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Of Slaves and Airwaves, Part 3

Of Slaves and Airwaves: The Silent Oppression of Musical Freedom

(The views expressed in this article are mine! All mine!)

Section 3. Music In The Workplace?

Most of us have at some time worked at a place where music is constantly playing in the background, whether the employees liked it or not. Chances are, this music consisted of the same damn radio station every day. It is in circumstances like these that one becomes painfully aware of the severe repetition of radio playlists. If you listen to the same radio station every day, you'’re going to hear the same damn songs every day, no question about that - especially if you listen to a “classic” station, where there'’s no possibility of new material ever entering the playlist.

So what could be worse than that? How about hearing the same damn commercials every damn day? Seriously, the commercials do not need to be that annoying, and there do not need to be that many of them. "“But Blasphemer"”, you say, "“without those advertising dollars, we wouldn'’t have the luxury of free radio."” Fine, but why not take a cue from PBS (the public broadcasting station)? At the top of the hour, just have the DJ announce who this hour of music is sponsored by. No commercials, just mention the names of the stupid companies, and maybe their stupid slogans if you really have to. Most people probably just get impatient and change the station during those long commercial breaks, anyway, so that’'s just ad money down the drain. I don'’t understand why people are so indoctrinated with the notion that every company has to constantly churn out clever advertisements in order to survive. I could’'ve sworn that successful commerce and industry preceded radio and TV ads by hundreds of years, but I could be wrong. Do Coke and Pepsi really need to keep making commercials? Is there anyone left on this planet that doesn’'t know what Coke and Pepsi have to offer? Is anyone still undecided about which one they like better? They both suck equally, end of story. They give you the illusion of free choice, but the competition between the two is only superficial since they’'re both owned and controlled by the same fucking people at the highest level*. Yeah, kind of like the ridiculous two-party political system here in the USA, actually. But I digress...the point is, everyone knows the axiom “"if you don’'t like what’'s on the radio, turn it off"”, but if you’'re listening at work, you may not have that option, which brings us back to the problem at hand...

I think the constant and prolonged blaring of a radio station within the workplace should be considered a form of abuse, on the grounds that it is mentally intrusive. Okay, so you have to do some shitty job, but at least with silence, you can think about other things while you’'re doing it. But with the radio constantly on, all you can think about is how abysmally mundane and repetitive this radio station is, and how each and every commercial is the ultimate manifestation of humanity’'s narcissistic ugliness and grotesque materialism. What makes store owners and supervisors think this constant noise pollution is preferable to silence? The employees don’'t wanna hear that shit. The customers don’'t wanna hear that shit. Just turn that shit off. I'’ll listen to my own music on my own time, thank you.

(* Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are connected through the board of directors of the conglomerate Bristol-Meyers Squibb. For example, Robert E. Allen is on Pepsi's board and Bristol-Meyers' board; James D. Robinson III is on Coke's board and Bristol Meyers' board.)

October 7, 2004
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