A 7-11 owner in Texas has been using classical music to drive the homeless people away from his three stores in the Austin area.
Well, he is right on that point, or maybe you just have to be in the right mood.
This isn't the first time that this tactic has been used, with good results. I would like to get all agey and huffy and tell you that the homeless in my day were more refined, and would have enjoyed a little Prokofiev with their maddog, but I'm not sure it is true.
I did think this was funny.
Eric Tars, legal director at the National Homelessness Law Center, told The Washington Post that weaponizing classical music is but one example of the “hostile architecture” that government officials, church leaders and business owners use to drive homeless people out of public view. Others include public benches with armrests that block people from lying down, spikes on flat surfaces to achieve a similar end and boulders in green spaces to prevent camping.
Eric, let me know how you feel about "hostile architecture" when they start shitting at your back door and leaving their buttwipe there for you as a present, like they do at the building I own. Perhaps you will fire up your own victrola.
But I got to thinking, wouldn't this be a perfect teaching moment? Classical music is admittedly down right now. Rather than stay an object of scorn, classical musicians can use this moment as an opportunity to share and educate. Send the brass section to a homeless camp in the morning with a rousing Brandenburg concerto. Woodwinds could be dispatched to city parks and string quartets could prowl the streets for flash interactions with panhandlers and window washers. Everybody will be humming along with Mozart before you know it.
Or buy them all tickets to Lincoln Center or the Met. They used to have brownbag concerts when I was a kid so that people didn't think classical was merely for the well heeled. A win for both teams!