In Defense of Rich Johnson, part II.


I dont know why you brought up the "ghost" story as criticism of Rich's book.  Rich was not an academic and had no pretensions about being one. He was an ardent Bix fan and a great raconteur. His book, as I said before, was, in several instances, Richs informal chronicles of his encounters with past events associated with Bix. As he discovered a fact, he enjoyed looking at the context and the connection to other events and/or facts associated with Davenport. And Rich had a special way of telling his discoveries.


You ask, bizarre and heart breaking? Indeed. Bizarre because people reported in two different places associated with the Beiderbeckes -and independently of each other- some weird happenings. Heartbreaking because it is extremely sad for parents to loose their children prematurely; in this case even more so because the death of the children was brought on by smallpox contracted in contact with their grandfather. I think it is a heartbreaking story. Dont you?


The question True or false may be viewed as a bit of hype and perhaps the result of Richs fascination with the story. But the chapter is not presented, in my view, as a rigorous historical account. It is simply a narrative of a rather unusual set of events. Quite consistent with the approach taken by Rich in presenting his findings: as I said repeatedly, a series of Bix vignettes.




More to come.

Posted on Oct 23, 2010, 5:48 AM

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