Lately, everyone and everything seems to be getting louder. Yelling on cable news, ALL-CAPS on Twitter, amped-up music, you name it. My hunch was confirmed this week by this New Yorker piece by Amanda Petrusich. She notes in it that ubiquitous dynamic range compression is "the audio equivalent of writing in all capital letters," that "productive discourse has been reduced to simply securing the most deafening bullhorn," and even the ocean "is getting progressively less quiet." Noise pollution, like other kinds, is stuck on high.
One way to turn down the volume is to remember that whispering also commands attention. I've seen teachers quiet a noisy classroom by lowering, not raising, their voices. At the Women's March 2018 in New York City on January 20, the protester in the photo above stood out in a crowd with a cheek sign tinier than a button. Quirky and memorable, it proved you don't always have to shout to be heard.