e207. The Voice of the Crowd is Close to Madness!

Episode artwork for The Voice of the Crowd is Close to Madness!

“Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.” The Latin quote (a letter from Alcuin of York to Charlemagne the Great) we named our show after roughly translates to “and those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.” We never really explain it, and we don’t really dwell on it. It just seemed funny that if we were going to be presumptuous enough to call our show the “Voice of the Peoples” then we had to admit that people (and therefore we) are crazy! However if we really are the VoxPopulorum… and we represent the Voice of the Crowd then even if the crowd is mad, we have to wonder… does it have a voice?

On this week’s episode, Mav and Wayne are joined by DJs and music fans Rob and Anna O’Friel to talk about crowd dynamics and unintentional group synchrony at rock concerts and other mass gatherings. What is the power of a crowd? Why makes seeing a band, or sporting event in a group of people more enjoyable than just watching at home? Is it different for different kinds of events? On this episode we dive into these questions and compare the dynamics of different crowd types. Is the voice of the crowd fundamentally different at a concert than it is at Trump rally? And if not, is that a good or a bad thing? Listen and then let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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