A picture I took a while back with an old-timey digital camera, of a street tribute to one of the great philosophers of the late twentieth century. Who just happened to play a mean guitar and would compose some of the most mind-blowingly complex music ever committed to vinyl.
The man’s been dead for almost three full decades, yet these words still resonate today. Perhaps even more so than they did when he first said them. I see their toxic fruits strewn everywhere (like piles of antivaxxer horseshit and that ridiculous QAnonsense), and realize everything Zappa ever said about the so-called Religious Right (or as I like to call them, Vanilla ISIS) has been spot on. Their sermons and rallies just look like this to me…
I think this Jehovah guy is nothing more than a cartoon supervillain from a poorly-written Bronze Age comic book who deserves about as much credit for creating the human race as Porky Pig deserves for inventing penicillin. My apologies to the fandom, but that’s just what I think. Such a trifle of an entity is most certainly no excuse to vilify an entire segment of the population. Especially when the whole motive for encouraging homophobia is the basest and shallowest one of all — the cha-ching*. Somebody along the way (who was probably a GOP fundraiser, although I don’t know that for sure) figured out that people put more money in the collection plates when they’re fearful and angry than they do when they’re at peace.**
* Little old ladies’ bank accounts aren’t as easy to suck dry in a Zoom meeting. Hence the repeated insistence upon in-person church services in the middle of a global pandemic.
** Frank Zappa was absolutely spot on. Tax the fuck out of ’em.
I fully get that any successful† media franchise is bound to have its fair share of colourful fans. That’s just the way things roll. But there’s such a thing as overdoing it with the colourful fandom, methinks. Every Stanley Cup riot of my lifetime has invariably resulted in a busy night for the Vancouver†† Police Department. That ought to tell you something.
† Let the record show that “successful” is not necessarily synonymous with “good”. Plenty of gawd-awful things have become successful. The average person could probably name five such things off the top of their head.
††The Vancouver Canucks organization contributes millions every year to British Columbia’s provincial coffers. It’s a no-brainer that promoting any kind of bigotry would have a negative effect on their business rather than a positive one. I’m also pretty sure they don’t have any secret graveyards hidden away somewhere, unless you count the one where they bury all their dead dreams of Stanley Cup glory. Despite the boorish behaviour of some of their fans and as much as they profoundly suck ass as a team, they’re still more respectable than any church.
Several lifetimes ago, when I was but a wee strapping young lad of twenty-three on the mean streets of the ‘Peg, I digested the writings of the gentleman pictured above. A New Yorker with a Jewish upbringing who spent most of the Seventies living in India studying Dzogchen under various lamas. Even after all that time on the Subcontinent, Lama Surya Das has never lost his thick Brooklyn accent.
I got this in my inbox recently, and my mind was blown clean off. It was probably just all the THC running through my veins at that moment, but the guy in the picture struck me as a dead ringer for Lama Surya Das. Maybe it’s a sign, like those reported visions of the Virgin Mary that keep appearing in grilled-cheese sandwiches. More likely though, it’s simply something to smile about.