Those Evil Radios!
U. S. Noise Production
PERHAPS nowhere since man began to think has the escape into the quiet of his thoughts been made
more difficult than it is in America today. To blame radio for. this is to oversimplify. The industry is properly held responsible for the many sins it commits in the name of entertainment. and for its often hideous irrelevance, but the hand controlling the buttons of the individual radio receiver is the prime offender.
There are so many hands controlling so many buttons that to hope for relief from the scourge of radio noise seems almost foolish. It boils down to a question of manners. Is it foolish to hope that the member of the family who loves noise for its own sake will develop the decency to limit his odd appetite? Or that the apartment dweller who keeps his radio going loudly most of the day and night will have mercy on his neighbors cowering behind thin walls? Perhaps, but there is no harm in hoping.
There is no harm, either, in hoping that the newsreel companies will someday refrain from enhancing the horror of disaster pictures by the addition of apocalyptic commentary and foreboding music jerked from the bowels of Wagner; that the listening public will someday get hep to the fact that the squalid self-dramatization of the loud-mouthed journalistic statesmen of radio is merely so many unnecessary decibels; that someday the American hostess will abandon her notion that a perpetual yackety-yak, however pointless, is necessary to the success of her parties; and that municipal authorities will get tough with the mobile loud-speakers which range the streets, expectorating racket into the ears of workers who are trying to think.
Meanwhile, for the protection of the harassed fugitive, there remain these three retreats-the soundproofed room, total deafness, and the public library, and the greatest of these is the public library. May God rest the soul of Andrew Carnegie, who fashioned better than he thought.
May 29, 1948, edition of the Saturday Evening Post