Category Archives: weather forecasts

Prophylaxis against our own thoughts

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 08.15.00Dalrymple points out that in many public places, electronic entertainment of a deeply unpleasant kind is compulsory, including

The assumption by the management of these places, he writes, is that rather than being left to our devices, we must have the gap in our minds filled with

  • the weather forecast
  • share prices
  • football results
  • sex scandals
  • scenes of war
  • episodes of soap opera
  • cookery programmes

The stimulation

acts on the mind as a food mixer acts on vegetables.

Broadcast drivel has the same intonation in all languages

Airport telescreens

Dalrymple watches the weather forecast for Buenos Aires, Rawalpindi, and Brisbane, and other places.

I made (involuntarily) a mental note that it was frightfully cold in Montreal, minus 17 degrees Celsius, whereas in Los Angeles it was 23 degrees Celsius.

The sound, writes Dalrymple, 'is turned on loud enough to be hard to ignore, but too soft to be intelligible. Tthe volume must have been carefully calculated by someone with this in mind). Oddly enough, the intonation always suffices to tell you that what is said is drivel, in the same way that a dog can understand what you say by the tone of your voice'

Compulsory television: the sound of airport TVs, writes Dalrymple, ‘is turned on loud enough to be hard to ignore, but too soft to be intelligible. The volume must have been carefully calculated by someone with this in mind. The intonation always suffices to tell you that what is said is drivel, in the same way that a dog can understand what you say by the tone of your voice’