THE BLOG

Music Torture

Torture has been in the headlines in the past week. Should Obama have released the torture memos? Should we prosecute those who approved torture?

The topic was covered in a typically thorough and insightful manner by my favorite podcast, NPR's "On the Media" in its April 24th program in a section titled "The Sound of Pain." In that segment, Brooke Shields interviewed writer David Peisner about how U.S. interrogators used music, in addition to waterboarding and sleep deprivation, as a torture technique.

Here's part of the transcript:

BROOKE GLADSTONE: I wonder whether you could find any rhyme or reason to the kind of music that you know has been chosen in Guantanamo and in Iraq.

DAVID PEISNER: One thing that is fairly certain is the music that was picked was picked partially because it was aggressive and loud, and it was also meant to be insulting to a Muslim. A lot of very devout Muslims don't believe they, you know, are allowed to listen to music at all, let alone sort of Western music.

And there are a huge number of cases of pro-American songs. Neil Diamond's song America.

Not as bad as waterboarding, but listening to blaring Neil Diamond singing day and night is close. And music torture also has the advantage of not being as strenuous as waterboarding for the interrogators -- all they have to do is plug up their ears and turn up the volume.

I could get my wife, Julia, to admit to anything by playing any Andrew Lloyd Weber musical soundtrack. She could retaliate effectively and get me to admit to eating raspberry tarts behind her back by playing any John Tesh or Barry Manilow album. Here are my top five Instruments of torture:

1. John Tesh
2. Barry Manilow
3. Any opera
4. Any Mahler symphony
5. Metallica or KISS (tie)

What music would it take to make you confess? What music do you consider torture? Please post your list... and then maybe you will have some sympathy for those who were victims of this inhumanly cruel method of "extreme interrogation."