“Cruel and unusual”: The drunk drivers in Canada being forced to listen to Nickelback as punishment

Laying down the law.
Laying down the law.
Image: Reuters/Jumana ElHeloueh
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In an instance of the punishment possibly being harsher than the crime, a Canadian police department is subjecting drunk drivers this holiday season to music from possibly the world’s most hated band.

Kensington Police Service, which operates in the province of Prince Edward Island in Canada, announced on Facebook this week that “those dumb enough to feel they can drink and drive” in the remainder of the year will be slapped with not only a hefty fine, a year’s driving suspension, and a criminal charge—but also “a bonus gift of playing the office’s copy of Nickelback in the cruiser on the way to jail.”

“I’m sure there’s some kind of law prohibiting this sort of police brutality,” one person commented on the police department’s post. Said another: “Don’t you think the type of people that has made such a horrible decision to drink and drive […] probably are Nickelback fans anyways?”

Why Nickelback draws so much intense dislike remains the subject of much contention amongst scholars and internet dwellers; but the fact is that, thanks to years of online memes, the band’s name has become synonymous with a certain universal awfulness. (Several researchers have attempted to explore the roots of people’s revulsion. Some say our hatred of Nickelback is, in fact, a deep-down hatred of ourselves.)

If nothing else, the Kensington police’s warning might be memorable enough to stick in people’s minds—which, given that alcohol-related road incidents tend to soar during the holiday season, is likely the point.