Weaponizing Mozart
March 1, 2010 1:05 AM   Subscribe

Weaponizing Mozart - "How Britain is using classical music as a form of social control".
posted by nthdegx (88 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
In “special detentions,” the children are forced to endure two hours of classical music both as a relaxant (the headmaster claims it calms them down) and as a deterrent against future bad behavior

I thought Beethoven's Ninth was the music of choice for that sort of thing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:12 AM on March 1, 2010 [29 favorites]


maybe i should have read the whole of the article
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:15 AM on March 1, 2010


Wouldn't something like Ligeti be more torturous? Not that I think this is anything but a stupid, stupid idea by baffled adults who probably treat children as indecipherable creatures that need to be controlled. In fact, I think the last two paragraphs are the most poignant of the article:

They’re so desperate to control youth—but from a distance, without actually having to engage with them—that they will film their every move, fire high-pitched noises in their ears, shine lights in their eyes, and bombard them with Mozart. And they have so little faith in young people’s intellectual abilities, in their capacity and their willingness to engage with humanity’s highest forms of art, that they imagine Beethoven and Mozart and others will be repugnant to young ears. Of course, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The dangerous message being sent to young people is clear: 1) you are scum; 2) classical music is not a wonder of the human world, it’s a repellent against mildly anti-social behavior.

posted by spiderskull at 1:27 AM on March 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I woke up. The pain and sickness all over me like an animal. Then I realized what it was. The music coming up from the floor was our old friend, Ludwig Van, and the dreaded Ninth Symphony.

Ah... Ubu got there first.
posted by Jimbob at 1:40 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. It's like they distilled the Daily Mail to make concentrated right-wing fear-mongering. Thanks for letting me know Yorkshire now has a unitary local council though.
posted by Bodd at 1:44 AM on March 1, 2010


I always hoped this sort of bullshit would go the other way, of course. That is, rather than repelling youth from those bus stops the authorities are so worried about them standing at, it would instead breed an underground culture of classical music, where teenagers end up trading white-label recordings of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra performing Sibelius' Finlandia, wearing hoodies with weird key signatures printed on them.
posted by Jimbob at 1:46 AM on March 1, 2010 [34 favorites]


Bit of a classic Brendan O'Neill scattershot there; he's peppering as many innocent bystanders as legitimate targets. The Reason tagline is a bit of a chuckle too.
posted by Abiezer at 2:05 AM on March 1, 2010


I can already see UK hipsters (is there such a thing?) ironically blasting obscure Russian etudes from their cars while scouring the ends of the earth for flannel button down shirts and huge eyeglasses sans lenses.
posted by bam at 2:14 AM on March 1, 2010


(i'm not sure what constitutes a hipster in the UK so feel free to insert your own paraphanalia.)
posted by bam at 2:16 AM on March 1, 2010


Medication time. Medication time.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 2:25 AM on March 1, 2010


A shopping centre in my home town, Tampere (Finland), has been using classical music to drive away teenagers for some years, so this silliness is not confined to the UK. Don't know of any "special detentions", though. I'm not even sure it would be legal here. Hope not.
posted by The Mouthchew at 2:28 AM on March 1, 2010


As one critical commentator said, they will probably “go into adulthood associating great music—the most bewitchingly lovely sounds on Earth—with a punitive slap on the chops.” This is what passes for education in Britain today: teaching kids to think “Danger!” whenever they hear Mozart’s Requiem or some other piece of musical genius.

If it has any influence on them at all.
posted by three blind mice at 2:32 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ is it too much to ask that authorities not take tactics directly from dystopian fiction?
A shopping centre in my home town, Tampere (Finland), has been using classical music to drive away teenagers for some years, so this silliness is not confined to the UK.
Well, there's a difference between putting music in where people can choose to be, and forcing them to listen to it.
posted by delmoi at 2:39 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks for letting me know Yorkshire now has a unitary local council though.

Yorkshire does not have a unitary local council.
posted by vbfg at 2:56 AM on March 1, 2010


(And looking at your profile, I now see that you likely knew that already)
posted by vbfg at 2:56 AM on March 1, 2010


But he rebels, especially against the use of classical music as punishment.

Ok, maybe it's been a while, but as I recall in A Clockwork Orange, Beethoven wasn't used as punishment, really. Instead, they destroyed his ability to enjoy it. It was the association of horrible things with the music that was "punishment," not the music itself (and not even really punishment - it was conditioning, so I think the author here missed the point).
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:03 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, there's a difference between putting music in where people can choose to be, and forcing them to listen to it.
Which, if you look at the diverse set of news snippets that O'Neill has marshalled to advance his hyperbole ('Anthony Burgess’s nightmare vision of an elite using high culture as a “punitive slap on the chops” for low youth has come true.' Oh aye, Brendan.) is what's happening in all but the school detention story.
I think O'Neill's right to raise the issue of unnecessarily fearful attitudes to young people just being present in public places in the UK, but he's constructing a more extremely dystopian picture out of random anecdata from all over the place. I know that's pretty much his brief as a professional controversialist, but none of the stories are as as straightforward as presented if you follow his links. They may add up to a pattern, but that would require some actual research to show.
posted by Abiezer at 3:07 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, there's a boy with taste who plans to do whatever gets you that sort of treatment, get treated to a couple hours of Vivaldi through a nice sound system —Will it be the concerto for Mandolin in C major? Some concertos for flute and strings?— and finally get to fantasize about about having sex a la Malcolm McDowell while he's getting "cured".
posted by ersatz at 3:08 AM on March 1, 2010


Yorkshire does not have a unitary local council.

Sorry, forgot my sarcasm tags. It was intended in reference to this part of the article:

In Yorkshire in the north of England, the local council has started playing classical music through vandal-proof speakers at “troublesome bus-stops”

Whether that's shoddy research or shoddy grammar, it's indicative of the quality of O'Neill's piece.
posted by Bodd at 3:17 AM on March 1, 2010


The hurt here isn't the listening to classical music. The hurt is in them forcing people to listen to it. That, and to themselves, for exulting thus in their power over another.
posted by JHarris at 3:19 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Writer confuses Britain with one school doing something once (maybe) and one police force doing that one thing that time, seems to think that all CCTV cameras (no matter who runs them) are the same thing (and uses his own article as research), erroneously thinks Britain doesn't make steel or cars (or decent pop music) anymore. Can't find anything really wrong with any of this so resorts to a ridiculous comparison to a torture scene in A Clockwork Orange.
posted by ntrifle at 3:21 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or, what everyone else said.
posted by ntrifle at 3:23 AM on March 1, 2010


I was interested to learn that the elite now includes station managers on the Tyne and Wear metro, though. If the barriers to entry keep dropping like this, I may get in one day!
posted by Abiezer at 3:30 AM on March 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, there's a difference between putting music in where people can choose to be, and forcing them to listen to it.

Agreed, which is why I said I hope forcing isn't legal here. I mentioned the shopping centre because similar uses were mentioned in the article.
posted by The Mouthchew at 3:35 AM on March 1, 2010


And to give it the perfect ending, was a bit of the old Ludwig Van. Oh yes, classical music makes me peaceful.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:56 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


While it is true that the article is somewhat characterised by hyperbole and exaggeration, it does raise a rather interesting point: elites do exist in this country, and they do demonise modern youth. That they've taken to such ridiculous methods to stop young people congregating, even when they are (as admitted by those deploying the music) not engaged in any form of illegal activity.

ntrifle: seems to think that all CCTV cameras (no matter who runs them) are the same thing

I don't know about you, but frankly, it doesn't matter who runs the fucking CCTV camera. I don't want it there, watching me. Be it local council, local police force, any of their representatives, or private companies, I'd rather be rid of them.

What might matter is the location of the camera - whether it is filming private property, or public space. Sure, there are loads of the former around, but the problem is that the UK is far and away leading the world in the latter. They're really problematic for me.
posted by Dysk at 4:12 AM on March 1, 2010


Abiezer: I was interested to learn that the elite now includes station managers on the Tyne and Wear metro, though. If the barriers to entry keep dropping like this, I may get in one day!

You seem to be confusing the servants and representatives of the elites with the elites themselves. Sure, you can one day drive a Bentley, but only when and where you're told to by the guy that owns it.
posted by Dysk at 4:13 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Music as torture has a long history within psychological operations. It's only natural that it should be deployed against innocent civilians. But harrumph, Mozart does not compare with Beethoven. I see no reason why torture need to be associated with bad taste. Harrumph.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:16 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The hurt here isn't the listening to classical music. The hurt is in them forcing people to listen to it. That, and to themselves, for exulting thus in their power over another.

It's music as territory-marking behaviour, the flipside of hoody-wearing teenagers blaring gangsta rap out of their tinny mobile phone speakers, in the calculation that people will be too afraid of being stabbed for "disrespec'" to tell them to leave it out. Here, the State is showing that it can strike back, and has bigger speakers.

Wasn't there a news story some years ago about a man somewhere in the US who was sentenced by a judge to several hours of listening to something deeply uncool (either classical music or country music, I think) for playing a "Jamaican Jam" tape loudly at night? (The name of the tape is all I remember of the story.)
posted by acb at 4:17 AM on March 1, 2010


Jamaican Jam elevator music story
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:33 AM on March 1, 2010


They should be forcing kids to listen to that dubstep shit if anything. And Lil Wayne.

"Mozart? Oh no, son - that's for the kids that aced their GCSEs; you're not allowed. Down here we listen to classic artists like Digital Mystikz. And this lollipop song here - c'mon, sing along, you know the words!"
posted by koeselitz at 4:38 AM on March 1, 2010


If Yorkshire did have a unitary local council, it would be the biggest council in the country. In your face Birmingham!

But no, it is just ridiculously shoddy research, its like refering to the Mayor of California. I had temporarily forgotten what Reason was before clicking through. I soon remembered.
posted by ninebelow at 4:40 AM on March 1, 2010


twoleftfeet: “But harrumph, Mozart does not compare with Beethoven. I see no reason why torture need to be associated with bad taste. Harrumph.”

Harrumph, Caravaggio does not compare with Michaelangelo. Harrumph, Stan Getz does not compare with Sonny Rollins.

I mean, I agree completely - it's not like Mozart ever had the depth of soul that Beethoven had, except maybe once. But that doesn't mean Mozart is bad taste.
posted by koeselitz at 4:41 AM on March 1, 2010


ninebelow: “If Yorkshire did have a unitary local council, it would be the biggest council in the country. In your face Birmingham! ¶ But no, it is just ridiculously shoddy research, its like refering to the Mayor of California.”

Well, given that the author of the article lives in London, it's more like referring to the Mayor of California and living in Colorado. And I say this as somebody who lives in Colorado and has never even been to the UK - hell, I knew that Yorkshire is an area and not a township. It's sort of in the name, isn't it?
posted by koeselitz at 4:46 AM on March 1, 2010


I just feel that military psychological operations have made poor choices in the selection of music used against enemies.

For example, the use of heavy metal against Noriega, or the deployment of Celine Dion as a military weapon in Iraq.

To my mind, our cause is better served by offering a selection of truly great music; truly inspirational music that will lift the spirits of our enemies towards a greater mutual goal.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:52 AM on March 1, 2010


Beethoven, and other greats have been turned into tools of state repression

"No. No! NO! Stop it! Stop it, please! I beg you! This is sin! This is sin! This is sin! It's a sin, it's a sin, it's a sin!"
"Sin? What's all this about sin?"
"That! Using Ludwig van like that! He did no harm to anyone. Beethoven just wrote music!"
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:57 AM on March 1, 2010


against Noriega
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:59 AM on March 1, 2010


I have some mix CDs of kid music that should be banned by the Geneva Conventions. I'll send em' right across the pond for you.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 5:07 AM on March 1, 2010


For everyone making the oh-so-clever Clockwork Orange references, just RTFA already, it's right there, on page one.
posted by WPW at 5:24 AM on March 1, 2010


It's overwrought and factually slapdash but there's some interesting stuff in there.
posted by WPW at 5:26 AM on March 1, 2010


It's then I realised thinking was for the gloopy ones.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 5:44 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Distinguishing punishment from rehabilitation isn't easy to do with the latter often being a pretext for doing the former, but I wonder if the music isn't meant to actually be a corrective to the highly sexualized and aggressive popular music the children would normally be listening to. In Beethoven's time, his music wasn't seen as being so tame.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:45 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they really want to clear a few acres at a time with Mozart, they should put on Glenn Gould playing the piano sonatas. Yow.

(I like Gould's Bach just fine, but those Mozart recordings are just not right.)
posted by letourneau at 5:50 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


How do you say "Teabagger" in British?
posted by ennui.bz at 5:52 AM on March 1, 2010


For everyone making the oh-so-clever Clockwork Orange references, just RTFA already, it's right there, on page one.

The article mentions some instances where classical music is used to annoy young people, then goes on to conclude that the dangerous message being sent to young people is clear: 1) you are scum; 2) classical music is not a wonder of the human world, it’s a repellent against mildly anti-social behavior. Somewhere in the middle, the article mentions A Clockwork Orange, presumably because it would be hard to avoid mentioning it in this context.

But the article fails to acknowledge that in A Clockwork Orange, classical music is not initially used in a punitive way. Indeed, to Alex classical music is not a wonder of the human world, but rather a radical source of beautiful ultraviolence. To Alex, this music is wonderfully revolutionary, in a way that takes him away, evenly violently away, from the drab existence imposed upon him. When Alex is conditioned against it, he loses violence, but also beauty.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:55 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Playing Wagner at top volume will get your neighbors to turn down their damnable hiphop from the eighties faster than almost anything else on earth.

It would only be a violation of the Geneva Conventions if it were Mahler.
posted by winna at 6:05 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


twoleftfeet, it's not well-treated in the article (surprise, surprise), but it is namechecked, rendering obsolete two-thirds of the drive-by quoting here.
posted by WPW at 6:07 AM on March 1, 2010


How do you say "Teabagger" in British?
posted by ennui.bz at 8:52 AM on 3/1
[+] [!]

"Ulster Volunteer Force"
posted by TheNewWazoo at 6:08 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It would be wonderful to be punished with music. May I suggest Beethoven's late string quartets? When these young people matriculate through the juvenile system and commit more serious offenses they can be force fed chocolate.
posted by Tashtego at 6:12 AM on March 1, 2010


Britain might not make steel anymore, or cars, or pop music worth listening to, but, boy, are we world-beaters when it comes to tyranny.

That must be satire.
posted by hawthorne at 6:38 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your favorite composer sucks.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:40 AM on March 1, 2010


Maybe they absolutely love Mozart, but they can't stand what tinny, muffled vandal proof speakers do to his music.
posted by stavrogin at 6:40 AM on March 1, 2010


Wake me up when they weaponize Schoenberg.
posted by swift at 6:59 AM on March 1, 2010


WPW: For everyone making the oh-so-clever Clockwork Orange references, just RTFA already, it's right there, on page one.

We know. See the second comment.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:03 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. It's like they distilled the Daily Mail to make concentrated right-wing fear-mongering.

Welcome to reason.com.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:03 AM on March 1, 2010


If the kid was forced to do some mind-numbing deference-inducing task like writing lines, few people would notice. Instead they are just played some music that they may or may not enjoy listening to, and which they might have to listen to in music class anyway. That's a step up isn't it?

The similarity between this and A Clockwork Orange seems superficial to me. In that book, the character already loves classical music and already loves acts of violence, and especially the two combined. His punishment (being forced to watch extended acts of violence accompanied by his beloved Ninth) aims to make either stimulus induce nausea so he is physically compelled to change his behavior. There's nothing like that here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:04 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The interesting thing about weaponising music is that I'm pretty sure that it works differently for different people. I used to regularly alternate between Slayer songs and Carpenters songs, and whilst I admit that the effect was a little odd, I didn't realise that pretty much the same thing is used as a psychological torture device. Similarly, and perhaps this is because I'm a classically trained musician, I quite like humming along to the Vivaldi or Mozart that I've been forcibly subjected too.
posted by ob at 7:10 AM on March 1, 2010


Also, if they really want to get the full bang for their buck, I suggest Boulez Le marteau sans maître or better still Stockhausen Mikrophonie I.
posted by ob at 7:13 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]




Wake me up when they weaponize Schoenberg.


Whatya mean when?
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that "modern" choral arrangements (especially some of that horrific atonal shit) should be weaponized (if only to provide some kind of EXCUSE for their existence), but then, I think that they're already lethal to anyone who has ears.

In addition to "unruly youngsters," it would also deter adults, pigeons, rats, and any wandering bears from entering the area. Perhaps not great if you're operating a shopping mall, unless you're catering to the tone deaf. Holy hell, I'm in in a chorus and we're doing a "modern" Romanian piece and I'd give a kidney to never have to hear - let alone sing - that shit ever again.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:28 AM on March 1, 2010


Is this where we come with the nadsat references, o my droogs?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:54 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


ChurchHatesTucker, that should have been the end of it, but no! Anyway, this has been an ill-tempered derail on my part, so reference away if you want.
posted by WPW at 7:58 AM on March 1, 2010


Toronto started doing this at Kennedy subway station 12 years ago. Don't know if it's still in effect; I haven't been down that way in years.
posted by emeiji at 8:10 AM on March 1, 2010


grapefruitmoon: what you said is wrong and you should feel bad for having said it and I challenge you to pistols at dawn.
posted by idiopath at 8:12 AM on March 1, 2010


If you use modern orchestral music, it repels the elderly.
posted by bzbb at 8:12 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It would only be a violation of the Geneva Conventions if it were Mahler.

I once killed a man with Mahler. He was almost dead already, though, so I'm not sure if it counts.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:35 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think O'Neill saw A Clockwork Orange all the way through to its happy, six-foot-high speaker-laden ending. He'd also be thrilled to learn that the liberal writer gets his, being disappeared by the State while Alex recuperates in hospital.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:37 AM on March 1, 2010


Ironic to see this happening in the U.K., home of BBC Radio 3. It is a perverted use of works of art. Music is an intensely personal form of communication, which makes it a violation to force types of music upon individuals that they are not accustomed to hearing.

If you just want to run detention, make your kids watch math lectures; that is a better use of their time. Better yet, stop trying to deter or punish; find out how to educate and inspire. Else they will just grow up to be fools like you and me.

The snark in this thread against modern art music was tiringly predictable, but I forgive all of you who did it, in the way that one forgives chimpanzees when they don't know any better.
posted by polymodus at 9:04 AM on March 1, 2010


Just wait until the kids switch it up on us, and find old cassettes of Beethoven with a Street Beat,* then they'll realize it can be sampled and re-made as their own.

(* Something like this exists, as I bought it at a Church rummage sale. I forget if it was Beethoven or Mozart, but it's classical music with a cheap hip-hop beat worked in.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 AM on March 1, 2010


The snark in this thread against modern art music was tiringly predictable, but I forgive all of you who did it, in the way that one forgives chimpanzees when they don't know any better.

This reminds me of a joke I overheard the other day:

Q: Knock knock.

A. Who's there?

Q: Knock knock.

A. Who's there?

Q: Knock knock.

A. Who's there?

Q: Knock knock.

A. Who's there?

Q: Philip Glass.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:24 AM on March 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


The version I heard was:

Knock knock knock knock knock who's knock who's there who's there Philip there Philip Glass Philip Glass Glass
posted by Dim Siawns at 9:31 AM on March 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Just wait until the kids switch it up on us, and find old cassettes of Beethoven with a Street Beat,* then they'll realize it can be sampled and re-made as their own.

Oh dear god. And you had to bring this to mind. And this. Oh, shit, and this. Fuck! Help me!!! I can't stop!
posted by hippybear at 9:39 AM on March 1, 2010


What's the problem with piping in classical music in public places? If you're a teen who wants to hang out with your friends, smoking, drinking, laughing it up and making fun of the squares commuting back and forth to work, you can, as long as you can put up with a bit of classical music in the background. And if you can't deal with the classical music, then I guess you're not really as tough as you think you are, are you?
posted by deanc at 10:05 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the problem with piping in classical music in public places? If you're a teen who wants to hang out with your friends, smoking, drinking, laughing it up and making fun of the squares commuting back and forth to work, you can, as long as you can put up with a bit of classical music in the background. And if you can't deal with the classical music, then I guess you're not really as tough as you think you are, are you?
My thoughts exactly.

And if they really want to keep EVERYONE indoors, they should play Raffi, Wiggles, and Teletubbies all day long.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:51 AM on March 1, 2010


No no... Just the Barney theme. Over and over and over.
posted by hippybear at 11:01 AM on March 1, 2010


What's the problem with piping in classical music in public places?

It can become the same problem as displaying the Mona Lisa at your nearest shopping mall. There is a time and place for performing the kind of music that has the power to, for instance, move an individual to tears.

Not that elevator music is a viable substitute.
posted by polymodus at 11:02 AM on March 1, 2010


grapefruitmoon: what you said is wrong and you should feel bad for having said it and I challenge you to pistols at dawn.

I'm there. I get up at the ass crack of dawn as is. I have no problem grabbing the pistol out from under my pillow.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:18 AM on March 1, 2010


There is a time and place for performing the kind of music that has the power to, for instance, move an individual to tears.
Isn't that totally subjective, though? Many different kinds of music can move me to tears.

And not to rip on you, polymodus, but I get very irritated by the reverential attitude I sometimes see people demanding we give "art." Art, IMVHO, should be daily, casual, and omnipresent. If people have to doll up and behave themselves to go look at paintings, watch a play, or hear a concert, that can be a real barrier to them ever being exposed to any art. Not to say there shouldn't be some quiet places left for reverence, but it is possible to enjoy art while chatting, eating, and moving around; and I think it is a mistake to keep "art" in a special place with special rules around it.
posted by jfwlucy at 11:24 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had been thinking about doing an FPP on a similar topic. I have been many public spaces where classical music (especially piano music) is piped in to repel troublemakers and ne'er-do-wells. I am curious to know how the musicians involved feel about their role... piano lessons daily from age 4, years of gruelling study of theory, the financial sacrifices to get into the conservatory, the stresses of the recitals, a contract to record a CD, and then: being selected specifically for the unpleasantness of your music.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:27 AM on March 1, 2010


I am curious to know how the musicians involved feel about their role...

Sort of sick, really.
posted by nosila at 2:05 PM on March 1, 2010


Off to write a three-part invention. Maybe it will be good enough to use as a torture device!!!
posted by nosila at 2:06 PM on March 1, 2010


"We will even make you hate the music of Beethoven."
"Impossible! I love Ludwig Van!"
"Not when you see it as the theme music for..."
(projects the movie 'Love Story' with Ali McGraw)
"No! No! You sadists!"

-Mad Magazine, A Clockwork Lemon.
posted by ovvl at 3:31 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"They’re so desperate to control youth—but from a distance, without actually having to engage with them—that they will film their every move, fire high-pitched noises in their ears, shine lights in their eyes, and bombard them with Mozart. And they have so little faith in young people’s intellectual abilities, in their capacity and their willingness to engage with humanity’s highest forms of art, that they imagine Beethoven and Mozart and others will be repugnant to young ears. Of course, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

That's the saddest thing about this. They're going to teach all these kids to hate classical music. Idiots.
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM on March 1, 2010


It's long been a dream of mine to take over the PA system of a mall and then treat their customers to some Merzbow (maybe Venereology) played as loud as possible.

All mall exits would be locked of course.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:43 PM on March 1, 2010


I would've gone with Nurse With Wound.

But I think that's a reasonably common fantasy (subjecting shoppers to your choice of music-you-know-they'll-hate, I mean, not Nurse With Wound in particular).

I vaguely recall somebody here telling the story of the time they actually got to hijack their mall's PA like that, but I'm buggered if I can find it.

(or was it only a wal-mart or abercrombie & fitch or similar chain...?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:45 PM on March 1, 2010


UbuRoivas: "I vaguely recall somebody here telling the story of the time they actually got to hijack their mall's PA like that"

During the mid '90s, my bandmate and I made a noise cassette with about ten minutes of silence followed by one of our tracks. We went to the Sharper Image in downtown Portland where for whatever reason half of their overpriced useless luxury goods had built in tape players (automatic massaging chair with a tape player! coat rack with a tape player! vegetable processor with a tape player! OK only the massager chair actually had a tape player in it but I am forgetting what the other items were since I could not go and sit on them in the display room while being scowled at by employees who know I ain't got the cash to buy one). Anyway, we cranked up the volume, put in the tape, pushed play, and left. I like to imagine the result was pretty comical, but I did not really stick around to see.
posted by idiopath at 6:59 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ahhh; Ludovico...what a "simply" mahhvelous technique you've discuvad.
I also disagree with this-> part
In “special detentions,” the "children" are forced to endure? two hours of classical music! both as a...
also, this is a unix system... I know this! (jurassic park et al.)

Blarg. The classical music wasn't a "slap on the wrists"... Alex was already on probation, then murder.
It also isn't "coming true".


Anthony Burgess’s nightmare vision of an elite using high culture as a “punitive slap on the chops” for low youth has come true.

eRoR.Please read book in question.then post.
posted by infinite intimation at 12:08 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironically in bygone eras the elite tended to control the masses by preventing them from listening to music. Like when Charles IX made the singing of 'dissolute songs' punishable by death in 1564. Now that's the kind of forthright moral leadership we need in these troubled times.
posted by leibniz at 11:37 AM on March 2, 2010


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