Quiet-List 1997

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Wanted: References to Noise in Popular Culture

Hello everyone,
   I would like to put together an inventory of references to quiet 
and/or noise in File, Literature, Pop-Songs, etc.  This inventory 
would be a resource for developing arguments in favor of quiet.  It is 
often useful to be able to depict the misery of noise or the bliss of 
quiet in terms of popular culture.  If someone cannot be reached on a
purely rational level, they can often be influenced by referring to 
something with which they are familiar and respect.

   For instance, Alanis Morrisette, in a song on her 1996 Grammy 
Award winning album "Jagged Little Pill", sings "Why are you so 
petrified by silence?".  Later in the song she puts the same question 
in a slightly different way, saying "So, what do you think of this?"  
immediately after which the song is abruptly interrupted by 4 or 5
seconds of absolute silence.  I think she is rather pointedly 
referring to nothing less that the "noise addiction" which has lately
been a topic on this list.  I suspect at least some of her fans will
have gotten the point and come to question their own "7 X 24" music 
habit, perhaps even being inspired to consider the asthetic 
possibilities of quiet.

   The movie "Nell", starring Jodie Foster, is about a girl who has 
grown up alone with her speech-disabled mother in the wilds of the 
rural Carolinas.  When her mother dies, she is confronted by "city 
folk" who feel compelled to pull her up out of her "ignorance", even
though she is very happy and content with the solitary life she has
lead.  There is a courtroom scene (near the end) which will decide 
whether she can continue this life or be forced to join "civlization".
Nell pleads with the court to let her continue the life she has 
known.  Because she has never learned English, she speaks through an 

       "You have big things. You know bit things.         
        But you don't look into each other's eyes.
        And you are hungry for quietness."

   In an earlier scene she is terrified by a news helicopter which has
come to take pictures of the "wild girl".  I was very moved by this 
film.  The only direct mention of "quiet" is in this one scene, but 
the theme runs throughout the film.

   Also, there is a passage in "Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton,
(which I was unable to find) which mentions noise as contributing to
the misery one of the characters.

David Staudacher - quiet@igc.org

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