Tag Archives: rant

soapbox #1 – Aural Pollution

“THE THINGS OTHER PEOPLE HAVE PUT INTO MY HEAD, AT ANY RATE, DO NOT FIT TOGETHER NICELY, ARE OFTEN USELESS AND UGLY, ARE OUT OF PROPORTION WITH ONE ANOTHER, ARE OUT OF PROPORTION WITH LIFE AS IT REALLY IS OUTSIDE MY HEAD.”

– KURT VONNEGUT,  BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

TODAY WE’RE NOT GOING TO REVIEW ANY RECORDS, BUT INSTEAD DISCUSS A FRIGHTENING YET ALL-TOO-COMMON ILL IN OUR MODERN, OVER-MEDIATED WORLD: AURAL POLLUTION.  WHAT IS AURAL POLLUTION YOU MIGHT ASK?  THE PHENOM THAT TAKES UP OH SO MUCH OF YOUR VALUABLE BRAIN SPACE; THE UNWANTED SONGS, JINGLES, ETC. THAT HAVE BEEN DEPOSITED IN YOUR MEMORY WITHOUT ASKING.  ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW THE WORDS TO “ROCKET MAN” IF YOU’VE NEVER PUT ON AN ELTON JOHN RECORD, OR WHY YOU CAN HUM “LUCKY STAR” BY MADONNA IF YOU’RE NOT A MADONNA FAN:      AURAL POLLUTION.

THINK OF IT AS BRAIN WASHING, SOUND TERRORISM, COMMERCIAL INFLUENCE OR EAR-RAPE.

REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU NAME IT, MOST OF US IN WESTERN SOCIETIES ARE CONSTANTLY INUNDATED BY A RISING LEVEL OF MEDIA.  NO LONGER CAN YOU ONLY HEAR “CELEBRATION” BY KOOL & THE GANG IN THE SUPERMARKET ISLES, NOW IT IS FOLLOWING US INTO PUBLIC REST ROOM STALLS, GAS STATION PUMPS OR ANYWHERE ELSE SOMEONE IS ATTEMPTING TO SELL YOU SOMETHING OR RECOGNIZES THAT YOU MIGHT BE VULNERABLE TO INFLUENCE.   IT ALSO COMES IN THE FORM OF LICENSED SONGS USED IN TELEVISION COMMERCIALS THAT ARE NOW SHOWN IN UNITED STATES POST OFFICES (in New Orleans at least) OR COUNTLESS BARS AND RESTAURANTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IN MARKETING SPEAK, THIS IS REFERRED TO AS TARGETING A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE.

WE’RE CONVINCED THAT FOR SOME FOLKS THIS IS ALRIGHT, AND THAT THEY MIGHT FIND IT CHARMING TO SING ALONG TO “WHEN I’M 64” WHILE THEY SELECT WHAT TYPE OF BREAD TO BUY.  FOR US IT IS A FUCKING PLAGUE.  ENTERING THE WORLD OF COMMERCE CAN BE A TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE ONTO ITSELF WITHOUT HAVING A SOUNDTRACK PROVIDED BY ‘MARKETING CONSULTANTS’.  WE WON’T EVEN DIGRESS INTO A FURTHER DIATRIBE ABOUT THE APPROPRIATION OF MUSIC IN ADVERTISING, BUT LEAVE OUR RANT FOCUSED ON THE ISSUE AT HAND.

SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE?

1.  WE COULD WALK AROUND WEARING EARPLUGS OR HEADPHONES, BUT THIS CAN BE ANNOYING AND SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS.  NOT TO MENTION SUBSEQUENTLY SHUTTING OUT OTHER PEOPLE AND SOUND PHENOMENA THAT CAN BE INTERESTING AND ENRICHING TO OUR LIFE HERE ON EARTH.

2.  WE COULD COLLECTIVELY PLEA WITH STORE MANAGERS TO SHUT OFF, OR AT LEAST TURN DOWN, MUSIC THAT WE’RE BEING FORCED TO HEAR WHILE WE ATTEMPT TO DO BUSINESS.

3.  WE COULD START A MASSIVE CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST MEDIA CORPORATIONS FOR THE LOSS OF BRAIN-SPACE AND THE MENTAL ANGUISH RESULTING FROM A LIFETIME OF BEING UNWILLINGLY EXPOSED TO THEIR ‘PRODUCT’.  PERHAPS A SEVERE LOSS OF MONEY WOULD CHANGE THEIR ATTITUDES ABOUT THEIR CAPTIVE AUDIENCE.

WE VOTE FOR #3.  NOTHING AGAINST SIR ELTON PERSONALLY OR THOSE WHO BUY HIS RECORDS, BUT WE NEVER WANTED ‘TINY DANCER’ IN OUR HEADS AND WE’RE DEMANDING DAMAGES.  

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