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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cleaning Our Parks, Allegro Molto

Most big city parks in America have become havens for those on the fringes of society.

Stroll through the average urban green space, and you’ll find not only the homeless but also drug pushers, pickpockets, and prostitutes. Not the average person’s idea of good, clean fun.

How can we effectively and humanely sweep crime out of our parks?

In an increasing number of cities around the world, the answer is as simple as it is novel: play classical music.

Not a typo, folks. According to this article, Hartford, Connecticut is investigating the symphonic approach after municipalities in Florida, Australia, and Canada have employed it to great success. The music of Mozart and Beethoven apparently drives both drug dealers and ladies of the evening away.

Supporters of this tactic say it has decreased crime up to 40 percent in other parks while making them more pleasant for law-abiding citizens to walk through.

Color me confused. Why is classical music so pleasant to law-abiding citizens … but so disturbing to criminals?

I can imagine some better musical options:

1. Anti-drug anthems, like Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel’s early rap breakthrough “White Lines (Don’t Do It),” would push unwanted elements out of public spaces more quickly than old symphonies would. We can recruit William Shatner to record a new version to give it an extra kick.

2. We could try the pure ad simple approach of loudness. Just modify the brilliant military tactic from the late 80s, when Panama’s Manuel Noriega gave up only after blaring pop music assaulted his ears for days. I say we push the badguys out by turning the volume knob on the heaviest death metal up to 11. Any suggestions, Metal Mark?

3. Yodeling would do the trick. About ten seconds of that hideous warbling is enough to drive anything with ears from the parks. After all, you don’t hear about serious crime in the Swiss Alps.

4. Perhaps the parks should blast some Kelly Clarkson—only the most disgusting sociopath would survive THAT. But I’m sure it’ll never fly; we have that pesky restriction on cruel and unusual punishment.

Sadly, cities like Hartford have not adopted any of these tactics. By choosing the symphony route, they are forcing citizens to live with a system that associates the music of the masters with punishment, thus tarnishing our classical heritage.

I say such a course is crap.

Like Beethoven’s last movement.

32 Comments:

At April 02, 2006 10:46 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A replied to my musings ...

I have not laughed this hard in awhile...your last two lines are classic (no pun intended).

I have to admit given the choice between yodeling and Kelly, Ms. Clarkson would win out - no contest.

I guess if I ever need to walk through a dangerous part of town alone at night I can carry a boombox and blast out some Bach - would that work?

 
At April 02, 2006 11:32 PM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I believe that the music used in your number two was Twisted Sister. I seem to remember they proudly relayed this story in the notes for their greatest hits years ago. Stryper or Warrant would scare me away if they were played for any length of time.

 
At April 03, 2006 5:15 AM, Blogger fatty ~ replied to my musings ...

a popular manouveure taken by many shopping centres..

classical music appeals to the older "law-abiding" generation, and people who actually like classical music. Many other people will tolerate it without pain.

Pop music/heavy metal/kelly clarkson appeals to certain minorities of the younger "trouble-making" generation, and totally drives everyone else insane.

Maybe no drug dealers, but do we want to be prevented from park-going by hoards of kelly clarkson fans?

 
At April 03, 2006 7:04 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

This is ridiculous. Classical music isn't the answer. Its Nelson's "(I Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection."

If they play that along with video of Gunnar Nelson on "Celebrity Fat-Club" (whatever the name of that show is) it will encourage everyone to run away...resulting in weight loss and healthier hearts.

 
At April 03, 2006 8:19 AM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

If they are going classical, I would suggest to them going the Operatic route. Bet those fat ladies from the Wagner operas would do the trick. It worked in 'Apocilypse Now.'

 
At April 03, 2006 8:20 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Great...now I'll have to buy outdoor speakers at Palace Peanut to keep the hoodlums away.

Maybe some John Tesh would do the trick?

Thanks for the tip! :)

 
At April 03, 2006 8:58 AM, Blogger OnMyWatch replied to my musings ...

I wrote a similar entry pertaining to this very subject a while back, my personal favorite choice of music would've been European Polka hits, Vol.1. (can you believe there's more than 1?)

as far as Metal goes - might I suggest Krokus's Midnight Maniac or perhaps a little Europe or Britny Fox?

 
At April 03, 2006 9:42 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

Musak drives me bonkers...do I really need to hear the musak verson of a Kelly Clarkson song? Two wrongs do NOT make a right.

Scientifically, I can understand why playing classical music would drive out the hookers and dealers.

Clasical music somehow activates the temporal lobe...no other form of music does this. You see a huge jump in neuron activity in someone listen to classical as well, since both hemispheres are working simultaneously.

Since hookers and dealers are breaking the law, having their brains get activated - particular those regions that govern right and wrong, is the last thing they want.

Beethoven died taking a dump???

 
At April 03, 2006 10:32 AM, Blogger Kid Jacque replied to my musings ...

Interesting stuff!

 
At April 03, 2006 11:02 AM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

How about some William Hung. Do you think he would drive away the crime in the parks. Or do you think that would just cause insanity among the sane to go up?

 
At April 03, 2006 11:06 AM, Blogger debbiecakes replied to my musings ...

I live in a pretty good neighborhood. But to keep it even safer, I'm about to tear the roof off with some muthafuckin Mozart, baby.

 
At April 03, 2006 12:14 PM, Blogger FredCQ replied to my musings ...

I would suggest the following death/black metal bands:

1. Mayhem: Will peel the paint off the walls and kill all small animals within earshot.

2. Cannibal Corpse: Just the songtitles alone would scare people away. Severed Head Stoning anyone?

3. Morbid Angel: If played loud enough, will summon Cthulu from any nearby body of water.

 
At April 03, 2006 12:25 PM, Blogger LocuTus of Borg replied to my musings ...

Oh comn man don't dish classical music! :P haha I think that would probably do it to anyway. I think they should expand into bluegrass or even better Scottish bagpipes. That would certainly keep them away! LOL

 
At April 03, 2006 12:45 PM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

I am pretty close to Hartford and I haven't heard of this. If they wanted to keep me out of the parks for some reason, country would do the trick.

 
At April 03, 2006 1:02 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

David you could actually combine 2 and 3 by playing the song Hocus Pocus by Focus. It's more a hard rock/prog song, but rather than sung lyrics the entire song is comprised of yodeling and some killer guitar work by Dutch guitar virtuoso Jan Akkerman.

I actually like the song though, so this particular social miscrient would spend more time in public parks playing that particular song.

 
At April 03, 2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

Classical music. I thought it was supposed to inspire a more aggressive attitude in people. Example. The chopper squads shown in the movie "Apocalypse Now" played Wagner's "Ride Of The Valkyries" before they went to battle. And didn't Hannibal The Cannibal and American Psycho like classical music ?

 
At April 03, 2006 1:30 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Ben, you're on to something here. In Die Hard 2 (which sadly did not hae the subtitle "Electric Boogaloo"), the badguy prepped for his mayhem to the sounds of Dvorak's "New World" symphony.

And we all know the destruction associated with the "Ludwig Von" in A Clockwork Orange.

--david

 
At April 03, 2006 2:58 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

If they played the Best of Barney or The Wiggles, or just about any of the ultra-annoying kids' music, people would run away screaming. This music would not only drive bad guys out of the park, but every human within blocks, as well as dogs and birds.

 
At April 03, 2006 2:58 PM, Blogger dragonflyfilly replied to my musings ...

hey there,
if you like wildlife, and in particular Eagles, check out www.hancockhouse.com bald eagle web cam...baby eagles (2 eggs) are expected to hatch some time in April

back to the Eagle Cam for me,
later,
pj

 
At April 03, 2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Allypooh replied to my musings ...

Hm. To make it even more surreal, you could blast some of Dr. Demento's greatest hits...
Or, Barry Manilow, Michael Bolton..hell, Michael Jackson! That'd clear people outta there...

 
At April 03, 2006 3:43 PM, Blogger BrianAlt replied to my musings ...

I guess it's a "soundtrack of your life" kind of thing. I guess classical music doesn't fit with prostituting.

Well, I'm not so sure. There are songs like Bolero and 1812 Overture.

Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da. Boom!

 
At April 03, 2006 3:44 PM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble replied to my musings ...

Wow, that was a seriously demented ending.

As for crime in the Swiss Alps, I guess that means you've never heard of Yodel, The Mass Murdering Snow Pixie. That was a sad year, and family reunions will never be the same.

 
At April 03, 2006 3:47 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

allypooh: Hey don't knock MJ's music. He may be totally batshit loco... but man his music is still pretty damn good. He was, once upon a time, quite the pop tunesmith (I mean before he turned into a Joan Crawford-lookalike child molestor).

Sometimes you really do need to seperate the music from the musician!

 
At April 03, 2006 4:40 PM, Blogger Amy replied to my musings ...

Huh, maybe I should give this a try for the duration of my house arrest – as an added bit of rehabilitation… it will at least give me something to listen to as I try to pry this “bracelet” from ‘round my ankle.

 
At April 03, 2006 5:31 PM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

I know what would work; just play Bill O'Reilly's radio show on a loop 24/7.

 
At April 03, 2006 11:55 PM, Blogger Allypooh replied to my musings ...

Perplexio: You're right...you are...I must admit, in the day, MJ was hot shit. I do have a few of his CD's...but most people don't feel that way.
It's sad, isn't it? I remember when MJ was sooo cool.
Now, he's a sideshow freak.
I feel sorry for him, even if he has mutilated himself.

 
At April 04, 2006 12:20 PM, Blogger Sar replied to my musings ...

Kelly Clarkson and and country music - that'd get me hightailing it out of there. Probably yodeling too.

 
At April 04, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Sar replied to my musings ...

Not to say that I'm a drug dealer or lady of the night!

 
At April 04, 2006 2:11 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

I didn't even mention country music. Call me a humanitarian--that stuff isn't even fit for the most heinous criminals!

-- david

 
At April 04, 2006 7:40 PM, Anonymous Leah replied to my musings ...

Oh poo! Country twang is awesome. But it probably would keep drug pushers and prostitutes out.

Loud jingle bells might also keep them out. Hmmm..?

 
At April 04, 2006 8:22 PM, Blogger siren replied to my musings ...

Hanson might lead to world peace.

 
At April 05, 2006 4:16 PM, Blogger phlegmfatale replied to my musings ...

I've got to disagree with you on this one, honey. The McDonald's in downtown Dallas installed speakers and began playing classical music YEARS ago, and the panhandlers quit hanging around. Who gives a shit how the homeless perceive it? As for anyone else in the environment, the classical music is a harmonious aspect of the clean, homeless-free environment. I don't think there is any hope of turning classical music into an edifying experience for alcholic and drug-addicted homeless people anyway, so I don't think such practices "ruin" that prospect for them.

 

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