Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I'm a Zappatista!

Fascism should more properly be called
corporatism because it combines
the powers of business and state.
— Benito Mussolini

Yes, it’s true. Frank Zappa was an inventive and prolific musician; so I jumped at the chance to see a video of him from 1986, when he appeared on Crossfire to discuss censorship. You can watch the video, too, at:

(Note: For reasons which passeth my understanding, I haven't been able to directly link to that address. To find the video, go to for 1/10/2006 and scroll down the page to find the link and a picture of Zappa. Alternatively, copy this address and paste it into the address window.)

Zappa was chided when he expressed his concern that the country was heading toward a fascist theocracy. Unfortunately, he was right. Twenty years later, the United States is clearly fascist and leaning ever closer to theocracy.

I won’t attempt to summarize the program. Frank Zappa was perfectly capable of articulating his position, and you can make your own assessment. But I do want to comment about the show’s hosts. On the right, literally and figuratively, was Robert Novak, who replaced Patrick Buchanan. Novak left C.N.N. last fall in the ongoing controversy over his role in exposing Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative. He is now a special correspondent for FOX, where he continues to dissemble on the subject of Plamegate.

Tom Braden was on Crossfire representing the left. But, as is so often the case in programs such as Crossfire, he was not actually a leftist. He simply wasn’t as far right as Novak. Perhaps that is why Novak didn’t “out” Tom Braden! That’s right, Thomas Wardell Braden, the author of Eight is Enough, worked for the Agency. For a time, he was the head of the International Organizations Division which infiltrated academic and political groups in Europe. He also ran the C.I.A.’s covert cultural division and was a key figure in the C.I.A.’s domestic labor activities. His intelligence connections were described in The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (1999), by Francis Stonor Saunders, and mentioned briefly by Laurence Zuckerman in a New York Times review of Stonor’s book:

In one of the book’s many amusing codas, Mr. Braden goes on in the 1980’s to become the leftist foil to Patrick Buchanan on the CNN program ‘Crossfire.’ (3/18/2000, p. A17)

Incidentally, Timothy Leary appeared on Crossfire in 1982. Braden concluded that Leary had led a “wasted life.” Leary later declared that the spectrum of views on Crossfire ran from the left-wing of the C.I.A. to the right-wing of the C.I.A. I agree, but then, I’m a Zappatista.


Post a Comment

<< Home