Frank Zappa on Crossfire (Video)

Here’s a video of a discussion of dirty record lyrics on CNN’s “Crossfire” from March 1986, featuring a much younger Bob Novak and one Frank Zappa. It’s interesting on a variety of levels, including a snapshot in time of the television debate show. It’s somewhat ironic to see the discussion of how suggestive lyrics in a rock video might harm the nation while reflecting on how much more shrill the level of political discourse has gotten in the last two decades.

Zappa employs, quite effectively, a standard debating point: “So?” Overall, though, he seems to have memorized a one sentence talking point which he employs repeatedly.

via Radley Balko

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MrGone says:

    Nice post. We all really lost something when Zappa died. Interesting comment about the growing fascist theocracy. Doesn’t seem all that off the mark considering what’s going on today. Also, the present US involvement in Iraq and general rhetoric regarding “Islamofacists” was pretty well summed up in “Dumb All Over.” Not bad for an eccentric musician 25 years ago.

  2. chris says:

    thank you for posting this. it was great to watch, and a wonderful flashback to my youth. i remember when all this bullshit was going down. me and my buddy used to listen to that zappa album with the outtakes from the congressional hearings on it. what a weird time.

    gotta love zappa. this was his run for president period. even though his bullshit rant about the fascist christian theocracy was ridiculous, and contrary to what the other guy posted here, i think 20 years later has proven zappa completely wrong. i mean, just turn on MTV these days and it isn’t like censorship advocates or the christian right wing actually won out in the late 80s. quite the contrary, the crap on the radio and MTV today makes duran duran, billy idol and prince look really tame.