Thursday, January 15, 2009

Paul Krassner--from the Huffington Post, by way of The Realist

Paul Krassner has just become my Plaxo buddy, and I was thinking of inviting him to be the embedded journalist on the Bus.The.Bloggers expedition this coming January 18-21. I was originally thinking of inviting Dick Feagler as the embedded one, since he's just recently retired and available and has a history of prior blogger goodtimes, but I'm sure Dick will understand if I invite Paul first. Of course, I can't be sure of Feagler's reaction, because, as many have told me cryptically in the past, I don't know Dick.

Paul's one of the few cultural icons still alive from that other era of riding the bus, 40-50 years ago. Here's his bio from The Huffington Post, and I guess he has some Cleveland connections still, as well:

Paul Krassner's next book is Who's to Say What's Obscene: Politics, Culture and Comedy in America Today, with an introduction by Arianna Huffington and a foreword by Wavy Gravy, to be published by City Lights in July 2009.

His latest book is One Hand Jerking: Reports From an Investigative Satirist, with a foreword by Harry Shearer and an introduction by Lewis Black, available at, as is the Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster.

Krassner's FBI files indicate that after Life magazine published a favorable profile of him, the FBI sent a poison-pen letter to the editor, complaining: "To classify Krassner as a social rebel is far too cute. He's a nut, a raving, unconfined nut."

"The FBI was right," said George Carlin. "This man is dangerous--and funny; and necessary."

When People magazine called Krassner "Father of the underground press," he immediately demanded a paternity test. He had published The Realist magazine from 1958 to 1974. He reincarnated it as a newsletter in 1985. "The taboos may have changed," he wrote, "but irreverence is still our only sacred cow." The final issue was published in Spring 2001.

Krassner's style of personal journalism constantly blurred the line between observer and participant. He interviewed a doctor who performed abortions when it was illegal, then ran an underground referral service. He covered the antiwar movement, then co-founded the Yippies with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. He published material on the psychedelic revolution, then took LSD with Tim Leary, Ram Dass and Ken Kesey.

He edited Lenny Bruce's autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, and with Lenny's encouragement, became a stand-up performer himself, opening at the Village Gate in New York in 1961. Ten years later--five years after Lenny's death--Groucho Marx said, "I predict that in time Paul Krassner will wind up as the only live Lenny Bruce."

Paul Krassner

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