The Sound of Muzak
|by Jonathan Edwards|
File under: Fake Culture03 Feb 2013 23:51 EST
As a young American participating in the brave new 'service economy', you will likely be subjected to some form of continuous Muzak.
From retailers who blast away the better judgement of their consumers to college professors playing soft indie rock in lecture halls, life must have a theme song. Even the five minute walk from the subway to your office around the block cannot be undertaken sans headphones.
Of course, this music has become more ubiquitous than the sound of people having conversations. It continues to metastasize like the most virulent cancer, breaching presidential inaugurations, once hallowed places of worship, and indeed our very eardrums, once sovereign.
Now this could actually be an intriguing form of social organization if this music was somehow able to live up to its unprecedented scope, but alas, it only succeeds in confirming Spinoza's insight that, "All noble things are as difficult as they are rare".
In fact, this music is so easy, cheap, and common that each piece is interchangeable with every other, like bottle caps on bottles coming off an assembly line.
The human role in this 'creative process' is not far removed from that of an iPod shuffle, or a junk collector gathering parts in a landfill, the humble fertilizer from which a Song of the Year blossoms:
Really, this is the way music is already experienced. The long forgotten oldies riff that accompanies our exit from a small town CVS gives way to the soap jingle on the radio before we blast the Tupac on the way home.
Music was once our human consolation resonating through the winds of an uncertain nature. Now we are its subject. Nothing will stop the ever-joyous beats at Denny's even if we just want to wallow in depression over our Value Slam. There is no need to whistle or sing on city streets any more, indeed, only the mad do that ever since Mr. Jobs gave us iTunes.
We can measure your life in snippets of feel good lyrics you probably never even listened to, because they were there nonetheless at almost every public moment you dared to brave in the past year.
It's your story. It's the story of our people. It's the story of our great nation, if you still care to listen or not.
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