My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Phillip Glass was part of a whole generation of composers – Terry Riley, Steve Reich, John Adams – who became tired of western classical music’s incessant need to “go somewhere”. They found themselves attracted to non-western forms that resolutely refused to go anywhere at all, settling into a rhythm, or a groove, or a drone that had its own distinctive effect on the listener. Their subsequent work has been informed by their respective epiphanies, and they are among the most popular of all contemporary composers. We need to adopt the same approach to the vuvuzela. Its defiant monotone is a reminder that music does not need to go anywhere to make a statement. Its puffed-cheek player announces to the world: “We are here. The World Cup is here. Who would have thought it? Don’t forget it. Not even for one second.” It is a joyous, life-affirming sound, of a nation entranced in pride and celebration, and expressing it through its own culture. – Peter Aspden, arguing in that radical, politically correct, newspaper, the Financial Times, that opposition to the Vuvuzela is a cut and dried case of cultural imperialism.BACK TO TOP