Sunday, March 05, 2006

Not-So-Hooked on Classics

I think I've posted on this subject before, but it's still an amusing story whenever it happens: Residents of a Hartford, Connecticut neighborhood are using classical music to drive drug dealers out of a neighborhood park:
Activists propose playing recordings of classical music in Barnard Park in hopes of annoying petty criminals so much that they'll leave. They also hope the music will make the park more pleasant for other people once it is cleaned up.

Resident Carol Coburn said she came up with the idea after reading about similar efforts in West Palm Beach, Fla., where she said crime decreased as much as 40 percent in parks where classical music was played. Cities in Canada and Australia have reported success with similar efforts.
Needless to say, that has some musicologists riled up:
But to University of California-Los Angeles musicologist Robert Fink, the plan makes Hartford's crime-fighting efforts look desperate.

"Beethoven is not going to save you," he said. It's ironic that "some of the greatest composers in history are now being viewed as some kind of bug spray or disinfectant."
(Of course, anyone who's taken a music history class knows that it's fairly easy to get a musicologist riled up about any number of things...)

I don't think it's being disrespectful to the music to use it in this way. I mean, come on--is it any worse than using it in TV commercials to sell jewelry or whatever? If a certain demographic shows extreme distaste for a particular genre of music, and that music can be used to repel the criminal element within that demographic, it's no insult to the music being "used" for that purpose. As I learned in Psychology of Music in grad school, music is "used" all the time, whether it be to get people to stay longer or shorter times at restaurants or to get them to buy more stuff in grocery stores (oddly enough, the "mellow middle register" of the bass trombone has been used for this purpose before). If it were the classical musicians who were dealing drugs in the park, I'm sure that country music could be used in the same way (jazz musicians, of course, would be similarly repelled by the G-weasel or other such "smooth" dreck). They say that music can be used to soothe the savage beast, but I guess this is one case where it keeps said beast away as well.

Wreck redux, part deux: Today is the second anniversary of my wreck. I'm happy to say that Kevmobile 1.2 is still going strong, but less happy to note that I never did get a single penny out of the uninsured soccer mom who rear-ended me that day.

Everybody was Kung Fu scrubbing: I saw someone holding a sign advertising a TAEKWONDO CAR WASH in front of a gas station out in Euless today. I'm sure that they meant that the car wash was raising funds for their taekwondo team, but how funny would it be if they were to incorporate the moves into the washing process? Hands, feet and suds would be flying everywhere...


Eric Grubbs said...

Funky: I celebrate the day that a pile of shingles hit my head and inspired me to write my book while you celebrate your last car wreck.

Kev said...

Heh--I wouldn't so much call it a "celebration" per se; it's more like another chance to gripe about how that deadbeat lady never paid me. And I'm not imagining a book coming out of this from me....but maybe a tune title sometime?

Anonymous said...

Re: Wreck ....did you at least get your insurance deductible back? Had same thing happen to me and my insurance co. took over to recover all their money and got my deductible back.
Re: Kung Fu Scrubbing ....Wax on---Wax off!

Anonymous said...

TAEKWONDO CAR WASH - AAHH!! I would so pay a bunch of kids to be ninja-like while washing my car.

Kev said...

Ratspit: No, I didn't even get my deductible back; the case got turned over to their subrogation department and languished there for a year, after which time they gave up.

Oh, and re "Wax on, wax off"--LOL; that should've been my header for that part of the post.

Gary: I'm not sure I'd have a case against the city because there were no red light cameras installed in Garland at the time (and still not one at that particular intersection). As I said in the original post, the thought of RLC's was what made me stop when that light turned yellow, but I'm not sure that causing me to think about cameras that didn't exist at the time would be grounds for litigation.

That being said, if a camera ever did catch me, one of the points I'd make while fighting the citation would be that I was doing so to avoid being rear-ended yet a second time, because I've seen plenty of studies like the one you cited.