Another Brick in the Wall

Monday, January 18, 2010

The British Band, Pink Floyd's song, "Another Brick in the Wall" has been banned in South Africa, ignored by some radio stations in the United States, and attacked by schoolteachers all over the globe.


Yet the song has become the world's most popular rock record of 1980.

"Another Brick in the Wall," sung as an eerie chant by a children's chorus that backs up the band, is the centerpiece of a gloomy concept album, "The Wall," in which Pink Floyd lyricist Roger Waters charges that Western society uses its schools and other public institutions to build an impenetrable wall of destructive social conditioning around the individual.

While the song is not the first example of the antieducation theme in popular music, it comes at a time when increasing numbers of students are questioning the value of their education. Thus, young people are responding to the song with uncommon — and unsettling — enthusiasm.

In May [1980], the South African government banned the song — and the album — "because "Another Brick" had become the anthem of a national strike of more than 10,000 "coloured" (mixed) students and their white supporters. The students had been protesting the inequality of spending on education for the various races, as well as "intimidation" by teachers, whose authority the Pink Floyd song challenges. The government ban forbids radio stations to play the record, stores to sell it, and individuals to own it.

In the United States, educators in several states have tried — with some success — to have the song removed from the play lists of radio stations. Says Hope Antman of Columbia Records in New York,

The radio resistance has been surprisingly strong. Stations started getting angry calls and letters from teachers and principals and school boards claiming that "Another Brick in the Wall" was creating a crisis in their classrooms.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the record "is still very hot," said KSAN's Pierra Robert, a programming assistant, who said it was being played on "everything from rock stations to disco stations."

"We Don't Need No Education" graffiti has appeared on tunnel walls in the Sunset District of San Francisco, and its refrain has echoed through the lunch hours at private, Jesuit-run schools in the city.

Read more at: http://mises.org/daily/4017

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