Sunday, August 19, 2007

Frank Zappa: On Freedom and the First Amendment; on Crossfire and in Prague, Czechoslovakia

(Note: I'm guestblogging, along with the other Reservoir Bloggers, at Ezra Klein this week; be sure to visit us and sample some wildly diverse and always entertaining and informative writing.)

As promised in the thread about Frank Zappa and the issue of PMRC labels yesterday, here is the video of Frank Zappa's prescient and pro-First Amendment brilliance as seen on Crossfire in 1986. Also in this post, I've uploaded a film short of FZ's Czechoslovakian adventures. And later today, I'll type out a portion of the transcript from the 1975 British lawsuit in which Frank Zappa sued the Crown and post that, too. You readers deserve the best, right?!

Okay, then, let's get started. What you're about to see is a video clip--in three parts--of Maestro Zappa appearing on the CNN program Crossfire. Also appearing are "on the left" Tom Braden, "on the right" Robert Novak, and along with Mr. Zappa "in the crossfire" is Washington Times columnist John Lofton.

Also offered in three parts, here is a film short of Frank Zappa during his historic visit to Prague, where he met and socialized with mutual fan and friend Vaclav Havel. In comments at the FZ thread yesterday Captain Goto wrote:

Vaclav Havel was an enormous fan, who invited Zappa to visit Czechoslovakia as a sort of cultural ambassador. Zappa was quoted as saying to Havel how sorry he was that Havel would have to meet with Reagan, mincing no words about his opinion of Ronnie's intelligence.

In Zappa's retelling, in less time than it takes to blink, US officials roared into Prague to inform the Czechs, in no uncertain terms, that Frank would be have *no* part of *any* kind of meeting with Havel for *any* reason, under *any* circumstances...

Some of the soundtrack is in English while other parts are in Czech, which I don't speak; even so, I thoroughly enjoyed--and therefore highly recommend--this rare and unusual film.

Also at Ezra's.

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