Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Frank Zappa and censorship

Here's an interesting story recounted in A Fiction of the Past by Dominick Cavallo:

Frank Zappa, when releasing his Only in it for the money album in 1968, discovered that his record label, MGM, had, without his knowledge, removed three lines from the song Let's make the water turn black. The lines were:

And I still remember Mama,
With her apron and her pa.
Feeding all the boys at Ed's Cafe.

Zappa didn't understand what could be offensive about those lines. He eventually discovered the reason:

Years later I learned that an MGM executive was convinced that the word 'pad' referred to a sanitary napkin. He became obsessed with the idea that a waitress somewhere was feeding sanitary napkins to people in a restaurant, and demanded (in violation of our contract) that it be removed.

Weird huh? But isn't it always the way with people who presume to know best, who aim to protect us from depravity. So often, the depravity they decry exists only in their own imaginations.

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