Last week, I saw a young man setting up a stand with a video monitor – in the rain, in front of Waterfront Station, at rush hour with thousands of commuters flowing into the transit hub.

The brightness of the monitor grabbed the eye; the sound was loud and assaulted the ear.  The content was, I think, about animal cruelty in the production of food, and some of the images were pretty rough.
The young man wasn’t saying anything; he was there to talk with people attracted by the TV.  It was very effective – and a very bad idea.
Yes, freedom of speech and all that.  But once again technology changes the terms: do people have the right not to be pummeled in the public realm with images and noise that fills the space in a way that the human voice cannot?
And what happens when more than one advocate – maybe two, maybe more – set up competing attractions and an arms race begins: bigger, louder, more intrusive?
Don’t know whether this is legal or not.  But the use of augmenting technology shouldn’t be.


  1. What if he had just played video & sound of a freeway and turned the volume up to slightly higher than the existing noise from cars, about as loud as it would be if one more person had decided to drive that day?

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