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#354990 - 12/12/05 11:51 PM You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
"The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity."

-- Glenn Gould, pianist
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#354991 - 12/13/05 12:55 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Requiem Aeternam Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1395
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
sorry I always hated the verbose quote and its bombastic originator.. Love his goldbergs though \:\)

personally I disagree because I don't think art's purpose is a lifelong construction of serenity, rather the pompous author should say that's the purpose of art for HIM, but to me personally art has a far different purpose that has very little to do with serenity though maybe some with the state of wonder bit.
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"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."

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#354992 - 12/13/05 01:04 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Do you see music as something ephemeral and short-lasting, only for the momentary excitement of a performance, or rather as a continual, life-long process of education and achievement?


Or both?
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Sam

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#354993 - 12/13/05 01:27 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Requiem Aeternam Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1395
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I see music as a momentary ejection of adrenaline that courses through my body, pumps through my veins and gives me a better mood for the rest of the day to do some real work. J/K ;\) No seriously, I would have to say I see it as both. It's just that for me personally, I don't relate much to being a pianist or a musician, i.e. PLAYING MUSIC, because I'm a lousy beginner at that part. So when I think of music and art I think about creating music as composer although I believe a pianist is also a creator, summoning his tones from the palette before him (keyboard), it's just that I am saying I don't identify as much with being a pianist as I do composer and so my view is naturally slightly different. Perhaps different than Gould's, for example the momentary ejection of adrenaline bit has more to do with playing piano than composing and thus I'm assuming that's what he's talking about because a composer's art and battle resides in his struggle for sculpting his piece out from his innards rather than anything that happens in the 'moment' like playing a piano. Of course you can liken that to a composer listening to his work but I consider that almost like the epilogue, the reward for the true battle and creation process which is in the making of the piece. So, with that in mind, I don't have time at the moment to go into a long polemic about what I believe art is, but I'm just saying that to me it's not solely the adrenalin part although that is a small part of it, but something far more profound and I am just of the opinion that Gould's words, as florid as they may be, fail to express that profundity. I know it is a famous quote and many, maybe most love it, but I'll go ahead and be sole critic on this one if I must.

I don't know, after writing all that, I've re-examined the quote in my head from another standpoint, and I suppose if you use that word serenity in the sense that for me personally the great reward is the serenity that accompanies having released the demons inside and put them onto paper, into the world for example, and knowing that having brought them into expression you can now be in peace about that certain feeling. However, I just don't know if I can say at this point that this serenity is the OBJECTIVE of art rather than merely a CONSEQUENCE or RESULT.

I guess since this quote now caused me some discussion and compelled me to think a bit which I rarely do ;\) , I must go ahead and retract my earlier statement and say that the quote is DECENT until further notice.

VERDICT: QUOTE STATUS PENDING.


\:\)
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"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."

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#354994 - 12/13/05 01:27 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
pianistcomposer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 312
Loc: Baltimore, MD, USA
It's a good quote, and I especially appreciate the place from which he said it, though I disagree that the "state of wonder" is something that can be "constructed", gradually or otherwise. For me, it is something that happens in the moment of music-making, whenever "I" am lost to the moment itself. And it is a Gift, when it happens, if it happens. It can come only when you are given over, surrendered, to the love that enables it to be in the first place.
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"Some people have a way with words; others... ... ... ...not...have way, I guess."
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#354995 - 12/13/05 08:10 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Daniel-- Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 182
Richter's 1946 recording of the Liszt Wilde Jagde was an instantaneous surge of adrenalin, impulsiveness, anger, and raw passion. It was completely devoid of serenity, romanticism, or any lyricism whatsoever. It made my heart rate jump and suspended all time around me ... I LOVED IT and sat in wonder.

Other times I enjoy the music when it is ".. not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity." Gould's recordings of Strauss, Sibelius, and Scriabin fulfill that criteria perfectly =)
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Peace,
Daniel.

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#354996 - 12/13/05 01:23 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
"The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity."

-- Glenn Gould, pianist [/b]
I hate the quote. To me, it's one man trying to tell everyone what art is in some tangible form that should be impressed upon the masses. I think anyone who makes such a grand statement should be shot. That being said, the purpose of art is to the individual to decide. ;\)
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#354997 - 12/13/05 01:26 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i don't really feel that way about art (what Gould said). to me, music is not just wonder and serenity.

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#354998 - 12/13/05 02:41 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
cerulean5 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 678
Loc: USA
About the comments that have been made:

I don't think Gould's comment is bombastic at all. It's not meant to be forced down people's throats; it's a personal truth that he arrived at on his own, and is a fascinating glimpse of Gould the musician.

pianistcomposer,

I too have had moments during playing the piano where all worries and miscellaneous thoughts go away, to achieve a euphoric state of hyper-awareness. Unfortunately, it is too short-lived and never sustained.
But what if it's possible to enter that "zone" every single time you sat at the piano? It is like a meditative discipline, that allows the conversion of a fragmentary awareness into a prolonged state of awareness.

Maybe that's what Gould is getting at, when he talks about _constructing_ a state of wonder and serenity. It's a lifelong discipline.

Zen of Gould! \:\) Fascinating stuff.

--c5

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#354999 - 12/13/05 05:42 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hi,

"Life is a river, we flow along it''s banks."

Sounds good. Just doesn't mean anything.

Tomasino
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"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#355000 - 12/13/05 06:45 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1512
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I suppose he's right in that serenity can contemplate angst but not the other way around - Wordsworth's "emotion recollected in tranquillity". Many musicians, however, obviously find angst and adrenaline good generators of musical expression. The result of such expression can always be viewed from a position of serenity later on. In other words the adrenaline part is generative but not contemplative.

In a sense this is a truism. It is probably another way of expressing the Wagner versus Milhaud argument. I am by nature a contemplative, therefore I tend to strongly agree with Gould's statement in the global sense. However, as one whose primary mode of creation is improvisation, I frequently choose to abandon serenity during playing, and in that purely elective sense I have to disagree with it.

So for me I think it is true or untrue depending on whether its meaning is global or local.
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"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#355001 - 12/13/05 07:07 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1512
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Since writing that I have been for a lunchtime walk and I think I can better illustrate what the quote means to me. On Sunday, a life event began to affect me and I felt a need to improvise about it. I set up the recording gear and produced an hour of adrenaline driven improvisation. Afterwards I was like a limp rag, drained both physically and emotionally.

On Monday night, I optimised the recording onto a CD and listened to the whole thing from beginning to end in the process. I was pleased with it, very pleased indeed, but I was then sitting in the Gould contemplative chair instead of the Jarrett adrenaline chair.

There is no way that the generative experience can ever be relived in the adrenaline sense and, as time goes on and I hear it again and again, it will become progressively abstracted into the sort of thing Gould is talking about.

That is as close as I can get, I think, to explaining how I view that quotation.
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"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#355002 - 12/13/05 09:19 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Requiem Aeternam Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1395
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
thank god for derulux and signa, I feel sane again
_________________________
"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."

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#355003 - 12/13/05 10:48 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Hobie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 475
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Try defining love next!
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"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Groucho Marx

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#355004 - 12/13/05 11:53 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
"The purpose of love is not the release of a momentary ejection of [explicit-deleted] but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of orgasmic serenity."

-- Derulux, loveist :p ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#355005 - 12/14/05 12:25 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
Ha! yeah, there's always been something that seemed sexual about that quote. It's definately the "momentary ejection" part.
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JOHN

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#355006 - 12/14/05 01:04 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Orlando Gibbons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 848
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ted:
Since writing that I have been for a lunchtime walk and I think I can better illustrate what the quote means to me. On Sunday, a life event began to affect me and I felt a need to improvise about it. I set up the recording gear and produced an hour of adrenaline driven improvisation. Afterwards I was like a limp rag, drained both physically and emotionally.

On Monday night, I optimised the recording onto a CD and listened to the whole thing from beginning to end in the process. I was pleased with it, very pleased indeed, but I was then sitting in the Gould contemplative chair instead of the Jarrett adrenaline chair.

There is no way that the generative experience can ever be relived in the adrenaline sense and, as time goes on and I hear it again and again, it will become progressively abstracted into the sort of thing Gould is talking about.

That is as close as I can get, I think, to explaining how I view that quotation. [/b]
Worth repeating. (I think that's as close as anyone can get.)

Gould's quote reflects his musical attitudes. A purely musical expression of the same idea might be, "...i'm not seduced by the momentary attraction - or distraction - of a particular idea.." (he was talking about the canonic process)
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"See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!"

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#355007 - 12/14/05 03:43 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
andrewp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/04
Posts: 494
Loc: united kingdom
Or as Eric Cantona said: 'Seagulls follow the trawler because they think fish will be thrown into the sea.'

It is interesting that for all his obvious admiration for Gould, Bazzana puts the view in his biography that Gould's writings and statements about art have something verbose and half-baked about them - even something adolescent in the way that prejudices and affectations appear as reasoned opinion. Much as I like a lot of Goulds playing, at least into the late 60s, I think Bazzana is spot on here.

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#355008 - 12/14/05 06:12 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Excellent post Andrew.

I always suspect anything that Gould is quoted as saying. His missives frequently come across to me as delivered for effect, even to impress, rather than being an expression of emotional truth.

Adrian
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S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#355009 - 12/14/05 06:39 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Joyce B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 75
Loc: North Eastern USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by andrewp:
Or as Eric Cantona said: 'Seagulls follow the trawler because they think fish will be thrown into the sea.'

[/b]
actually, he said: "seagulls follow zee trawler because zay sink fish will be trown into zee sea."

and later, in a nike commercial: "all zee loozerz go home."

i agree with bazzana too. a lot of what gould said could be tongue in cheek or adolescent rambling.

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#355010 - 12/14/05 11:09 AM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Daniel-- Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 182
OOOH AHHH CANTONA, OH AH CANTONA !

Eric Cantona was such a star!
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Peace,
Daniel.

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#355011 - 12/14/05 01:22 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
kcoul058 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/04
Posts: 972
Loc: UBC, Vancouver, Canada
I think it's very possible that without Gould here himself to explain exactly what he meant by that kind of vague remark, that those who disagree may have simply misinterpretted the meaning of the quote.

I think I know what he's really getting at it and would be happy to share my interpretation if anyone would like to hear it.

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#355012 - 12/14/05 08:28 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Cadence Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/26/05
Posts: 2
Loc: Texas, USA
I read the quote for the first time and I liked it. It was a bit verbose and slightly affected in my opinion, but I liked the way it rolled off of my tongue.

Then I read everyone else's posts and opinions, and mulled over them for a bit.

Now I am at a loss.

I play many different things. Sometimes my music is like honey flowing from my fingertips, a sweet prayer floating on the breath of life to heaven. Other times it is like the scream of a suicide jumper when they realize that they actually jumped and now nothing is going to save them from the inevitable force of gravity.

Sometimes it is happy and light, others it is desperate and searching. Other times it is dark and lonely.

My playing, however, is always an in the moment, emotionally charged, plain and simple adrenaline rush. The complicated light trills of my happiest pieces and the dark harmonies of my darkest pieces all have stemmed from some outpouring of emotion that left me drained emotionally and physically. Exhausted in that wonderful way you get when you finally managed that three mile run you've been working for.

And peaceful. Serene. Full of wonder at the thing I've created.

That is what I play for. That contentment, that peace that comes with mastering a complicated section or completing the piece you've been stuck on for weeks. The wonder and awe of the great masterpieces and the pride that comes from the completion of something of your own, whether it be masterful or just a piece of your heart on the grand staff. The peace that you gain from putting that anger, that sadness that is almost unbearable into a language that transcends the spoken word.

Maybe Gould was being adolescent, tongue-in-cheek, and unecessarily verbose. Who knows? Perhaps, however, his words do contain a bit of truth for some people, however they were spoken. The purpose of art varies from artist to artist. Some may play for the adrenaline, some for the fame, some for the money, and some for the beauty of it all. The fact that Gould was simply saying these things because he wanted to impress does not discount the validity of the words, simply the motivation behind what was spoken.

Just a thought.
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Life is like a piano...what you get out of it depends on how you play it. ~Anonymous

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#355013 - 12/14/05 09:06 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
This is being analyzed to an extreme extent. There really isn't to much reading between the lines to be done here. I don't know the context of this particular quote, but it's obvious that Gould is simply referring to the fact that art is a lifelong journey. To disagree with what he's saying is quite litigious. After all, who doesn't agree that art is a life enriching thing. It's over dramatic, but I always did love the way Gould could articulate his thought so eloquently, even if they were sometimes strange.
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JOHN

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#355014 - 12/14/05 09:15 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by bach enthusiast:
This is being analyzed to an extreme extent. There really isn't to much reading between the lines to be done here. I don't know the context of this particular quote, but it's obvious that Gould is simply refering to the fact that art is a lifelong journey. To disagree with what he's saying is quite litigous. After all, who doesn't agree that art is a life enriching thing. It's overdramatic, but I always did love the way Gould could articulate his thought so eloquently, even if they were sometimes strange. [/b]
Thank you, this is exactly what I wanted to say before (about the quote and about Gould), but I couldn't find the right words.
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#355015 - 12/14/05 09:25 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Joyce B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 75
Loc: North Eastern USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by bach enthusiast:
I don't know the context of this particular quote, but it's obvious that Gould is simply refering to the fact that art is a lifelong journey. To disagree with what he's saying is quite litigous. [/b]
So sue me. \:\)

Sorry, but gould is saying art is one thing to the exclusion of another thing, and - the fact is - it's a lot of things.

there's nothing wrong with analyzing or scrutinizing what an artist says about art.

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#355016 - 12/14/05 09:38 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Copper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 1053
Loc: Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hobie:
Try defining love next! [/b]
:) Good one.
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#355017 - 12/14/05 10:05 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
 Quote:
iginally posted by Joyce B:
[/b]
So sue me. \:\)

Sorry, but gould is saying art is one thing to the exclusion of another thing, and - the fact is - it's a lot of things.

there's nothing wrong with analyzing or scrutinizing what an artist says about art. [/QB][/QUOTE]

First of all, I don't think glenn was trying to capture the entire meaning of music in this statement.

Second, you're absolutely correct, there's nothing wrong with analyzing things, but insinuating that Gould is COMMANDING you to think of art as a lifelong quest and not a fleeting experience is argumentative and akin to picking fly sh*t out of a pile of pepper.

I was in no way trying to aim my statements at you or defend Glenn Gould; I was simply anlyzing the over analyzing \:D .
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JOHN

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#355018 - 12/14/05 10:13 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Copper:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hobie:
Try defining love next! [/b]
:) Good one. [/b]
Did you read the post right below it, Copper? (I defined love, "Gould" style.) :p ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#355019 - 12/15/05 05:35 PM Re: You've probably read it before, but I just love this quote
Copper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 1053
Loc: Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Copper:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hobie:
Try defining love next! [/b]
:) Good one. [/b]
Did you read the post right below it, Copper? (I defined love, "Gould" style.) :p ;\) [/b]
There is a certain crude symmetry to that definition. \:\)
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