It was in pleasant, civilized San Diego that I got a glimpse of an unpleasant future.
It is a future that recalls the decaying ’70s, when civilization started to come under attack by hordes of self-centered dullards who lugged boomboxes on their shoulders, speakers firing out to assault productive members of society on the street, subway or bus.
Will powerful Bluetooth speakers replace boomboxes as the sonic weapon of choice to terrorize upstanding citizens in public places?
These shoulder-fired weapons were a great business for quite a while, but I’m glad headphones, cassette and CD players, then MP3 players and smartphones, rose up to quiet down our public spaces.
Or have they?
The ’70s and mid-80s might be making an unwelcome comeback, thanks to powerful handheld Bluetooth speakers. As I rode a hotel elevator near Petco Park, three louts entered. One played loud (and relatively distortion-free) music through a Bluetooth speaker, apparently in a failed attempt to bolster his self-esteem. Not only did the music shatter what was a pleasant day, but so did his dancing, which shook the elevator as we descended.
I flashed back to New York City’s subways in the ’70s and mid-80s. Graffiti appeared on the elevator walls. I saw Spock execute the Vulcan nerve pinch on a boombox-wielding punk rocker in “Start Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”
Today’s Class D amplification delivers a lot of output from a small package, and powerful Bluetooth speakers are a lot easier to tote around than a boombox. Will Bluetooth be the enabler of another audio assault by the barbarians on our public spaces after decades of relative calm?
I, for one, am worried. What say you?