Silence is Golden

14 May 2006
May 14, 2006

Sometimes silence is golden. Click the image above to start. (Quicktime, 7.6 MB)

I enjoy watching TV with the sound muted. It gives inane programming new meaning. Media moguls take note: it often improves my television watching experience. Programs I would never watch become MUST SEE TV. Take this bit I recently Tivo’ed.

When I turned on the TV the volume had been turned off. I just stared at these boys with no context for their visual cues. And without it I was mesmerized. In fact, I kept replaying this clip without any sound. To this day I have not listened to it. Why should I? This silent movie is so much more entertaining.

Recently Cingular has been broadcasting ads that tout their stellar record for the least dropped calls of any cell phone provider (don’t write me to dispute their evidence). In their first commercial a man tells us what really gets under his skin (dropped calls of course). But just as his anger builds to its crescendo the sound drops out. All we see is a contorted face “yelling” at us. His anger is palatable. I immediately get his point. (Employing the same technique, Cingular’s other ads in this series are not as successful, in part, because we don’t “feel” the person’s rage in the same way we do here. They simply are not convincing.)

I was reminded of this Cingular ad as I watched these guys pantomime their over-the-top enthusiasm. Without the audio to distract you it’s easier enjoy the visuals. And I get their point.

Television has become the background to our home life –the underlying buzz that permeates the house. When I walk in the door after a hard day’s work with the smell of dinner wafting through the air (thank you my wife), the sounds of the TV are also part of the background ambience.

Sometimes boys will be boys. And sometimes silence is indeed golden.

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