Saturday, May 31, 2008

Torture music

Whereas stress positions and the like are intended to make the vulnerabilities of a human being's own body betray him and cause him pain, both "futility music" and "gender coercion" target the practices by which a human being's cultural beliefs are embodied, performed, and made real as ethical practices. "Futility music" and "gender coercion" can force human cause themselves psychic rather than physical pain. Deriving directly from who they are or have chosen to be as enculturated human beings—that is, as persons, not only as sensate biological organisms—this psychic pain attacks its target and causes self-betrayal in the intrasubjective space that many religious traditions call the soul. It is when soul and body together collapse in the catastrophe of self-betrayal that resistance is not just futile but impossible.
-- from “You are in a place that is out of the world. . .”: Music in the Detention Camps of the “Global War on Terror by Suzanne Cusick.
The SS made singing, like everything else they did, a mockery, a torment for the prisoners ... those who sang too softly or too loudly were beaten. The SS men always found a reason ... when in the evening we had to drag our dead and murdered comrades back into the camp, we had to sing. Hour after hour we had to, whether in the burning sun, freezing cold, or in snow or rain storms, on the roll call plaza we had to stand and sing of ... the girl with the dark brown eyes, the forest or the wood grouse. Meanwhile the dead and dying comrades lay next to us on a ripped up wool blanket or on the frozen or soggy ground.
-- from the testimony of a former inmate at Sachsenhausen in an account of music and the Shoah.

These two examples noted in Futility Music by Alex Ross.

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