Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sounds like change

One techno-plague of the late twentieth century appears to finally be in descendence.

The rolling subwoofer has been particularly beloved by late-teen/early-twenties drivers of otherwise nondescript Hondas. It saw its heyday in the period 1980-2000 as the bolt-on goodie of choice for those compelled to affront the rest of us with the thumping bass of hip hop music.

Every generation has its rebels without a cause, and those who cultivate an image of disdain for the conventions of polite society. The symbols for my generation included duck-tail haircuts, an Elvis-like sneer, motorcycle boots, and the bark of a Hollywood muffler. The intent is always to shake up the old fogeys. I get it. Rites of passage and all that.

But the subwoofer was a particularly insidious assault on tranquility. It wasn't just a matter of people imposing their musical tastes upon the rest of us. The low frequency, standing waves it produced seemed to carry for a mile, an assault that resonated in your head, disrupting your backyard naps and other outdoor activities.

Thankfully, I notice there are fewer of these sonic ambushes lately. I'd guess it is now viewed as so-last-century by the trendsetters, who have undoubtedly moved on to some new way of sabotaging the social order.

Ah, the sound of silence.

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