Weaponizing Mozart

reason:

Weaponizing Mozart

In recent years Britain has become the Willy Wonka of social control, churning out increasingly creepy, bizarre, and fantastic methods for policing the populace. But our weaponization of classical music—where Mozart, Beethoven, and other greats have been turned into tools of state repression—marks a new low.

A few years ago some local authorities introduced the Mosquito, a gadget that emits a noise that sounds like a faint buzz to people over the age of 20 but which is so high-pitched, so piercing, and so unbearable to the delicate ear drums of anyone under 20 that they cannot remain in earshot. It’s designed to drive away unruly youth from public spaces, yet is so brutally indiscriminate that it also drives away good kids, terrifies toddlers, and wakes sleeping babes.

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. And now classical music, which was once taught to young people as a way of elevating their minds and tingling their souls, is being mined for its potential as a deterrent against bad behavior.
In January it was revealed that West Park School, in Derby in the midlands of England, was “subjecting” (its words) badly behaved children to Mozart and others. 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 (apparently the number of disruptive pupils has fallen by 60 per cent since the detentions were introduced.)

Across the UK, local councils and other public institutions now play recorded classical music through speakers at bus-stops, in parking lots, outside department stores, and elsewhere. No, not because they think the public will appreciate these sweet sounds (they think we are uncultured grunts), but because they hope it will make naughty youngsters flee.
Tyne and Wear in the north of England was one of the first parts of the UK to weaponize classical music. In the early 2000s, the local railway company decided to do something about the “problem” of “youths hanging around” its train stations. The young people were “not getting up to criminal activities,” admitted Tyne and Wear Metro, but they were “swearing, smoking at stations and harassing passengers.” So the railway company unleashed “blasts of Mozart and Vivaldi.”
Apparently it was a roaring success. The youth fled. “They seem to loathe [the music],” said the proud railway guy. “It’s pretty uncool to be seen hanging around somewhere when Mozart is playing.” He said the most successful deterrent music included the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven, Symphony No. 2 by Rachmaninov, and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Shostakovich. (That last one I can kind of understand.)

Certainly a new approach to music appreciation.

My mind immediately goes to A Clockwork Orange…

Alex: 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!
Dr. Brodsky: Sin? What’s all this about sin?
Alex: That! Using Ludwig van like that! He did no harm to anyone. Beethoven just wrote music!
Dr. Branom: Are you referring to the background score?
Alex: Yes.
Dr. Branom: You’ve heard Beethoven before?
Alex: Yes!
Dr. Brodsky: So, you’re keen on music?
Alex: YES!
Dr. Brodsky: Can’t be helped. Here’s the punishment element perhaps.

[quote="didymus, post:1, topic:189716"]
reason:

Certainly a new approach to music appreciation.

[/quote]

That is straight out of "A Clockwork Orange".

It's not like it's the equivalent of that great crime against humanity known as musak.

I swear, every report that comes out of the United Kingdom these days is making me wonder if there's something in the water over there. Have they all taken complete leave of their senses???

[quote="Wolseley, post:5, topic:189716"]
I swear, every report that comes out of the United Kingdom these days is making me wonder if there's something in the water over there. Have they all taken complete leave of their senses???

[/quote]

All a matter of perspective of where 'one is' (geographically, politically and psychologically), I expect.

[quote="Kaninchen, post:6, topic:189716"]
All a matter of perspective of where 'one is' (geographically, politically and psychologically), I expect.

[/quote]

That is most definitely for sure.

Forcing children to listen to classical music as a form of punishment sounds abusive. However, if a store owner decides to play classical music to annoy teenagers who congregate but don’t buy I don’t see a problem with it. As I recall some stores were doing that back in the 1970s (when I was a teenager, and annoyed by the practice.)

The Mosquito got quite a bit of buzz (sorry!) about five years ago when it was released. But how many are actually deployed? It is a double edged sword, since it would be discouraging to families with children.

How is this punishment?

By the same logic 'forcing' kids to 'endure' 6 or 8 hours locked in a classroom each day learning things that they may find useless when they get older (aka making them go to school) is then punishment - and punishment of a much worse order than a bit of classical music. I suppose schooling shouldn't be mandatory then?

I shouldn't think that anything that makes a kid calm down can be seen as 'punishment' really.

Well, as I said, my mind went there too. However, the difference is that the music aversion Alex experienced was a side effect. Beautiful music was paired with terrible violence as he receive a drug that made him sick to his stomach.

In this case, the music is being used to either keep kids away from a store because it isn’t “cool” enough, an addition to detention to make it more “boring” for the teen and/or to hopefully relax the violence tendencies through the calming effect the music has.

I agree with Kaninchen on this one that Muzak would be true torture. :wink:

I don’t know how awful this really is. Doesn’t seem so to me.

I remember when I was a kid and the nuns (after a certain age) made us not only listen to classical music, but made us (horror of horrors!) learn who composed it. Worse, they sometimes even made us learn what the music was supposed to represent or suggest.:eek::eek::eek:

But I survived more or less intact, and I actually started liking the music, even while in grade school. Once you know what it’s about, it grows on you.

Of course, the thugs who flee it aren’t likely to learn, perhaps, but maybe one or two of them will think “well, that’s not so bad, is it?” and secretly, away from his/her peers, listen to it on the sly, and perhaps even learn something.

I mean, it isn’t as if they’re repeating complex algebra problems over the PA. Now that could be considered cruel.:wink:

Well, if they really want to drive them away, they could play the Barney theme over and over.

It would probably clear the place of everyone over the age of 3. :wink:

In Australia they use barry manalow. To move along troublesome youths

That would move me along, too, and I am hardly a “youth” …not so sure about the “troublesome” part, though… :hmmm:

[quote="Maria65, post:12, topic:189716"]
Well, if they really want to drive them away, they could play the Barney theme over and over.

It would probably clear the place of everyone over the age of 3. ;)

[/quote]

Now imagine the Barney theme as your eyes are taped open and you have to watch the Hindenburg explode over and over.

Oops... just gave the English another idea.

[quote="latin_rite, post:13, topic:189716"]
In Australia they use barry manalow. To move along troublesome youths

[/quote]

Hmm...I'm not sure I like that idea. What if the teens warm up to his tunes and his music becomes a hip/trendy fad? We don't need any Barry Manilow revivals! :p

[quote="rlg94086, post:16, topic:189716"]
Hmm...I'm not sure I like that idea. What if the teens warm up to his tunes and his music becomes a hip/trendy fad? We don't need any Barry Manilow revivals! :p

[/quote]

Yep, you know teenagers will love something in direct proportion to how much their parents hate it. ;)

I'm not sure using music as a punishment is a good thing. That seems a lot like punishing someone by feeding them pie, steak, ice cream, pasta, or fresh baked bread.

The stand off had reached a critical stage. Inside the bank, the hostages gripped the floor, sweating. The hooded robbers paced up and down, trying to foresee the moves the authorities would make next.

Outside the LAPD vans approached, and then turned and reversed. The rear doors swung open, and a quartet of cops, clad in kevlar, moved in sync. Their violins poised, they struck with the opening bars of a Bach minuet.

The thugs responded. Using the bank’s loudspeakers, they put on AC/DC at full bore. Outside three Humvees exploded, their French Horns mowing down anything in their path. Two police choirmasters fell on their flutes and committed suicide.

The piccolo duet struck up, Beethoven’s ninth symphony.

The leutenant turned to the Captain. “Captain, we got a problem”. The Captain nodded, “Yes?” “The piccolists aren’t in unison! How do we fix it?”

The captain, mean as the back streets he came from, thought for a moment.

“Shoot one” he said.

Inside the thugs squirmed under the remaining fire from the surviving piccolo. Then the ring leader reached for the heavy stuff. Panting, he dragged himself to the drum kit, and beat out a Midnight Oil dirge.

One of the hostages whispered to the guy next to him, “He’s lucky the floor’s level.”

The other guy whispered back, “How do you know?”

“He’s drooling out of both sides of his mouth”. But then the thugs glanced his way and he shut up.

Where are you Alan Coren? You could have had a field day with this?

Wow, this is a great idea! I would love to wait for my train in a station which was playing uplifting music rather than rock and in which youths were *not *“‘swearing, smoking…, and harassing passengers.’”

Next thing you know they’ll start covering up the graffitti with classical art… that would be very nice too :slight_smile:

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