Volume has risen. The imbecilic din encroaching everywhere…

birds, courtesy, respect, shut up, be quiet, decency

This article by Tim Kreider, Quiet Ones, struck a cord with me.  A few excerpts:

…it seems significant that we don’t want things to be quiet, ever, anymore. Stores and restaurants have their ubiquitous Muzak or satellite radio; bars have anywhere between 1 and 17 TVs blaring…ads and 30-second news cycles play on screens in cabs, elevators and restrooms. Even some libraries, whose professional shushers were once celebrated in cartoon and sitcom, now have music and special segregated areas designated for “quiet study,” which is what a library used to be.

…People are louder, too. They complain at length and in detail about their divorces or gallbladders a foot away from you in restaurants. A dreaded Amtrak type is the passenger who commences prattling on her cellphone the instant she sits down and doesn’t hang up until she gets to her stop, unable to bear an undistracted instant in her own company. People practice rap lyrics on the bus or the subway, barking doggerel along with their iPods as though they were alone in the shower. Respecting shared public space is becoming as quaintly archaic as tipping your hat to a lady, now that the concept of public space is as nearly extinct as hats, and ladies.

…the philosopher Aaron James posits that people with this personality type are so infuriating — even when the inconvenience they cause us is negligible — because they refuse to recognize the moral reality of those around them…It’s a pathology that seems increasingly common, I suspect in part because people now spend so much time in the solipsist’s paradise of the Internet that they carry its illusion of invisible (and inaudible) omniscience back with them out into the real world.

And so the volume has incrementally risen, the imbecilic din encroaching on one place after another — mass transit, waiting rooms, theaters, museums, the library — until this last bastion of civility and calm, the Quiet Car, has become the battlefield where we quiet ones, our backs forced to the wall, finally hold our ground.

If you missed the article, here’s the link to the entire article: NY Times, Tim Kreider: .

Sources: NY Times – Quiet Ones Image: moon-doggie

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  1. We have lost the luscious delight in listening to the quiet…it is magical and personal and carries us to places we would never otherwise go.


  2. This is so very true, David. Just yesterday I was doing a bit of grocery shopping and had to endure a woman’s interrogation of someone on her cell phone while waiting at the deli counter. “You sound funny! Have you been drinking?! Blah, blah, blah,” while blocking the twenty other people who just wanted a little shaved turkey and some peace. :-/. As Mimi so aptly points out, there’s a magic is silence that is special. “A little with quiet is the only diet.”


  3. My daughter used to have a tendency to shout into her mobile phone while on public transport, treating everyone to details of her sex life. She still talks too loudly on the mobile, but these days the content is a little less graphic.


  4. Reblogged this on My Blog impostor in me and commented:
    you never learn do you..had to stop you from yap yap yap


  5. This so sadly true. 😦 I avoid stores which have an awful taste in loud music. I also wish people would realise that the whole reason for using a phone, is so that you don’t have to shout over long distances.


  6. Read this piece yesterday in the NYT and couldn’t agree more. The constant chatter has become more than background noise, it has become a new stress point in our lives.


    • Hi Larry. And if it were just light chatter, it would be somewhat manageable. I think a general lack of civility, courtesy and respect is commonplace. It’s like we need to repeat a Haiku – Where are your Manners? Where are your Manners?


  7. Reblogged this on At the Still Point and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)


  8. Since I’ve started writing, I’ve learned to enjoy the silence. I can’t write if the t.v. or radio is on. I like the sound my fingers make on the keyboard. Or the sound that my pen makes scratching letters out on my note pad. It stills my mind, the quiet. Helps the words come. Helps them stay.


  9. The pleasure of silence is rare indeed. You might like to read this. http://emandyves.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/noise-or-a-lack-thereof/


    • Love the post Darlene.

      “What did you like best about Canada?” you ask raising your voice to be heard above the blare of the loudspeakers in the passing truck advertising “Camerones! Camerones! Buenos precios.”

      “It’s so quiet. You can really rest,” he says.


  10. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Yes. Sitting in silence on Monday morning. No music in the background. I don’t need that space filled. I don’t want it filled. There will be enough music and people-noise later.


  11. You are so right. And living in a quiet house, we notice the noise even more. Silence is absolutely golden around here.


  12. I’ve often wanted to do what the bird on the left is doing – just with certain people.


  13. What an amazing picture…one of a kind! Great article and so true. It’s unbelievable how people have the need to share their life around everyone, anywhere and their proud of it.


  14. Ron Schweinlach says:

    As a fan of the quiet car, I really wanted to like Kreider’s piece, but found it insufferable. And am I the only one who noticed the obvious racial coding in “barking doggerel”?


  15. Just love the pic…and of course, the post! 🙂


  16. I first went to your other site because I lament the cruel fate of the great lady scholar from Alexandria. Not that I have high IQ to understand neither her theories nor your great work. This blog here is easier to take in, more or less. About those noisy people in public, they may lack the integrity to consider others, but they must still possess self-preservative instincts. Don’t they fear that some information they disclose during their private conversation may be used against them, particularly their security? Some of them even makes appointment over the phone which can be an open invitation to stalkers.



  1. […] Kanigan brings up something that I notice this behavior regularly, even at funerals. I am very conscious of it and I often […]


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