As I pass my second anniversary of living in Brooklyn, I think back to all the wonderful benefits of not living in Manhattan. Things are less expensive, the subway is closer, the air is cleaner (the list goes on). This chain of thought also leads me to the one thing that is not so pleasant about living in Brooklyn: unnecessarily loud car stereos.

I’ve been studying the concept for some time. Regardless of season, temperature, or time of day (although there seems to be a particular bias toward sleeping hours), it is very popular in my neighborhood to drive around blasting up tempo music from your vehicle. Just to be clear, we are not talking about slightly louder than normal volume music, what I’m referencing is music that is so loud that it reaches people several blocks away, most of whom will probably wonder about the hearing damage being inflicted on vehicle occupants. A very special honor is saved for those stereos that are so loud that they set off the car alarms of the parked vehicles lining the street like a baseball player high-fiving a line of cheering teammates as he takes the field.

But why? What would motivate someone to play music at this volume? I can’t imagine that ear-piercing volume enhances listening pleasure. Also – in cold temperatures, or in the rain, driving with windows down must be especially unpleasant for the driver and passengers. Why not just drive and privately enjoy your music like everyone else?

I think it comes down to influencing people around you. Just like the crazy man on the subway who relentlessly babbles away just so people can hear him – playing loud music is a way to force your influence on other people. And influence of the people around you (on the street, just as in business) is the cornerstone of Power.

I can picture the temptation now – driving down the street in Brooklyn, socio-economic dichotomies abound, slowly succumbing to the seduction of Power – and cranking the stereo up past 11.

Unnecessarily Loud Car Stereos