Political Chatter


For the full version go to Re-Sounding Blog A space for thinking about sound and audiovision.

An election race fills the airwaves with chatter and political commentary. Just like Christmas is the season to be jolly we now seem to be in the season of political chatter. Televisions are filled with coverage of the UK elections and the continuous controversies that are plaguing the Trump administration. The reporting and debating of politics is filled with one thing and one thing only people talking, often over each other. This is the sonic signature of politics: the sound of chatter, debate, policy, arguments and spin. The sonic seems especially key in this season, when a soundbite can make or break an election and in each moment President Trump seems to contradict his White House and himself.

Each election cycle brings public speaking into the fore. This means that the sonic holds more of an importance within politics. During these speeches, the public in earshot don’t really have a way of individual response. Instead they join in the collective actions of clapping, if they are in an agreement. Max Atkinson in ‘Our Master’s Voices’ discusses this: “At the same time, collective activities like clapping and booing can be used as a substitute mode of response by people who are deprived of any individual opportunities to speak.” Atkinson wrote this book before the advent of social media. There is a two-tiered response to a public speaker. The inner circle, as described by Atkinson is in close proximity to the speaker and is sonic. The second is distanced and on social media. This response often takes place without sound, purely text or text and image.

For the full version go to Re-Sounding Blog A space for thinking about sound and audiovision.