Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Lofton v Zappa

This is classic. Thanks to Jon Rowe and 386sx for pointing out this video of John Lofton debating Frank Zappa on Crossfire in 1986. Lofton calls for government censorship of rock music. His arguments are ridiculous. He claims that it’s okay to censor music because “words mean something” and “have impact.” He claims that America suddenly had an “incest problem” in the 20 years before that because it was mentioned in songs. What songs? You got me. He makes a total fool of himself, with Zappa’s help.

Comments

  1. #1 Russell
    June 30, 2006

    I wonder if Tipper Gore had not been so active in promoting censorhip in the 80s and 90s, if a few more civil libertarians might have been more excited about supporting her husband in the 2000 presidential elections?

  2. #2 Dexceus
    June 30, 2006

    That is one of the reasons I wouldn’t vote for Gore.

  3. #3 CaptainMike
    June 30, 2006

    Wow, John Lofton is an idiot. Near the end of the clip he says “…we’ve got kids who don’t know the meaning of life, and you’re going to tell them to register to vote?”

    I sure as hell don’t know the “meaning” of life. Does anyone?

    Mr. Zappa spoke on how he feared that the United States was moving towards a fascist theocracy. I think his fears were very well grounded, but today the threat is even greater.

  4. #4 Squiddhartha
    June 30, 2006

    Just to repeat and expand on my comment from the Lofton post, since it’s more relevant here…

    I was amazed by the Crossfire video. And really, it demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of Lofton’s viewpoint. Zappa obviously recognizes that the cure for offensive speech isn’t banning the speech, but speaking out against it, and that it’s precisely the speech with the least appeal that needs the most protection. I wish he’d pointed out that if Lofton had his way, Zappa could call for the prohibition of advocacy of censorship on the grounds that he finds censorship abhorrent! (As do I.)

    “Do you really think that the founding fathers had this sort of filth in mind?” Hell, yes! And if they didn’t, they should have.

    “Words have meaning,” indeed. And the meaning of Lofton’s words is that Americans can’t be trusted to think for themselves, that they require some benevolent nanny making sure they aren’t exposed to Bad Ideas. Faugh.

    Also, 5000 quatloo fine to Lofton for the Godwin violation. Hey, John, in Nazi Germany, it wasn’t the Jews burning the books!

    If Frank was afraid we were heading toward a fascist theocracy in 1986, he must be spinning now…

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 30, 2006

    To pull the headline quote from Zappa off my blog..

    Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say that there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.

    And lofton demonstrates this here and elseware.

  6. #6 PaulC
    June 30, 2006

    He claims that America suddenly had an “incest problem” in the 20 years before that because it was mentioned in songs. What songs? You got me.

    What, you mean I have the last extant 8-track of “Incest hits of the 60s and 70s”? That ought to be worth a fortune on eBay.

    It is pretty clear, though, that pop songs of the era were obsessed with statutory rape– That sappy one that goes “you’re much too young girl” or, even more direct: “She was just seventeen. You know what I mean.”

  7. #7 Ted
    June 30, 2006

    It is pretty clear, though, that pop songs of the era were obsessed with statutory rape– That sappy one that goes “you’re much too young girl” or, even more direct: “She was just seventeen. You know what I mean.”

    How about the closing song on Live Bullet. There was nothing wrong with that song at all back when I was 18, but I was listening to the live version of “Let it Rock” the other day and got just a twinge uncomfortable at enjoying the song when this nostalgic bit came around…

    Little Ol’ Chuck Berry
    Chuck used to say,
    “There she is again, over there,
    By the record machine.”
    Three times.
    Looking like a model on the cover of a magazine,
    Too damn cute to be a minute over thirteen.
    I believe that.
    Meeeeeeanwhile….Ol’ Chuck, he’d be thinking,
    “She’s in the mood,
    No need to break it,
    I got a chance and lord,
    I’m gonna take it.
    If she’ll dance we might even make it.
    Come on Queenie! Lets shake it!”
    Little Queenie. Go, Go, Go, Little Queenie.
    Rock n’ Roll, Rock n’Roll, Rock n’ Roll, little queenie
    Go, Go, Go, Little Queenie.
    Go, Go, Go, Little Queenie.
    Rock n’Roll, Rock n’ Roll, little queenie

    That’s still a rockin’ good album though.

  8. #8 Ed Brayton
    June 30, 2006

    Ted-

    You just happened to bring up what I consider to be the greatest album of the rock era.

  9. #9 Kele
    June 30, 2006

    Is that Bog Seger?

    And now I love Zappa. I knew he did this, but I had never listen to him talk about it. I really don’t see how Lofton was even thinking… It’s as if he took every bad argument there is and used it.

  10. #10 Ted
    June 30, 2006

    Good night, good night, and get high and have a good time…Thank YOU. (Closing line from Live Bullet).

    People don’t appreciate Bob Seger because they figure him for the Chevy commercials, but the man could rock back in the day. If you haven’t heard Live Bullet, get a hold of it and crank it up high. It’s just fun to hear people enjoying themselves playing music.

    Used to be that you couldn’t walk into a blue collar bar after work and not hear Bob Seger and Live Bullet on the juke. Some midwesterners prefer Nugent, but he’s more headbanger than Seger. Seger is textbook 70s American rock that workingman just gets. Hence the Chevy appeal.

  11. #11 Treban
    June 30, 2006

    “I’m a conservative.” – Frank Zappa

    Gods he was great. That was just way to much fun. I didn’t realize he was quite that much of a libertarian though. My computer was making it hard to watch so I missed the end but I definately got the impression he has a strong libertarian bent.

  12. #12 Ed Brayton
    June 30, 2006

    Ted-

    I couldn’t agree more about Seger. Live Bullet was the album growing up. My 71 year old father and I might be the only father and son to share a favorite album, but when I was growing up that album was just on constantly. I know every scratch on it. He had a lot of hits on other albums for a long time, but that one live concert from Cobo Hall will never be topped.

  13. #13 Sexy Sadie
    June 30, 2006

    Lordy, I miss Frank.

    I liked Bob Seger circa-”Rambling Gambling Man,” but his “Like a Rock” era didn’t do it for me so much. And as much as I disagree with Ted Nugent’s politics, I greatly enjoy some of his music, like “Stranglehold.”

  14. #14 Ben
    July 1, 2006

    At the time, the song “Sister” by Prince caused some controversy because it was about incest.

  15. #15 Skemono
    July 1, 2006

    He claims that America suddenly had an “incest problem” in the 20 years before that because it was mentioned in songs. What songs? You got me.

    What? You’ve never heard of The Incest Song?

  16. #16 Sylas
    July 1, 2006

    Did anyone else notice how much Zappa looks like Groucho Marx?

  17. #17 Leni
    July 1, 2006

    Ted wrote:

    People don’t appreciate Bob Seger because they figure him for the Chevy commercials.

    Some people maybe. I don’t appreciate him because I have this association with Tom Cruise in his underwear singing that loathesome Rock n Roll song, and I find Tom Cruise only slightly more vile than that song.

    Plus there is just something about the man’s voice. It’s intolerable. Unbearable. And thinking of that voice singing about 13 year old girls is beyond vile. It’s unspeakably disgusting and creepy!

    LOL. Sorry…It’s just that whenever I hear Bob Segar’s name I just have to clench my fists and “Gyaaaach!!”. For some reason the man just gets to me in this skin-crawling, vomit-choking way. Always has.

    Then again- I am a child of 80′s new wave and punk. He is the antithesis of all that *is* good ;)

  18. #18 MisterDNA
    July 1, 2006

    For those of you who just can’t get your fill of John Lofton, here’s more (from The Daily Show).

    I’ll say this: Lofton’s hair looks a lot better than it did 20 years ago.

  19. #19 Pieter B
    July 1, 2006

    I’m so old, I’ve seen Bob Seger without paying a cover charge. Three times.

    On a long and lonesome highway East of Omaha . . .

  20. #20 Ted
    July 4, 2006

    Then again- I am a child of 80′s new wave and punk.

    80s Punk trash, huh? Can I recommend Hammell On TrialSongs For Parents Who Enjoy Drugs? A slightly manic version of Tom Waites with the 80s shallowness worn as a badge of pride. Check out songs number one (Inquiring Minds) and seven (Values).

  21. #21 Leni
    July 7, 2006

    Ted wrote:

    80s Punk trash, huh? Can I recommend Hammell On Trial — Songs For Parents Who Enjoy Drugs? A slightly manic version of Tom Waites with the 80s shallowness worn as a badge of pride. Check out songs number one (Inquiring Minds) and seven (Values).

    LOL. That guy is a serious freak. I sampled some of the songs on Itunes and they’re funny, but not quite spastic enough for me. Thanks though :) Great album title.

    I don’t know about the Tom Waits comparison though. There’s no piano, no drunken sentimentality. I’d have compared to the Violent Femmes meets Frank Zappa. He’s got Franks goofy rambling thing but it sounds kinda like the Violent Femmes, who also wear their shallowness as a badge of pride.

  22. #22 Dale
    July 20, 2006

    Interesting clip. I was only 5 when that aired.

    By the way…John Lofton is still defending Christianity and Zappa is dead!

    Christ haters like Zappa come and go, but God’s Word will stand forever!

  23. #23 Matthew
    July 20, 2006

    By the way, in the time it took to complete that debate Zappa released 3 albums.

  24. #24 The Pale Scott
    July 14, 2007

    ” Near the end of the clip he says “…we’ve got kids who don’t know the meaning of life, and you’re going to tell them to register to vote? ”

    The answer to the meaning of life, the universe, everything is…………42

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