Sunday, April 24, 2005

My Sunday evening post

…should run like this: the author has written and then removed two posts from the “saved drafts” section of this blog. One was trivial and silly the other was full of e.e.* angst and distress. That a day should contain elements of both – why so be it. But Ocean readers don’t have to suffer through such indignities. Back tomorrow with a clean slate.

* oh what did you think: Eastern European, of course!

Now that we have the capability of recording and preserving everything (in sight and sound), shouldn’t we think about what's best left forgotten?

The Smithsonian, as reported in the NYT Week in Review, tells of efforts that are underway to preserve some of our aural history: “Since the sounds of ancient Rome are no longer available to us…, what should be recorded today? The answer, says Sheehy [director and curator of the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings], is pretty much everything."

Really? Why? Movies and films give a sampling of the range of sounds we are now exposed to. I suppose the argument can be made that one cannot predict what information will benefit future research (within the natural or social sciences). And so we should save everything? So that we may all implode and bury ourselves in some garbage heap of irrelevant fact?

Noises and sounds that I am sure will never benefit anyone and therefore should be obliterated a.s.a.p,:
- the cacophony of sound at a suburban mall, especially in a food court, on a Saturday afternoon;
- anything in and around Langdon Street (frat row) in Madison on a Saturday evening;
- I know it’s too late, what with there being a recording already archived to torture anyone in the future, but could we nonetheless try to erase a number or two from the Sound of Music? Getting consensus on this will be a synch.
- I would seriously like to erase the sound of the Polish word for “whore.” In the alternative, I would vote for legalizing prostitution just so the enchantment with this word will quickly disappear. Right now, its usage seems at an all time high. It’s reason enough to move around with an iPod stuck in your ear to block it out.
- Etc.

I can hardly stop myself – there’s so much that could be added. Noises, all of it noises, tolerable in their transient state, unbearable if preserved forever.

[BTW, has all this preservation technology made the idea of a buried time capsule obsolete? Or are we still stacking our little mementos and doodads into the bowels of the earth with the idea that some future incarnation of a humanoid will unearth these treasures and be pleasantly surprised with the Barbie dolls and Superman comics contained therein?]