The other night I clicked onto the” movies on demand” station and as I scrolled through possible selections, a young woman’s voice relentlessly announced and reviewed other possible selections. As I became more and more perturbed by her faux cheeriness, I realized that I could hit the mute button and her barrage of words would be eliminated. The relief I felt from the silence was immediate. I also realized that we somehow have transitioned into a society that is always bombarded with someone talking about something.
There was a time when television stations shut down and all you saw and heard was static. I often yearn for static. At least it doesn’t share any kind of information. Most often you don’t have any choice in whether you want to hear the incessant “blah, blah, blah”. It seems to permeate every public area.
Try going to a restaurant and simply enjoying a meal with some quiet background music. Not a chance! More often than not, there are two or three flat screen TV’s each airing different programs. After all we don’t want the customers to go into withdrawal.
Many people have the TV on all day so they don’t miss anything that might be happening here or somewhere on the planet. The insanity lies in the repetition. Take the recent alert for hurricane Earl. Every station reported it and went over it until most of us could have gotten a degree in meteorology.
Yes, I could have turned it off, but my passion is the observation of absurdity, and nothing was more absurd then watching one of the reporters describing waves as she was buffeted about the beach in an almost horizontal position.
Many talk shows not only have guests but also include a panel of” so called experts” that engage in verbal boxing matches”. Outshouting and interrupting in order to get their point across is par for the course. I guess listening while someone else talks and then responding has gone out of style in exchange for being rude.
But then, what’s new? We have all seen the erosion of civility over the years as we marched into the era of “self absorption”. I am always optimistic that we may wake up some day and actually start listening to one another, but until then I have a new best friend, “the mute button”.
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get a Life column for the Patriot Ledger.