The Sound and the Fury

Posted by Ace on April 29th, 2009 filed in letters from Ace

From Keeping Up with Kimberly:

Pet Peeve of the Week:

Items that are artificially made to resemble themselves.

For example-  Bubble gum that is artificially flavored—  Bubble Gum!!

Where do they get the flavoring from?

There’s a relatively concise, though not particularly well attributed discussion of exactly that HERE, at Google Answers.  (Boy, I’m turning into a Google shill.)  The salient points are that the exact chemical composition of any kind of commercial food flavoring is proprietary and/or a “trade secret”, so no-one is going to tell you just how it’s made, but “bubble gum” flavor has been around long enough and is ubiquitous enough that whatever it is, it’s probably a simple formula that’s easily duplicated.

Next example-  Cell phones that have a ring tone that sounds like–  (you guessed it!)  a phone!

You’ve heard these- the ring ring digital phones.  That also annoys me but I’m less clear as to why.

Think about it- there are more examples out there.  Isn’t it vaguely interesting that we have altered objects so much that they no longer resemble what they started out as?

Just a thought……

I love cel phones that ring like old plug-in bell phones, precisely because (whether intentionally or not) they’re harking back to the earlier form of the technology in a honorable and harmless way.  And perhaps because, having grown up with the bells, I find them infinitely less annoying then, say, the latest Pink song looped ad nauseum… In a society that can’t seem to remember anything that happened more than 10 minutes ago, why denigrate anything that helps preserve a continuum?

In a similar vein:  I learned how to type on a manual typewriter with electrical tape pasted over the keys (so you couldn’t cheat and look at the letters), and the biggest disappointment to me over the years as I moved from that to a Smith-Corona electric, to an IBM computer with a steel key keyboard, to various other computers with plastic key keyboards, was that the act of typing didn’t make that same satisfying noise anymore!  For a while I was hell-bound and determined to either find or write a piece of software that would make a “clack” sound every time you pressed a key, and maybe the “ding” of the carriage return bell when you pressed “Return” (which is now labeled “Enter” these days, because no one remembers anymore when there was a carriage to return.)  But there was no such animal.  Aside from having a potential market of one, it would have impossibly taxed the systems of that time-  slowed them down sufficiently to make them untenable.

To this day, though, I unleash my savage philangetic fury on every Quiet Key that dares cross my path, in retribution.  Type Loud!

5 Responses to “The Sound and the Fury”

  1. Church Says:

    Boy- wow!

    That software program would be a whole new pet peeve entry!!

    Perhaps the problem that I have is that there wasn’t enough time passed for me to miss the old “ring”.

    Another issue that I have is that to move forward as fast as we do today with technology and knowledge- I find it mildly annoying to be hung up in the simple backward looks that I think most people use as a safely blanket to cling to something that they were familar with back in the days when they actually knew what their phone does.

    (On a side note- after my parents misplaced thier cordless phone for the upteenth time- I told them of this new phone. It is actually *attached to the wall!!!*
    They didn’t appreciate that much… :)

    As for the bubble gum thing.
    I always thought that when things were flavored- it meant that there were little pieces of what ever it was in there, and now there isn’t. It’s sort of like misrepresenting. Bublegum is the best and most blaringly obvious example.


    Just my own little personal view of the world.

  2. Ace Says:

    I don’t get what you’re saying in your fourth paragraph. Are you implying that people who make their cel phones ring like old phones are annoying to you because you feel that by implication it belies an inability on their part to deal with the contemporary world, and you perceive that as weakness?

    And while I do understand what you mean about flavoring implying that “little pieces of whatever it was” are in there, I think that kinda falls apart when you get to bubble gum, the flavoring of which apparently doesn’t exist in any single form gleanable from nature that can be chopped up. Sticking to that principle and taking it through to its logical conclusion, anything with a synthetic chemical flavoring base should piss you off. (And maybe it does!)

    How about bubble-gum flavored ice-cream that derives its flavor from chopped-up bits of bubble gum? Is that OK? Where does it stand in this spectrum?

  3. Church Says:

    Ok first- cell phone rings.

    – Um…. Yes. I think that subconsciously I reached that conclusion and it has eventually bubbled to the surface here.
    It’s a generalization, I know, and of course not going to be correct in every situation- but… Next time you hear a false “RING!” (because they sound very very false) take a look at the person scrambling in their pockets for their phone. I’ll make a bet that you can pick up signs of technological aversion in them if you look for it.

    Yes I know this is a huge generalization.
    Doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.

    (/me thinks if all synthetic flavoring pisses her off. I don’t think so.)

    -That is a really good point.
    I think that I can address why bubble gum as a flavor doesn’t bother me- even though it is not using anything from nature.

    The answer is Klenex. Or Zerox.

    Bubble gum has become so widely recognized that it has become a flavor itself. I know that it probably comes from synthetic chemicals itself- but that would really only strengthen my position. How can you possibly fake a flavor that is fake to start with?

    Perhaps if I think about it long enough- and break it down enough- my main issue is the label. How can you possibly label a package of bubble gum as “Bubble gum”? That’s like labeling an apple as having apple flavoring. Or worse- like artificially flavoring an apple with apple flavoring!
    Where does the madness end?!?!

    PS. There is a bubble gum flavored ice cream that actually has bubble gum balls in it. So that’s totaly ok!
    (and the way it’s suppose to be! ;)
    Jackson’s Ice Cream Parlor makes handmade ice cream sense 1956. I went as a kid if I got a good report card. Bubble Gum Ice Cream was my regular favorite. Sort of disgusting now that I look back at it. Lol! :)

    Look under Ice Cream Flavors at the top if you care to experience a part of my childhood.

    If not- disregard.

  4. Neuro Says:

    I am also a fan of cel phones set to use the old fashioned ring. I find it harmlessly charming, and I also suspect that that sound was originally well-chosen to be easily detected yet not too obnoxious. The inter-ring interval is long enough to allow the ear to rest a bit in between signals (unlike a song playing), and it doesn’t sound very screechy. I find songs very irritating when they go off in public (like when people have “Flight of the Bumblebee”. Ugh).

    As far as typewriter-style auditory feedback software, here’s three I found:
    (choose Smith-Corona module),7182-order,1-page,1-c,alldownloads/description.html

  5. Ace Says:

    Sweet! I can have my cake and Ethernet too.