THE GRAMOPHONE AND THE TYPEWRITER
by Sait Faik I love these two little machines, produced by the human brain after many days of thinking, that make life so easy for us. Whoever it was (Edison?), who thought of not letting the beautiful voices of the living and the dead disappear, might havedied without ever recording his own voice. He must have said: "I have a crackedvoice, what's the use of preserving it? Let the good voices remain in the world." Idon't know who invented the typewriter. He must have been a clever seal maker.Doesn't the typewriter look basically the same as a seal? Like the seal thatdisappeared since the signature became important. The typewriter is somethinglike the signature of the letters. You put your hand on the letters and the letterssign without making any meaningful words in any language.The radio and the gramophone are not related at all. The gramophone is a
idea. I never needed a radio. As to the gramophone, not everybody has aneed for it, but I can say that I have. I don't even like the radio. Pardon me, butthe voice of the man in Paris talking in my room seems fake to me. He's not reallytalking in my room. Anyway, would I let that chatterbox babble in my room?Also the radio stations make me listen to what they themselves want to listen to.Maybe, I don't want what the other people make me listen to, what they choose; just as I myself choose the book I read myself, I myself should also choose thewoman with a lovely voice myself. We're not in school anymore. I should at leasthave the right to choose what I want in my own room. I simply don't love theradio; it has so many annoyances: to begin with, it is the source of disturbance tothe neighbors. Then what about its influence in stirring up ambitions to become amember of the bourgeoisie? The man is a butcher; his wife pesters him to buy aradio, but he cannot buy it. Then one day he makes a few hundred liras by sellingbuffalo meat as veal and comes home with a radio that has one green eye. In theevening, heavens, so many sounds from so many places! But the wife couldn'teven hear them because of her bragging. The radio is used in innumerable viledoings. The shameless one is a spy! You can't take one step in the world, withoutits knowledge, even if you are a state. It has made inroads into the police cars. InAmerica, they say, even the thieves have two-way radios.Moreover, that machine ruins the human imagination. For example, I used tothink that in India there was a music suitable for India; the starry Indian nights,the Ganges, the crocodiles, the temples, the elephants, the large-eyed and large-breasted passionate women, pariahs, a thousand hymns of a thousand religions,the poisonous hissing of the snakes, the jewels, the pearls, millions of enlightenedand educated men, the silks, the Lahore shawls and the tropical jungles... But thefirst time in my life I heard over the radio the slight, sluggish and lifeless music of that country of complexity, exoticism and poetry my imagination was ruined.