inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #0 of 301: David Gans (tnf) Fri 6 Dec 02 07:56
    


 Paul Krassner calls himself "an investigative satirist."  From 1958 to 2001,
 he published The Realist, with the slogan "Irreverence is our only sacred
 cow."  He writes columns for High Times and for Adult Video News Online, and
 he is also a stand-up comedian .

 Paul's latest album is "Irony Lives!'  At the taping, he was introduced by
 Dan Castellaneta, who does the voice of Homer on "The Simpsons." Although
 Fox TV attorneys refused to grant permission to include it, Homer's intro-
 duction may be found at paulkrassner.com.  Last year, he was inducted into
 the Counterculture Hall of Fame -- "my ambition," he says, "since I was
 three years old."

 Krassner's new book, "Murder At the Conspiracy Convention and Other American
 Absurdities," includes profiles of Lenny Bruce, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Garcia,
 Jack Herer, Peter McWilliams, Ram Dass and Ken Kesey, with shorter pieces on
 his encounters with Terence McKenna, John Lilly, Timothy Leary, John Lennon,
 Hunter Thompson and Allen Ginsberg.  He reports on events such as the
 Prophets Conference, the Neo-Pagan Festival, the Swingers Convention, the
 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, and a conspiracy convention that reeked of disin-
 formation.  Also, the characters on "Seinfeld" get dosed with Viagra, Monica
 Lewinsky writes her memoirs, and neo-feminists demand that men urinate sit-
 ting down.  Ultimately, he proves that when the FBI called him "a raving,
 unconfined nut," they were merely being accurate.

 Our interlocutor for this discussion is Michael Simmons, a contributor to
 the LA Weekly and High Times who has also written for Rolling Stone, Pent-
 house, Crawdaddy, LA Reader, Clamor, The Progressive and others.  He won the
 Los Angeles Press Club Award in 1996 for Excellence in Journalism for his LA
 Weekly expose of the Hollywood Vice Division of the Los Angeles Police
 Department.  Simmons is currently working on two books -- "Yippie! And The
 Politics Of Hip" for University of New Mexico Press and "The Future Is Now!:
 The MC 5 and White Panthers" for Creation Books - and he has optioned his
 cannabis journalism to HBO and Goldie Hawn's production company for a
 docudrama about the controversy over medical marijuana.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #1 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 10:20
    
Well, okay, it's Friday, I'm off to a matinee movie, and will be back
about 3:30 California time, and will check in then.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #2 of 301: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 6 Dec 02 10:33
    
Excellent.  This should be fun!   Meanwhile, can I ask about the title,
"Irony Lives!"?  Is that a reference to the traumatized post-9/11 nonsense
from writers who expected the entire nation to be in both perma-war and
perma-post-traumatic-stress-syndrome?  Was the book written during that
period, by the way?  (You can tell I'm not one of the group of WELL members
who got review copies, just part of the conversational crowd for this!)
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #3 of 301: David Gans (tnf) Fri 6 Dec 02 10:35
    
I think Irony is alive and well.

What is dead, and is being kicked around mercilessly by the Bushians, is
shame.  The appointments of Poindexter and Kissinger are the most recent ex-
amples.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #4 of 301: Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Fri 6 Dec 02 11:43
    
One can argue that the Poindexter and Kissinger appointments are
ironic as well.

So, Paulie, Paulie, Paulie.  You shamed the family and now I have
to...

Oops, wrong movie.  OK.  What occurred to me while re-reading "Murder
At The Conspiracy Convention is: you've been at this "change the world
for the better" racket now since the the 1950s and the world continues
to get worse.  Isn't it demoralizing?  I mean, it's demoralizing for me
and I haven't been at it as long as you have. 
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #5 of 301: Infradibulated Gratility (ssol) Fri 6 Dec 02 11:45
    
Hmmmm... optimism against all odds... what an American/Age o'
Enlightenment concept?

Anyhow, have at it, Paul. What do make of Kissinger appointed to
investigate (obfusicate?) the events and failures leading to 9.11? Any
thoughts on dealing with Poindexter and his all-seeing secret eye?

I'll be reading your response from a secure, undisclosed location via
wireless channels buried in the noise floor of solar radiation burning
thru the ozone hole.

Gotta go before They get a lock on my signal...
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #6 of 301: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 6 Dec 02 14:15
    
(If you've stumbled onto this interview and you're not a member of the 
WELL, you can still join the party - just email your questions and rants to 
inkwell-hosts@well.com and we'll see that they're posted.)
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #7 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 16:29
    
To Gail: Irony Lives! is the name of my CD, and it was so named
because of those media pundits who said that irony was dead after 9/11.
 Most of the book, Murder At the Conspiracy Convention was written
before 9/11, and there is a foreword (also titled Irony Lives) bringing
things up to date as much as possible.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #8 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 16:33
    
To Simmons: It's not personally demoralizing, it's just tremendously
sad that so much human suffering has resulted and will continue to
result because of the nation's karma.  What has happened and is
happening seems to have been inevitable, and I take no pride in having
been called paranoid for what is now coming true.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #9 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 16:35
    
To Infabriludated: Kissinger and Poindexter are examples of the
incredible arrogance of the coup masters.  My hope is that as their
backgrounds are more disclosed, the Bush administration's credibility
will fall.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #10 of 301: Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Fri 6 Dec 02 16:45
    
     At the same time, you've been instrumental in dragging America
into modernity.  You describe in your book your abortion referral
service when it was still illegal and women were dying on back alley
kitchen tables.  You were the first plaintiff to declare abortion laws
unconstitutional in New York.  
      Abortion is analogous to drug prohibition and yet it seems more
difficult for commonsense to prevail concerning marijuana at the very
least.  The Dope Warriors are even intransigent when it comes to
medical marijuana, as you know from the experience of your friend, the
late Peter McWilliams.
      What gives with the resistance to any drug policy reform?
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #11 of 301: flying jenny (jenslobodin) Fri 6 Dec 02 16:55
    
How great to see you here, Paul Krassner! 

One would hope that as they are disrobed, the Emporer and his cronies
would move closer to dethronement, but we saw with our own eyes and
ears what they were way back during Iran-Contra, and still, here they
are. We don't seem to be able to believe what evil lurks herein. 

But, you are great, for we must keep informed, and reminding ourselves
and each other of what's what. 
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #12 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 20:17
    
Well, Mikey, drug policy reform, or as it is known among inner circles
DPR, (a wonderful hallucinogen, by the way), would put a lot of people
out of jobs.  Politicians admit in private the injustice of the laws,
but they eat chickenshit sandwiches for brunch.  I've been reading a
book, The Tipping Point, which tells how things reach a sort of
critical mass--from the sale of Hush Puppy shoes to the spread of
syphillis--and that is what I'm hoping will happen with the drug policy
reform movement, as more and more people become aware of the
contradictions, the futility, the lack of compassion by the war on some
people who use some drugs some times.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #13 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 20:20
    
hi, Jenny--yeah, the devil never sleeps, no good deed goes
unpunished...pick your metaphor...though for some perverse reason, I
have certain sense of ultimate optimism.  but maybe  it's just the
result of damaged chromosomes from taking too many acid trips.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #14 of 301: Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Fri 6 Dec 02 21:37
    
Plugging yer book "Murder At The Conspiracy Convention" -- available
at yer bookswipe or cyberstall now -- your riffs remind me of yer pal
Lenny Bruce -- riffing on topical tissues -- I mean issues. By and by,
I'm stoned outta my skull at this moment, having smoked what the
connoisseurs call "kush" (c'mon 'n' get me, coppers).  Does Lenny live
in your conciousnessness at all?  You co-wrote his bio "How To Talk
Dirty And Influence People".  Is he alive in your cranium, dispensing
opinions? 

       
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #15 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 22:47
    
Postscript to my observation about the drug war: it's also about the
competition between legal and illegal drugs, between corporate and
non-corporate drugs.  The Partnership For a Drug-Free America was
founded and funded by the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical
companies.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #16 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 22:52
    
About Lenny Bruce.  First, we didn't co-write his autobiography. 
Lenny wrote it.  I was his editor.  And yes, Kush-monger, he is still
in my consciousness.  He was the biggest influence on me as a
performer, and I'm currently working on a novel about a contemporary
controversial comedian, obviously inspired by Bruce.  After he died, I
kept wondering, what would Lenny be saying about this? about that?
about his own evolution?  And he remains as a touchstone, to appreciate
something I say or to remind me that, for example, it's a cheap shot.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #17 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Fri 6 Dec 02 22:53
    
One other thing about Lenny B.  There were times I thought I was
channeling him, but I don't believe in that stuff, and it was really
just a case of wishful thinking.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #18 of 301: Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Fri 6 Dec 02 23:55
    
How would Lenny react to the current state of disarray?  What would he
be saying?  What's Lenny's take on Osama? Dubya? Eddie Murphy? Can you
conjecture a riff or three?  

Also, are you in touch with Honey (wife) or Kitty Bruce (daughter). 
If so, how are they?
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #19 of 301: BJ Castleman (bluecat-sings) Sat 7 Dec 02 00:15
    
Hi Paul,

A few months ago I heard an interview with you on KBOO in Portland,
OR.  You gave a wonderful quote from the Bush administration that you
said was now your mantra:  "Hypocrisy is better than no values at all."

Who exactly said it?  You mentioned the name but I forget.

I heard the interview as I was driving to visit my 92 year old father,
who is one of your original subscribers to The Realist.  I went in and
told him Paul Krassner was in town and was being interviewed on the
radio right now.  He said, "Really? You mean it?OUR Paul Krassner?"

We've got you now!

bj
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #20 of 301: the newly locked-down Table Talk (silly) Sat 7 Dec 02 06:52
    
Harlan Ellison wrote the forward to Pot Stories for the Soul?!
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1893010023>
How did _that_ come about?
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #21 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Sat 7 Dec 02 07:17
    
Lenny's most audacious material was Hitler's orchestrator of the
Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann; Lenny spoke from Eichmann's point of view,
justifying the job he had done so efficiently; I suspect Lenny would
have more recently spoken from Osam bin Laden's point of view.  His
humor was based on empathy.  
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #22 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Sat 7 Dec 02 07:18
    
I haven't been in touch with Honey Bruce or Kitty Bruce for a while.  
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #23 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Sat 7 Dec 02 07:21
    
Hey, Barry Castleman--glad to hear from you.  Gary Condit was one of
the leading critics of Clinton's activities with Monica Lewinsky,
calling for his impeachment.  Then, when Condit's affair with Chandra
Levy became public, a reporter asked William Bennett if he thought
Condit was hypocritical.  Bennett replied, "Hypocrisy is better than no
values at all."  Ah, yes, words to live by.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #24 of 301: Paul Krassner (paulkrassner) Sat 7 Dec 02 07:24
    
Harlan Ellison was among the hundreds of friends and acquaintances I
asked for pot stories.  It turned out he was anti-drugs and he wrote a
stylistic, scathing anti-drug response to my request.  We agreed that
it would be an appropriate introduction because it was so incongruous
that it was funny.
  
inkwell.vue.168 : Paul Krassner: Investigative satirist
permalink #25 of 301: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 7 Dec 02 08:01
    
I sometimes think the cultural memory of Lenny is slipping away, but I
wrote a piece about him years ago (
http://gopher.well.sf.ca.us:70/0/Publications/authors/jonl/lenny.up ), and 
I still occasionally get an email from somebody who found that piece and 
connected.

There's a recent book called _The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise 
of An American Icon_, have you read it? Saw it in the book store the other 
day; looks good. Wish somebody would do another film to make up for the Bob 
Fosse thing.
  

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