Monday, December 22, 2008

Festival of Zappadan 2008 Closes

With the birthday of Frank Zappa, December 21st, the yearly International Festival of Zappadan came to a close. In keeping with many of the discussions we've enjoyed here, I'm posting the Larry King interview in which Frank talked about his ideas on the 1st Amendment and censorship.

This interview took place about a month before Frank testified before the Senate of the United States, in which he made clear he was representing no one but himself. On that occasion he mentioned several Washington Wives, Tipper Gore in particular, who were behind the movement to label records. Frank pulled no punches in describing his opposition to this practice.

With Larry King, he seemed to point more to the conservative religious right as being those responsible for this movement. Maybe the Senators' wives he mentioned and the religious conservatives were one in the same.

What's your opinion? Is record labeling a problem in terms of the 1st Amendment? What about the movie rating system? As a parent I find that useful, but as Frank pointed out, with music censorship we're talking about words, with films it's a bit more than that.

The other thing I find useful, personally, is to spend time with my children. As they grow into adolescence, I hope to have the kind of rapport with them that will address these situations in as good a way as possible. It's certainly a far different world from the one I grew up in. I recall in about 1964, giggling in the back row of my grade school classroom over an unabridged dictionary which contained words like "shit" and "piss."


  1. record labeling is stupid and pointless, but at least everybody can choose to just ignore the labels. nobody gets denied the purchase of a record because of the label.

    movie and video game "ratings" are more troublesome, because those are used to enforce a point-of-sale restriction on some people, where the restrictors are neither parents nor guardians of the restrictees. i have a problem with that, because both those labeling systems are useless and bogus.

    for a good, detailed explanation of why the movie rating system is useless, go see the 2006 documentary This Film Not Yet Rated. executive summary: sex gets rated "don't show it anywhere near a minor", non-vanilla sex gets rated "don't show it at all", and violence gets a pass no matter how brutal. the ratings board that rates each movie is a bunch of anonymous, unaccountable, suburban bluenoses whose decisions can not be appealed.

  2. that is great! i had no idea such a festival existed...

  3. somebody should start a festival to honor Warren Zevon, too.

    i'm starting to think if my life had a soundtrack, it'd be written by Warren Zevon.