We Were Lied to by "A Clockwork Orange"

Thugs actually hate classical music.

From the L.A. Review of Books:

Bach at the Burger King
By Theodore Gioia

From Theodore Gioia’s website: “Hailing from a line of writers, Theodore has the dubious distinction of being the second best-known writer named Ted Gioia in his family.” The Gioias are like the Therouxs of the 21st Century.

MAY 17, 2018

AT THE CORNER of 8th and Market in San Francisco, by a shuttered subway escalator outside a Burger King, an unusual soundtrack plays. A beige speaker, mounted atop a tall window, blasts Baroque harpsichord at deafening volumes. The music never stops. Night and day, Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi rain down from Burger King rooftops onto empty streets. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 10:15 EDT - Details)

Empty streets, however, are the target audience for this concert. The playlist has been selected to repel sidewalk listeners — specifically, the mid-Market homeless who once congregated outside the restaurant doors that served as a neighborhood hub for the indigent. Outside the BART escalator, an encampment of grocery carts, sleeping bags, and plastic tarmacs had evolved into a sidewalk shantytown attracting throngs of squatters and street denizens. “There used to be a mob that would hang out there,” remarked local resident David Allen, “and now there may be just one or two people.” When I passed the corner, the only sign of life I found was a trembling woman crouched on the pavement, head in hand, as classical harpsichord besieged her ears.

… Experts trace the practice’s origins back to a drowsy 7-Eleven in British Columbia in 1985, where some clever Canadian manager played Mozart outside the store to repel parking-lot loiterers. Mozart-in-the-Parking-Lot was so successful at discouraging teenage reprobates that 7-Eleven implemented the program at over 150 stores, becoming the first company to battle vandalism with the viola. Then the idea spread to West Palm Beach, Florida, where in 2001 the police confronted a drug-ridden street corner by installing a loudspeaker booming Beethoven and Mozart. “The officers were amazed when at 10 o’clock at night there was not a soul on the corner,” remarked Detective Dena Kimberlin. Soon other police departments “started calling.” From that point, the tactic — now codified as an official maneuver in the Polite Policeman’s Handbook — exploded in popularity for both private companies and public institutions. Over the last decade, symphonic security has swept across the globe as a standard procedure from Australia to Alaska.

Today, deterrence through classical music is de rigueur for American transit systems. …

Baroque music seems to make the most potent repellant. “[D]espite a few assertive, late-Romantic exceptions like Mussorgsky and Rachmaninoff,” notes critic Scott Timberg, “the music used to scatter hoodlums is pre-Romantic, by Baroque or Classical-era composers such as Vivaldi or Mozart.”

Bach, more than anybody else, is the composer of civilization. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 12:05 EDT - Details)

… In a strange mutation, classical music devolves from a “universal language of mankind” reminding all people of their common humanity into a sonic border fence protecting privileged areas from common crowds, telling the plebes in auditory code that “you’re not welcome here.”

.. Thus music returns to its oldest evolutionary function: claiming territory. Zoological research suggests that the original function of birdsong was not only attracting mates (as Darwin argued) but also asserting territorial rights. Experiments have demonstrated that birds usually refrain from entering regions where they hear recorded birdsong playing. These aggressive aspects of avian song extended to early humans. Primatologist Thomas Geissman speculates: “[E]arly hominid music may also have served functions resembling those of ape loud calls […] including territorial advertisement; intergroup intimidation and spacing.” The songs have changed, but the melody is the same — Warning: Private Property. Music carves public space into private territory, signaling certain areas are off limits to certain groups through orchestral “intimidation.” And no genre carries more intimidating upper-class associations than classical music.

And so forth and so on.

Anyway, it’s interesting why the better the music the more that lowlifes hate it. My guess is that it’s more than just class markers. I suspect that poor honest workmen don’t mind classical music playing in the background as much as punks loitering with criminal intent can’t stand it.

Reprinted with permission from The Unz Review.