Frank Zappa once issued a CD called Does Humor Belong in Music?, and it's a question he was obsessed with throughout his life. And probably one of the records that's most interesting to consider in this light is Cruising with Ruben and the Jets, because it's regularly taken to be a parody of sweet rock and roll, or doo-wop, with the idea that if you do a parody of something, you hate what you're parodying, and you're only doing it to trash it. But you can listen to Ruben and the Jets in a completely different way. My friend Danny Huston told me that he had had a love affair that broke up, and he went home and played Ruben and the Jets, and wept all the way through, and took it completely literally.
That's Ben Watson, speaking in Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: In the 1960s, about what Zappa called his "neo-classical" album, Ruben and the Jets.
Stumbled across this last night and thought it would make a nice addition to the Jarrett and Sardelli posts.
Is it possible to ridicule (or critique) something and to love it -- I mean really love it -- at the same time?
I think so. In fact, I would say that this is one of the more productive and useful dynamics in all of creativity -- it's one way of separating yourself from the things that have inspired you, so as to not merely reproduce what has gone before.
I would also suggest that the best human relationships are like this. No true love happens purely. Our honest disappointment in each other, our outsider's cold objectivity, makes our affection that much more meaningful.