21 January 2009

Would he be torn like ...

...bonsai'd ornaments on a dry-wobble landscape? Of course I can only be thinking of Frank Zappa (FZ), the man, the moustache, the legend. He was a man of strong opinions, and in writing my post yesterday I began to wonder how he would view this Inaugural celebration (sometimes, from what I saw on television last night, a quite literal circus). He was also a man who enjoyed control and order - no matter how chaotic you might think his music sounds, there is order to be found if you listen with a critical ear.
Back in the Sixties FZ stated "Hey, you know something people? I'm not black, but there's a whole lots a times I wish I could say I'm not white."("Trouble Every Day") Songs like "Trouble Every Day" and "Uncle Remus" showed him to be a true believer in Civil Rights, and rightly so; the cause is self-evident, and the lack of these rights is to deny the universe its rightful order. So FZ would have been overjoyed at the Inauguration of President Obama - from a philosophical standpoint.
FZ was also acutely aware and disdainful of crass commercialism. "I'm the Slime" and "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" (an ironically relevant number) are two songs that overtly state this viewpoint, where his opinions appear woven into songs that are, on the surface, nothing to do with commercialism (see also: Strictly Commercial). If, as I remarked (I think, I know I was thinking it) yesterday, there is anything remarkable about President Obama's rise to power after his race and use of technology are considered, it has to be the marketing and branding blitz that were the "2" in his 1-2 punch of Oratory and Marketing/Branding.
FZ desperately wanted equality and he disdained:

"T-shirt racks, rubber snacks,
Poster rolls with matching tacks
Yes, a special beer for sports
(and paper cups that hold two quarts)."
("Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead", Bongo Fury)

Would he be torn by what he would have witnessed since 2007? Probably. Would he have been able to philosophically move past his distaste of the latter in his jubilation at the success of the former? Probably.
If FZ's hands weren't permanently cramped from writing songs about the past 12 years (remember the Lewinsky scandal?), he likely would have been hard at work perfecting his first Opera about President Obama - wherein he (FZ) would take many a pointed jab at the Strictly Commercial means that achieved such an end.

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