Politics, Culture, and Comedy in America Today
With a Foreward by Arianna Huffington   [SEE BELOW]

– for $17.00   (plus $3 S&H)  
“He is an expert at ferreting 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
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 comedy from Lenny Bruce to Dave Chapelle, on the Sarah Silverman Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and in controversial comic strips like The Boondocks. 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 need 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 he 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 Influernce People. A prolific writer, his articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Playboy, Penthouse, Mother Jones, National Lampoon, Funny Times, and many other venues. He has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brian and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and writes regularly for High Times, Adult Video News and Huffington Post.

Foreword by Arianna Huffington

Seven years after 9/11, seven years after Ari Fleisher warned Americans that they “need to watch what they say, watch what they do,” seven years after Graydon Carter declared the death of the age of irony, seven years after Politically Incorrect was pushed off the air, and 279 years after Jonathan Swift made his Modest Proposal that Irish children be sold as food, we seem to be living in a Golden Age of political humor—and especially political satire: Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, viral YouTube videos, and after 33 years on the air, the rebirth of Saturday Night Live, which went from “Is that still on?” to MustSeeTV (or at least Must See on YouTube).

They are all standing on the shoulders of the great comedic bomb throwers of the past: Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, the Smothers Brothers, the gang at National Lampoon.

And Paul Krassner—confidant of Lenny, co-founder of the Yippies, defiler of Disney characters, publisher of The Realist, investigative satirist extraordinaire.

As soon as we decided to create the Huffington Post, I knew I wanted Paul Krassner involved. His irreverence was just what the blog doctor ordered. He posted three times during the week we launched and has been at it ever since. One hundred and fifty-seven posts and counting. But who's counting?

For the longest time, American humor had lost its bite. Punch lines with a purpose, satire in the tradition of Jonathan Swift, savage wit at the service of passionate conviction had given way to the domesticated yucks of sitcoms, late night jokes, and official Washington dinners where politicians and the media skewer each other in harmless ritual combat without any fear that things might be different in the morning (Stephen Colbert's legendary scorched-earth performance at the White House Correspondents' dinner in 2006 was the exception; Rich Little's painfully bad 2007 follow-up the rule).

All the while, Krassner was toiling away, tilling the comedy soil and planting the subversive seeds that would flower into the bumper crop of satire we are harvesting today.

Katie Couric's multi-part interview with Sarah Palin was the turning point in how the country saw Palin—and by extension John McCain. But it was Tina Fey's pitch-perfect take on Palin, replayed endlessly on YouTube (and HuffPost) and passed along virally online, that delivered the coup de grace. It was a comedy mugging for the ages.

Jon Stewart is now the most trusted name in news for the Facebook set. Stephen Colbert's “truthiness” perfectly defined the Bush administration's denigration of facts. South Park and Family Guy routinely draw blood with drawn characters. Doonesbury still regularly delivers a knockout punch.

And Paul Krassner keeps delivering incendiary journalism. This collection includes some of his best. Don't miss the bit on Palin Porn (“No anal required”).

Lewis Lapham identified the satirist's work as “the crime of arson, meaning to set a torch of words to the hospitality tents of pompous and self-righteous” cant. And that great satiric arsonist Mark Twain wrote that exposure to good satire makes citizens less likely to be, as he put it, “shriveled into sheep.”

The great satirists have always been passionate reformers challenging the status quo. I once called up Paul for a column I was writing and asked him how he saw his job. “Sometimes,” he told me, “humor is just a way of calling attention to the contradictions or the hypocrisy that's going on officially. That's the function of humor—it can alter your reality.”

Krassner has been altering our reality for going on 50 years. In the process, he has inspired the work of many—including John Cusack, who says that Krassner's radical approach to truth-telling informed his film War, Inc.—a savage, reality-altering take on Iraq.

When, in 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote A Modest Proposal, he was seeking to turn a spotlight on the indifference toward the twin Irish crises of over-population and hunger. His proposal was to feed young children to hungry men. “I have been assured,” he wrote, “that a young healthy child, well-nursed, is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or broiled; and I make no doubt in that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.”

In this book, Krassner carries on that savory tradition.

Read it and laugh. And wince. And become outraged. And laugh some more.