Barry Manilow Deployed Against Loud Teens

Is Barry Manilow a deterrent against teen mischief?

Sick and tired of souped-up cars with loud engines and pulsing music? Barry Manilow may be the answer. Officials in one Sydney district have decided to pipe the American crooner’s music over loudspeakers in an attempt to rid streets and car parks of hooligans whose anti-social cars and loud music annoy residents and drive customers from businesses. Following a successful experiment where Bing Crosby music was used to drive teenage loiterers out of an Australian shopping center several years ago, Rockdale councilors believe Manilow is so uncool it might just work.

Of course, this might be considered cruel and unusual punishment, which is banned by the 8th Amendment in the United States. Is there nothing in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that prevents this sort of thing?

This reminds me of the United States decision to deploy hard rock music against Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in an attempt to force him out of sanctuary at the papal Nunciatura. It worked.

Update: Commenters John Burgess and Donald Sensing observe that the Noriega story is apocryphal and that the music was blared to prevent media eavesdropping on negotiations, not–as widely reported–to drive Noriega nuts.

Gone Hollywood

FILED UNDER: Humor, Law and the Courts, Popular Culture, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Businesses in the US have been playing classical music to drive away teenagers for years.

  2. John Burgess says:

    Hmmm… according to US Special Ops people involved in the Panama adventure, the use of broadcasting rock music at high decibles wasn’t designed to drive Noriega out of the Nunciatura. Instead, it was to obscure from the US media the various negotiations that were going on. Sort of a variation of that old “turn on the shower to defeat the bugs” notion.

    The US military didn’t want the media to be reporting on things in progress and thus becoming part of the process.

  3. James Joyner says:

    DCL: But that’s not nearly as cruel as Manilow! You have to draw a line somewhere.

    John: Didn’t know that. Quite interesting.

  4. John Burgess says:

    There’s also a high-frequency buzzer that’s being marketed.

  5. “in an attempt to rid streets and car parks of hooligans whose anti-social cars and loud music annoy residents and drive customers from businesses.”

    I am sensing a “we had to destroy this village in order to save it” moment coming up here. Will the residents (at least some of them) not find the Manilow music annoying. Will customers flock to businesses that allow them to shop while immersed in Manilow? Is the cure potentially worse than the disease?

  6. The loud rock music played at Panama City’s Palal Nuncio while Noriega was holed up inside was not intended to make him so desperate for silence he would surrender. It was played to prevent media eavesdropping on negotiations between SOUTHCOM’s representatives and those of the Nuncio that were taking place at one of the gates to the Nuncio. Noriega didn’t finally leave the Nuncio because he couldn’t stand the decibel level of the music, but because the Nuncio finally threw him out.

  7. lily says:

    Barry Manilow might drive the employees away along with the teens. Classical is a better choice. A school where I once taught played classical music during passing time to discourage loitering in the halls. It didn’t work.

  8. lunacy says:

    Many of the more youthful boutiques certainly keep my middle aged a$$ out with the music they play. I even walk to the other side of the corridor at the mall sometimes to avoid the noise eminating from certain stores.

  9. legion says:

    Surely this could be considered a WMD?!?

    Heck, if we invade Australia, I might even volunteer for that duty… 🙂

  10. John Burgess says:

    No, the most prevalent WMD is that of flavored/scented “coffees” on the aisle of supermarkets. One has to take a deep breath before turning into the aisle, get whatever it is you’re shopping for, then clear the aisle before exhaling.

    I’m pretty sure those “coffees” are prohibited by some Convention or other. They damn well should be….