Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Jun 2nd 2008 12:00PM by James Sullivan
That is what the U.S. military is banking on, evidently, in the War on Terror. In Errol Morris's 'Standard Operating Procedure,' a soldier says that the ear-splitting playback of songs such as Naughty By Nature's 'Hip Hop Hooray' and Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' is a routine part of "futility," the Army's diagram for getting obstinate prisoners to talk. Many detainees can withstand onslaughts of those songs, the soldier says. It's the country music that kills them.
As Alex Ross points out in the New Yorker, Manuel Noriega was bombarded with heavy metal when he barricaded himself inside a Panama City compound in 1989, and the government rained annoying music on David Koresh's followers at Waco a few years later. The practice, apparently, has been stepped up during the current war. "I remember they played Meat Loaf and Aerosmith over and over," reports one former detainee.
Another man, a Pakistani-Englishman who spent time in American prisons at Kandahar and Guantanamo before his 2005 release, has written a memoir. "Once they even played the Bee Gees' 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack all night long," recalls Moazzam Begg. "'Hardly,' I thought, 'enough to break anyone I knew.'" What, does he cater weddings for a living?
Other notable instruments of torture, according to an NYU musicologist who is an expert on the subject, have included the relentlessly benign music of James Taylor and the audiobook version of Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo's self-help parody 'Feel This Book.' Most observers, writes Suzanne Cusick, believe that "unwanted" music becomes truly torturous when combined with other interrogation methods, including "nakedness, humiliation, fatigue, and the self-inflicted pain of stress positions."
Funny, that's precisely when we're most likely to slap on the headphones.
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