Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Crime and classical music: Another reason Sarah Palin should support the arts?

Crime Classical Music We recently took Sarah Palin to task for dismissing the National Endowment for the Arts as a waste of tax dollars. Art, we argued, matters to human development and the economy. In the case of classical music, art also deters crime. More specifically, it sends misbehaved teenagers scattering. David Ng at Culture Monster reports:  

Whether its Handel piped into New York's Port Authority or Tchaikovsky at a public library in London, the sound of classical music is apparently so repellent to teenagers that it sends them scurrying away like frightened mice. Private institutions also find it useful: chains such as McDonald's and 7-Eleven, not to mention countless shopping malls around the world, have relied on classical music to shoo away potentially troublesome kids.

In the latest example of classical repulsion, the regional transit department in the Portland, Ore., area has been playing orchestral and operatic tunes over speakers at light-rail stations in an attempt to prevent vandalism and other crimes that result from teens having too much free time on their hands.

Theories differ as to why teens react to classical music this way. Some experts believe the music has a soothing effect, while others think it has to do more with negative neurological response. Either way, if this genre of music prevents crime by teens perhaps we ought to invest more on classical music. Another argument in favor of classical music: It can also inspire students in the classroom to learn.


Defending teachers and the noblest profession

To Sarah Palin: Actually, art does matter to the economy

Cartoon: Looking ahead to a possible Palin administration

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Credit: The TriMet light-rail service in Portland, Ore., has begun playing classical music at train stations in an effort to ward off the kind of crimes that happen when people just hang around. A bill making its way through the Oregon Legislature would expand the program to all light-rail stops in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties deemed high-crime areas by police or residents. Credit: Rick Bowmer / Associated Press


Comments () | Archives (30)

The comments to this entry are closed.


BSBSBSBSBS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Teresa Trujillo

And this has a place in a major metropolitan newspaper opinion page for what reason? This is nothing more than a bash at a woman who isn't a candidate and doesn't hold public office?

Palin bashing is a varsity sport for this organization. This is old news CBS Sunday Morning did a feature on this probably two years ago--so the only reason for dusting it off is...

When does the A-team write for the LA Times? I'm tired of expecting the varsity team to play, and seeing the freshman B-team getting a few minutes of playing time.

Carlton West

Actually, Gov. Sarah Palin adores classical music and all the great operas. If NPR would stop with the left-wing propaganda, Gov. Palin would have no problem with funding it.


Are you really that stupid? The article speaks to the National Endowment for the Arts - not NPR. These organizations are not in any way related. Just like a Sarah Palin fan to be uninformed but quick to defend a topic they know nothing about - as long as you don't criticize their goddess.


Hey! That's MY goddess you're talking about.

truth to power

Maybe if we force Sarah to listen to classical music 24/7 she will go away?


It's not just Sarah Palin - in this case she's just following the strict party line. If the GOP had its way there would be no arts. No balanced news. No parks. And libraries and schools would have lists of books they shouldn't carry. The world, according to the GOP, is a place where businesses should be allowed to make the rules because capitalism is the only thing that matters - not the environment, not any sort of beauty, and certainly not the people. At least, not the people who have been born. Everyone would understand that education is something they need but will not be funded, that to work is a privilege, and that no one should have to help anyone else monetarily. Governments are only there to regulate morality and personal lives.


Yes Jane. I believe he is that stupid, along with his idol. Sarah Palin is an embarrassment to the republican party.

Alice O

There are many reasons to promote classical music. Some researchers find a correlation between studying/playing music and higher academic scores. But what I want to know is why would anyone respond to anything statement made by Sarah Palin? Her statements only provide controversy. Heaven forbid she actually research something before opening her mouth.


Sarah Palin wouldn't know Bach from Kid Rock. This woman has never read a great novel, or she would be able to use the English language. Classical music? Isn't that for those elite types on the East Coast? Let me guess. If Anchorage had a symphony, Sarah defunded it and sent the musicians off to the lower 48 to find jobs.


This is such bunk. One study - that's ONE study - claimed to show higher test scores by college students after listening to Mozart. Several scientists have tried to replicate this, to no effect. And playing classical music to chase teens out of shopping malls is no reason to subsidize the NEA. That music was composed centuries ago and recorded decades ago.

Look Again

Oh really? One study? After the initial description by Dr. Tomatis and the published study by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky there were the following affirmative studies...

Bellarmine College
Chabris and Steele
Bridgett and Cuevas
German Research Ministry
U. of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Thompson, Schellenberg, and Husain

Guess you can keep living under that rock there, you betcha'.

Stephen J. Smith

Nice reach liberal spin doctors.


Palin is not an elected person. It does not matter what the Times thinks she should think. What matters is what our elected politicaians do or don't do.

The Times should focus on them.


I love the premise; without federal funding, there will be no arts, no classical music, and, most laughable, no balanced "news." And, of course, Sarah Palin is the wicked witch of the north who would strip all beauty from our lives. Does that about cover it?

I wouldn't waste my time arguing; it's a pointless exercise in futility. Those who are intelligent enough to laugh at all of this, will do so without my help. The ideologues who support these premises will merely spew that "party line" to support them and revile me.

I just want to make sure I understand the message. I hate to turn my back on stupidity; it only bites you in the a** when you do.


Holy cow it's hilarious watching people argue about the veracity of an OPINION column. Sure seems to cofirm that people are now confused about the difference between opinion and fact.

bobbi brooks

Actually, Palin was quoted as saying the NEA was frivolous and should be cut! Welp, that's when I really started to worry. Thanks, L.A. for your opinion because no one else really mentioned it. bb

bobbi brooks

Actually, Palin was quoted as saying the NEA was frivolous and should be axed. That's when I became very, very worried. Thank you LA for your opinion. No one else has really mentioned it. Bobbi


Mind you, I enjoy classical music, but I also like other genres of music. What I'd like to know is why some have the clearly elitist attitude that classical music and ONLY classical music is the panacea for all world's problems....or that somehow classical music fans are more 'virtuous' than others. Hitler was very much into classical music: Richard Wagner. Look at all the violence he caused! Josef Stalin was also into classical music, and he was one of the worst despots of the 20th Century! I can name other nefarious people as well who were known classical music enthusiasts. Plus, some of what is called 'art' isn't art at all. Some of it is just trash, plain and simple. They way I see it, funding shouldn't be given to arts simply for arts sake. Artists, like everyone else, need to earn their way, too...and I say that as an aspiring singer/songwriter.

Yoga Gurl

I know why. Classical music has a higher, more positive, more intelligent vibration.

Those who like it "match" with this.

Those who are repelled by it, are not a match.

Most thug low lives don't like such elevating things because, well, they are low lives.

Live on classical music! It might save our republic and make us into better human beings.

Yoga Gurl


That is SO UNTRUE. I am conservative fiscally. I am in favor of the libraries, parks, even supporting the arts IF it's not trash. I would be in favor of supporting orchestras, etc.

No, conservatives are sick of waste, of programs that harm society, of public employee unions abusing their power and making all of us pay for all of their largesse when the private sector is suffering.

It is those things we are against...not the funding of good, worthwhile, and needed projects.


That woman wouldn't know art if it bit her in the butt. To the Palin defenders, when you defend her you're just defending ignorance.

Lawrence W

Who cares what Sarah Palin thinks, I know I don't. Maybe we should focus on people in power that are not supporting arts program because they are shifting that money towards overbloated public sector salaries. Let's look at Obama, Jerry Brown, Pelosi, Etc.


Because classical music makes cockroaches scurry away it means that taxpayers should subsidize the wasteful, parochial and incompetent arts bureaucracy? That makes sense. Oh yeah, and just in case you forgot, we've added the obligatory comment that Sarah Palin is REALLY STUPID! even though she is not in the Congress and has no power to cut anything. The $200+ billion dollar MONTHLY Federal deficits dont matter, of course. And you know what, we've passed the point of no return with this hogwash, they really dont matter. The dollar is on its way to being totally worthless because the Worst President In American History and the Party Of Compassion have spent us into bankruptcy and are 'creating' hundreds of billions of dollars in Monopoly money to monetize their failed policies. We should replace 'The Star-Spangled Banner' with Mozart's 'Requiem'...


Regardless of the irrational outbursts of some bloggers, it's important that they keep in mind the old saw that any publicity is good publicity. Instead of mindlessly complaining, Tea-baggers and other nut-jobs should get on their hands and knees thank the LAT whenever they gratuitously refer to the hero for the sake of selling more advertising.


One notes that neither Handel nor Tchaikovskiy received help from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Here's the problem with this bonejarringly sophomoric article: The NEA has nothing to do with the production of the kind of classical music that sends loser kids packing. Handel and Tchaikovskiy CDs are not going to become unavailable for business owners if the NEA goes away.

The NEA, like most art snobs these days, favors pretentious unlistenable John Cage-esque sounds ("music" isn't the right word), evidently under the theory that music that's accessible to and liked by the booboisie must by definition be second-rate.

One could, I suppose, play John Cage outside a business, and drive *everyone* away, not just the loiterers, but that kinda defeats the overall purpose of the business.


Maybe a better question is this:

Did the arts become better, or poorer, after we started subsidizing them?

Has any government-subsidized composer or artist surpassed Samuel Barber or Jackson Pollock?

I'd argue that subsidies actually stifle genuine creativity and originality.

Linda T Liberty

Oh Please! The only way this is even news is because you added Palin's name to it. That is what liberals do best...ride conservative's coattails. Sarah Palin is a strong, intelligent, pro-life lady who worships God. As compared to wimp, teleprompter, pro-baby killing narcissist who worships himself.

Palin is supported by all the hispanic families I know, as she has values, integrity, and wants to save America rather than destroy it. Why should government (our taxpayer's money support the arts? Where is that in the constitution? Oh yeah, right next to where it says government should count and support snails rather than explore for natural resources - that might create actual jobs! Democrats are out to destroy the economy.
Go Sarah

Linda T Liberty

When has government subsidizing, managing, or controlling improve anything?
Sarah Palin is real as compared to the elitist intelligentsia propaganda who think that because they attended an Ivy League school makes them better. If you read into different studies is becomes apparent that a "Gentleman's C" can be obtained just by showing up for the tests, so forget attending classes or actually learning anything. Also, I read an interesting poll that indicated that cheating and plagiarizing were common practice. It's all about the illusion, the Marxist Utopia, the elitist delusion.
Sarah Palin deals in reality, common sense, accounting and doesn't forget to add in the cost of interest (like Obama did).
No, the government (our taxpayer's money) can not afford to subsidize nonessentials. Heaven forbid, but if it's in demand it could survive on its own merit. Now THERE'S a novel idea!

Linda T Liberty

Any typos - I type very fast - my bad! : )



In Case You Missed It...



Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

In Case You Missed It...