Things really haven’t changed…

A friend put me on to this debate. I figured since I linked to Jon Stewart’s pre-election Crossfire appearance I could link to Frank Zappa’s from the 1980s.

If you watch it, you’ll note a couple of things.

First, the attack-dog nature of the guy they set against Zappa. Machismo and bluster are always used when they can be, then and now.


A friend put me on to this debate. I figured since I linked to Jon Stewart’s pre-election Crossfire appearance I could link to Frank Zappa’s from the 1980s.

If you watch it, you’ll note a couple of things.

First, the attack-dog nature of the guy they set against Zappa. Machismo and bluster are always used when they can be, then and now.

Second, and interestingly, the reactionary against Zappa was trying to justify censorship in terms of government intervention – we should have a government that protects us, etc. – and Zappa was claiming to be a ‘conservative’ in his opposition to censorship. I found that odd, though I liked how Zappa replied that the national defense problem was more fascist theocracy than the USSR…

Third, the sober round-up at the end after the guests had left, when you see that the two Crossfire facilitators agree on almost everything. That certainly hasn’t changed.

Fourth, a thing that has changed, is that, as lousy as the quality of the debate was – thanks largely to the guy sitting next to Zappa but not entirely to him – things have gotten much worse on television since. The pressure of ads, the stupid bell ringing that they have on Crossfire now, the sense that every single second was being counted, seems much less in this clip than it does now.

It’s more valuable in terms of thinking about what’s happened with the media in the past 20 years or so than for the content, but it is an interesting cultural piece.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.

2 thoughts on “Things really haven’t changed…”

  1. What amazes me is that the
    What amazes me is that the hosts essentially both agree at the end that government censorship is a thorny issue, so a preferential option is ‘policing’ and censorship by corporations! Pretty much what the reality is in the case of many media…

    pranjal

  2. Would Uncle Frank still be
    Would Uncle Frank still be under the spell of the Soros “Civil Society” crowd today, knowing what we know now? Would he still be good buddies with Vaclav Havel?
    I guess we could ask his surviving entourage.

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