Music no longer hath charm

No – this isn’t from The Onion – it’s from Wired:

Reprieve, a British human rights law group that represents over 30 Guantanamo Bay detainees, is planning to work with musicians to lobby President-elect Barack Obama to end the practice of sonic torture by military interrogators.

Earlier this month, Reprieve and the U.K. Musicians Union launched Zero dB, a “silent protest” over the use of music in interrogations. According to Reprieve, many of its clients have been subjected to hours of music played at deafening volume — sometime for days or even weeks on end. And the BBC has reported on a particularly insidious practice: using the theme songs from Sesame Street and Barney to break the will of prisoners.

This has musicians furious. Last week, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails even suggested he might pursue legal action to stop the practice.

What we have here is the convergence of two interesting ideas. First, the fact that groups like Nine Inch Nails are freely admitting that their music is a form of torture. Second, the fact that “torture” has been defined down to such things as forcing people to endure Nine Inch Nails songs against their will. I’ll admit that this whole thing has me confused.

Another thing — does this mean that PBS is torturing our children whenever they air Sesame Street and Barney?

The worldwide civil rights community isn’t amused though, and considers audio torture to be a particularly cruel form of psychological manipulation.

But seriously – the theme from Barney?

Should you wish to torture yourself of someone you love, Mother Jones has put together a handy Torture Playlist. Please consult UN guidelines before using.

PS – If you’re a record company talent scout, then under the Geneva Conventions you have been systematically tortured. Really. Especially if you work for a Christian music label.

PPS – Or a low budget wedding photographer

PPS – One more (some NSFW … you were warned)

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