Blog Post #4

Response to the article Titled Killing Me Softly with His Song: An Initial Investigation into the Use of Popular Music as a Tool of Oppression by Martin Cloonan & Bruce Johnson.

The most engaging element in this article is how the authors try to explain how music can change how people think. They indicate that even though music can be a useful tool in the building of social and individual identities, it also has a destructive side. The author also talks about how the music studies have overlooked the negative side of music while in the real sense, it is causing many problems (Cloonan and Johnson 27). One would agree with authors that in every moment when people support music as a method of articulating cultural territory, they should also know that they are supporting actual destruction or displacement of other identities. At times this displacement may occur as extreme violence. This shows the capacity of music to change how people think and make them behave in a manner that would cause negative consequences.

One would agree with the authors that music has been used for a long time as a tool for oppression without people knowing it. For a long time, people have been using music to justify their plight. This is evidenced in many cases where a certain group of people seem to like or dislike some music and go on using their feelings towards it to suppress others (Cloonan and Johnson 27). For example, rebels may use songs to do with fighting injustice or fighting for freedom. When this happens, many people, especially the young ones, join the rebel troops because of how, through the music, they are convinced about the need to fight for their freedom.

The fact that music has been used by people to achieve their evil desire should not lead to the conclusion that music is bad. The fact that music is a form of self-expression explains why some people would use it at the expense of others to fulfill their selfish motives. However, some tracks that have been used by some people to meet their selfish motives have nothing to do with how they are used. For example, there is nothing wrong with recordings of Frank Sinatra to justify why it was used to drive street children out of the Wollongong shopping mall (Cloonan and Johnson 27). It appears that the good days of popular songs are ending.

While popular music has nothing evil in it, it can be considered evil because of how it is sometimes are used. For example, prisoners who were found singing songs by Irish nationalists who opposed British colonials in Australia were subjected to heavy punishment (Cloonan and Johnson 27). It is not the people who liked the songs who caused terror but those who disliked them. In this sense, it appears that the songs had nothing wrong with them, but they were used as an excuse for silencing the prisoners. Another area where popular music came out clearly as evil is when it was used in Yugoslavia to inflict pain on innocent people. It was used as a tool for committing acts of repression and inhumanity (Coonan and Johnson 28). Popular music should, therefore, not be held as being universally good just because of their consumerism, but their evil side should also be equally put into consideration.

Blog Post #3


Response to the Article, Monstrous Noise: Silent Hills and the Aesthetic Economies of Fear by William Cheng

What one found engaging in the reading concerns how sound can be a useful tool for manipulating people’s emotions. Having been once a fun to this video game, one can easily relate what the author says and what was happening in it. It would be correct to say that it would have been boring without the sound element in it. Another interesting thing is how the soundtrack was deliberately made the way it is to create fear for individuals. The economy of aesthetics in “Silent Hills” can also be said to have reinforced the role played by its soundscape.

One would agree with the authors that people tend to become nervous when things go contrary to what they expected. This is what Akira Yamaoka intended when created by the video game “Silent Hill.” He said that “He referred to people as analogous creatures who become nervous when rhythms break, or when things do not go according to their expectations (Cheng 1). The irregular rhythms seen in Silent Hill are not unique to it, but it happens the same way in many horror video games and movies. For example, in the movie “The Quiet Place” directed by John Krasinski, silence rules the day, and whenever a sound is made, a life is lost. This is another example of how directors and the creators of video games use sound to create fear emotion.

The authors’ ideas relate to one’s understanding in various aspects. One is that sound has been an instrumental factor in the video game industry and determines the effect that their pace of work would have on the audience. The horror video games would have no longer be interesting if the sound aspect of them was removed. The creators use sounds to communicate with the audience without using words. This is because whenever sound changes, a scary event takes place. If one was to play the video game without the sound, it would have been extremely boring to the audience. Likewise, it would not have been as interesting as it was if the sound did not align with horrific events in the game (Cheng 1). This is because if sounds are not put in their right place in the videogame or a film, they turn into noise and may fail to create the intended emotion on the player or audience.

The video game “Silent Hill” cannot be described as an idle medium because of how its grotesque soundscape plays a crucial role in telling the player when the antagonist is about to come. Though the sound is invisible, it acts as a force that is convulsing and seething as it manipulates the minds of the player to create the desired emotional effect. In this case, the desired emotional effect that it creates is fear. However, this fear does not act to the disadvantage of the player, but that is what makes the game interesting. The uncanny sounds of the horror game provoke hermeneutic, perceptual, and lucid anxieties to the players. Besides the monsters in the video, the sound itself can be referred to as a living monster. This is because of how it unsettles the bodily and mental control of the player. One would agree with the author that the sound in the film has high-frightening efficiency enough to make any minimal noise create maximal horror.







Work Cited

Cheng, William. “Monstrous Noise: Silent Hill and the Aesthetic Economies of Fear.” The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media (2013).

Music is Enjoyable >< Music is Torturous

Image result for music torture

Across an Invisible Line: Conversation about Music and Torture was incredibly interesting since music here is in question as a torture method rather than an interrogation method. Prisoners in Camp Cropper in Afghanistan would be subjected to methods of interrogation, though there’s an invisible line between interrogation, coercion, and torture. Though, admittedly, I am not averse in the technical differences between the two, since as far as I am aware, methods of torture are specifically used as interrogation methods to coerce prisoners into giving up information. Is musical torture equivalent in severity as waterboarding or asphyxiation? Musical torture is a mental battle, where I can picture a prisoner being forced to listen to heavy metal, Rebbecca Black’s Friday, auto-tuned Youtube clips from the 2000s , or even z100 on repeat for hours and hours, in order to coerce said prisoner to release the information that is being held back. Musical torture is used as an irritant, like an itch that can never be scratched.  If this drives a person to insanity, is it an interrogation? Is it Coercion? Or is it truly torture?

According to Across an Invisible Line, the Bush administration decided to employ interrogation tactics and torture methods to fight the War against Terror post 9/11. Psychological torture can have lasting effects, for example, aversions, depression, or persistent anxiety. Though music is just music, it seems like it can be defended as a practice by simply shrugging it off as entertainment for the prisoner, since music is more commonly known to be used for enjoyment, not torture. I decided to delve a little deeper into what may or may not be defined as torture because as the title insinuates, it is an invisible line.

According to the World Medical Association, torture, as defined in the 1970s, is the deliberate, systematic infliction of physical or mental suffering to force another person to yield information, to make a confession, or for any other reason. Psychological Torture,the ‘no-touch torture’, uses alternative methods to inflict internal suffering, even if the tools used for torture seem harmless. The argument could be made that water is good, and giving water to a prisoner is treating a prisoner justly, though forcing a prisoner to choke on water would obviously fall under the definition of torture. The same can be said for music. While music can be used to give enjoyment to a prisoner and help pass the time, forcing a prisoner to listen to an excessive amount of auditory irritants and music, can drive a prisoner to experience internal pain, and therefore can be categorized as a torture tactic.


Ojeda, Almerindo. What is Psychological Torture?, 2006.

Journal 4–matthew sumera

Matthew Sumera’s article, “Understanding the Pleasures of War’s Audiovision,” brought to my attention a gross practice of propaganda used by the US military.  US military practices already were shady to me (since they tend to capitalize and take advantage of our lower-income youth), but this just tainted my image of our country even more.  


Sumera goes into detail on the US military propaganda technique which uses nu metal music with footage of Muslim bodies getting killed in order to “pump up” soliders for war.  These videos serve to be, “illustrative of the ways such productions both contribute to and amplify war’s ferious logic,” (311). Songs used that were accompanied by these types of heinous videos included “Death Zone” “Taliban Bodies” and “Die Terrorist Die.” These videos often featured brown or Muslim bodies being killed by soliders, but the images would go by too quickly, so viewers couldn’t really see the people being killed.  This is a way to dehumanize Muslims. Growing up as a Muslim, especially post 9/11, I always knew it was dangerous to be a Muslim as I would always hear about attacks on us. My mother would always tell me it was better to look white, and to have a white name, but I didn’t know that the hate was so deep that we just were viewed as animals like that to the government. I remember when Trump was running for president, and he wanted Muslims to be labeled as such on their I.D.s.  Maybe I just didn’t want to believe that it was this bad. People treat me as a person when they interact with me, but then will talk about “Moslems.” But hey, we are in the land of the free, “one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all,” unless you are a brown body.

Journal #3–sarah hankins

Sarah Hankins article, “So Contagious: Hybridity and Subcultural Exchange in Hip Hop’s use of Indian Samples,” elaborates on the use of Indian samples within the American Hip-Hop genre.  While cultural exchange is the way to progress in the world and can be a good thing, there are ways to do this in poor taste.  Cultural appropriation can be inappropriate, done in poor taste, and/or offensive. Indian samples within American Hip-Hop was often viewed as trendy and went along with the “Indo-chic” fashion trends in the West.  It can be a problem when someone else’s cultural is viewed as only fashionable and not taken seriously in their Western gaze. Hip Hop music relies heavily on found sounds, but when proper tribute isn’t paid, I believe it can become racist. 

I remember watching those hip-hop music videos that incorporated Indian samples and imagery and I was disgusted.  Indian cultural was viewed as exotic and as props.  I remember one of the songs shown where they sampled a Hindi song where a woman sings about suicide, and the rapper responds, “what she said,” or something along those lines.  Indian culture is not appreciated in this sense and is GROSSLY borrowed and commodified.  


Sarah Hankins argues in her article, “Why are hip-hop artists now choosing Indian sounds in particular? What are they seeking to express about themselves and their cohort? DJ Rekha, in the quote that opens this essay, suggests this choice has been driven at least in part by “a long fascination within black culture with the Orient” and is part of a “larger dialogue” (Malhotra 2008).”  In my opinion, this “fascination” is similar to my fascination of animals in a zoo.  There is a better way to exchange cultural, where tribute is paid.  I believe Jay-Z did that well with Punjabi MC and this could be a better model for future cultural exchanges.

Extra Journal – “Killing Me Softly”

Martin Cloonan and Bruce Johnson’s article “Killing me softly with this song: an initial investigation into the use of popular music as a tool of oppression” caught my eye as it is something out of the ordinary from hearing. The use of sound starts off by speaking about an invasion where music was used as a part of war. Here, music was associated with inflicting pain onto the enemy. Music and oppression came from early times where a range of chants such as battle chants were seen and music. Later on in 1588 is developed to include drummers and trumpeters to frighten the enemy. As ships left the port the trumpets were blown to signify a victory. With these examples being a form of music it really does play a role within a war.

Reading this I realized music has a big part in most aspects. Especially in war where it can be a sign that the enemy is coming or help frighten the enemy. Chants were and are a big part of any armed force which is a form of music. Things including battle cries and chants are important in war. Music however can also been used as a weapon. A method of torture is something music can aid. This article was very interesting to read as I don’t think a lot of people realize the power of music can be used in a war environment.

Journal #4 – “Girls and Subcultures”

Angela McRobbie and Jenny Garber’s article “Girls and Subcultures” bring attention to an issue I was not fully aware of prior to reading the article of a women’s place in subcultures. It states that men are the target audience to most music created making the fans all males. However, the question of where a woman falls into these genres comes up as music is not made for a certain gender. For those women who do indulge themselves in a genre targets are men than what happens to them? They become invisible.

Instead of being treated as another fan who just wants to enjoy the music they are either looked down upon and ignored or seen as being a plus one with there boyfriend. Female fandom is not as respected compared to men. It is seen more toward teeny bopper style music. The lack of representation is the idea of the article which lead women to create their own subculture of music where they felt comfortable. Women who involved themselves in male dominated subcultures of music were seen differently and were at risk for more sexual abuse and looked down upon for going there.

In my own experience I have never been put in a situation where I saw this issue happen but it makes sense that this would be happening in other subcultures of music. Comparing it to the subculture I picked for my research paper; Rebetiko music does not take part in this issue. It is music made for both men and women to enjoy without being ostracized.

Journal #3 – The Audio Visual iPod

Michael Bull’s article “The Audio-Visuals iPod” speaks on the fact that those who indulge in headphone culture are disconnected from the physical environment around them. In today’s society this is very much true. Anywhere you go people can be seen with air pods or headphones listening to their music while they walk or take public transportation. It has become a new level of comfort for some people as they feel they have to have their headphones in.

From my own experience, I sometimes am one of those people who have their headphones plugged listening to music as I walk around campus. It really does make you feel like you’re in your own little bubble. Especially if it a really good song it can change your mood in a matter of minutes. I liked Bull’s point where he called it a “Sound Utopia” because “if movement is itself a potentially transformative activity, then moving to a sound is doubly so.” This is true because a simple movement can change a person’s mood so listening to a favorited song and dancing along can just as much change the mood. For me I agree with this idea because putting on one of my favorite songs as I walk to class and strutting along to the beat changes my mood for the day. As songs can change mood this means it can have a good effect but also a bad effect. Music can control emotions depending on the song being played. Many instances if someone is sad and want to just have an outlet to cry they will play a song with a much slower beat.

Music is a very powerful means and is a big part of this world. Even as I write this blog post I am listening to music which is something I do regularly while doing work and it helps me complete whatever I am doing. It changes my mood into wanting to do what I have to do and makes the time go by faster. The popular saying that music is medicine reigns true with Bull’s ideas.

Killing Me Softly With His Song

Music is something that everyone relates too. I think that what made reading this article by Martin Cloonan and Bruce Johnson so difficult. No one wants to think of music as a tool of oppression or a weapon. However this is the exact point Cloonan and Johnson are trying to make here. Whether or not you want to acknowledge it, Music can be used as a weapon.

I found it quiet interesting when the authors began to discuss popular music’s role in wars. From the early battle cries of the ancient romans, to the more modern usage of the US Army and other waring nations like the former Yugoslavia. Music can be used as a weapon, a torturer device, a means of manipulation and for many other dark and evil tasks. I found the example that took place in Zimbabwe in 2000 to be particularly troubling and torturous. To be forced to sing a song about an opposing parties beliefs while being tortured by those people seems horrific and inhuman.

I think things like this often fly under the radar in popular culture. Music has such a hugely positive reputation, known for helping people and helping to over throw oppression, that its hard for people to acknowledge that it could be used for exactly the opposite. The fact is that most things with positive applications often can have negative applications as well, and as a society we must make ourselves aware of these things so that we can not only defend against it, but fight the source so that we can push forward to become a more accepting and peaceful society.

Journal #4:Manufacturing Creativity: Production, Performance,and Dissemination of K-pop*

Daisy Zumba


Journal #4

Manufacturing Creativity: Production, Performance,and Dissemination of K-pop*

I really appreciate how this article instead of just agreeing with others that K-Pop is just a manufactured copy of Western and European music, they argue that “K-pop represents a unique system of the global division of labor, geared towards the creation of a new Korea-led system of “manufacturing creativity,” which encourages and mass produces innovative music and musical performances.” What I found interesting was how the US music industry focuses on creating songs for the purpose of longevity while Japan mainly aims for quick selling hits. Korea on the other hand has mixed both and aimed for both quick selling hits as well as songs that will last a long time on the charts giving their fans the best of both worlds. This definitely hit a home run with me because I can definitely back this up. A great example of this would be Ring Ding Dong by SHINee. This song came out back in 2009 and it was a major hit when it was released. Even new K-Pop fans know about this song because that’s how much of a bop it is. So despite it being a decade old it is still a song that many K-Pop fans enjoy. 

The section that was dedicated to SM entertainment was an eye opener for me. Since I got into K-Pop because of SHINee, I learned all about the entertainment companies in Korea, ranging from the top three of SM, YG and JYP to much smaller companies such as Cube Entertainment and back in the day BigHit Entertainment. I never really knew why or how I got into K-Pop especially for this long, but after reading this article it all makes sense now. SM Entertainment had always had one goal in mind even from its very beginning, and that was globalization. The founder of SM Entertainment, Lee Soo-man had studied abroad in the US back in the 1980s, which resulted in his companies model being Michael Jackson who had talent in both singing and dancing. Lee Soo-man’s goal had always been globalization and he was able to achieve that through Swedish music producer Pelle Lidell who ended up opening doors for the company. “The secret of SM’s success, therefore, derives from this internal process of modifying the original creative work to make it more viral to the actual listeners, whoever and wherever they may be.” Basically instead of just copying the typical trends in Western and European music, he would take samples of their music content and give it his own SM composition twist which allowed their music to reach a whole other level.