Music To My Ears

This Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for. For example, we could be sitting in a Guantanamo cell listening to Metallica at ear-splitting volume.

Apparently this is how high-value detainees are tortured, even though this is what many of us endured in college by choice. And now, famous "death metal" rockers including Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Celine Dion (Spamming Las Vegas) are banding together to stop the practice. Or is some cases, lobbying to get on the play list.

Personally, I would lock terrorists in a department store elevator and subject them to Christmas carols twenty four hours a day, but I am not a PsyOps music critic.

So what I want to know is this: who in the administration decides what musical selections constitute torture, and what do they know about music? I think this is why George Bush was so scary to so many people. Bill Clinton too.

On a related bad note, a Manhattan coop board was sued last month by one of the building residents who complained that a downstairs neighbor, someone named Madonna, was using her apartment as a rehearsal studio and singing to "unreasonably high decibel, amplified music" in a "really bad voice that sounded kind of like Michael Bloomberg being waterboarded".

The psychological terror induced by the persistent loud music emanating from the Material Girl's apartment prompted the resident to confess to a suicide bombing attack on Sesame Street, a crime she admitted later, that she never committed.

If you ask me, this law suit sets a dangerous precedent: my wife could sue me every time I crank up "Like A Virgin" and prance around the house in my underwear. And probably divorce me too.

On the other hand, the lawsuit is not without merit. It would give me grounds to sue my son for excessive doses of Green Day, and his brother and sister for singing the theme song to Fairly Odd Parents at the dinner table.

The case will be decided next year during the season finale of American Idol.

And finally, consider this. Transit police in New York City are ticketing subway musicians even though it is perfectly legal to perform music there.

Believe me, I understand that there is nothing worse than sitting on a subway car listening to an uninvited busker do a bad imitation of Michael Bublé, except maybe, an uninvited busker doing a good imitation of Michael Bublé, but still, what gives transit police the right to be music critics? Or judges, for that matter? Or the military?

I think there is already too much government in our lives. We don't need our elected officials to be music critics too. And we certainly don't want our government torturing people with music. That's the job of Lite FM.

What we need in this country is a music bill of rights, something to protect and preserve our divergent tastes in music—no matter how bad—for generations to come. Here is my suggestion.

It shall hereby be the right of every American citizen, regardless of race, creed, color, or taste in music...

To select the music in their car while driving;

To sing in the shower as loudly as they desire;

To cringe at bad renditions of the National Anthem without fear of recrimination;

To freely test 10 on their volume controls;

To freely call the police when others test 10 on their volume controls;

To boycott Karaoke bars without persecution;

To wear earbuds in public, even though they look ridiculous;

To tell young adults to "turn that jungle music down" regardless of what they are listening to;

To classify their taste in music as "real" music; and

To convince anyone who will listen that Miley Cyrus sounds like she is performing in a tin can, that Kanye West should try singing without the snorkel, that Susan Boyle should be free to sing but not dance and Shakira should be free to dance but not sing, that Classic Rock is neither, that listening to Country Western can induce a coma, that Kenny G sounds better when he doesn't play, that indie rock bands and Yo Yo Ma need better names, that Philip Glass should add a few more notes to his compositions, and that everything I hear reminds me of something I heard twenty years ago, usually because it is.

Did I miss anything?

Yes, this Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for. For example, we could be sitting in a Guantanamo cell being instructed how to prepare a turkey by Martha Stewart.

So maybe this Thanksgiving I will turn off the TV and the radio and the stereo and the iPod and enjoy the music of lively conversation at the dinner table with my family.

Maybe this Thanksgiving I will take a moment to myself and enjoy some real music...silence.

Feel free to sing along.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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