Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
In the late 1980s, two recent college graduates in San Francisco began making audio recordings of their elderly neighbors’ loud, drunken arguments, eventually amassing over fourteen hours of material. If you find that material fails to transcend momentary amusement, the ensuing story will follow suit. As the recordings become a phenomenon throughout underground tape-trading networks and spawn albums, comic books, theatrical productions, and feature films, the cult obsession over such a mundane artifact grows ever more puzzling. And when salient questions of privacy, copyright, and exploitation arise, every last person involved comes out looking bad, especially when their snotty voyeurism is trumpeted as an art form unto itself. In the end, the most interesting thing about the story of Shut Up Little Man is that anyone ever found it that interesting to begin with.