Just a brief off-topic post today before all the football starts.
After sitting around waiting for my son at the doctor's office two days ago, I've finally come to the conclusion that human beings, institutions, and establishments of business should never inflict music on other human beings.
I feel it's a violation of my rights, y'see. Specifically, my right to avoid alarmingly horrible music should I choose to do so.
Inflicted music is a form of discrimination...against the minority of people who are actually sensitive to music and actually listen to it. And, I must ruefully admit, often have to listen to it, if it's playing, even when we'd much rather not.
Seriously, covers of Air Supply and ABBA and George Benson? What, the originals aren't torture enough?
Some of us are what's called musical. The great tyrannical majority don't understand us, I know. They're the ones who say, "Oh, I never notice it. I just tune it right out."
My momentary impulse to do violence to those people passes, fortunately.
Inflicting music involuntarily on people who don't want to hear is also a form of abuse. If you don't understand why, just imagine that you are, say, a Christian, and were forced to listen to atheistic, anti-religious broadcasts while you waited for the doctor. Imagine that the most obnoxious sort of political talk radio of the viewpoint that most opposes your own is blaring in your ears while you innocently sit in a place where you have to be.
I could think of much worse examples here, but I'm being considerate—I'm not inflicting more gruesome mental images on you.
Institutions and business establishments can't possibly choose music that appeals to all people. It doesn't exist. They should just turn it off.
Midway through my son's appointment, the office closed, and the music stopped. Mercifully. My relief was immediate. The waiting room suddenly became a much more tolerable place to be. Silence might not be golden, but at least it's equally inoffensive to everyone.
At any rate, in this day and age I think I should have a right to manage my own musical experiences.
Maybe we should start an advocacy group: NO MORE INFLICTED MUSIC!
Our slogan? That's easy. "Make it Stop."
"Open Mike" is a series of off-topic posts inflicted on TOP readers on Sundays. If you don't like it, at least you aren't forced to be here—we've been told there are actually other things on the internet.
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Mark Cotter: "Here in the U.K., there is an organisation called Pipe Down that exists to promote the removal of muzak from public spaces. Perhaps the U.S. needs an equivalent organisation."
Featured Comment by Martha Benedict: "I feel this way about perfume. It's a more intimate instrusion than music."
Featured Comment by R. Edelman: "And then there is 'music on hold.' As a physician, I am forced to listen to the same crappy 'smooth jazz' riff that the hospital insists on playing while I am waiting to talk to whoever paged me. Unless I am alone, I cannot switch to the phone's 'speaker' mode, lest I disturb others who are present, so I am forced to hold the phone up to my ear and listen. To make matters worse,the same riff has been on that phone system for years; it never changes. Alas, this torture continues despite my protests to hospital executives. The worst was some electronic music that sounded vaguely like harpies that was on another hospital's system. I absolutely could not stand to listen to it. I had to hang up and have them call me back. Forcing someone to listen to music can be a powerful weapon. Speakers blaring loud music were used to coerce Manuel Noriega to surrender during the United States' invasion of Panama in 1989."
Featured Comment by Larry Roohr: "A judge here in Colorado was sentencing teens with noise ordinance tickets to a couple of hours locked in a small room with Wayne Newton singing 'Danke Schoen' turned up loud on a cheap little cassette player, over and over and over again. It made the news; those kids looked genuinely distressed in there. Perfect."
Mike replies: Reminds me of the old story—apocryphal? I don't know—of the drive-in that was having trouble with teen loitering. They started broadcasting Mozart in their parking lot, and the problem went away.
Featured Comment by Philjel: "I'd like to extend the idea to inflicted sound. Waiting rooms from car repair and banks to doctor's offices have to have a tv tuned to the lowest common denominator shows. Why do you have to have wall-to wall party music and inflicted dancing at an NBA game? Who decided that all sports reporting has to have mock-metal in the foreground?
"It's all about the signal to noise ratio. I like a low noise floor.
"Worst for last. Hold me down when an ice cream man decides to include my neighborhood on his route.
"I am a musician and I inflict noise for a living and I approve of these comments."
Mike replies: Oh my god, the ice cream truck...I wanna kill...I wanna kill...dead, burnt babies...veins stickin' in my teeth....
(Lyrics to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant," I hasten to add, lest anybody who doesn't recognize the reference be offended.)