Along with the stomping freak who uses the flipside of my ceiling as a floor, the folks with whom I share walls cannot tolerate silence. No, they must blast on repeat any of Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2000 through their respective stereo’s speakers. This, in turn, forces me to blast all of my much less popular music to drown theirs out. It becomes a vicious circle of escalating sound. And perhaps the very point of loud music is to drown out all thought, fear, and pain. These days, who can bear to sit quietly and ponder life—let alone read a book? Indeed, the folks in this city—and perhaps the folks in every city—seemingly do whatever they can to stifle the natural inclination to think. At least, that is my impression. After all, the act of thought—the very act of reflection—necessarily slows production and consumption. And we mustn’t have that, no, no. Besides, we need not contemplate our lack of fulfillment or our actual worthlessness if we are too busy playing video games or watching TV or blasting music; or wasting our respective breaths on comparisons of professional athletes or soap opera studs. This is not the “Information Age,” no, no. This is the “Age of Diversion.” It will be our undoing.

5 January 2001

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