Jesus said (Matthew 5-44.) “Love your enemies”, but some appear to have read this verse as “Demonise your enemies” instead. The Reverend David A Noebel says that the communists are responsible for everything he doesn't like, especially rock 'n' roll music. The dastardly Soviets meant to use music to hypnotise us into doing their will, as Noebel takes the words of a prominent Marxist critic, Sidney Finkelstein, to indicate:
Finkelstein called for breaking down the barrier between classical music and “popular” music. He termed this barrier chauvinistic, and proposed to smash it by inundating the American public with the “music of the Negro people”. One can be sure Mr Finkelstein was not referring to “Negro spirituals” but rather to African “beat” music. His proposed method of eliminating the barrier seems to be quite successful since America is presently submerged in jungle “beats” and “noises”.
Noebel ignores the fact that Finkelstein was actually talking about the cross-fertilization of classical music and jazz, not about rock 'n' roll. But these “negro” musics are all alike, aren't they?
Before they invented rock 'n' roll, the commies were busy setting up record labels aimed at children to promulgate their sinister propaganda. Blind to the hidden menace behind the records produced by these front organisations, parents would thus admit the communist message into their houses, to be absorbed through the innocent ears of their tinies. One such vehicle was a track called “The Little Puppet”, of which Noebel says:
Dr. William J Bryan, Jr, an American authority in the field of hypnosis, analyzed these records ...
In “The Little Puppet” record, the musician sings “lower, still lower.” Dr Bryan comments, “... this is just like 'down deeper and deeper'; it's obvious induction, a deepening technique. Every one of these things, and the exact fact that the person, as soon as he says 'drop them' and 'boo' and you then get the reaction of the drum following as though the thing is well on its way to completion. This is strictly an induction record, it's the only thing you can say about it, an absolute hypnotic induction.”
Even a non-expert can grasp the word content of the record although Dr. Bryan warns that the devices may well pass inspection by a well-meaning committee of physicians untrained in hypnosis, brainwashing and other such fields.” As long as the puppeteer pulls the strings, the puppet does fine; otherwise the puppet can do nothing by himself. Dr. Bryan puts it, “when you loosen up the strings and [the puppet] falls down - it's ... obviously placing the idea in the subconscious that unless the string puller is there he can't do anything by himself without the specific directions of the Communist boss, or whoever it happens to be ... .”
Whatever the effect of this record on children, it seems capable of making adults talk incoherent claptrap. (The view that hypnosis is bunk may be reinforced by these witterings of Bryan, still regarded as a senior figure in the field.)
“The Little Puppet” is somewhat obscure. (I could find no reference to it online, even on sites dedicated to old children's records). More worrying is how more widespread musical genres such as folk music or rock 'n' roll, “with its perverted music form”, might be exploited by the evil reds:
One can scarcely conceive of the possibility, but nevertheless the method exists, wherein the enemies of our Republic could actually use television and the Beatles (or any other rock 'n' roll/folk group) to place thousands of our teenagers into a frenzied, hypnotic state and send them forth into the streets to riot and revolt.
Now this was published in 1974, four years after the Beatles split up: indeed, the evidence suggests that Noebel did not revise some parts of his book very much since its original publication as Communism, Hypnotism and The Beatles in 1965. Anachronistic references to figures such as Alan Freed and Pete Seeger - prominent in the early sixties but considerably faded by 1974 - occur frequently. Folk music in the 1960s was strongly identified with the protest movement, and Noebel cannot forget it. Take for instance his reaction to a collection of songs which was published in connection with a TV show:
The ABC-TV Hootenanny Song Book contains the works of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Mike Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Cisco Houston, Irwin Silber, Jean Ritchie, Leadbelly and Malvina Reynolds. Most of the songs are depressing and obviously designed to stimulate revulsion towards patriotic sentiments.
Depressing? Presumably, if he knows of the Kindertotenlieder, he has Mahler down as a fellow-traveller too.
In the late 60s and early 70s many young people adopted left-wing politics, opposition to the Vietnam war, drug-taking, sexual freedom and long hair as part of a single package. Rather than seeing this muddle of rebellious stances for what it was, Noebel blames covert Soviet manipulation. (Many years ago, I went on a peace march in London. Near by me were a bunch of Spartacists chanting “defend the Russian nuclear bomb”. Those who disagreed with them - and there were many - were shouted down with accusations of being tools of the CIA. These were the mirror images of Noebel and his kind.) The use of drugs (harshly punished in the Soviet Union) is approved of by the commies because:
... such ingredients precipitate fuller, riper revolutions.
People who are so stoned they can barely get up to go and buy chocolate and rolling papers don't make very good soldiers of the cause, though, do they? Yet, Noebel persists:
... few can deny that the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc., have and are playing a strategic and crucial role in the spiritual and cultural demise of the West and in the proposed destruction of Christianity throughout the world.
Presumably, following Ronald Reagan's defeat of communism (ahem), all that nasty rock 'n' roll music ought to have gone too: since it obviously hasn't, perhaps it was those Muslim fundamentalists behind it all along. Oh yeah, that Cat Stevens had a few hits didn't he? Morning Has Broken? It may sound harmless, but it depresses me.