The Sound
Of Music
Too loud a sound and/or unwanted noise is not good for people, otherwise it wouldn't have been used by the military and police as a form of torture. The Branch Davidians in Texas were bombarded with "the recorded shrieks of dying rabbits during the 1993 siege" --- strangely, as Keizer points out, "for the purpose of liberating allegedly abused children." In 1989, the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was chased from his sanctuary in the Vatican Embassy with 24-hour loudspeakers playing heavy metal music and hard rock songs such as "We're not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister.
Also, using heavy metal music (you can see a sort of military logic), the 361st PsyOps company of the US army "prepared the battlefield" during the siege of Fallujah in 2004. And Binyam Mohamed recalls that his interrogators hung him up in a "pitch black room" where there was "loud music, 'Slim Shady' and Dr Dre, for 20 days." Other songs reportedly used to break prisoners down include Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and, less heavy and metal but perhaps even more terrible, Barney the Purple Dinosaur's "I Love You."
Keizer adds: "When a country appropriates its most popular art forms in the service of torturing its enemies, it is not admitting repulsion at its own culture? ... Were I a suspected Muslim terrorist undergoing torture, I would hang on to that thought to steel my resolve."

--- Jenny Diski, in a review of
The Unwanted Sound of Everything
Garret Keizer
The London Review of Books
19 August 2010
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