Oh we have ourselves another fool, smothering a plate of idiocy in moron sauce. This time it’s Dr Katrina McFerran, from the University of Melbourne (who, as Guitar World noted, is not Tipper Gore, though you’d be forgiven for thinking so) who is trumpeting the dangers of teh heavy metalz – with a beautifully ironic URL there …
According to Dr McFerran, teenagers who listen to heavy metal might be placing themselves at risk for depression, anxiety, and suicide:
“Examples of this are when someone listens to the same song or album of heavy metal music over and over again and doesn’t listen to anything else. They do this to isolate themselves or escape from reality.
“If this behavior continues over a period of time then it might indicate that this young person is suffering from depression or anxiety, and at worst, might suggest suicidal tendencies.”
Ummm… Haven’t we been here before?
Oh noes! The metal brootalz! Won’t someone think of the children?!
Ok, having convincingly declared my bias…
In none of the “articles” about this (all of which – other than the above-linked from Guitar World – are essentially reprinting the press release, so I won’t even bother linking to them) is there any link to, or even mention of, a paper – published, in press, or even submitted. So, in similar fashion to the moronic “study” about caffeine-induced hallucinations that, incidentally, also came from a university in Melbourne, I cannot look at the actual methods, results, or analysis engaged in by Dr McFerran.
The lack of logic, and the alarmist tone, displayed in the press release however, do not give me cause to think the study would be particularly rigorous, or itself logical.
“The mp3 revolution means that young people are accessing music more than ever before and it’s not uncommon for some to listen to music for seven or eight hours a day,” she said.
… She said. She did. She said.
Let’s deconstruct this and see if it means anything. “Not uncommon” for “some”… to me is saying that “some” people (however many that is) but not others, will “not uncommon”ly (however often that is) listen to music for 7-8 hours a day. It doesn’t tell me who make up that “some”, or what music they’re listening to, or why, or the context … Or indeed anything useful.
And really, what it is designed to say, is not what I take from it; what it is meant to do is create the image of the children (“won’t someone please think of the children?!”) spending too much time listening to music (which is after all the devil’s pastime – unless it’s whatever music Dr McFerran is keen on in the Melbourne Conservatory of Music.
Probably not the metal brootalz.
“Most young people listen to a range of music in positive ways; to block out crowds, to lift their mood or to give them energy when exercising, but young people at risk of depression are more likely to be listening to music, particularly heavy metal music, in a negative way.”
So … Hang on. Back up the metal-bashing bus just a minute.
You’ve just suggested, have you not, that the arrow of causation is the other way? That depressed/anxious/suicidal kids might listen to metal more than do the non-depressed/anxious/suicidal kids? … not that the heavy metal is what’s making them depressed, anxious, and suicidal. They are perhaps seeking solace, support, expression, whatever, in that music.
But that’s a bad thing if it’s heavy metal.
Because, y’know … the brootalz.
Or perhaps it’s just a spurious association. I wonder, how did Dr McFerran arrive at her startling conclusions? Why, by:
“…conducting in-depth interviews with 50 young people aged between 13 and 18, along with a national survey of 1000 young people”
Well hold the phone. That’ll do it for me. Especially without any substantive details (who they selected, how they selected, how they controlled, what they asked…); they might just spoil a good story.
You know, I’m almost surprised there was no mention of satanism and back-masked messages.
I hate, hate, hate this sort of crap: putting out melodramatic press releases with no data, no mention of evidence to back up the sensationalist claims made – and then dutiful churnalists just regurgitate it without a scrap of critical thought.
So. Unless Dr McFerran does produce a good-quality peer-reviewed paper that shows solid evidence to back up what she says, I say: enjoy your metal brootalz. \m/