dB or not dB

VU meter from Teac equipmentVent #226, which came out on Christmas Day 2000, opens this way:

The late musicologist and audiophile Edward Tatnall Canby used to say that the length of your perceived memories is a constant, that as you get older the years get closer and closer together, like the calibrations on a VU meter as the volume — as your volume — diminishes into inaudibility.

Since most Western societies read from left to right, this comparison might have made more sense had I posted a horizontally-flopped photo. Then again, I don’t really believe my voice is getting fainter. Yet.

More to the point, I’ve been keeping that voice going, which I suspect Francis W. Porretto would view as a public service:

One of the blessings of the Internet is that it allows us to store our memories before they can fade away, in places where younger others might stumble over them. Wikipedia is a good example; there are others.

Yes, our memories can deceive us. Time is a betrayer; it leaves many a man with memories of things that never happened, including things he would have liked to happen, in place of an accurate record. But where one can be misled by his own memory, many can pool their recollections, discard the chaff, and so recreate what was common to us. We can keep fresh the memory of a better time — better not merely for us, but for America as a whole.

My own memories might not be particularly significant in the grand scheme of things: a tiny fraction of a decibel, difficult to isolate from the massive barbaric yawp out there. But as the guy on late-night television used to say, I make it up in volume.

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