Beatles juggling redux

I’m betting that in the last two weeks somebody sent you a link to the video of the guy who juggles to Beatles music. In case you are one of the people who missed this gawk-and-forward juggernaut, here it is. Chris Bliss juggles continuously throughout the entire “Golden Slumbers” medley from Abbey Road. It’s a well-choreographed routine, the crowd goes wild, and the video propagated like a wave throughout the entire blogosphere. But what was really interesting was the juggle-geek backlash. If you’re a serious juggler (I’m not), you might look at this guy Bliss and say “What a hack! Only three balls… the only thing he has to be proud of is that he went dropless for four minutes and twenty seven seconds.”

In fact, that’s exactly what a juggle-geek named Jason Garfield said. In fact, he said much worse here, if you care to read it. Garfield is a phenomenal juggler, and he posted a sort of challenge video using the exact same soundtrack as Bliss, but doing a much much harder routine with five balls. Now what do you think about that? It really leads to this question: what is the nature of entertainment? Or rather this: what do you owe your entertainer? Garfield’s opinion is clear: you owe it to him to know the difference between hack juggling and “real” juggling. If you can’t tell the difference, he don’t need your steenkin’ applause. Here’s Garfield: “It’s fine if people are entertained by this. But they should not assume he is a good juggler just because he kind of juggled to the music with three balls. A perfect example of how little people know about juggling is that one of his strongest audience response points was when he JUST juggled the BASIC pattern.” Stupid audience! Doesn’t know its juggling patterns!

People may say Bliss is a great juggler, but what they really mean is they saw him perform and they were entertained. Bliss knows how to work the crowd. John Grisham put a lot of talented writers out of work. The contempt of angry geeks is cheaply had, but an entertainer is an entertainer.

I found this last quote on Garfield’s STOLEN MATERIAL page.

… in the juggling community, if you are performing
these routines you are considered to be at least partly a hack.
The percentage of your entire act that is made up of hack material
determines the percentage of how much of a hack you are.

1. Juggling while eating an apple.
2. Passing around a volunteer and knocking something out of their mouth.
3. Juggling Chainsaws
4. Juggling Knives
5. Juggling fire (Torches)

I know I’m embarrassing you, because I saw you doing that flaming chainsaw routine of yours last weekend. You hopeless hack.

5 thoughts on “Beatles juggling redux”

  1. I’ve just recently seen both videos, and as a lay person when it comes to juggling, it’s no contest. I don’t care if Jason Garfield can juggle 22 balls to the same music, his performance is pure technique, while Bliss’ is about music and movement. Artistry, in other words. The real challenge Garfield should have accepted is to have him face off with Bliss to any piece of music, tossing only ONE ball around. Betcha Bliss would win that one too, hands, um, down.

  2. I agree with Ned. It’s like the guitar players who have learned all this technical skill, and have contempt for those who play three or four chord songs. But for all their skill, they don’t make music people like to sing along to. They’re too busy showing off for other guitar players. It isn’t how many balls you can keep in the air, it’s what you do with them. And it’s not just about the technical skill. It’s about the connection you are making with other people.

  3. I think Jason was saying “WAAAHH… Chris got the adoration and applause and I didn’t… boo hoo”.

  4. Garfield is a bitter, angry man with a massive sense of entitlement, and utter comtempt for anyone who doesn’t do things exactly as he does. The idea of people enjoying juggling for anything other than technical difficulty drives him bananas. For him the only measure of “good” juggling is himself.

    He’s a prick.

  5. hahahah… funny, i agree with the guitar comparison… it’s what we call a “techno-weenie”!
    He’s also the classic case of a jealous guitarist saying “i could do that”…. but he didnt THINK to do it, only copy it and try to make it flashier, oh, and being a chicken and not doing it in front of a live audience… now THAT is a hack!

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