Rhetorical Answer

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A response to the question never asked

Sound beats picture, picture beats rock…

It’s the end of the week for me – the film class week, that is. My first Art of Editing class was yesterday, followed by my second Sound Design class today. Originally, I had been looking forward to the editing class more than the sound design class, but I have to say that, so far, I am enjoying the sound design course more. It reminds me more of an engineering course than a humanities course, but with less math and more Skywalker Ranch references. I can hardly wait until we get our portable recording devices and go trekking around in Washington Square Park waving microphones around in the dark. It will be…how do the 80s teens say it? Awesome.

I finished reading the first handout on basic sound design definitions and psychoacoustics over the weekend, which was a good thing because the instructor just dumped about twelve articles in our laps today to read, in lieu of a textbook, on topics ranging from Foley techniques to polar patterns of microphones. I will be happily occupied for at least the next two weeks reading all of them.

Netflix being rather poky, I only received and watched The Triplets of Belleville yesterday after getting back from editing class. Last minute it may have been, but I completed my first homework assignment on time, thereby guaranteeing that the instructor would not bring it up in today’s class. Nevertheless, I’m glad I saw the film. I was particularly impressed with how much of its rather bizarre plot was conveyed with minimal dialogue, which got me thinking about the contrast with dialogue-heavy American television.

News programs, fake news programs, morning and late night talk shows, sports analysis shows, celebrity soup shows, Judge Judy, Suze Orman, Rachel Ray, and even game shows like Deal or No Deal all pretty much boil down to a studio set filled with frantically talking heads. And I can count on one elbow the number of mainstream silent films that have come out of Hollywood in the past decade. What is it about our culture that makes us averse to television without dialogue?

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