“The Babbling of Dead Souls”

Heat. This is what cities mean to me. You get off the train and walk out of the station and you are hit with the full blast. The heat of air, traffic and people. The heat of food and sex. The heat of tall buildings. The heat that floats out of the subways and the tunnels. It’s always fifteen degrees hotter in the cities. Heat rises from the sidewalks and falls from the poisoned sky. The buses breathe heat. Heat emanates from crowds of shoppers and office workers. The entire infrastructure is based on heat, desperately uses up heat, breeds more heat. The eventual heat death of the universe that scientists love to talk about is already underway and you can feel it happening all around you in any large or medium-sized city. ” (Don DeLillo, White Noise. 1984. New York. Penguin Books)

For those of you who live in cities, you have my sympathy. I listened and watched the following video and I ended up with a migraine! I know that the vast majority of  city residents assimilate to the sites and sounds and eventually it all becomes White Noise to you.  As an adult, I found the sounds more than I could bear, imagine what it’s like for a newborn! The shock to the system or is it something they have already adapted to while in the womb?


Here’s a definition, for those of you who are still unsure what White Noise is: White Noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have White Noise. You can think of White Noise as 20,000 tones all playing at the same time.” (http:/www.howitworks.com What is White Noise?).

For those of you who didn’t care for the White Noise of the city, following are a couple of videos that might be more to your liking.

For your listening and visual enjoyment:

For your audio pleasure:

Here in America where no one is responsible or in control; all are receptors, receivers of stimuli, consumers. The recording and producing of White Noise machines, CDs of Nature sounds-like the ocean waves, bird songs, rivers, streams, storms, and rain [who knew residents of temperate rainforests had it so good? :0) ] is fast becoming a multi-million a year industry. If the noise of your community or neighborhood isn’t quiet enough or too noisy you can purchase your choice of White Noise.

The biggest conveyance of White Noise and information about White Noise is the television. ” Television is ”the primal force in the American home, sealed-off, self-contained, self-referring . . . a wealth of data concealed in the grid, in the bright packaging, the jingles, the slice-of-life commercials, the products hurtling out of darkness, the coded messages . . . like chants. . . . Coke is it, Coke is it, Coke is it.  (Don DeLillo, White Noise. 1984. New York. Penguin Books)

So… How much White Noise is in your life?


2 Responses to ““The Babbling of Dead Souls””

  1. coolaccordionest Says:

    I liked the ten minutes of rain. It was really relaxing. I have a hard time going into cities for long periods of time probably because I’ve been in Alaska and Nebraska (on a farm) most of my life. One of my favorite sounds is rain on a tin roof when you’re hanging out in the barn working on projects.

    I really enjoyed your videos to promote your question about white noise.
    Great job! 🙂

  2. CJ Reeves II Says:

    I lived in cities mostly all of my life. It was actually really weird for me to come to AK and find it so quite. There are days (most of them) that I miss those cities noises… I love living in a big city. There is something comforting about the rumble of cars and obscure sounds from the streets. There is something so human in the thought of being just one of the millions to inhabit a particular space. There is something so intriguing about the fact that you can get everything you need from that one place. Food, shelter, clothing (really good clothing),and entertainment can all be found in the city. I love that and I miss that. The city represents for me (and for most people) a little universe in its own right. So I guess if I had to pick my favorite sounds, i’d have to pick the white noise.

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