Friday, October 14, 2011

The human microphone

One of the things that 2011 will be remembered for is that it was the year the human microphone was invented. Since amplified sound is not permitted in Zucotti park, the speaker talks briefly then his words are repeated by the crowd. It reminds me a little of Catholic Mass when the priest says "et cum spirito too"  and the congregation repeats it.


  1. From Looking Glass World:
    "If there is an award category for "worst invention of the year", it should go to the "human microphone". What a terrible idea! Why would you do that? Whoever came up with this is working for the enemy.

    First of all, it sounds awful. It ruins the flow of spoken communication, making its content difficult to follow. Everything takes at least twice as long to say and, it's just plain creepy. I can't be the only one who finds it extremely unpleasant.

    So what if there's a bylaw against using microphones without a permit? I'm pretty sure the Occupiers are already violating several other bylaws. I suppose the police could battle their way to the microphone and try to take it, but not without it being widely viewed on You-tube. The movements could organise a microphone replacement fund if necessary.

    It shouldn't just be assumed that amplification is needed, or even good. Is it really preferable that a single voice should be heard by everyone at the same time? Consider that all other conversation is made difficult, if not impossible. Might it not be better to have multiple speakers' places, conveniently spaced so as not to overlap? Natural consensus is best achieved through dialogue, in small scale discussions. People should mill around and talk to one another, consider many different ideas. There is time for that. And consensus should take some time to develop if it's going to be wise consensus."

  2. Because of my loud voice, as a kid I was once called the human microphone.