Prediction: “Noise Control” will become the next front in Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s long-running fight to stomp, smother, and regulate the fun out of New York City. Having first come for the smokers, the salt-lovers, and the soda slurpers, this piece in the New York Times defines the battle:
Across New York City, in restaurants and bars, but also in stores and gyms, loud noise has become a fact of life in the very places where people have traditionally sought respite from urban stress. The New York Times measured noise levels at 37 restaurants, bars, stores and gyms across the city and found levels that experts said bordered on dangerous at one-third of them.
It never occurred to the correspondent that maybe people like to unwind at venues with a bit of life. But as any good Times reader knows, the free will and the free market are illusions, and background music is in fact part of a greater capitalist conspiracy to keep the masses fat and drunk:
Some research has shown that people drink more when music is loud; one study found that people chewed faster when tempos were sped up. Armed with this knowledge, some bars, retailers and restaurants are finely tuning sound systems, according to audio engineers and restaurant consultants.
Indeed. We should ban this sort of thing because what New York needs right now is for those remaining people with money to spend less of it.
The Prick doesn’t particularly like noisy venues, nor does he like smoky ones. But just as forcing smokers out onto the street has hurt nightlife, so too will forcing venue owners to turn down the volume, which is inevitably where this is headed. This has all the hallmarks of another public health beat-up in the making and as such must be fought vigorously: How long before bar staff are forced to wear industrial ear protection (think of when Bloomberg’s nannies attempts to make sushi masters and Michelin-starred chefs wear plastic gloves as if they were lunch ladies)? I can already see the “Inside Voices!” public health campaign and hear the “experts” claiming that hearing damage “costs the economy $36 billion a year”.