Article — From the March 2001 issue

Sound and Fury

The politics of noise in a loud society

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In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamour. Enlil heard the clamour and he said to the gods in council, “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel.” So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind. —The Epic of Gilgamesh In this way begin the earliest written version of the Great Flood myth, which reappears in altered form more than a thousand years later as the biblical story of Noah and the Ark. The Sumerian …

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is the author of No Place but Here and A Dresser of Sycamore Trees. His novel, God of Beer, was published by HarperCollins in 2002.

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