the article present itself in a cleaner manner. I'm pleased that we have both been able to understand the other's viewpoint and reasoning, and have been able to reach a well balanced discussion outcome. With that said, it looks like my work here is done... so I guess it's time to remove this one from my watchlist. Have yourself a great day, and happy editing :)  -- WikHead (talk) 06:40, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Per WikHead's comment above: "the article...[is] littered with CN-tags". Hyacinth (talk) 04:44, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes, CN-tags which date back to May and March 2009. Technically, someone "could" strip all that content away as dated-unsourced.  -- WikHead (talk) 05:05, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Endless, mindless Wikipedia lists[edit]

It appears (estimating very roughly) that lists make up about four fifths of this article. Notice that the New York Times on-line obituary is a full two cyber-space pages (each requires scrolling) and yet only a handfull of his compositions is named and only a couple of students. This is the professional model to follow.

I'm leaving the list of compositions alone for now, but I'm going take out the entire list of students and incorporate a few of the significant names (like Sondheim) into the text of the article itself. If you want to add more, feel free, just so long as you provide a full justification here for EACH individual student you add. If you want really to contribute to the article, though, add actual text. Thanks. TheScotch (talk) 06:43, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

A key part of Babbitt's legacy, like that of Roger Sessions, is that an unusually large number of his students were themselves of great consequence. I'm not going to restore the list, but it's arguably appropriate.38.105.214.33 (talk) 16:38, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I am siding with TheScotch on this one, though I agree with the point about the unusually large number of students being of great consequence. The advantage to presenting such names in the text is that it offers the opportunity to explain just why these former students became important, instead of relying on the reader already to know. Wikipedia guidelines discourage lists, for this reason amongst others.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:54, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Place of birth[edit]

The current New Grove article by Elaine Barkin/Martin Brody lists his birthplace as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, not Philadelphia, Mississippi. Is there any evidence that this edit is actually correct? Antandrus (talk) 19:29, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Additionally, if Britannica is reliable enough for us, here is a further cite on Pennsylvania. Antandrus (talk) 19:38, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

There is apparently a need by two individuals to censor an important fact related to Babbitt.[edit]

I'll give this one more try before proceeding to a formal Dispute Resolution Request.

Here is the paragraph in question containing my last edit:

In 1958, Babbitt achieved unsought notoriety through an article in the popular magazine High Fidelity (Babbit 1958). Babbitt himself said his title for the article was "The Composer as Specialist", a statement that seems to be contradicted by the published article's first line: "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist' or, alternatively, and perhaps less contentiously, 'The Composer as Anachronism.'" He also said, "The editor, without my knowledge and—therefore—my consent or assent, replaced my title by the more 'provocative' one: 'Who Cares if You Listen?' a title which reflects little of the letter and nothing of the spirit of the article" (Babbitt 1991, 17).

I tried very hard to be as neutral as possible about pointing out that the first sentence as quoted above could not have existed in an article entitled "The Composer as Specialist", as Babbitt claims. It seems that neither Jerome Kohl nor antandrus is able to perceive that the unavoidable, inescapable meaning of the first sentence Babbitt's article is that the article was not entitled "The Composer as Specialist". (If "this article might have been entitled" x, it was not entitled x, contradicting any claim that it was entitled x.) There is nothing "original" (as in "original research") about drawing that conclusion - the contradiction between Babbitt's two statements is implicit. Therefore, one of two things must be true: either Babbitt was not accurate when he said that his title for the article was "The Composer as Specialist", or he did not write and was not aware of the first sentence of the article. I am fine with mentioning those two possibilities, but frankly don't see the need to. So what we have is Kohl and antandrus's claim that pointing out the contradiction is "original", although it is in fact implicit, vs. my claim that their constant deletion of my addition is a result of their bias, i.e. a non-neutral point of view, a violation of one of Wikipedia's primary editorial tenets. I support this claim with the fact that they constantly delete even a mention of the first sentence of the article as well as my indication of the problem it presents. I'll await their response before proceeding to a more formal complaint. Colbyhawkins

No, it is not the juxtaposition of two facts that constitutes original research—it is drawing a conclusion from them (what is called "improper synthesis") that violates the guideline. The fact that Babbitt did publish the article under his originally intended title (with the first sentence unaltered) ought to be sufficient refutation of the alleged obviousness of this claim (and he further asserts that High Fidelity eventually published an acknowledgment of this fact, though he did not cite the issue and page number) but, even disregarding all this, the fact remains that Wikipedia policy requires that any claim (and especially a contentious one) must be verified by a reliable third-party source. If you have one, then please produce it, and I shall sit quietly down.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:14, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Oh, yes, I forgot to remind you that, in addition to myself and Antandrus, you seem to have drawn User:Heimstern into this business.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:18, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Precisely -- JK said it quite well. Colby, in order to include your contention you have to find it in a third-party reliable source. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 23:40, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

I will not bother to address the above until you provide a citation proving your assertion that Babbitt published the article under the title "The Composer as Specialist" and containing as its first sentence, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist' or, alternatively, and perhaps less contentiously, 'The Composer as Anachronism.'" Colbyhawkins (talk) 23:36, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

That he intended it to be published as "The Composer as Specialist" is in the 1991 cite by Babbitt already. Also in the Gramophone Magazine obit, and the NY Times obit. Lots of other places too, I'm sure. Antandrus (talk) 23:40, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Kohl did not say Babbitt "intended" to publish the article under the title "The Composer as Specialist", he said that Babbitt did publish it under that title. Your obit references are not citations - you need to provide the quote that supports Kohl's assertion from the obits you refer to. You won't, of course, because you know that they do not say what you claim. So do I - I've read them - they're available online. I have to say this is getting a bit surreal. Colbyhawkins (talk) 00:17, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, that is precisely what I said, and one example (Babbitt's Collected Writings) is cited in the article, so I must assume that you have checked this and are now satisfied on that point. However, I feel constrained to point out that obituaries and the like can also be used as citations, so long as they support assertions made in articles.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:10, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps you are not clear what the difference between a citation and a reference is. I've explained it to Antandrus above. His sudden reticence in the matter suggests that he now understands that difference. You should ask him to explain it to you. Now, just so that I understand, what you are claiming is that in his "Collected Writings", by which I presume you mean "The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt" (it seems someone should also explain to you when and when not to use quotation marks), published in 2003, which you have held in your hands and read, Babbitt included "Who Cares if You Listen" and titled it, "The Composer as Specialist", retaining, without further explanation, the first sentence of the original, which began, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist'...". Is this what you are claiming?

It is possible, Jerome, that you may be unfamiliar with the common English phrase, "might have been", as in, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist'". I will here attempt to explain it to you. "Might" is the past of "may", an auxiliary verb connoting possibility, as in, "It may rain today." "Have been" is the past perfect of "to be". The phrase "may have been" expresses possibility in the present, but of an event in the past: "The door may have been left open last night." However, as I've mentioned, "might" is the past of "may", thus the phrase "might have been" says that the condition of possibility that existed in the past no longer does: "But for my poor eyesight, I might have been an astronaut." One may be sure from the preceding that I am not an astronaut. Often, in sentences using "might have been", the condition that excludes the condition of possibility is omitted because it is implicit or otherwise understood. Thus, when Babbitt writes, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist", the possibility of the article being so entitled no longer exists - it is in the past. When he wrote that opening sentence, he assumed it would be clear to the reader that the condition that made that title impossible was evident. Of course, that condition was that the article did not bear that title. So, while the opening sentence of the Babbitt article does not state that the title was "Who Cares if You Listen?", it does state that the title was not "The Composer as Specialist" or "The Composer as Anachronism". That is not my opinion - that is fact. Thus, no article with this first sentence could bear either of these titles. Something, therefore, must be amiss when Babbitt says that he gave the article to the publisher with the title, "The Composer as Specialist". This is not a matter of "personal research" - it is simply a case of two statements, both of which cannot be true. Antandrus, in his comments, has admitted this, theorizing that the editor wrote the first sentence, too. For this reason, Jerome, I believe you must be "mistaken" about what Babbitt published.

Gentlemen, I am tiring of this exercise. The below represents my final offer:

"In 1958, Babbitt achieved unsought notoriety through an article in the popular magazine High Fidelity (Babbit 1958). Babbitt himself said his title for the article was "The Composer as Specialist" (although the published article's first sentence was, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist' or, alternatively, and perhaps less contentiously, 'The Composer as Anachronism.'" (Fisk and Nichols, 387)), and that "The editor, without my knowledge and — therefore — my consent or assent, replaced my title by the more 'provocative' one: 'Who Cares if You Listen?' a title which reflects little of the letter and nothing of the spirit of the article" (Babbitt 1991, 17).

In it, I make no claim. I simply quote the easily verifiable first sentence of Babbitt's article. If you accept, you may do the edit, or let me know and I will do it. If you do not accept or do not respond here, I will do the edit. If you delete it, I will proceed to more formal modes of complaint, in which I will postulate that you both understand English, thus must have an ulterior motive for deleting something factual and so obviously germane as my inclusion.Colbyhawkins (talk) 13:59, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

I disagree with the inclusion; I think including the first sentence is not important. Either it was added by the editor, or more likely by Babbitt himself after he learned of the impending publication of the article with the editor's new title. Antandrus (talk) 23:03, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

That's nice that you disagree. So far as I know, Wikipedia is not centered on what you "think" (unless I've overlooked that tenet). Inclusion of the first sentence of the published article is obviously germane. I've got on order from my public library the Babbitt Essays. When I have it and can prove that Jerry is "mistaken" about the article being intact under the "original" title, I'll also prove both of you petty liars who would rather hide true information and provide false information to the public than admit they were wrong. It'll be a few days. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Colbyhawkins (talkcontribs) 12:23, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Well, I had the idea to look up the Collected Essays on Google Books, and it's there. Jerry, you're either a liar or a simpleton - Babbitt NEVER published the essay with the title "The Composer as Specialist". Of all the collections containing the essay, only the editor of the 2003 collection, one Stephen Peles who teaches, I think, in Alabama, decided to publish it with that title, at least according to Mr. Peles's introduction. I think I now understand why I get a chuckle whenever I mention Wikipedia in mixed company. I'll be in touch. Colbyhawkins (talk) 18:16, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

All charm and logic, as usual, I see, Mister Hawkins. I take it you would have us all believe that Babbitt was completely unaware of the project to publish his collected writings, that Peles and his co-editors did not consult him on the matter, and as a consequence Babbitt cannot be said to have "published" this essay under his preferred title. By this reasoning he never "published" the essay at all, ever since it originally appeared, "published by" High Fidelity magazine. The neat logic of this truly does make my head spin. It has not seemed necessary up until now to track down the other two publications Babbitt refers to in his 1991 essay (one in English, the other in German), in which his essay appeared under his preferred title, but it really doesn't matter now that you have conclusively proved that he never published it at all, does it?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:04, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Except for ineptly written Wikipedia articles, citations (you know, those things you aren't familiar with) for collections generally specify at least the main editor, followed by "et al.". Before I realized how inept the citation method is in this article, I assumed that Babbitt had gathered his essays together and published them in 2003, since only his name appeared in the citation. When you said "Babbitt did publish the article under its originally intended title", you wanted to give exactly that false impression. According to Peles's introduction, his is possibly the sole collection in which the essay bears its "originally intended" title. The other editors mentioned by Peles, no doubt supporters of Babbitt, and no doubt at least as much in touch with Babbitt as Peles, were in all likelihood able to see how ridiculous that title looks over the first sentence, something that you, Antandrus, and apparently Peles cannot (or perceive as, how did you put it, "improper synthesis - I'm gonna remember that one), and so decided to publish under the originally published title. I assure you that Babbitt, apparently unlike Peles, was bright enough to perceive how ridiculous his "intended" title appears over his first sentence - that is why what you said could never be. In fact, if what you say is true, and Peles did consult with Babbitt, it invalidates Antandrus's brilliant theory that the evil HF publisher wrote the first sentence, too. We'll just leave it to the powers that be at Wikipedia to determine whether or not you and Antandrus have done the WP community a service by constantly deleting any mention of the first sentence of Babbitt's article, shall we? Sheesh, is this what happens to one's brain when one spends one's life trying to make sense out of nonsense? Colbyhawkins (talk) 22:13, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Instead of spewing this insult-riddled babble of 12,000 characters plus, here and on my talk page, why don't you just consider the incredible possibility that maybe you are wrong? Three people so far have removed your sentence. You go on and on about "censorship" as though were are part of some conspiracy to suppress your "fact". Is it really that hard to consider that maybe it's not us, but you? Antandrus (talk) 22:35, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

I haven't yet proceeded with my formal complaint - I'm waiting for one more bit of information, which I will perhaps have tomorrow, so please tell me what, precisely, am I wrong about? Colbyhawkins (talk) 01:21, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Re: "According to Peles's introduction, his is possibly the sole collection in which the essay bears its 'originally intended' title. The other editors mentioned by Peles, no doubt supporters of Babbitt, and no doubt at least as much in touch with Babbitt as Peles, were in all likelihood able to see how ridiculous that title looks over the first sentence, something that you, Antandrus, and apparently Peles cannot (or perceive as, how did you put it, 'improper synthesis - I'm gonna remember that one), and so decided to publish under the originally published title."
I have on my shelf a copy of a book called Music in the Western World: A History in Documents assembled and edited and annotated by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin in which Babbitt's essay appears under the title "The Composer as Specialist". Weiss and Taruskin note that it was originally published in a popular magazine (I think that's approximately how they put it) as--against Babbitt's wishes--"Who Cares if You Listen?"
My own gut feeling, by the way, is that the popular magazine in question, being a popular magazine, wanted a catchy title and really didn't expect its readership to suppose that any of its titles were necessarily supplied by the authors of its articles. I also feel that if you actually read the article you may reasonably conclude that the difference between these titles is largely one of tone (a huge difference in tone, of course, but still primarily just a difference in tone), and that the tone of "Who Cares if You Listen?" radically diverges also from the tone of the actual article, such that I doubt very many readers would have been fooled and, for that matter, that there was any intention to fool anyone. The controversy probably erupted (I'm guessing) from its being reported that Babbitt had published an article with this title, which is how these sorts of things usually go. TheScotch (talk) 20:42, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

":I have on my shelf a copy of a book called Music in the Western World: A History in Documents assembled and edited and annotated by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin in which Babbitt's essay appears under the title "The Composer as Specialist"."

OK, let me ask you to go to your shelf and see if the article begins, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist'".Colbyhawkins (talk) 21:47, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

The following is a paste from Antandrus's talk page, Antandrus addressing me:

"You seem insistent to include the first sentence of the article. I don't think it's necessary. If you do, make the case on the talk page of the article, not here. We operate by consensus on Wikipedia. Including that sentence, to me, insinuates that Babbitt intended to publish it in High Fidelity under a title other than "The Composer as Specialist" which contradicts what he said himself. Antandrus (talk) 15:09, 7 June 2011 (UTC)"

Antandrus, after all of the above discussion, refuses to cite specifically how I am "wrong", and is actually again asking me to "make the case" for the first sentence's inclusion in the WP Babbitt article. This is without doubt a visit to the loony bin. Here's the case yet again, just for you, Ant:

The WP article presently says:

"Babbitt said his own title for the article was "The Composer as Specialist" (as it was later published several times, including in Babbitt 2003, 48–54), and "The editor, without my knowledge and—therefore—my consent or assent, replaced my title by the more 'provocative' one: 'Who Cares if You Listen?' a title which reflects little of the letter and nothing of the spirit of the article" (Babbitt 1991, 17)."

An article with the title "The Composer as Specialist" CANNOT begin "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist'". Therefore, when Babbitt said that he submitted the article with that title, one of two things must be true: either he was incorrect, or the article was different. That is not my opinion, nor is it "improper synthesis". It is fact, notwithstanding what some associate professor in Alabama decided to publish. For reasons known only to you, you want to shield the public from that fact. I have a problem with that, and so should any person responsible for WP's objectivity.Colbyhawkins (talk) 17:02, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

I will politely ignore your latest ad hominem attacks and remind you for about the seventh time to read WP:NPA and WP:CIVILITY. Those are policies, not suggestions.
Let's hear what the others have to say. Include the first sentence of the article? I say no, as it's unimportant. (It was probably inserted by Babbitt after a conversation with the editor, or by the editor himself, but that doesn't matter.) Antandrus (talk) 17:08, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Colbyhawkins is asserting that Babbitt has been lying for fifty years; that he originated or at least consented to the title "Who Cares If You Listen," and wrote or amended the first line of the article accordingly; and that the editors and staff of High Fidelity who might have exposed that lie have kept his secret. He also asserts that this is an "important fact."
So it's time for Occam's razor: the simplest explanation is that the first sentence as submitted was something like: "This article might have been entitled alternatively, and perhaps less contentiously, 'The Composer as Anachronism.'"
This explanation is simplest because it is consistent with the known facts, it is common for editors to edit, and it is uncommon for secrets to be kept successfully for fifty years. The title in question would also be extremely uncharacteristic for this particular writer (who has a large published corpus for comparison), which adds to the unlikelihood of Colbyhawkins's hypothesis. NeoAdamite (talk) 20:25, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Also, Colbyhawkins implies that the many reprints under the more famous name somehow supports his assertion. They don't, but in any case the essay was published under "The Composer as Specialist" in "Esthetics contemporary" (ed. Richard Kostelanetz, Buffalo, N.Y. : 1978). I don't have a copy of that text (or its 1989 reprint), so I can't check the first line. NeoAdamite (talk) 20:40, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

I have to say that this is simply laughable. Antandrus uses "ad hominem", a Latin phrase the meaning of which he is obviously unclear about, to escape from citing precisely what I am wrong about as well as to avoid addressing the simple issue presented above, namely that no article entitled "The Composer as Specialist" can begin, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist'". It's SO SIMPLE. Now comes NeoAdamite with his own contribution, where he has me "asserting" that Babbitt has been lying for fifty years. Please, Neo, why don't you cite the quote of mine where I assert that or that that assertion is an important fact or any of the other fantastic things your "mind" has lamely constructed from what I've written? You are both obviously, completely befuddled, and stellar examples of why WP has the reputation it does. Please, Neo, don't forget the cite.Colbyhawkins (talk) 00:07, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Anyway, I have complied with Coblyhawkins's request and dislodged from my shelf the Weiss and Taruskin book. In the process it came to be, to my dismay, rather like Shelley's Promethius. My memory appears somewhat the worse for wear (who knew?) as well: Weiss and Taruskin have grouped the Babbitt essay with a 1971 speech of George Rochberg and collectively titled the two pieces "The Composer and Society". Their introduction to the former includes this remark: "One of the most influential expositions of the elete hermeticism of many twentieth-century composers is Milton Babbitt's article 'The Composer as Specialist,' which appeared originally in a mass-circulation music magazine under a rather more belligerent title supplied by the editor [and not given here]." The first sentence of the essay proper as published here is "I am concerned with stating an attitude towards the indisputable facts of the status and condition of the composer of what we will, for the moment, designate as 'serious', 'advanced' contemporary music." TheScotch (talk) 02:33, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
Re: "Let's hear what the others have to say. Include the first sentence of the ["Composer as Specialist"] article?":
I don't think we should, and I also think there is too much emphasis on this essay ("The Composer as Specialist") as the Wikipedia article currently stands, especially on the essay's various titles. Otherwise, the Wikipedia article is too brief. (Compare it to the New York Times obituary.) TheScotch (talk) 02:48, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

I suppose I should show up and state my opinion, since I removed the content at one point. I stand by my actions essentially for reasons Antandrus has already given. It is not Wikipedia's place to make commentary about how Babbitt's assertions don't agree with the given text. Wikipedia does not create new criticisms; it only reports them, so this content should be included only if it can be reliably sourced. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 06:54, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

I wish to thank TheScotch for his honesty. I must say, I don't know which is worse, an editor so incredibly stupid that he publishes an article beginning, "This article might have been entitled 'The Composer as Specialist'" under the title "The Composer as Specialist", or one who takes it upon himself to comply with the author's complaint by making an unreferenced edit to the article in order to make it consistent with the title. One thing is certain - when Babbitt lodged his complaint, it was inaccurate. It was either inaccurate because he was lying in order to assuage the criticism that the article under its published title garnered, or it was inaccurate because it was incomplete, in that he did not mention that the evil HF editor changed more than the title. My personal opinion is the former, for a few reasons. First, it's difficult to imagine that an editor would change the title and the first sentence, and Babbitt would neglect to mention the latter in his complaint. Second, Babbitt had a reputation that was damaged by the article. Most who have been defamed in such a manner would sue, not necessarily to collect damages, but to publicize the truth. He, of course, did not. In terms of style, the original first sentence of the article appears to be consistent in style with the remainder (that is purely subjective). I could, however, imagine the first sentence as: "This article might have been entitled, perhaps less contentiously, 'The Composer as Anachronism.'" I agree with TheScotch that the difference between the two titles is largely one of tone - the meaning is basically the same. I don't think anyone could seriously disagree with this, since specialists as described in the article by definition don't care whether non-specialists listen. Yet, Babbitt said that the published title "reflects little of the letter and nothing of the spirit of the article". I wonder - how so? Colbyhawkins (talk) 12:16, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

What we think about what Babbitt did is scarcely the point here. The point is what reliable sources tell us. If there is to be any info on this discrepancy between Babbitt's statements and the actual article content, it must be based on reliable sources. It is beyond our remit as Wikipedia editors to make such observations ourselves. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 03:41, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I completely agree that opinion of what happened is not the point. However, what you folks don't seem to grasp is that, in this case, what reliable sources tell us is not the point, either. What IS the point is that two facts do not agree. We as WP editors should present all the facts, not just the ones we may be partial to. Thus, the article currently reads:

"Babbitt said his own title for the article was "The Composer as Specialist" (as it was later published several times, including in Babbitt 2003, 48–54), and "The editor, without my knowledge and—therefore—my consent or assent, replaced my title by the more 'provocative' one: 'Who Cares if You Listen?' a title which reflects little of the letter and nothing of the spirit of the article" (Babbitt 1991, 17)."

It presents one fact, but not another that contradicts that one. My edit would read:

"Babbitt said his own title for the article was "The Composer as Specialist" (as it was later published several times, including in Babbitt 2003, 48–54, although it begins, "This article might have been entitled "The Composer as Specialist"), and "The editor, without my knowledge and—therefore—my consent or assent, replaced my title by the more 'provocative' one: 'Who Cares if You Listen?' a title which reflects little of the letter and nothing of the spirit of the article" (Babbitt 1991, 17)."

My version draws no conclusion, and makes, as you put it, no "observation". It simply balances one fact with another. If the mention of the opening words is an "observation", then so is the mention of Babbitt stating that he intended the article to be published under another title. Colbyhawkins (talk) 12:53, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Let's consider this in connection with the preceding sentence in the Wikipedia article, the antecedent for "the [High Fidelity] article: "In 1958, Babbitt achieved unsought notoriety through an article in the popular magazine High Fidelity (Babbitt 1958)". The "unsought" is POV. The "(Babbitt 1958)" is redundant on both counts (just list in bib.). In the following sentence, the "Babbitt said" is clumsy and amateurish. At most it might be replaced with According to Babbitt, but it would be better still to leave attribution of this claim to a footnote. Neither should should we quote Babbitt's full complaint, and the sentence beginning "More than thirty years later..." should be deleted entirely. Instead, just note the putatively intended title "The Composer as Specialist", and don't mention subsequent publication of the same essay. We should be able to reduce three long sentences to one short sentence.
I have the impression, by the way, that we are allowed to express personal opinion in the discussion page just so long as it clarifies our arguments about what should go in the article proper (which should not, of course, reflect our personal opinion). My personal opinion is that Babbitt obviously intended his essay to be provocative, which is why he published it in "a popular magazine" in the first place. He might possibly have been just a bit naive about popular magazines and their editorial practices and about how popular culture behaves when provoked. In any case, (also in my personal opinion) Babbitt makes too big a deal of this, our Wikipedia article makes too big a deal of this, and this discussion page makes too big a deal of this. So, not just "just the facts, ma'am", but "just the facts, ma'am" that matter (in our editorial judgment). TheScotch (talk) 01:09, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
Good points, all of them. To which I might add that, not only is "unsought" POV, but there is no support for the claim that Babbitt achieved notoriety through this article. This should reduce the whole thing from one short sentence to half of one.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:59, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree as well -- let's cut it back -- this importance of this incident is greatly exaggerated (not that it matters, but I remember Babbitt himself expressing such a sentiment at one of his lectures). The article needs expansion, particularly with regards to his music, and it's at least slightly humorous that argument over a single detail within this minor affair fills up most of this talk page. Antandrus (talk) 04:04, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Wow, thank you all for a rational discussion. I agree, too, especially with the stylistic criticism of TheScotch. I found the article terribly clumsy and unprofessional, especially after the most recent edits (which appeared to me more intended to say, "SO THERE" to me than to create a good article), and would have commented on this as well, but my attitude towards WP had soured due to the bullying of certain editors. I am open to the article not mentioning what MB "intended", and therefore no mention of the opening of the article, or to mentioning both.Colbyhawkins (talk) 13:17, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

This sounds like consensus has been achieved, since Mr Hawkins has been up until now the sole voice of dissent.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:43, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Um, thank you for the vote of confidence, however I'm not completely sure it's well deserved. If you read what I said, you'll see that I have suggested that omitting mention of MB's intent as well as the opening is fine, or mentioning his intent and balancing it with the opening is fine, too. If that is what you all have been saying all along, that's great for you and WP, but I'll need to visit a neurologist at my earliest convenience. I'm pretty sure that when I came upon this article, which seems like an eternity ago, it mentioned MB's intent, but not the opening. I tried to correct that, I was told that mere mention of the first line is, what was it now, ah yes, "improper synthesis"(although what exactly was being synthesized by including the opening, I'm still unsure of) and "original research" (for that to be the case, I'd have to be the only person in the world who read the opening of the article). Colbyhawkins (talk) 21:06, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

One thing that just occurred to me, and this is not for the article, but just a personal observation. If Babbitt considered what he was writing so specialized that there was no point for non-specialists to attempt to comprehend, let alone appreciate or enjoy it (i.e. not only did he not care if they listen, he'd really recommend against it), why, according to the (Babbitt 1991, 17) quote, did he seem to care so very much about what those very same non-specialists thought about his attitude that he tried to assign blame for it not to the article itself, but rather to a title he supposedly didn't write? I think TheScotch's observation about MB's aim in publishing in a non-specialist's medium is well-founded. Colbyhawkins (talk) 03:44, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

So, gentlemen, where do we go from here? Heimstern and Antandrus have not agreed to mediation, the former because of the very reason mediation was requested, which is, of course, absurd, and the latter supposedly because Heimstern wasn't initially mentioned (he stated that 2 parties were missing, but when asked to specify the one besides Heimstern, declined). This has resulted in my request for mediation being rejected. It seems that certain people want to bully their points of view into WP and are uncomfortable participating in a fair process that might bruise their egos en route to arriving at the most objective, balanced information being exhibited.Colbyhawkins (talk) 18:39, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Five editors. I'll let you count them; they're on this very page. On Wikipedia, when consensus is unanimously against you, you move on and do something else. That is the case here. What we have here is a solitary editor -- YOU -- pushing an unsupportable point of view that Babbitt was not telling the truth about his intended article title. Nothing to mediate, consensus against you, we're done. Antandrus (talk) 19:14, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't suppose it matters, but a close reading of Babbit's text suggests that the unwanted title is not at all unfair. Opus131 (talk) 06:00, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Add ALL SET link?[edit]

Shouldn't this work have its own page. As I understand it premiered at the Brandeis Jazz Festival, New York June 18 1957 - with Bill Evans on piano. See http://musicmavericks.publicradio.org/features/interview_babbitt.html Hstokar (talk) 19:52, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Such a good idea! I have implemented this already, though there is still work to be done. Cheers!—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:15, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Robert Miller[edit]

Can we make a stub on pianist Robert Miller? Very important to Babbitt and other composers in the 60's. Here is his obituary in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1981/12/01/obituaries/robert-miller-pianist-lawyer.htmlHstokar (talk) 21:48, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that much shouldn't be too much to ask. As informative as it is, I would like to have just a little bit more than that obituary to work with, though. Let me see what I can find.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:16, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
It has been started, though the discography has got a long way to go yet.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:44, 3 November 2012 (UTC)