Andrew Vactor was facing a $150 fine for playing rap music too loudly on his car stereo in July. But a judge offered to reduce that to $35 if Vactor spent 20 hours listening to classical music by the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.
Vactor, 24, lasted only about 15 minutes, a probation officer said.
It wasn’t the music, Vactor said, he just needed to be at practice with the rest of the Urbana University basketball team.
“I didn’t have the time to deal with that,” he said. “I just decided to pay the fine.”
Champaign County Municipal Court Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott says the idea was to force Vactor to listen to something he might not prefer, just as other people had no choice but to listen to his loud rap music.
Jason Gross at Popmatters.com hits the nail on the head: the assumption that rap is de-civilising, that classical is somehow its antithesis, and that merely to listen to it for a few hours will neuter any antisocial behaviour, is imbecilic hogwash. And to punish one guy in his car for noise pollution is wrong-headed when those responsible for the real musical pollution in our lives, here and all over the world – classical piped into the tube, chart music played to speed up your purchases in the high street, supposedly soothing light classics on planes – are never brought to book.