Barry Manilow Songs as a Crowd Dispersal Weapon, and More


Singer Barry Manilow performs during “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, New York on August 21, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

On the Use and Abuse of Manilow’s Songs; the horror continues in Nicaragua; populists unite in France; Lewandowski deployed to New Hampshire; and more

Bary Manilow as bomb? As a weapon? As a crowd disperser? So vulgar. “New Zealand plays Barry Manilow to repel protesters from Parliament,” read a BBC headline. The story goes as follows:

New Zealand authorities played Barry Manilow’s greatest hits in a bid to dislodge protesters camped outside parliament.

Songs by the American singer are broadcast on a 15-minute loop, as well as the Spanish dance tune Macarena.

Brutal – towards Barry Manilow and “Macarena”, I mean. I rather like “Macarena”. And “At the Copa. Copacabana. The hottest place north of Havana.

Have more, from the BBC:

Protesters, who are angry at the Covid-19 vaccine mandates, responded by playing songs such as Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It.

So, it’s Twisted vs. Barry.


The protests began on Tuesday when a convoy of vehicles drove into parliament.

Inspired by large rallies against vaccination mandates in Canada, hundreds of protesters arrived in the capital, Wellington, to rally against Covid restrictions.

They adopted the name “Convoy for Freedom” and blocked the streets of the city.

Yeah. One thing about these “freedom convoys” spreading? They hinder the freedom of others: to work, to travel, etc. I have always thought that people should be careful when using the important word “freedom”.

Anyway, I thought of Noriega and Panama, as you may have been too. In late 1989, US forces were trying to smuggle him out of the Vatican Embassy. One of the things we did was hit it with rock music: “I Fought the Law” (The Clash), “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC), “Welcome to the Jungle ” (Guns N’ Roses), etc.

Finally, we had our man.

“Classical music is always effective in dispersing loitering teenagers.” So vulgar! How insulting! It is a title of Los Angeles Timesin 2011. The story goes,

With all sorts of funding cuts hitting orchestras during the recent recession, there remains one aspect of classical music that local governments find valuable: the music’s unerring ability to disperse teenagers loitering in public spaces.

Brutal. (And a little funny, I admit.)

Here is another, released in the UK in 2010: “Mozart the Big Stick for UK School”. The caption reads: ‘Classical music as a tool to punish young people ignites debate in UK’. The article begins,

The idea of ​​using Mozart and Ravel as a deterrent to the ill-mannered has drawn the ire of music lovers and critics of public education systems.

I can imagine.

Mozart as “big stick”. Manilow as “big stick”. Interesting what works like a stick for some people and what doesn’t.

I had a memory of Mark Gerson who, a few years ago, taught at a high school in New Jersey. He created a “Frank Sinatra Detention Club”. He explained in an article for Remarkin 1995.

Detention is writing, “Mr. Gerson, Ol’ Blue Eyes is the best” or “When I get home, I’m going to listen to the chairman of the board” 40 times while listening to recordings of Sinatra, from the Capitol years to the Dorsey sessions and the glorious Nouveau Duos II. Some fear these detentions because they don’t like Sinatra. Others start out in terror but find he’s not so bad after all. The one who got a “Frank” two weeks ago has been humming “Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week” ever since.

Good product.

• On the way to something serious: Nicaragua. Hugo Torres has passed away. who was he? He was a Sandinista general, hero of the revolution, who led a guerrilla war to free Daniel Ortega and other comrades in 1974. These men had been imprisoned by Somoza.

Last summer, General Torres was taken prisoner by Ortega, his former comrade. He died on February 12, in very suspicious circumstances. José de Córdoba in the the wall street journal Explain.

Before being arrested last summer, Torres made a video, in case he was indeed arrested – then taken away and imprisoned, or “disappeared”. Torres said:

“Forty-six years ago, I risked my life to free Daniel Ortega and other fellow political prisoners from prison. I am 73 years old. At this point in my life, I never thought I would be fighting another dictatorship now more brutal, more unscrupulous, more irrational and more autocratic than the Somoza dictatorship.

• Take a look, now, at France — where the main populists seem to agree. On the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and on the right, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour, affirm that if they were elected president, they would withdraw France from NATO. Whatever their background, populists often have more in common with each other than with other political types.

Mélenchon’s party has a classic name: “La France Insoumise”, or “La France insoumise”, “La France indomitable”, “La France insoumise”.

• A bit of American politics? In an Impromptus last month, I wrote about Chris Sununu, New Hampshire Governor and Republican. He charts his own path. Unlike other Republican governors, he refused to ban private companies from requiring vaccination in the event of a pandemic. Sununu said, “There are many things I want companies to do, but that doesn’t mean I enact a law and force them to do it. It is reactionary.

These are fight words, obviously, in the GOP.

A recent headline read, “Corey Lewandowski is back in Trumpworld, with a ‘mission’ to oust popular New Hampshire GOP Governor Chris Sununu.” As the story goes, Lewandowski said, “The President is very unhappy with New Hampshire State’s General Manager, Chris Sununu. And Sununu is someone who has never been faithful to him. And the president said it would be really nice if someone ran against Chris Sununu.

Trump people, like Lewandowski, often refer to Trump as “the president.” Either way, we’ll see what happens in the Granite State.

• There are a lot of interesting things in this article about Liz Cheney and Wyoming. Allow me to highlight two. An opponent of Cheney said, “She speaks from her conscience, but you weren’t elected to do what you think is right, you were elected to do what the people want you to do.

It’s an old, old question: “Burke’s dilemma.” Does a representative in a legislature do what a majority in his district (or state or whatever) wants him to do? And how do we measure majority desires? How often do you measure them? Or does a representative’s own judgment come into play?

As for the assault on Congress that took place on January 6, 2021, a Wyoming voter said, “People had every right to come in there. Push came to push and they shoved. He went to extremes because he had to. My impression is, this is a very common sentiment among GOP voters. And politicians, of course, who have their finger on the pulse, are aware of this.

• Let’s talk a bit. I received a flyer that talked about “your neighbours”. What is this “companion” doing there? People also talk about their “compatriots”. I always thought “compatriots” would do. “Mélenchon, Le Pen and Zemmour are compatriots.”

A report began: “The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is receiving backlash online after announcing. . .” Is the backlash always positive?

“If Mitch had fought for the election,” Donald Trump wrote, “we wouldn’t be discussing any of the above today.” In my observation, just about every American under 50 makes this basic grammatical error. (Should be “If Mitch had fought. . . ”) Old-timers like Trump usually know best. Perhaps the influence of young people around him?

• Let’s play a little golf. “I like when people get rowdy,” said Brooks Koepka, the grand champion. He was talking about pampered drunks at the Phoenix Open. “They cheer you on when you hit hard and they boo you when you hit badly. It almost feels like a real sport. Like football, basketball, things like that. Football.”

Ah, Brooks… real sport?! (We can talk about fan behavior and what sets golf apart from other sports later.)

• Some music ? For a review of a concert by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Jakub Hrusa, with Yuja Wang, solo pianist, go here. For a review of a recital by Andreas Ottensamer (clarinet) and Alessio Bax (piano), go here. And for a review of Denis Matsuev, the Russian pianist, in solo recital, go here.

At the bottom of this last review I had a footnote:

There were protesters outside Carnegie Hall. Denis Matsuev is something like an official Russian government artist. He was a torchbearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He performed at the closing ceremony. He signed a letter supporting Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

(I always make a strict separation, when it comes to criticism or other artistic commentary.)

• Cameron Hilditch is one of my favorite writers. Online national exam readers will know him from his time here. A Northern Irishman, he graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford. He now lives in the United States. He has a great wealth of knowledge and a happy pen. It is now on Substack, at The conservative anarchist. I will be an avid reader.

• Central Park on a snowy Sunday morning is quite photogenic. Four quick hits?

Thank you for joining me today, my friends. Talk to you later.

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