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Frank Zappa on Crossfire '86

Filed under: Video Game Politics
Posted by Allison on January 11, 2006 11:51 AM
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An old "Crossfire" interview with the late (and great) Frank Zappa is currently circulating around the political blogosphere. It seems some worrry Zappa's 20 year-old concerns regarding censorship and his fears that we're moving toward a "fascist theocracy" seem particularly relevant these days.
While the debate was specific to the dangers of music and "words", I couldn't help but transfer it to the current video game regulation threat we're facing. As Zappa states, "Anybody in his right mind wouldn't desire the government to install a censor board that keeps certain things from being said." This is exactly why we are against the regulation of video games. Our government is not elected to tell us what's artistically tasteful.

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The spark for the debate was a proposed Maryland law that would have censored music. The fight for censorship at the time was that music functioned as a means of advocacy for "sinful acts" (the disgust of Robert Novak and John Lofton at Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" is particularly hilarious). While the music debate does still, occasionally, resurface, it does seem video games have replaced music as the scapegoat for why kids do bad things.

At the end of the interview Robert "bullshit" Novak makes a point with which I completely agree (oddly enough). As a proponent of the First Amendment, it's not the government's job to regulate such issues. However, that's not to say the industry shouldn't regulate itself. Industry self-regulation, when it comes to First Amendment issues, has worked successfully with movies and music. It will work with the video game industry, too.

Watch Frank Zappa on "Crossfire" in 1986 (if, for no other reason, but to watch John Lofton, a man to the right of Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, have to deal with Mr. Zappa.






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