Karaoke is getting downright dangerous, Brian Rafferty writes in Slate. Last fall, a drunk in a Wisconsin bar pummeled a man for singing a heavy metal tune; a Seattle man's version of Coldplay's Yellow earned him a beating the year before. It's even worse in Bangkok, where a gunman allegedly killed eight neighbors for singing John Denver's Country Roads. So why the vicious crescendos?
The violence often comes down to song choice: "The attacker either hates the song to the point of physical rage or loves the song with such fervor that he or she will lash out in its defense," Rafferty writes. Such musical identification once waned after high school, but today, ringtones and MP3 tunes still "define our personalities." Add exhibitionism—thanks, American Idol—and booze to the mix, and karaoke attacks "are only going to increase in the coming years." (Read more karaoke stories.)