KateR (pooplord) wrote,

"ghetto blaster" was in my old English-French dictionary

On NPR this morning I heard that All Things Considered was doing a segment on the rise and fall of the boom box. This got me thinking about the morphing of personal music players from large and public into tiny and private, from boom boxes (or, er, ah, "ghetto blasters" I guess) to Walkmen (how do you copyright a plural version that doesn't involve simply adding an "-s" to the end?), Discmen, and mp3 players/iPods/whatever. Of course soon we'll just have tiny implanted microchips where we can dock ourselves instead of our iPods to get new music.

The whole '80s inner city stereotype of a dude walking down the street with a boom box on one shoulder, that dude to me is saying (translated from stereotypical street dude talk into silly white girl vaguely impersonating some unclassifiable inner city dialect), "Yo, check out what I'm listening to. You love it. And even if you don't love it, I don't care. My music is the best, and it's LOUD." Non-street dudes, meanwhile, were like, "Music in public? How rude. I'll put my records on the hi-fi while I'm entertaining." What's your secret? Naturally, I'll say it's the wine. Mmm, it DOES go well with the chicken. Delicious again, Peter!

Then when we were in Walkman/Discman territory, but pretty much pre-Internet (don't ruin my fun, early '90s college students and fellow BBSers), the "music is for listening to only in my home" folks were intrigued and tried it out, and listened to, I dunno, James Taylor at comfortable volumes. You and I might have listened to mix tapes our older sisters or friends or crushes made us and that was how we got into Soundgarden or the Butthole Surfers. We were probably bumping these at considerably higher volume than Peter's dinner party guests, but we're not trying to get anybody to pay attention to what we're listening to. In fact, we're probably pretending we're invisible, because we're going through an awkward phase. And listening at a still higher volume, you've got that "loud music at any cost!" group, maybe with some of the former boom box guys in it, who still don't care that you can hear what they have on, who probably WANT you to hear it, the ones who also play music in their car at a ridiculous decibel level.

Okay, so then iPods and all that shit happened. My portable music player, she is so small and discreet! She is like an O.B. tampon that I can just tuck in my pocket and take with me anywhere, the Prince Charles to my Camilla Parker-Bowles! I don't want anybody bothering me in public, so I'm going to listen to this thing all the time... but then I'm going to politely blog and Twizzle (I have decided that this, and not "tweet" or "twit" or "twitter," is the acceptable verb form of Twitter) and update my Facebook status update and use last.fm and iTunes and let everybody know what I'm listening to! See? Still discreet, not forcing anybody else to hear it as I'm listening to it. But essentially, it's the written equivalent of hoisting a boom box onto your shoulder.

This entry could have used a little more cohesive transition between thoughts. Forgive me, I'm still trying to drag myself from the short attention span media back into one that requires concentration for several paragraphs and minutes at a time.
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