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Orwell’s vision on 7.21
7:50am Thursday 31st May 2012 in Letters
Sir – The idea of announcers on trains cracking jokes for travellers’ amusement has a superficial appeal (Plan to keep passengers amused is a cunning one, May 17). But a moment’s thought leads one to realise that not everyone will be pleased.
Senses of humour vary enormously for one thing, but what of passengers suffering a bereavement or needing the space to think about some problem in their lives, or simply wishing to concentrate on a book or a piece of written work?
Even more important, in my view, is that people in public places, who have not sought out voices or sounds of any kind, have a right to silence.
Already some buses pipe music to the willing and unwilling ears of its passengers, even though musical tastes also differ.
It does not seem hard to imagine that such music or comedy may easily proliferate to include weather forecasts, advertising, announcements by prominent people, propaganda, or worse.
Orwell’s vision seems to be creeping up on us. Passively the public accepts, but those with spirit may need to stir themselves to nip such ideas in the bud.
Ken Weavers, Headington