Friday, September 24, 2004

The iPod backlash.

Ipods and walkmen I have always considered a privatisation of public space. This gives further evidence.
In the past year, I had grown increasingly numb to my surroundings, often oblivious to the world around me, trapped in a self-imposed bubble. My detachment stemmed from the twin white earplugs of my iPod, which in recent months had burrowed their way deep into my ears - and my psyche. A device the size of a pack of Marlboros had come to dominate my daily existence. On the train that morning, I decided enough was enough. I needed a break from the handheld music contraption that had taken over my life.
Looking back, the consequences of my iPod affliction ranged from the mildly comedic (trying to switch songs as I deftly doused my thigh with scalding hot coffee while my train clattered down the tracks one morning), to the potentially tragic (not hearing a truck careening toward me on a road near my apartment in Brooklyn, New York). Almost anywhere I went, I plugged in and tuned out.

Making music is a social activity and so is the listening to it. G_dforsaken bands in G_dforsaken sweaty basements were/are/always will be my favourite experiences of music.
Moving with other people in a public display of emotion. Yes there are also times for private music in private places. Wandering through a metropolis is a time for listening to the music of the city. The vitality, ther buzz, the hum of the street.
The iPod is a bad thing. It causes an individualistic privatisation of public space. Would the Paris Communards have been the same with an iPod apiece? How do you coordinate the storming of the Winter Palace when everyone has their own soundtrack? The iPod is a bad thing. The ipod backlash starts here!

1 comment:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Yes, yes, I know iPods are evil beasties responsible for the fall of civil obedience and all that... and yes, other manufacturers produce better MP3 players... but they are cute little things, and us geeks like the whole organising, cataloguing, tracking information on music and deciding its unique genre identity!

... but yeah, basically evil (if highly consumer-desirable!)