Stereo Systems And Being Socially Deviant

Many people listen to music every day through some sort of sound producing device. Some may use headphones to listen, others through their phone, or many perhaps use a Bluetooth speaker. However, it seems as if not as many people have booming stereo systems in their cars like they did in the 1980’s and the 1990’s. In today’s world, aftermarket car stereo systems are almost becoming irrelevant because of the advancements in stock speakers in new cars. Another common event in this world is to see people who do things different as socially deviant. One case of this is having a very loud and “booming” stereo. This behavior is considered socially deviant in today’s culture, and there are many sociological reasons for this. Listening to music through very high quality, loud, and expensive speakers is not as widely popular as it used to be. One of the reasons may be because many of the people who lived during the era of bands like AC/DC, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin, experienced their loud and upbeat music. Many may have even listened live, in a concert.

Today, most of those people may be experiencing hearing loss. In an article titled “Cognitive coping and goal adjustment are associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety in people with acquired hearing loss”, Garnefski and Kraaij state that hearing loss “causes substantial impairments in important life domains, such as social functioning and capabilities to perform daily activities, but also has a large impact on mental health” (545).

Most people with effects like this probably do not want their children and grandchildren ending up much like they did. To prevent this, these people may discourage this desire in youth and young adults to have loud stereos. Many “types” of people may consider listening to loud music as “noise pollution”, or perhaps the listener being socially deviant in some cases. Perhaps one who denies listening to music this way may have had an accident involving hearing loss themselves or maybe a loved one. This can severely affect someone for the rest of their lives. Their attitudes can change dramatically after something in their own lives goes very wrong and causes physical harm. Negative experiences usually end up in negative perceptions of what they experienced, no matter whether it was a bad first experience or not. Therefore, those who view these actions as socially deviant view it as negative behavior. One of the reasons that this may be considered socially deviant is how there is usually negative physical effects associated with this. The physical effect most typically acquired from this is hearing loss. The reason for this is because of the decibel levels that some car sound systems reach. Know that according to David Morris, in his article titled, “Cars with the Boom”, states that there is a “normal threshold of pain at 130 db”, with “db” meaning decibels.

After this however, comes another rung on the decibel ladder. Some of these sound systems can reach the “160 db point of eardrum rupture” (Morris). This can have life changing effects on a person. Losing the ability to hear can be very depressing. Morris tells of a friend named Jerome in his article. He states how “Most evenings at about 6 p. m. ” (Morris), his friend and neighbor, Jerome, arrives home, and how he can hear him coming before he can see him. Jerome has a very loud stereo system in his car. He states how “his car and its apocalyptic stereo make him an antisocial deviant, or even an outright criminal” (Morris). Later in this article he gives more insight on an outsider’s perspective. He says that critiques were, “describing loud cars as sources not just of ‘noise’ but more generally of ‘trouble’” (Morris), and the owners and users of these cars as “selfish, ‘offensive,’ and ‘stupid’” (Morris).

One can infer from this information that there was negativity surrounding the uproar of stereo enthusiasts. Further in the article, he gives another example of how the media might have been shaping the public’s views on the car audio scene. He tells of an, “editorial from Orlando in 1988” (Morris), in which the writer explains how creating these large and loud stereo systems was just, “the latest evidence that young American males are public nuisance” (Morris). This “behavior”, as one could call it, was not truly considered being socially deviant right when it became popular, but perhaps after it “had its turn”. My father graduated high school in 1985. He decided not to attend college and pursue a working career.

By doing so, he had time for many things including cutting and splitting wood, working on cars, and buying high quality stereo to be installed in his car. He tells me many stories of when he was going to competitions, and riding around town and such. Back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, having a system was something to do to make your mark and be popular. Not much longer after 1990 hit, my father got out of the stereo craze. One important aspect of this form of social deviance is that there is a huge age gap in those who find it socially deviant, and those who do not.

Generally speaking, the new generation enjoy the work of rap and hip-hop artists. Also, most of these new songs and albums show a large use of bass. Bass frequencies, according to Irene Gustafson in their work, “Audio Frequency Handout”, have two subsets ranging from “20Hz-80Hz” which is “low bass”. This carries on from “80Hz-320Hz” to create the subset, “upper bass” (Gustafson). These frequency ranges are “associated with power, boom, and fullness” (Gustafson). The speakers one would want to play these frequencies, as many know, are subwoofers. Subwoofers are usually found to be 12 inches or 10 inches.

However, as it is found in “The Basics of Subwoofers”, their diameter can range “from sizes 6" to 18" woofers” (Zeidan). There is a very large following for the “basshead” culture, as it has become today. Many stereo competitions are still around. Gatherings like this Big part of stereo culture is that there is social cohesion. Mostly “Mechanical or segmental solidarity” but just a little of “organic solidarity as well. Violates the social norms of peace and quiet. Those who like peace and quiet benefit, and people deny it because it is a way of life and sometimes a job for some Consequences: Some people just want to be free and do what they want to do Others just want some peace and quiet

18 May 2020
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