Monday, January 12, 2009

Shame and Censorship

On Sunday we ate lunch at the little food court in the J-Town location of the Mitsuwa market. Sadly, the market will be closing on the 25th of this month because the complex was bought out by some Korean group. Given that there doesn't seem to be much business in this mall, it is understandable.

But what I wanted to say was that while Julie and I were eating, a Japanese (as in from Japan, it seemed) sat down next to us with her two young kids while the dad stood in line to get the food. The two kids started to misbehave a bit, fighting with each other (nothing really violent, just normal kid stuff). I briefly glanced over there not out of disapproval but just to look.

The woman saw me look and right away she got up and started reprimanding her kids. Yup, that old Japanese shame about the behavior of one's kids came right to the surface with her! Of course I know all about that - like when I pressed the button on the escalator at the downtown department store and made it stop, bringing great shame upon my mom while everyone above us looked down to see what happened. Or my own kids, when they were little and acted rambunctious at the store, which was frequently. I laughed to myself - poor mom. But you know, it is too bad that so many parents these days could care less how their kids behave. I appreciate this mom doing something about it.

Anyway.. I said a couple of entries ago I would tell you about my experiences in evaluating some products in addition to those Monster Turbine "in-ear speakers" that I received for free. In case you don't know what I am talking about, I was one of the first 50 to respond to an Amazon offer of free Monster Turbine earbuds in exchange for an "honest and substantive" review (see my post a couple of days or so ago). Well, first I'll tell you about my evaluation of the Turbines.

I listened to them very carefully, using a variety of CD's. My main impression: they have walloping bass. Too walloping. It overpowers everything else. I compared them to the two sets of traditional-style headphones I have, one from Grado and one from Sennheiser. There was no comparison. Both headphones whupped the Monster. The headphones had more balanced sound, better detail, and a better sense of airiness or openness, plus they were more comfortable (I don't like things in my ear but I did follow the instructions and put them in as directed).

To be fair, I wouldn't expect little earbuds ("in-ear speakers" as Monster refers to them) to compare to good quality headphones. But on the other hand, when someone charges you $149.95 for something, you expect it would be pretty darn good. I really can't see spending that much money or anything near to that much for these Monsters.

I wrote my review to that effect - not those same words, but the same meaning, and clicked the "submit" button on Amazon. As usual, I got the screen thanking me for my input and letting me know my review should be posted soon.

Normally "soon" means immediately. I am always able to go right to the product page and see my review posted. Not so this time. As of right now my review is nowhere to be found.

I suspect that Monster requested all reviews be held for their censo.. er, review, to make sure they were appropriate. Since so many people panned them they probably got sick of reading all the negative comments. I notice that the reviews posted after the offer was made seem to be a lot better. I don't know if any of them were based on the free samples since no one bothered to mention that fact, but I disclosed it in my review.

So I am going to wait and see how long it takes for my review to get posted (if it gets posted). If it doesn't get posted, well, I'm gonna be awfully mad about that! I really did go into this objectively and I actually wanted them to be a great product since who wants to be stuck with something that isn't so great? Free or not, I only want good stuff.

You don't think that Amazon or Monster would actually censor my substantive review, do you? But then who really knows what lurks behind that giant maze of a website? Is anyone really allowed access to find out how that place reallly works? - I'll let you know what happens.

Oh, and I was also gonna tell you about my other experiences comparing products but I already wrote enough so I'll tell you tomorrow. That way I won't have to think of what to write for tomorrow, either.

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