White noise (slang)

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The term white noise—the 'sh' noise produced by a signal containing all audible frequencies of vibration—is sometimes used as a colloquialism to describe a backdrop of ambient sound, creating an indistinct commotion, seamless in such way no specific sounds composing it as a continuum can be isolated as a veritable instance of some defined familiar sound so that masks or obliterates underlying information. e.g. chatter from multiple conversations within the acoustics of a confined place. The information itself may have characteristics that achieve this effect without the need to introduce a masking layer. A common example of this usage is a politician including more information than needed to mask a point they don't want noticed.

The term is used for music that is discordant with no melody, disagreeable, harsh or dissonant.

Use by the media and in literature[edit]

On the January 11, 2005 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America, Claire Shipman claimed "the political rhetoric on Social Security is white noise" to most Americans.[1]

The novel White Noise (1985) by Don DeLillo explores several themes that emerged during the mid- to late twentieth century. The title is a metaphor that shows how the symptoms of postmodern culture came together to make it very difficult for an individual to actualize their ideas and personality.