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MARCO MAURIZI'S THESES ON ("BIS ER SPRITZT") FEUERBACH, OR, WHY ZAPPA FANS AND ROCK ACADEMICS ARE TWO HALVES OF AN INTEGRAL WHOLE WHICH, UNDER CURRENT SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF EXPLOITATION AND INJUSTICE, CANNOT ADD UP ...
[In the interests of piquancy, we have preserved Marco's frequent use of emphases (a characteristic of the prose of all revolutionary materialists, from Laurence Sterne to Frank Zappa, not to mention Karl Marx) by using Karel Teige's novel method of extra spacing. This may cause some grotesque results on your screens, but you need to imagine this being recited from a stepladder with a megaphone in a sinuous Italian accent which keeps lapsing a u f d e u t s c h.]
The chief defect of all hitherto existing Zappology - save that of Out To Lunch - is that Zappa's entire work is conceived only in the form of o b j e c t o f c o n t e m p l a t i o n, although it was originally s e n s u o u s h u m a n a c t i v i t y, p r a c t i c e. Hence, in contradistinction to this passive and uncritical Zappology, the active side was developed concretely by FANaticism - which, of course, does not know critical activity as such. Fans want sensuous objects (a ticket stub, a poster, an unknown recording) really distinct from "mere critical thought", but cannot conceive their own activity (collecting, pondering, discussing, writing, fantasising) as o b j e c t i v e activity. Fans cannot conceive thought and theory as a peculiar form of praxis in the realm of id-friendly self-indulgence: i.e. sophopraxis. Hence Fans regard the hysterical attitude of onstage performance ("I'm So Cute", "Punky's Whips", "Bamboozled By Love") as the only genuinely human attitude, while the theorist is conceived only in his/her effete, inert and hypocritical academic manifestation. Hence the Fan does not grasp the significance of "revolutionary", of "practical-critical" activity.
The question whether "objective" interpretation can be attributed to Zappology is not a question of theory but a practical question. We must prove the truth - i.e. the reality and power, the this-sided objectivity of our thinking - in practice: It's a way of life! Has Zappa something to do with Dada and Punk, are Materialism and Socialist Revolution keys to the understanding of Modern Art, is Freud the father of linguistic xenochrony? Well, let's prove it. The dispute over the truth or arbitrariness of our zappological connections that is isolated from practice is a purely s c h o l a s t i c question.
The academic doctrine concerning the study of mass-media objects forgets that not only these objects, but Academy itself is a form of social activity, which also must be understood; it is essential to educate the educator about him/herself. The academic doctrine divides society into two parts, one of which ("l'intelligentsia") is superior to society. The coincidence of the object of study and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as r e v o l u t i o n a r y p r a c t i c e.
The uncritical zappologist starts out from the fact of pop self-alienation, or the division of the world into a FANatical world and a THEOretical one: delirium tremens or ataraxy. The work consists in resolving the first world into fine, theoretical, contemplative attitude, thus transforming Zappology into a branch of Simon Frith's Popsicle Academy. But that academic research - a branch of monetary circulation within society - detaches itself from itself and establishes itself as an independent realm in the clouds can only be explained by the cleavages and self-contradictions within this social basis. At least the art-consumers know they are paying to obtain the illusion of a supreme World of Beauty. FANaticism can be regarded as a desperate attetnpt to dissolve this distance by p a y i n g e x t r a. This sad fact cannot be overturned by simply refusing FANaticism: it points to contradictions in social life which require revolutionary solutions.
The Fan, not satisfied with abstract contemplation of the swirling cesspool of his/her own steaming desires, wants sensuous objects to worship; he/she does not conceive the Project-Object as practical human-sensuous activity and canine-contagion. Freak out!
"Pop is not a musical form"
The current sociology of music resolves the essence of music (rock included) into "appreciation": "like and dislike" studies. But this "appreciation" is no quality inherent in each single individual. In its reality, it casts a light on the ensemble of social relations. Those researches that do not enter upon a criticism of this real essence are consequently compelled:
1) To abstract from the historical process and to fix sentiment as something in itself and to presuppose an abstract - isolated - human individual.
2) The essence of rock music, therefore, is comprehended only as "genus", as a self-regarding, dumb generality which naturally unites many individuals.
Sociologists of this kind, consequently, do not see that "musical sentiment" is itself a social product, and that the abstract individual whom they analyse belongs to a particular form of society.
All musical life is essentially practical: in production, consumption a n d i n t e r p r e t a t i o n. All mysteries, which inevitably lead music theory to mysticism and the hippie discorporate ideal, find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice as a priori compelled by a precise form of production and distribution of resources: i.e. Capitalism.
The highest point reached by contemplative musical research, that is, research which does not comprehend sensuousness as practical activity, is contemplation of single individuals and of bourgeois society.
The standpoint of the old musical research, and of uncritical zappology, is bourgeois society; the standpoint of the new is socialism.
The philostophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to ARF!
Marco Maurizi, Leipzig 29 January 2002
Marco may be contacted at <email@example.com>