Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Listen Up

The New York Times reviews three books about noise today. We realize these will probably never go on sale in Mexico, because Mexicans do not, as far as we can tell, even have a word for "noise," but we wanted to bring them to your attention anyway:

We equate loud noise with violence. Without loudspeakers, Hitler observed, the Nazis never would have conquered Germany...

There’s no doubt how harmful this clatter is. Repeated studies show it leads not just to hearing loss but also to heart disease, high blood pressure, low birth weight and reduced life span. We crossed the line, many miles back, that divides having a blast from simply being blasted.

One thing that turns sound into its dark twin, noise, is a sense of imposed helplessness. “A sound that interrupts our sleep,” Mr. Keizer observes, “can feel like an attack on our status as adults”...

Mr. Keizer thinks it is condescending cant to assume that the poor are fundamentally noisier than the rich. And among his most interesting ideas is his linking of noise with later antisocial behavior.

“I’d love to see an auditory profile for the childhoods of our most ‘hardened’ criminals, along with complementary data for the attorneys, psychiatrists and judges who prosecuted, diagnosed and sentenced them,” he writes. And he adds, “What does ‘hardened’ mean, after all, but a calcifying of some human faculty, and what hardens sooner than a child’s ears?”

The books under review can be purchased here here and here, and any interested Mexican who is unable to read English is welcome to bring their books to our offices during normal business hours and we will be happy to translate the salient parts for you. (Offer does not apply to the audiobook version, of course.)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

ruido

Burro Hall said...

I'm sorry, could you speak up? I can't hear you over the loudspeaker playing the Himno Nacional.

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