It’s the most despicable form of remix culture possible: Barney the Dinosaur played on loop
Hate what you hear? You’re not alone.
If you’ve heard the first ten seconds of this song and immediately felt as though your ears and mind have been violated, then I’ve successfully achieved what I wanted. And so too have many regimes throughout history, which have essentially weaponised sound and used it as a means disturb people’s inner beings, eliciting the psychological effect of weakening the mental state of detainees.
See the thing with sound is that we cannot simply shut off our ears. It has the ability to trigger strong emotional responses and if used under the right circumstances, can bring significant distress to people and potentially break a person’s will.
Listen to this: This is the sound of a “Death Whistle”, a small wooden tool used by the Aztecs to produce a disturbing screech, causing significant distress for their opposition during battle. And Barney the Dinosaur’s theme song “I Love You” was the most popular song used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detention centres in Iraq or Afghanistan – its not too hard to see why.
It brings into question the idea of sound used as propaganda. If it is something we essentially can’t avoid, sound has a great potential to shape the minds of a population and influence our thinking.