Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The pragmatics of noise pollution

After two weeks in the west of Ireland in the off-season, yes one really does notice the noise pollution upon returning to the States. Yes: cars, trucks, jets, jackhammers, and general blare are ubiquituous and surely deaden our senses.

But it's the consciousness-intrusive versions that really raise the blood pressure: that is, the types of noise pollution which not only cloud the background of your hearing, but force their way into your thinking as well.

Item: virtually any person having a non-professional conversation via cell-phone in a public place. Not every one of these people is an imbecile, but virtually every one of them sounds like one.

Item: radio and/or stereo playback selections in gyms and fitness centers. Why does management assume that every person trying to get a workout wants to hear/see/be invaded by "MTV-U"?

Item: virtually any spoken-word radio broadcast on a public sound-system. Broadcast "Talk-Radio" as a format has swept over music radio in a tidal wave in the past decade, including both commercial and public formats. The job/sound requirements to be a speaking personality on radio any more virtually mandate acting like a cretin. Some people just have the gift naturally (Paul Harvey on the air even as I blog) but others have to work at it.

Item: kids who assume that notions of appropriate personal space do not apply to the audio realm. I don't want to hear your back-yard party music at 4am, I don't want to hear the sub-sub-sub-woofers in the back of your jacked pickup, I don't want to hear your campus-wide "Spirit" yells as football season rolls around, I don't want to hear Bob Marley blared out of your fraternity's party-house windows (I love Bob, but goddamn sure not for the reasons you do).

Americans have spent 400 years fetishizing "personal freedom" so much that they are incapable of functioning as part of a cooperative community.

[Harry Dean Stanton in Repo Man]: "Lookit that! Lookit that! Ordinary fuckin' people...God I hate 'em!"

I gotta get out into the wilderness again.

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