I can't hear a thing you are saying!!

Dr. Robert Celmer
Photo:Chion Wolf
Audio Playlist

Here is life imitating the show. I live in a quiet neighborhood, but last night there was heavy construction nearby. I'm guessing a water main broke out on one of the main roads. It wasn't loud in my bedroom but it was audible, especially the beep-beep-beep noise of heavy equipment backing up. I fell asleep, but at 3:30 I was wide awake. There may have been several contributing factors, but the noise from the road crew was one of them. 

So I got up and started reading The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want by Garret Keizer, who's a guest on the show today. And I was at the same time a living example of one of his central points - one of the greatest forms of wealth and power is the ability to control your own sound environment. I was a little less wealthy at the moment, but I was also thinking about the guys on the crew, running loud equipment at 3 in the morning. How powerless do they feel?  
Leave your comments below, e-mail or Tweet us @wnprcolin.




I mask the sound of the open floor plan office by listening to archives of your show, and other NPR programs, on my headphones.

Ken writes:

Great show today! I wanted to call in, but wasn't able to. Was great to hear the conversation and varied perspectives among you and your guests - especially Dr. Bob.

A particular interest of mine, that I don't believe was really touched upon, is in the area of wanted or desirable noise; as in the areas of sound art, noise art and the various genres in between, surrounding etc. As I'm sure you are aware, the perception of "noise" as "music" or even "noise" as a desirable artistic material in itself, has spawned many rarefied forms of art and music where noise is foregrounded and given the spotlight.

It would be great to hear a follow-up show dedicated to this and possibly similar areas of study/inquiry such as R. Murray Schafer's initiation of the World Soundscape Project in the late 1960's, site specific sound and noise installations, sounds and noises that have or will become extinct, Japanese noise genres etc.

Anyway, many thanks for a show of consistent thought-provoking excellence!


Bill writes:

There may be a noise ordinance in Connecticut and a means of enforcing it, but I have never seen any evidence of either.

I live on a lake road which is popular with motorcyclists in the warm months. This weekend, a “poker run” came through, raising money for breast cancer. There must have been 100 bikes and they were being escorted by a police car. The noise was beyond deafening.

The cop should have been writing tickets, not escorting them.

I wonder how these people would feel if I followed them home and drove up and down their road leaning on my horn.

BTW – I own and ride a (very quiet) motorcycle.