I know we all have enough to worry about, what with global warming, terrorism and the decline of the housing market. But I read a very disturbing Tribune article that has shaken my world to its foundation. It says that whistling has gone out of style.
It seems that the younger generation isn’t whistling while they work and they certainly don’t whistle when they walk. Champion whistler Milton Briggs explained that “organic” human sounds are no longer “main stream.” I guess this would include yodeling and squeezing your hand in your armpit.
That usual suspect-technology-wiped out whistling. Today’s young people have so much canned music available they don’t feel the need to produce their own melodies. They’d rather listen to ear buds than entertain themselves.
I think this is a shame, because I’m a marathon whistler. I remember walking to summer school and whistling “An American in Paris.” It was a long walk and I needed concert-length pieces to get me there. Later in my youth I whistled my whole classical catalogue during a two-week road trip with no car radio.
I came by whistling honestly. Half my family walked around the house whistling, humming and singing and I was just part of the chorus. I even whistled for my friends, until they begged me to stop.
Such music making is not welcome in my present home. I don’t even realize I’m whistling half the time, until my daughter brings it to my attention. She finds it maddening.
I’m just as bad at the office, unconsciously whistling the last song I heard on the radio, even when it’s a song I really hate.
By the way, I know a high school counselor who maintains that rap isn’t really music, because it can’t be hummed or whistled.
Not all whistling is musical in nature. People used to whistle for a cab, for their dog to come, or for their team to win. Now, the two-finger whistle is almost extinct. The only positive is that you no longer hear desperate males whistling at attractive women. They play the car horn instead.
OK, so another organic art form has bitten the dust. I found even worse news in a related article. The American Whistle Corporation is manufacturing thousands of metal whistles. Who uses these whistles? Their main customers are cops, coaches and referees. This is the kind of whistling that means you’re doing something wrong, need to run more laps, or fouled an opponent. Wouldn’t you rather hear “An American in Paris?”