Daily Archives: May 28, 2010 8:24 pm

More on musical policing

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I thought I might have been alone in applauding the actions of a NI police officer who played music through the tannoy of their vehicle to defuse an attack by 15 kids throwing bottles (see earlier post, Phronesis and musical policing). But I’m delighted to report that Basil McCrea from the NI Policing Board (the independent scrutiny body for the PSNI) praised the approach much in the same way as I did:

If police are to engage with the community they need to find appropriate ways to do it and need to be creative, thoughtful and resourceful,” said the Ulster Unionist Stormont Assembly representative. This officer I think demonstrated those qualities with considerable aplomb. While this isn’t likely to become standard practice, this officer showed initiative and should be commended. [source]

Interesting that in nearly every report I’ve seen of this incident, McCrea’s more considered response is left til last – the ‘story’, as the media tells it, appears to be ‘stupid police officer, embarrassment to force, told off by bosses’.  I think this story and the telling of it reveals that we have not yet shaken free of the idea that music is silly, weak, feminine and feminizing, and an unsuitable activity for a man, or a woman in a ‘masculine’ profession like policing. The fact that it was effective in this case is exactly why it must be ridiculed and eradicated, for one day, the same music might soften the rocks in the heart of the harshest authoritarian, and such loss of control would be, for them, unconscionable.

The Urwärme of Ohrwürme

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Via Metafilter, the top 25 ‘earworms’ in France, with audio examples.   ‘Earworm’ is a direct translation of the German word Ohrwurm, meaning a tune that you can’t get out of your head. The more euphonic French term musique obsédante is perhaps the reason why Paris is better known as the city of romance than Berlin or Gelsenkirchen.