Wednesday, March 6, 2013

For Gawd's Sake, Turn Down Your Fucking iPod

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Subway boombox ghetto blaster
  • An artist's rendering of the writer's daily commute
I'm an easygoing guy (more or less!), but one of the things that drives me bananas is loud-listening mp3ers on the subway. It's one of the most egregious examples of the livingroomization of America: the way our fellow citizens see no harm in texting during movies or chewing gum at Broadway; how can you expect anyone to be conscious of anything these days beyond their own selves and immediate desires? What with the distractions of the Internet and all?

But seriously: I have a friend who hates when people whisper something to her, and though I can stand soft-speaking, I think my irritation at piercingly volumed iPods is similar: there's something about hearing music as high-end hissing, a trebly mess of clashy cymbals and washy warbling, that's worse than listening to a radio set to an off-dial frequency: it's static that's aggressively ear-assaulting.

Well, maybe it's just me, but here's two reasons why people should turn down their goddamn personal music players: one, it's the right thing to do for other neurotic people like me; two, it's the right thing to do for yourself. Fuckin' Bloomberg is starting a public-service campaign to ask today's youth to decrease the sound levels of their soundmachines. "An iPod can reportedly hit 115 decibels," Gothamist reports, "even though research warns that above 85 decibels encroaches on unsafe levels." Hearing loss among yoots has risen since 1988, according to at least one study. I get frustrated enough having to shout when I talk to my mother; if in 30 years I have to shout at every person my own age, plus every young person, plus every old person, I might lose my shit.

Also, I had a teacher in high school who theorized that the invention of the Walkman had destroyed our society, turning us all into introverts unawares of the world around us. Of course, subsequent inventions have only intensified our own self-involvement. Maybe if we stopped insisting on a right to listen to our favorite songs even when we're below the surface of the Earth, we'd be better friends in general?

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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