Sunday 28 February 2010

A Clockwork Orange

Alright, my little droogs?

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.

CCTV, arrest by "drone", helicopters used to catch people for speeding, databases of all your online activities and mobile phone use... all that isn't enough for these bastards.

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.)

Ugh. Seriously depressing stuff. Like the man says:

One news report says some of the children who have endured this Mozart authoritarianism now find classical music unbearable. 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.


Pam Nash said...

If someone had submitted a novel to a publisher, in 1990, featuring all the current lunacy, it would have been rejected as too nonsensical. At 16, I HATED classical music - but I saw the light later, and how; however, associating classical with punishment fatally taints it for a whole generation, if this trend spreads. You really COULDN'T make it up :(

sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

I wish they'd introduce something similar in Tesco's. Yesterday I had such a senior moment in the check out queue, I now daren't go back just in case they arrest me.

JuliaM said...

My local Tube station has played classical music over the PA system on and off for the last year.

Now I know why!

Sod It said...

Most people I suspect won't have a problem with this as long as it "drives those young ruffians away" "puts 'em in their place", "teaches 'em a lesson" etc etc. Hell it'll probably be seen as 'sophisticated' and 'enlightened'.

It's unfortunate that Britain is now the dictionary definition of a surveillance society and frankly it winds me up no end. I'm on cctv practically from my front door to my work and to my local pub (both of which have considerable cctv in themselves).

However simply fulminating at length about it is ultimately pointless and far too many people will think you're just a cranky old cunt at best or a villain with something to hide at worst.

Let's face it: for the foreseeable future (I'm talking generations) the majority of people simply do not see this level of mass surveillance being in any way an infringement of their liberty. The standard reply will be "I've got nothing to hide, have you?" Honestly I've heard this refrain from grown men who could hardly be described as 'socialist' and consider themselves paragons of self-respect and independent mindedness. They'd welcome the sight of a cctv drone.

The question you have to ask yourself is why the whole idea of public freedom is held in such low esteem today. Why is it held to be of so little importance to us? What would be good about a society without surveillance?

To be brutal you do have to ask yourself just what is so good about freedom? Who needs it? And it's no point in saying "it's obvious innit guv" because no it isn't. Not today.

The case for a free society will have to be made from scratch, starting with really basic stuff and working upward. And it'll take years...

That's my tuppenceworth for a Sunday and apologies for wavering ever so slightly O/T.

Richard said...

What were you thinking man. Bloggers have a duty to be responsible.

Since you published this, several human rights lawyers have sustained whiplash injuries while attempting to grab a phone and Cherie has abandoned baby Leo to the supervision of next door's rottwieller.

You really should be more careful.

Leg-iron said...

If Orwell submitted '1984' today, it would be shelved under 'historical nonfiction'.

Labour have gone much, much further. In Orwell's book, they could even smoke indoors and were provided with gin with their lunch.