it's really a tragic shame that frank zappa died before his presidential candidacy really could take off. zappa was articulate, funny, reasonable, and--believe it or not, by his own admission--conservative. i think i could take zappa's style of conservatism, though. i think the rest of the country could too. and, hey, if a hollywood actor and a complete buffoon could each run the country for 8 years, why not a smart musician?
at any rate, zappa's debate skills and political acumen are on display in a crossfire appearance from 1986 that my younger brother recently urged me to watch. i urge you to watch it, too.
sure, the squabbling for the first five minutes or so gets pretty cloying. and sometimes it seems like zappa has it way too easy considering the idiocy of some of his interlocuters. if it's too much for you in the beginning, i suggest skipping ahead to about 6:00 or 7:00 when it starts to get interesting.
the most interesting part, though, and the most prescient, is where zappa says, at a little after 10:00, that "the biggest threat to America today is not communism--it's moving america toward a fascist theocracy." straight up, spot on. his comrades appear dumbfounded. fortunately, zappa lays it out pretty clearly.
in retrospect, it's amazing how tame the rock videos are that they're discussing considering the contemporary music-video skin-trade. and of course it's amazing that despite the current level of "permissiveness" in american popular culture, we live in more of a fascist theocracy than ever.
zappa makes lots of good points, especially after they all cool down after a break. his distinction between "erotic sex" and "titillation" on TV is a damn good one. still holds in today's media: violence is more prominent than ever, including sex scenes; erotic sex remains a rarity.
finally, the "kiss my ass" delivered by zappa at around 7:15 is at least as good--especially with the facial expression--as jon stewart's "you're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show" when he toasted tucker carlson on crossfire almost twenty years later.
many of us miss frank zappa the musician. more of us should miss frank zappa the (almost) politician.