I once took a course (why? where? God knows) that posited a global cultural continuum. At one end of the scale is attention to time, said the course, and at the other end, attention to personal relationships. So that the closer a society is to the ‘prioritizing time’ end of the scale (Germany and the U.S., hello!) the further it necessarily is from the ‘prioritizing personal relationships’ end of the scale. In general, claimed the course content, ‘developed world’ cultures tend to fall closer to the ‘time is cooler’ end of the scale and ‘developing world’ cultures to fall closer to the ‘personal relationships are cooler’ end of the scale.
I remember finding it all kinds of interesting, primarily, I think, because I never would have thought of time and personal relationships as dueling opposites.
And so, so what?
Well, that was a roundabout way of explaining why I explicitly list the exact timing of each recording on Whale Sound right up front in each post, so that everyone knows precisely how much of their lives they will give up (and therefore make unavailable for personal relationships…) if they click on the play button and listen all the way through.
The Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day program (bless its cotton socks) has this vital timing information embedded in the image of the audio player that comes across my feed. (You have to click on the player to activate the actual time figures, but hey, I can live with that.) You Tube and Vimeo are good this way too.
Unfortunately, Whale Sound‘s audio-hosting service (Hipcast, are you listening?) only provides an audio player that tells you how long you have been listening, not how much longer you still have to listen.
As a text addict, what I can’t live with, in the absence of accompanying text that gives me that explicit info, is NOT KNOWING how long I will have to sit and listen. How much of my life am I being required to give up to this exercise?
Like those deadly power point presentations you get in office meetings that don’t tell you how many slides there are in the whole presentation (it’s easy! You can get every slide to tell you exactly what number it is out of exactly how many slides, people!), and so you have no idea whether there will be 10 or 1,000 slides. And in double-quick time you stop listening at all and start looking for ways to ESCAPE because this deadly endless black-hole presentation is DEVOURING YOUR LIFE (and ruining your personal relationships) and you will never get the devoured bits back (or want them back, frankly, because by the time they are dug out of the Power Point Maw they will be chewed-up and shrill and bitter and hateful).
All Whale Sound process notes.