Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Music from hell

This makes me cringe. Mother Jones has determined what songs are used in American detention camps to "induce sleep deprivation, "prolong capture shock," disorient detainees during interrogations—and also drown out screams.": The Torture Playlist.

This is one of the things we first learned about during the Panama invasion, when they bombarded Noriega's hideout with loud music 24/7, and the idea just seems ghastly.

I just finished part 1 of Doris Lessing's autobiography, Under my skin, and in it she had something to say about the effect of bad music on society, written several years ago: has changed. It's rhythms no longer swoon or sway or linger, the beat and pound and drive and the sound is so loud you have to hear it with your nerves.
....So my question is, when some person goes out to kill or torture or maim, can one reason be that he or she has been set for the crime by music that has driven them mad?
...we...soak ourselves in it, often feed it direct into the brain with machines designed for this purpose -- and we never even ask what effect it may be having.

We all need more Alison Krauss.


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