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Act I

PRELUDE

Desperate nerds in high offices all over the world have been known to
enact the most disgusting pieces of legislation in order to win votes
(or, in places where they don't get to vote, to control unwanted forms of
mass behavior).
Environmental laws were not passed to protect our air and water...
they were passed to get votes. Seasonal anti-smut campaigns are not
conducted to rid our communities of moral rot...they are conducted to give
an aura of saintliness to the office-seekers who demand them. If a few
key phrases are thrown into any speech (as the expert advisors explain to
these various heads of state) votes will roll in, bucks will roll in, and, most
importantly, power will be maintained by the groovy guy (or gal) who gets
the most media coverage for his sleaze. Naturally, his friends in various
businesses will do okay too.
All governments perpetuate themselves through the daily commission of act
which a rational person might find to be stupid or dangerous (or both). Naturally,
our government is no exception... for instance, if the President (any one of them)
went on TV and sat there with the flag in the background (or maybe a rustic
scene on a little backdrop, plus the flag) and stared sincerely into the camera
and told everybody that all energy problems and all inflationary problems had been
traced to and could be solved by the abolition of MUSIC, chances are that most
people would believe him and think that the illegalization of this obnoxious form of
noise pollution would be a small price to pay for the chance to buy gas like the good
ol' days. No way? Never happen? Records are made out of oil. All those big rock
shows go from town to town in fuel-gobbling 45 foot trucks...and when they get there,
they use up enormous amounts of electrical energy with their lights, their amplifiers,
their PA systems...their smoke machines. And all those synthesizers...look at all
the plastic they got in 'em...and the guitar picks...you name it...
JOE'S GARAGE is a stupid story about how the government is going to try to do away
with music (a prime cause of unwanted mass behavior! It's sort of like a really cheap
kind of high school play...the way it might have been done 20 years ago, with all the sets
made out of cardboard boxes and poster paint. It's also like those lectures that local
narks used to give (where they show you a display of all the different ways you can get
wasted, with the pills leading to the weed leading to the needle, etc., etc.).
If the plot of the story seems just a little bit preposterous, and if the idea of The Central
Scrutinizer enforcing laws that haven't been passed yet makes you giggle, just be glad
you don't live in one of the cheerful little countries where, at this very moment, music is
either severely restricted...or, as it is in Iran, totally illegal.

SCENE ONE
ENTRANCE OF THE CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER

Sometimes when you're not looking he just sneaks up on you. He looks like a cheap
sort of flying saucer about five feet across with a snout-like megaphone apparatus in
the front with two big eyes mounted like Appletons with miniature motorized frowning
chrome eyebrows over them. Along the side of his disc-like body are several sets of
stupid looking headers and exhaust hoses which apparently propel him and punctuate
his dialogue with horrible smelling smoke rings. In the middle of his head we can see
an airport wind sock and constantly twirling anemometer. The bottom of him has a landing
light and three spoked wheels. In spite of all this, it is obvious that the way he really gets
around is by being dangled from place to place by a union guy with a dark green shirt up
in the roof who is eating a sandwich (pieces of which drop off every once in a while
and lodge themselves near the hole where they put the oil in that makes the cheap smoke).
He hovers into view and speaks to us thusly...

CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER:
This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER...it is my responsibility to enforce all the laws
that haven't been passed yet. It is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of
you to the potential consequences of various ordinary everyday activities you might be
performing which could eventually lead to The Death Penalty (or affect your parents'
credit rating). Our criminal institutions are full of little creeps like you who do wrong things...
and many of them were driven to these crimes by a horrible force called MUSIC! Our studies
have shown that this horrible force is so dangerous to society at large that laws are being
drawn up at this very moment to stop it forever! Cruel and inhuman punishments are
being carefully described in tiny paragraphs so they won't conflict with the Constitution
(which, itself, is being modified in order to accommodate THE FUTURE).
I bring you now a special presentation to show what can happen to you if you choose
a career in MUSIC . . . The WHITE ZONE is for loading and unloading only. . . if you
have to load or unload, go to the WHITE ZONE... you 'll love it... it 's a way of life . . .
This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER...The WHITE ZONE is for loading and unloading
only... (etc.)



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/f/frank_zappa/the_central_scrutinizer_lyrics.html

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