Sunday, January 11, 2015

Zappa: Cool to be a Right Smart Ass

I siding with Dave…there is no evidence that Frank Zappa opposed the Vietnam War while it was happening.  He was known to be anti-hippie, anti-marijuana, anti-communist, pro-ridiculously-hard-work.  The best argument is for his having been pro-war also.  His whole stick was to make it cool to be a smart neoconservative/neoliberal.  Put down those stupid leftist hippies.  We righties have our own anti-authoritarian cred against all the stupid New Deal generation (Johnson and Nixon) while remaining fully anti-communist and pro-capitalist.  We can still be freaks while not getting lefty.  (This included me of the time…though I hardly knew of Zappa.)

No question, anyway, he is heavy on the attitude, with a heavy tilt toward the US style Libertarianism.  Which was not what Johnson or Nixon represented.  Nixon was brought down from the inside precisely because he wasn't sufficiently pro-private-capital, he was a New Dealer to the core, like Eisenhower.

When Zappa spares the vocals, I can enjoy his considerable musical talent and hard work.  At his best, he's a great classical and jazz inventor in the tradition of Varese…sometimes as good as Varese himself, and he can do decent rock also.  Otherwise…when vocals are present he's often far too preachy in a way I find disgusting.  He's the caffeinated cool smart ass observing the sick lazy populist-corrupted world.  Sorry, that's not a new thing in my experience.  A US Libertarian might have been new to someone in the 1960's.

Now it's true that by the 1980's, Zappa was becoming anti-some-of-Reagans-wars.  He might have had a shift toward the anti-war that hasn't been publicly recognized (to do so would be to recognize the pro-war beginning, which was deliberately ambiguous).  US Libertarians are often anti-war…especially since the 1980's.

Honestly, I made the switch from a childhood Republican (weakly pro-Vietnam war, if at all) to grown up Democrat (and later, a leftist Democrat) and strongly anti-empire.  But I was not selling smart ass record albums and did not have a public persona when I made the switch, so it's easier for me to be honest about the matter…in fact for me it's a bragging point I think that I was able to change my mind about various things as I grew up.

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