March 1, 2010
Noise Free America
For immediate release
In March 2009, Prochnik wrote a pro-noise article for Playboy, “Boom Car Boom: Hard-Core Bass Heads Don’t Care How Fast Their Cars Are–Only How Loud.” Prochnik states that his journey to “Explosive Sound,” a gathering of boom car boys, was motivated by reading posts on Noise Free America’s list-serv, “for which boom cars constitute the incarnation of absolute evil.” He notes that members of Noise Free America’s online discussion group regularly produce “a thread involving the arrest of someone somewhere for assaulting a person who complained about the noise of a car, or an attack on a police officer who stopped a vehicle for loud music, or the announcement of a new link between boom cars and drug dealers, or the discovery of guns inside a boom car, or the passage of a new anti-boom car ordinance. The tone of the threads is always of the highest dudgeon–boom-car owners are invariably referred to as thugs or “boom thugs”–and the posts often drip with lathery bile….”
In his article, Prochnik equates the obnoxious, thumping, illegal noise of the boom car boys with the pleas of Noise Free America members for peace and quiet: “But were the ‘human garbage’ who perpetrated the crime really the ‘life’s blood of the boom-car pestilence’? And is the rage of the online anti-loudness soapbox even its own form of noise?”
Prochnik also attempts to present boom car “enthusiasts” as respectful, decent citizens. He describes the allegedly “quiet, respectful tone” of the Florida SPL Discussion Board. At a Car Stereo Competition, Prochnik approvingly quotes Robin Butler (aka “MPE Pimp”), who states that “the people who go to shows continuously–most of us are respectful. They call it ‘thumping responsibly.’ That’s what we do. But you get the kids, and they have a loud system in their cars, and they want everybody to know, so they play it loud all the time. Unfortunately, they’re in the majority, because a lot of people who have car stereos don’t come to shows.”
At the car stereo event, Prochnik was giddy, cavalierly encouraging a boom car boy to “crank it up.”
After writing his pro-boom car article for Playboy, Prochnik now has the gall to release a book extolling the virtues of peace and quiet, entitled In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise. In his Amazon.com page, Prochnik states, “lots of noises are good, at least part of the time.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, stated that “George Prochnik’s Playboy article celebrates the boom car mentality. If he was truly interested in understanding boom car culture, he would have contacted victims of noise pollution–people who suffer from chronic fatigue, mental aggravation, hearing loss and sleeplessness, as well as those who have to abandon their homes because of boom cars shaking them. Instead, he presents boom car owners as misunderstood youths and anti-noise activists as cranks. Prochnik’s idea that some people are born to love booming bass while others prefer peace and quiet, as if there were a moral equivalence between the two, is laughable. People who are silent do no harm to others. Those who crank out incredible levels of noise Cause a great deal of damage”.
Noise Free America is a national 501c3 organizaiton opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Congressman Darrell Issa, Governor Jesse Ventura, and Governor Gray Davis.