The Vancouver-based Right to Quiet Society opposes the use of what it calls "program audio": "canned music, radio, and television soundtrack, particularly when provided as a 'background' in places where people gather":
Program audio is particularly insidious because it encourages passivity and conformity: like so much else in our modern society, it calls on us to be consumers, mere sponges, rather than thinkers and doers with spontaneous responses.I recently learned that the waiting area at my doctor's office now features a television playing FOX News. The next time I'm there — promise — I'll ask someone in "charge" why television — much less cable news, much less the FOX brand — is a good idea for people waiting to see a doctor.
Even when program audio is pushed on us with good intentions, the underlying assumption is an insulting one: that our empty heads need to be kept filled with artificial stimuli so that we do not become insufferably bored.
Elaine recently wrote about the background music — or was it foreground music? — in a nearby bookstore. Or, as she would prefer, book store.