Thursday, April 30, 2009

Surveywatch: Boy Racer Hysteria Edition

There are quite a few interesting questions raised by the Herald reporting on a survey commissioned by the National Foundation for the Deaf.
The foundation commissioned the survey on what noises New Zealanders find most annoying and could be making them physically or mentally ill, in the lead-up to yesterday's inaugural Noise Awareness Day.

Persistent noise has been linked with increased stress levels, headaches, aggressive behaviour, loss of sleep and even heart disease and high blood pressure, the foundation said.
Quite what the link is between 'annoying' and potentially illness-causing is left unclear. What's not unclear is the number one cause of annoying noise.

Boy-racers' exhausts were ranked as the number-one annoying noise in New Zealand, followed closely by dogs barking and car or house alarms.

Snoring, children crying, "body noises" such as chewing or whistling, and other people's mobile phones ringing also ranked in the top 10.

Also in the top 10: immigrants, 'PC gone mad' and the grinding of the gears of Nanny State. Honestly, I would be surprised if more than, say, 20 per cent of New Zealanders heard 'boy racers' on anything like a persistent basis - but then it's hard for me to know, coming from my secret underground news-bunker. I would have thought that, say, 'traffic' would be a more persistent problem. But then I suppose 100% of NZers who turn on a TV or pick up a newspaper can read about how 'boy racers' are more annoying and persistent than Hitler. Also, what kind of grinch finds whistling persistently annoying?
The foundation's executive manager, Marianne Schumacher, said the government should put in place controls to protect citizens from the adverse health effects resulting from long-term noise exposure.
Oh yeah, let's immediately bring in a law to stop whistling - in fact, let's just immediately outlaw "body noises" of any kind. God damn Nanny State telling me what to hear...


  1. ..."body noises" such as chewing or whistling.

    Talking? I find a lot of talking noise very annoying.

  2. Sorry, but fuck. Someone was whistling on the bus MONTHS ago, when I lived in Wellington. And I'm still all het up about it as you can see. Whistling! On the bus!

    So in answer to your question: I am that grinch.

    Of course it's well known that everything annoys me, but there you go.

  3. The survey methododology is obviously flawed if Fran Drescher isn't the top result.

  4. Wow, there's a top ten?? That might be the problem, it sounds like the survey was a brainstorming session to make a list of as many different noises as possible, not a serious investigation into what could be making people ill.

    For what it's worth, here's my top ten annoying noises:
    - Cows
    - Combine Harvesters
    - Waves
    - That faint high-pitched ringing noise your TV makes when you turn it off
    - Any TV3 News, Sport or Weather presenter that is not female
    - Windmills
    - Kareoke
    - The burglar alarm in my office that keeps going off by itself for no reason
    - Customers
    - The voices in my head

  5. Oh another special interest group sets up an 'official day'.

  6. PS why would a deaf group need a noise awareness day?

  7. Is there not room in today's EtH for a fish-in-barrels style evisceration of Garth George's statement that politics has 'changed for the better':

    For want of a better word, the new domestic politics is one of "inclusion", to a degree never seen either here or in the US.

    Here it manifests itself in National's decision to include outsider political parties in the Government it leads, including once natural enemies such as the Maori Party; and, lately, even accepting suggestions from the far-left Greens.
    I know he's a silly billy, but was he not awake for the past two Parliaments, in which Labour had to do deals with parties like United Future and NZ First? Oh, I guess I already know the answer to that.

  8. A noisy noise annoys an oyster.

  9. The Foundation is not a deaf group. They represent the audiology industry and other likeminded groups, although one imagines that promoting avoidance of hearing damage is not much good for business. I concur about Ms Drescher.

  10. "Also, what kind of grinch finds whistling persistently annoying?"

    The article doesn't specify where or in what context the sounds are annoying. Someone whistling jauntily as they walk down the street? Fine. A co-worker whistling loudly and tunelessly next to your desk while you're trying to concentrate? Not so much.

    "I would be surprised if more than, say, 20 per cent of New Zealanders heard 'boy racers' on anything like a persistent basis"

    Not so much as to disturb one's sleep, I suppose: only a few people are unlucky enough to live on the affected streets. But I suppose most people have noticed and been irritated by the gunning engines and blowoff valves, as it's pretty hard to walk anywhere in the city without coming across them. Again, probably not enough to keep you awake at night and ruin you health, but enough to make you want to erect a wall across the Hutt motorway.

  11. Yes, the sound of blowoff valves is annoying. What the sound DOESN'T tell you is that it is usually 70yrold women at the wheel. Groups of them, driving around in gangs.

    It's very, very annoying.