Christchurch has adopted a plan to play soothing music (i.e. the dulcet tones of one Mr B Manilow) from loud speakers around the city centre in an effort to pacify the local hoons who have been terrorizing the inner city.
I can see why they are attempting this.
Christchurch has in recent times developed a bit of an image problem. What with the boy racers in their "pimp my ride" rides (I have just been told that I am a sexist swine for applying the term "boy racers" when there are many girl racers as well. I apologise heartily if I have offended any and all of the wee bairns) tearing up the inner city, to the detriment of local business and local eardrums as well as some fairly thuggish beatings in the early hours around the local bars with a nice dollop of asian racism to top it off - I can see their problem. And it needs a solution. Gosh, even the Germans, that most peaceful and historically benign of nations, have been down here documenting the Christchurch's issues with it's young people for all and sundry potential tourist to see.
But hang on a minute.
Lets just take a step back and have a look at this.
If I was a tourist from, say, Latvia - maybe thats not a good example. Apparently Barry is idolised there. Perhaps Italy then, the country of cool, the place that oozes urbanity and sophistication just in the words "Lets take a summer in Italy". Lets say your average Italian gets off the plane and arrives fresh in Christchurch ready to explore the charms of that most english of cities and arrives to find said Manilow subtly crooning around the ears of our friendly Roman rover.
If that was me, I would be wondering if it was the valium, 3 scotches and the fish meal that I'd consumed en route that was giving me this vague sense of nausea or if everybody that arrived in downtown Christchurch after a stopover in Sydney was similarly afflicted.
What are they thinking?
Or are they thinking at all?
I agree that the problems need to be addressed however surely there are other ways that don't entail Christchurch becoming the butt of Paul Henry's disbelief and jokes and the laughing stock of the entire world.
How long before this makes it to the last bulletin on the BBC news. You know the one, its the space that they have the world over which is after the weather and after the they have recapped the days news that they leave for the oddstuff. The news that says "and if you think that other people think we've got problems, take a look at this!" with sarcastic smirks on the news readers faces. The news editors love it cause after the clip has shown, it gives the (mostly) vacuous newscasters the opportunity to legitimately make fun at someone else's expense and look like an intellectual paragon beside it!
Also, consider this: isn't there something darkly Orwellian in the fact that we need to "pacify" people?
Perhaps it is the alarmist in me but doesn't it seem slightly creepy that we feel the need to control people rather than enabling them? It's almost like "A Clockwork Orange" where the anti-hero, Alex, has his behavior artificially modified by means of music and other neurologically screwing methods to quell riotous behaviour deemed unhealthy and dangerous by the state. Anthony Burgess meant with A Clockwork Orange, just as Orwell did with 1984, to be a warning to us and while I don't think that this is the first step on the Christchurch City Council's path to nationwide domination via a police state and behaviour modification, perhaps there is something to be said for this?
Christchurch, just take a step back more a mo' and think about what you are doing.