March 17, 2016

"Silent disco... is just one of many activities that are 'atomizing' our society."

"'What a shame to turn the concert hall or dance club into another such lonely crowd... These venues should be super—not anti—social.' Headphones may silence our city streets, runs the argument, but they also silence our social connections. To paraphrase those seminal pop philosophers from Athens, Georgia, the B-52s, we’re all living in our own private Idahos."

But: "When You Listen to Music, You’re Never Alone/Technology hasn’t diminished the social quality of listening to music."

Well, I don't know which side of that argument is right, but it made me hear, in my own private headphones, Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man": "There ought to be a law/Against you comin’ around/You should be made/To wear earphones...."

And it made me think of a clue I just encountered in a NYT acrostic: "'In individuals, ___ is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule': Nietzsche." That was from February 2015, so it wasn't an intentional reference to Donald Trump.

14 comments:

buwaya said...

A survivor of the disco era here - but I never liked it.
There's no real difference with headphones or not, as you couldn't hear or talk to anyone anyway.
Discos were always too loud.

khematite said...

In 1966, Dylan would sometimes sing "You should be made to be wearing at all times a telephone." Got that one right, too.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

I thought that article was great (mirror neurons and how they connect us) and did a brief post. Your connecting it to Dylan is terrific (as all your Dylan connections). Could, at a stretch, also connect to Trump in that those wild facial expressions, so different from those of normal pols, could be triggering the mirror neuron system of his followers and getting to them "pre-cognitively".

Titus said...

I was way post disco but loved to go out to clubs in the 90's with my friends.

When I moved to Boston in 1990 there were like 30-35 gay clubs. We had a blast going out to the clubs dancing

Today there are like 4-5 (most of them being gay/straight "lounges) or a straight bar is gay one night of the week.

Everyone is on grindr or scruff...alone in their apartment.

Anything reflecting so called gay culture is now dead. We have assimilated...better than being outcasts though.



traditionalguy said...

But is this creeping high powered rifle target shooting and NASCAR headphones used to save hearing, or is it just Gadget equiptment sales to make another trillion dollars for the wi-fi industry..

Smilin' Jack said...

Well, I don't know which side of that argument is right, but it made me hear, in my own private headphones, Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man"

One of the things I like about my private headphones is that I never, ever, hear Dylan.

Quaestor said...

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. By this rather offhand remark is Nietzsche trying to be a dour Teutonic version of Oscar Wilde? I think not.

Der Irrsinn ist bei Einzelnen etwas Seltenes, — aber bei Gruppen, Parteien, Völkern, Zeiten die Regel.

That's the original text from Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Böse). The German is important because of Nietzsche's use of Irrsinn rather than the stronger Wahnsinn. Irrsinn is closest to our legal concept of insanity, i.e. unable to distinguish right from wrong, the virtually mythical condition so beloved by cheap fiction and cheap lawyers.

Wahnsinn is more profound that mere insanity, and is best translated by the common English phrase "barking mad". The distinction is important in that if one reads Irrsinn in its most narrow sense -- not being able to tell right from wrong -- Nietzsche's aphorism makes sense. Consider the phenomenon often known as groupthink. Everyone can produce numerous examples of decisions handed down by committees or legislatures or national powers that are immoral, unjust, or simply irrational -- decisions or rulings that as individuals the committee members or legislators would reject. I think Nietzsche would argue that a society of individuals is preferable to the "un-atomized" alternative suggested by the handwringing article that so worries about "silent disco".

Kate said...

1) My Millennial son informs me that music is mixed nowadays specifically for earbuds. Subtle sounds can only be heard up close, the L/R interplay is more obvious, percussion is scanned differently, etc. That Millennials would expect to hear music through earphones (rather than an external speaker system) makes sense.

2) The internet and its repercussions have freed introverts from their social prison. Isolation in the middle of a throng is so very introvert-friendly. I'd even contemplate leaving my house for this.

coupe said...

...To paraphrase those seminal pop philosophers from Athens, Georgia

What?

I got your 'seminal' - hang'n !

OK, sorry, I didn't get enough fruit this morning with my waffles...

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fabi said...

I've been to two events in the silent disco realm -- silent raves they were called. The idea was that you could be in sync with the mood and the music, but if the Molly was driving way too hard then you could take off your headphones and recalibrate. The first time that I went to one ("forced" to attend by my date!) I couldn't figure out why everyone was drinking bottled water. Lulz

Fernandinande said...

"And there's a score of harebrained children
They're all locked in the nursery.

They got earphone heads they got dirty necks
They're so 20th century."

surfed said...

"Dignity" by Bob off of the Street Legal album.

mikee said...

INSANITY? Is Althouse really going down the path of "That Trump! He cray-cray!" or am I mistaken?

The "crazy Trump" denunciation won't work against Trump. He'll simply say something like, "I'm supposed to be the crazy one, but Clinton let our ambassador die in Libya when there were troops ready to rescue him! I'm supposed to be the crazy one, but Clinton is the one who wouldn't stop Putin in Ukraine! I'm supposed to be the crazy one, but Clinton is the one taking money from Saudi Arabia, and then pretending to support women's rights!"