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When Hooligans Bach Down: Strike up Johann Sebastian and watch them scatter
City Journal ^ | 1/29/2009 | Theodore Darlrymple

Posted on 01/30/2009 4:35:24 PM PST by mojito

Staying recently in a South Yorkshire town called Rotherham—described in one guidebook as “murky,” an inadequate word for the place—I was interested to read in the local newspaper how the proprietors of some stores are preventing hooligans from gathering outside to intimidate and rob customers. They play Bach over loudspeakers, and this disperses the youths in short order; they flee the way Count Dracula fled before holy water, garlic flowers, and crucifixes. The proprietors had previously tried a high-pitched noise generator whose mosquito-like whine only those younger than 20 could detect. This method, too, proved effective, but the owners abandoned it out of fear that it might damage the youths’ hearing and infringe upon their human rights, leading to claims for compensation.

There is surely something deeply emblematic about the use of one of the great glories of Western civilization, the music of Bach, to prevent the young inheritors of that civilization from committing crimes. The barbarians are well and truly within the gates. However, in these dark times it is best to look on the bright side. Our prime minister, Gordon Brown, has told us that we must expect crime to rise along with unemployment (which has already reached more than 13 percent of the labor force, if one takes into account those whom the government dishonestly counts as sick). If proprietors all over the country follow Rotherham’s lead, therefore, we may hear much more Bach, and less rock music, than we did previously. Hegel was right when he said that the owl of Minerva flies by night.

The Rotherham example, incidentally, bears out a story told by the great Belgian Sinologist, Simon Leys, in his recent book of exquisite short essays, Le bonheur des petits poissons. Leys was sitting in a café where other customers were chatting, playing cards, or having a drink. The radio was on, tuned to a station that relayed idle chatter and banal popular music (you are lucky these days if popular music is banal only). But suddenly, and for no apparent reason, it played the first movement of Mozart’s clarinet quintet, transforming the café into what Leys called “the antechamber of paradise.” The customers stopped what they were doing, as if startled. Then one of them stood up, went over to the radio, and tuned it to another station, restoring the idle chatter and banal music. There was general relief, as if everyone felt that the beauty and refinement of Mozart were a reproach to their lives to which they could respond only by suppressing Mozart.

I sympathize with the criminal youths of Rotherham for reacting to Bach in a similar way. Any other response would be too unbearably painful for them. Rotherham boasts a lot of fine early nineteenth-century architecture (and even a very fine fifteenth-century church), but everything has been overwhelmed, dwarfed, and ruined by highways and brutalist concrete buildings of surreal hideousness, many of them municipal and all of them erected with municipal consent. If the powerful do not care about the world, why should the powerless?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: bach; dalrymple; darlrymple; hooligans; theodoredalrymple; theodoredarlrymple
Fear of beauty.
1 posted on 01/30/2009 4:35:24 PM PST by mojito
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To: Borges; sitetest

Ping.


2 posted on 01/30/2009 4:35:51 PM PST by mojito
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To: mojito
"They play Bach over loudspeakers, and this disperses the youths in short order; they flee the way Count Dracula fled before holy water, garlic flowers, and crucifixes."

Interestingly, research has shown Beethoven has had the opposite effect...


3 posted on 01/30/2009 4:40:56 PM PST by DemforBush (Somebody wake me when sanity has returned to the nation.)
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To: mojito

You would be surprised at how fast Bluegrass music sends some people on the run.


4 posted on 01/30/2009 4:41:33 PM PST by Venturer
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To: mojito; .30Carbine; 1rudeboy; 2nd Bn, 11th Mar; 31R1O; ADemocratNoMore; afraidfortherepublic; ...
Dear mojito,

Thanks for the ping!

Classical Music Ping List ping!

If you want on or off this list, let me know via FR e-mail.

Thanks,


sitetest

5 posted on 01/30/2009 4:43:08 PM PST by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: mojito

This has been tried in several European towns, and it actually does work. Put some classical music on outside speakers, and all the hoodlums, drug dealers, homeless bums and adolescent punks crawl to some other place immediately.


6 posted on 01/30/2009 4:43:14 PM PST by cartan
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To: mojito

City council does this in Rotorua, and in Waitakere City, where I live.


7 posted on 01/30/2009 4:46:32 PM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: DemforBush

Give’em a little Ludwig Von!


8 posted on 01/30/2009 4:47:36 PM PST by Cheapskate (Play loud and carry BIG sticks!)
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To: DemforBush
Little Alex might not be typical of today's droog.
9 posted on 01/30/2009 4:50:34 PM PST by mojito
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To: mojito

Prelude and Fugue for Yutes? Anyway it could be worse-consider what Slim Whitman does to Martians.


10 posted on 01/30/2009 4:51:08 PM PST by synchron
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To: mojito
They play Bach over loudspeakers, and this disperses the youths in short order; they flee the way Count Dracula fled before holy water, garlic flowers, and crucifixes.

Giggle.

11 posted on 01/30/2009 4:57:10 PM PST by MaggieCarta (We're all Detroiters now.)
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To: mojito

Wow. Interesting concept. I’ll have to stash this for future reference.


12 posted on 01/30/2009 5:01:46 PM PST by CriticalJ
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To: mojito
There is surely something deeply emblematic about the use of one of the great glories of Western civilization, the music of Bach, to prevent the young inheritors of that civilization from committing crimes.

To be an inheritor, don't you have to accept the inheritance?

Bach as pest-repellent -- he must be spinning in his grave. *\8^(

13 posted on 01/30/2009 5:05:19 PM PST by sionnsar (IranAzadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5(SONY)|http://trad-anglican.faithweb.com/|TaglineSpaceForRent)
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To: Venturer

Yes, bluegrass works very well. Mexicans in particular hate it.

Classical, new age, and soft jazz will all deter thugs. Rap and heavy metal will attract them. Decent people are attracted by music that thugs hate and repelled by music thugs like. A businessman can select his clientele by the music he plays.

I tend to prefer it when businesses play no music at all, however.


14 posted on 01/30/2009 5:28:57 PM PST by tvdog12345
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To: sionnsar

I feel sorry for the empty souls that find great music intolerable.


15 posted on 01/30/2009 5:33:46 PM PST by Wilhelm Tell (True or False? This is not a tag line.)
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To: Wilhelm Tell

AMEN! ;-)


16 posted on 01/30/2009 5:54:46 PM PST by doc1019 (We are in great need of another revolution in this country!)
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To: mojito

I’ve heard this works on “urban yutes” if you play classical or C&W.


17 posted on 01/30/2009 7:21:25 PM PST by Disambiguator
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To: DemforBush

Then Bach to Bach!


18 posted on 01/30/2009 9:09:00 PM PST by MountainFlower (There but by the grace of God go I.)
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To: sitetest

Thanks for the PING!


19 posted on 01/30/2009 9:10:18 PM PST by MountainFlower (There but by the grace of God go I.)
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To: DemforBush

Real horrorshow post, droog!


20 posted on 01/30/2009 9:11:39 PM PST by irishjuggler
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To: MountainFlower
Then Bach to Bach!

I can Handel that!
21 posted on 01/30/2009 9:25:07 PM PST by Deo volente (High Noon, January 20, 2009: Our long national nightmare begins.)
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To: Deo volente; The Spirit Of Allegiance
DV~ Good one!

Spirit - PING!

22 posted on 01/30/2009 9:33:06 PM PST by MountainFlower (There but by the grace of God go I.)
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To: mojito
They've done this at entrance to the local public library for the last few years. No more crowds of yutes hanging around outside, now they've moved inside.

My biggest complaint is that when I hear something I like, nobody on staff knows what is playing.

23 posted on 01/31/2009 12:16:22 AM PST by ADemocratNoMore (Jeepers, Freepers, where'd 'ya get those sleepers?. Pj people, exposing old media's lies.)
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To: mojito

This might work in reverse for birds. A number of years ago they were trying to get rid of birds. Nothing worked. Then they put on rock music and the birds left.


24 posted on 01/31/2009 12:19:09 PM PST by Dante3
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To: mojito; Lando Lincoln; neverdem; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; ...
Exposé by Theodore Dalrymple are penetrating and disturbing; and I believe must be a required reading. After reading him for years, I think that he is not a chicken little / the sky is falling, but a keen provider of a naked truth (and a master of the language too!)
Theodore Dalrymple:

Staying recently in a South Yorkshire town called Rotherham—described in one guidebook as “murky,” an inadequate word for the place—I was interested to read in the local newspaper how the proprietors of some stores are preventing hooligans from gathering outside to intimidate and rob customers. They play Bach over loudspeakers, and this disperses the youths in short order; they flee the way Count Dracula fled before holy water, garlic flowers, and crucifixes. The proprietors had previously tried a high-pitched noise generator whose mosquito-like whine only those younger than 20 could detect. This method, too, proved effective, but the owners abandoned it out of fear that it might damage the youths’ hearing and infringe upon their human rights, leading to claims for compensation.

There is surely something deeply emblematic about the use of one of the great glories of Western civilization, the music of Bach, to prevent the young inheritors of that civilization from committing crimes. The barbarians are well and truly within the gates  ...

 


Nailed It!

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

25 posted on 02/05/2009 12:03:27 PM PST by Tolik
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To: tvdog12345
You are right.

Bar owners have known this since there were jukeboxes.


Jukeboxes? Am I really that old?

26 posted on 02/05/2009 12:22:45 PM PST by G.Mason (Alarm & Muster)
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To: DemforBush

Yep, a “bit of the old Ludwig Van” could have disastrous effect!


27 posted on 02/05/2009 12:48:46 PM PST by NonValueAdded (Play the new "rehab" card: apologize for cheating on your taxes)
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To: mojito

Pretty much the same reaction that the left had at the appearance of Sarah Palin.


28 posted on 02/05/2009 12:51:01 PM PST by MrB (The 0bamanation: Marxism, Infanticide, Appeasement, Depression, Thuggery, and Censorship)
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To: Tolik

I think that it’d be a bit more poetic if they played a bit of the “Ride of the Valkyries” instead. That way the little bastiges would $hit their pants before running away.


29 posted on 02/05/2009 1:11:20 PM PST by Ancesthntr
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To: mojito

Dalrymple BTT. What is being rejected is structure, both in musical taste and in the society that generates it, in both cases under the fallacious premise that raw emotion is somehow more genuine than the refined sort. The “structure is stricture” dogma has had a death-grip on art for quite some time now.


30 posted on 02/05/2009 1:58:49 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: G.Mason
Jukeboxes? Am I really that old?

Yes, we are. ;^)

31 posted on 02/05/2009 2:02:44 PM PST by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Billthedrill
Yes, and the result?

“Artists” who can't draw a simple figure, but are quite adept at belching out left-wing rants.

The only problem is that their smug left-wing choruses are crude and stupid and have no aesthetic dimension whatsoever.

So our culture produces a good many “artists” but no art.

Thus we have a culture that really is as pitifully decadent as these “artists” believe, only it's decadent for reasons quite other than the ones that they, and the entire art establishment, hold so dear.

32 posted on 02/05/2009 3:24:47 PM PST by mojito
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To: Just another Joe
"Yes, we are. ;^)"


Yikes!

Who would have thought? Seems like just the other day ... ;)

33 posted on 02/06/2009 3:12:04 AM PST by G.Mason (Alarm & Muster)
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To: Billthedrill

What is being rejected is structure, both in musical taste and in the society that generates it, in both cases under the fallacious premise that raw emotion is somehow more genuine than the refined sort. The “structure is stricture” dogma has had a death-grip on art for quite some time now.

Some paradoxes happened along the way of the process you describe. It used to be that courage was required for an artist to differ from the old realist school. "The traditional art rules the world" stopped being a truth long-long time ago. So, what courage are we talking about when a student rebels against old traditions that his teachers don't defend and peers not practice? Its like protesting the war in Berkley! Or participating in a gay parade in San Francisco. Now, more courage is required to sit it out there. If pushing an envelope brings you Oscar, where is courage in doing so? If everybody in the class wants to be a non-conformist and "f**k society" by piercing the nose, and you sit in your class, with your nose pierced, and everybody around you have nose pierced too, aren't you an ultimate conformist?

It used to be that refinement of the "higher classes" was something that "low classes" tried to emulate: that included manners, education, etc - to act like a gentleman or lady was to better yourself. Then fat rich kids decided that crass and vulgar was rebellious and good, and its still the prevailing style of the cool, IN crowd.

Not that refinement by itself guaranteed your goodness, its not that simple of course, but a quest to achieve the higher standards is healthier and more rewarding in the long run then achieving lower standards - this requires no effort at all.

Somebody said that civilization fights barbarians in every generation of its own kids. I do. When I get compliments how gentlemanly my boys are, I am kind of pleased in one half of my brain, but the fact that its kind of unusual and needs to be noted - that's sad.

34 posted on 02/06/2009 6:32:44 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Some paradoxes happened along the way of the process you describe.

Absolutely, and some sweet ironies as well. When Paganini started to pop up in heavy metal guitar riffs I knew that genre was leaning back toward (gasp!) adulthood. There is, however, a touch of elitism both in Paganini and in the Mozart that Dalrymple cites - not everyone can play it. You have to earn the right.

That "earning the right" concept is anathema to the instant gratification children that plague so many of the arts. Not everyone can draw a recognizable portrait, but anyone can throw a can of paint at a canvas. There is, of course, hope. Perhaps someday genuine poetry may emerge from the obscene mumblings of a hip-hop artist. Before he's shot.

35 posted on 02/06/2009 8:50:26 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

Talking about hip-hop. I discovered that I can enjoy hip-hop dancing when its done well.

Our family’s favorite TV show is “So you think you can dance”. The judges are all professionals and (mostly) they control their egos. Also, because art of dance is wordless, these choreographers are by necessity should be teachers that can explain some things with words. So their talking is galaxies above Randy’s “just be yourself, dog”

Its harder to dance well than sing well (simplification, of course, its just less people delude themselves that they can earn money dancing than singing). So the competitors who we get to see on final stages are amazing.

Choreographers are tops and dress design is nothing you can repeat at home. So visually, the show is way above the American Idol.

On that level, hip-hop is so good, that even I (who knows nothing about it) can enjoy it.

Of course, as you said before, all that level needs to be earned and is hard work and there is no instant gratification - its culmination of years of work for the competitors and lifetime of work for professionals. And but a few exceptions of left leaning slippage, its all apolitical.


36 posted on 02/06/2009 9:37:38 AM PST by Tolik
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