Newspaper Article Headphones

Tabitha Farthing

Special to The New York Times. “Jersey township passes curb on headphones.” New York Times, 12 July 1982. Retrieved from accountid=14902. Accessed 9 Nov 2016.

This article, published during the period of the Walkman frenzy, reports on a proposed ban on wearing headphones while walking across the street, driving, or biking in the Woodbridge Township of New Jersey.  The penalty for this offense is proposed to be up to fifty dollars in fines, fifteen days in prison, or both.  I thought this was interesting because any given offender would obviously pay the small fine rather than spend two weeks in jail.  It states the reasoning for this measure is that there could be potentially be room for danger with everyone wearing headphones, due to their supposed inattention to their surroundings.  The article claims that there has not been much public resistance to the proposition, which I believe is extreme and prohibits necessary freedoms.  It also casts the non-noise canceling ability of Sony’s headphones in a positive light.  The company even provides a warning on the product that turning up the volume too high could result in blocking out ambient noise.  I think this is an interesting detail because society today highly values the noise canceling function of headphones, which contrasts with this early perspective on the technology.  Often today, if they are lacking in this area, they are viewed as useless.

This source is unrelated to most of my sources, however, it does connect in the sense of the noise-canceling function.  It offers a negative perspective of the feature, that of the safety implications.  If I investigate this further, I would look into the proposed distraction headphones may cause in activities such as driving and whether there are any real legal bans on the use of headphones in certain environments.


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