Synopses & Reviews
“Krassner is absolutely compelling. He has lived on the edge so long he gets his mail delivered there.”—San Francisco Chronicle
In this collection of irreverent and satirical essays, counterculture icon Paul Krassner explores the moral obscenity of contemporary politics and culture—from censorship of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed to lessons learned from his mentor, Lenny Bruce.
Paul Krassner is the founding editor of The Realist. He currently writes for High Times, Adult Video News, The Huffington Post, and CounterPunch.
"Krassner (Confessions of a Raving Unconfined Nut), publisher of the Realist magazine, ruminates on American social and political hypocrisy in these essays that drift between current events and the heyday of the 1960s counterculture when the author dropped acid with the Merry Pranksters and palled around with Abbie Hoffman. Krassner weighs in on the last election cycle, the decriminalization of marijuana, and racism, with a stated (and largely achieved) goal of illuminating the gulf between what society says and what it does. The essays focus mostly on other humorists, and while he points out that today 'sarcasm passes for irony,' he's far from a curmudgeon and praises such current comics as Sacha Baron Cohen and Sarah Silverman. Krassner says, 'It doesn't have to get a belly laugh, it just has to be valid criticism, which is the classic definition of satire,' and while this book lingers too long on nostalgic remembrances and tackles serious issues too directly to get constant laughs, it makes a convincing case for the importance--and political necessity--of irreverence." - Publisher's Weekly
"All of the essays in Krassner's new book have been published before--in High Times, The Huffington Post, The Nation and The L.A. Weekly--but they all read as though they were written yesterday. That's because Krassner is always shocking, always provocative and for all his shenanigans, amazingly serious about the pornography of power and the obscenity of war (as well as Somali pirates and piracy on the web)." - Jonah Raskin, The Bohemian
"Krassner writes on anything that catches his eye: the war on drugs, stand-up comedy, Don Imus, to mention just three topics. . . . The collection also includes a number of touching memorials to cultural icons Krassner has known, including Allen Ginsberg, George Carlin, Kurt Vonnegut, and Robert Anton Wilson." - Jack Helbig, Booklist
"For readers unfamiliar with Krassner, his credentialsauthor, journalist, editor, talk show guestseem fairly safe. But combine those with his role as a co-founder of the Yippie movement, his membership in Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, and his X-rated standup comedy routine and those initial credentials sound downright dangerous. Krassner is a satirist and he uses that skill here with his irreverent takes on the hypocrisies and absurdities in politics, comedy, and other aspects of American life. Offensive or funny? It's a matter of taste." Book News
"[Krassner] uses the concept of 'obscenity' as a moral framing device to drive a series of free-form observations on war, drugs, sex, entertainment culture and connections between the past and the present. Krassner is not only concerned with identifying what is not obscene (in his view, pretty much anything to do with sex); he crafts a definition that instead encompasses greed, dishonesty, cruelty and murder. . . . Throughout the book Krassner retains the affect of a hip elder statesman with a perpetual twinkle in his eye, reminding his readers that politics without humor is boring and that laughter without a moral compass is lame." Danny Goldberg, The Nation
“Krassner very blatantly points out how, through a carefully staged smoke and mirror routine, our priorities are being manipulated by politicians, media, and the filthy rich. . . . Ignore anything that is actually newsworthy and focus on Bono dropping the F bomb on TV or Janet Jackson’s nip slip during the super bowl. What is truly obscene: all content that we enjoy as entertainment being controlled by a very small group of wealthy businessmen, or Tommy Chong selling a few bongs over state lines?” Ben Trentelman, Salt Lake Underground Magazine
Fans of The Daily Show and will appreciate this timely collection of satirical essays by counterculture icon Paul Krassner.
With irreverence and an often X-rated wit, Krassner writes with a unique perspective on comedy and obscenity in politics and culture, from "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banners to scenes cut out of recent movies, including Borat and Milk.
In his essay "Don Imus Meets Michael Richards," Krassner examines racism in comdey, from Lenny Bruce to Dave Chapelle, on The Sarah Silverman Snow and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and in controversial comic strips like The Bookdocks. In his piece "The Great Muhammad Cartoon Controversy," he looks at free speech and self-censorship in the face of threats-real and perceived-from religious fundamentalists. Throughout, Krassner riffs about busted public figures, counterculture, free speech, late-night talk shows, censorship, sex, and the current state of satire.
"These are times of repression," says Krassner," and the more repression there is, the more there is for irreverence toward those in authority."
Paul Krassner is an author, journalist, stand-up comedian, and founder of the freethought magazine the Realist, which eh published from 1958 to 2001. He was a co-founder of the Yippies and a member of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters. He received an Upton Sinclair Award for dedication to freedom of expression. Krassner was a close friend of Lenny Bruce and the editor of Bruce's autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. A prolific writer, his articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Playboy, and many other venues. He has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and writes regularly for High Times, Adult Video News and Huffington Post.
"He is an expert at ferrting out hypocrisy and absurdism from the more solemn crannies of American culture." --New York Times
"Krassner has the uncanny ability to alter your perceptions permanently." --Los Angeles Times
"Krassner is so compelling. He has lived on the edge so long he gets his mail delivered there." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Thanks to Paul Krassner for continuing to be the lobster claw in the tuna casserole of modern America." --Tom Robbins
"The FBI was right; this man is dangerous-and funny, and necessary." --George Carlin
"I have been a fan of his since I was a snot-nosed kid, and his words have been a driving force and influence on my life . . . . If you have read his work before, you know the joys that you are in for. If you haven't, start reading, and consider this your lucky day. For Paul Krassner is an activist, a philosopher, a lunatic and a saint, but most of all, he's funny." --Lewis Black
"Krassner writes on anything that catches his eye: the war on drugs, stand-up comedy, Don Imus, to mention just three topics. . . . The collection also includes a number of touching memorials to cultural icons Krassner has known, including Allen Ginsberg, George Carlin, Kurt Vonnegut, and Robert Anton Wilson." --Jack Helbig, Booklist
Nonfiction. Politics. Humor. In this collection of irreverent and satirical essays, counterculture icon Paul Krassner explores the moral obscenity of contemporary politics and culture--from censorship of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed to lessons learned from his mentor, Lenny Bruce. "Krassner is absolutely compelling. He has lived on the edge so long he gets his mail delivered there"--San Francisco Chronicle.
Satirical essays by a countercultural icon about the moral obscenity of contemporary politics, culture, and comedy.
About the Author
Paul Krassner was a close friend of Lenny Bruce and the editor of Bruce's autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. Krassner co-founded the Yippies, was involved with Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and is written about in Tom Wolfe's unforgettable The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. His articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Playboy, The Nation, Penthouse, Mother Jones, New York, National Lampoon, Utne Reader, San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. Weekly and Funny Times. He has been a guest on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher." Krassner published The Realist, the counterculture's first alternative paper, from 1958 t to 2001 and writes regularly for Season in the Sun, High Times, AVN Online and the Huffington Post.