Friday, October 10, 2008

"Classical" Punishment

Fresh off the CNN news feed:

URBANA, Ohio (AP) -- A defendant had a hard time facing the music.

Ludwig van Beethoven's music fails to appeal to a man fined for playing rap music too loudly in his car.

Ludwig van Beethoven's music fails to appeal to a man fined for playing rap music too loudly in his car.

Andrew Vactor was facing a $150 fine for playing rap music too loudly on his car stereo in July. But a judge offered to reduce that to $35 if Vactor spent 20 hours listening to classical music by the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.

Vactor, 24, lasted only about 15 minutes, a probation officer said.

It wasn't the music, Vactor said, he just needed to be at practice with the rest of the Urbana University basketball team.

"I didn't have the time to deal with that," he said. "I just decided to pay the fine."

Champaign County Municipal Court Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott says the idea was to force Vactor to listen to something he might not prefer, just as other people had no choice but to listen to his loud rap music.

"I think a lot of people don't like to be forced to listen to music," she said.

She's also taped TV shows for defendants in other cases to watch on topics such as financial responsibility. As she sees it, they get the chance to have their fine reduced "and at the same time broaden their horizons."

After the first reading of this article, I laughed.  However, on second reading there were a few things which upset me a bit (our furnace broke down this morning, and it was -4 celsius  when we woke up - I'm a bit grumpy I think).  

As someone who spends six hours a week teaching an introductory music appreciation course, I take a great amount of pride in teaching the fundamentals of the History of Western European Music, and 20th/21st century music to students who for the most part do not have any previous knowledge of the subject matter.  What really excites me though is when I have student who admits to me at the end of the semester that they took the course as an "easy A", but ended up enjoying the course so much that they now regularly attend concerts and seek out good recordings.

However, here is a judge who ruled that a person should listen to "classical" music as a punishment? And justifying it by saying "I think most people don't like being forced to listen to music".  As if to say - - since his neighbours didn't like the Rap music, a suitable punishment is to force him into listening to Beethoven?  (Give me 15 minutes with this kid - and two recordings of MY choice.  I think I could turn him around).

I once had a landlord knock on my door and tell me to turn my music down ... I was listening too the Sanctus from the Pizzetti Requiem.  My guess this had less to do with the genre of music, and more to do with the volume.

1 comment:

I'm Still Me said...

Me with 20 hours of flute music ... now that would be a punishment!