Putting Eyebrows On It

For my first official Zappadan entry, I must confess that Frank Zappa is directly responsible for the creation of the Ketchup Is A Vegetable blog.

Zappa fans will know exactly to what I refer. Their minds will automatically jump to Zappa’s throwaway line on “When the Lie’s So Big” on Broadway the Hard Way. It is that line, when Frank throws out the reference to the now infamous Stockman scheme, that was stuck in my head and that forced me to the registrar’s Web site to see if “ketchupisavegetable.com”—later abbreviated to kiav.net—was available. Many of our categories are as well inspired by Frank, as is at least half of everything I do.

Zappa is this much to many people, I am sure. It is why they started Zappadan, which I now understand to be a blogswarm that starts on the date of Zappa’s death and ends on the date of his birth. I hope this growing community will accept KIAV as a very enthusiastic participant. A bit about me and Frank Zappa: I am a second-generation freak.

Papa Bonk used to play Freak Out when I was like three years old. It scared the hell out of me. When you’re that age, there is nothing scarier than “Who Are The Brain Police.” Nothing. And I grew up as a child staring for hours at those album covers. Who are these people with all the hair? Why are they wearing bandanas? And why in shit are they wearing dresses?

Frank Zappa is at the top of my short list of heroes. He was, for many reasons, one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century, and that is not merely hyperbole. It is a fact. He was a prolific composer. He was funny, smart, and compelling. He was an absurdist genius. He was a unique and gifted guitarist. He had the best facial hair in the universe. He was the Head Freak. And, while I know that Frank Zappa considered himself a conservative of sorts (a “practical conservative”), he did rail against the goose-stepping ways of the Ray-gunner and the pompous Jesus-heads who supported him. Zappa certainly did share the vision of America that I have and that I think a lot of other liberal folks have. He said this of his children in his testimony at the PMRC hearings:

I want them to grow up in a country where they can think what they want to think, be what they want to be, and not what somebody’s wife or somebody in Government makes them be.

I don’t know if that’s conservatism or liberalism necessarily. But it is American.

Zappa saw it coming long before anyone else, saw the neo-cons marching up the square. I’ve referred to it at KIAV before, his jaw-dropping appearance on Crossfire. Zappa refers to our burgeoning fascist theocracy at at about 10:10. (John Lofton resorts to Reductio ad Hitlerum at 15:56. Update: As he has now just done again in the KIAV comments box. Thanks, John!)

Freak Out is an anthemic wonder, both spoof and tribute to Frank’s beloved doo-wop, both strong political statement and da-da masterpiece. For me, especially at about age 21, Freak Out was one of the most inspiring statements I’d ever experienced. It got me through.

History will be kind to Frank Zappa; it will eventually accord him the greatness he was. Because I do not know how to otherwise end this entry, I will end it with my very favorite Zappa quote of all time.

The most important thing in art is the frame. You have to put a “box” around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?

P.S. Here are the kids who are down with the Zappadan, according to The Aristocrats.

After the Bridge | American Street, | The Aristocrats | A Modified Dog | Blue Gal | Billdungblog | BLCKDRGD | Chaos Channel | ChimpsterNation | CarlsPicks | Crooks & Liars | Danny Dries | darkblack | Dave Knows: Portland | duhbris | Give Peace a Chance Please! | Guys From Area 51 | heydave | iVoryTowerz | Ketchup is a Vegetable | Loud Mouth Soup | Mad Dog Media | Mock, Paper, Scissors | Perezoso | skippy the bush kangaroo | STEVENHARTSITE | Suburban Guerrilla | The Brain Police | The Far Left Side | The Jade Gate | Social Seppuku | Tiny Little Circles | today’s sermonette | Mark Twyman | Zencomix

5 thoughts on “Putting Eyebrows On It”

  1. Actually Hitler said many times that he was a Catholic It’s in Mein Kampf and several later speeches.

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