Wednesday, December 8, 2010

State of the Union -OR- Prescience

For the April 1993 issue, Playboy Magazine sat down with Frank Zappa for an interview.
The Intro

A Snippette:

Playboy: You've said that you're not a peacenik.

Frank Zappa: Human nature and human stupidity often breed violence. When violence escalates to an international confrontation, you should be able to protect yourself. On the other hand, to plan for it - like we did throughout the Cold War - based on badly handled intelligence estimates of the threat to our national security is just stupid. Most intelligence estimates indicated that the Soviet couldn't do shit to us, but they were ignored order to maintain the level of employment and financial activity in the defense industry.

Playboy: Do you think that our recent election was irrelevant?

Frank Zappa: Yes, because America has to be completely restructured. We have to question every institution in terms of efficiency. I'm serious about abandoning the federal system.

Playboy: Is there any way that it's likely to happen?

Frank Zappa: Not this week, but I wish people would at least consider it. They think, There it is, we're stuck with it, it will go on forever. It doesn't have to. The Soviet Union didn't go on forever. If you want reform, the people who've been doing a bad job have to get fired. They have to go back to the used-car lot from where they came.

Playboy: Yet you've always pushed people to vote. Why bother?

Frank Zappa: Even if you don't like the candidates, there are issues that affect your life. Bond issues affect your pocketbook. That's the only real reason for voting. As far as the rest of government is concerned, forget it. The amount of overstaffing, overlapping, wasted energy and pompous pseudograndeur is science fiction. All of it is supported by this universe of political talk shows. CNN is one of the worst offenders on the planet. It maintains the fiction of the theoretical value of the thoughts and words of these inferior human specimens who manage to become Beltway insiders.

Playboy: Do you want to name names?

Frank Zappa: Do we need to see John Sununu as a talk-show guy? Or, on CNBC, Gordon Liddy or Oliver North? Let's face it: Some of these people are criminals. Why do we need to be presented with them as voices of authority whose opinions are something we should even waste our time with? Why?

Playboy: What do you think is behind it?

Frank Zappa: It's a whole program designed to modify behavior and modify thinking on a national level. They're happy to take the slings and arrows of the outraged minority in order to keep these voices of stupidity in your face all the time. It's all propaganda.

Playboy: How planned is it?

Frank Zappa: Completely. It is the residue of the domestic-diplomacy department that Reagan established during the Irancontra days. The idea was to control the news. From that office, a guy would make phone calls and certain journalists would get fired and news stories would get changed. Then it was the obvious control of the media we saw during the Gulf war.

Playboy: So you maintain that the media are no more than pawns?

Frank Zappa: The media are part of the package. You think really liberal people own those outlets? I don't. Even if they were Democrats, it wouldn't mean anything, because who can tell the difference between those two criminal classes?

Playboy: it sounds as if you are as cynical as ever.

Frank Zappa: It's hard not to be.

Playboy: Yet you feel it's worthwhile to raise some hell?

Frank Zappa: Pessimism and the natural instinct to raise hell are not mutually exclusive. Raising hell comes naturally to me. Still, I am not optimistic about what will happen to this country unless some radical change is made. It's going to take more than just firing a few bad guys.

Frank Zappa Playboy Interview

If you've never read the interview, you should. If you read it once when it came out, you should reread it with today's reality in mind. If you've read it multiple times over the years, another read willn't hurt you either.

I remember when I first read the snip above, I said to myself, FUCK Yes! To watch as it has unfolded has been a litany of FUCK NOES!

But here we are.
Imagine if FZ's words had gained the traction of the other things on that Playboy cover...


Phil said...

That guy was a sharp cookie.
He passed way too soon and we desperately need about a thousand more just like him.Especially the hell raising part.

Greg said...

Thanks much for making this available - never had a chance to read it.