Paul Krassner (born April 9, 1932) is an author, journalist, stand-up comedian, and the founder, editor and a frequent contributor to the freethought magazine The Realist, first published in 1958. More Krassner
Krassner became a key figure in the counterculture of the 1960s as a member of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and a founding member of the Yippies.
The Realist was published on a fairly regular schedule during the 1960s, then on an irregular schedule after the early 1970s. In 1966, Krassner published The Realist's controversial "Disneyland Memorial Orgy" poster, illustrated by Wally Wood, and he recently made this famed black-and-white poster available in a digital color version. The Realist also distributed a red, white and blue Cold War bumper sticker that read "Fuck Communism."
Krassner's most notorious satire was the article "The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book", which followed the censorship of William Manchester's book on the Kennedy assassination, The Death of a President. At the climax of the grotesque-genre short-story, Lyndon B. Johnson is described as having sexually penetrated the bullet-hole wound in the throat of John F. Kennedy's corpse. According to Elliot Feldman, "Some members of the mainstream press and other Washington political wonks, including Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, actually believed this incident to be true." In a 1995 interview for the magazine Adbusters, Krassner commented "People across the country believed - if only for a moment - that an act of presidential necrophilia had taken place. It worked because Jackie Kennedy had created so much curiosity by censoring the book she authorized - William Manchester's 'The Death Of A President' - because what I wrote was a metaphorical truth about LBJ's personality presented in a literary context, and because the imagery was so shocking, it broke through the notion that the war in Vietnam was being conducted by sane men."
In 1966, he reprinted in The Realist an excerpt from the academic journal the Journal of the American Medical Association, but presenting it as original material. The article dealt with drinking glasses, tennis balls and other foreign bodies found in patients' rectums. Some accused him of having a perverted mind, and a subscriber wrote "I found the article thoroughly repellent. I trust you know what you can do with your magazine."
Krassner revived The Realist as a much smaller newsletter during the mid-1980s when material from the magazine was collected in The Best of the Realist The 60's Most Outrageously Irreverent Magazine (Running Press, 1985). The final issue of The Realist was 146 (Spring, 2001).
Krassner remains a prolific writer. In 1971 he published a collection of his favourite works for The Realist, as How A Satirical Editor Became A Yippie Conspirator In Ten Easy Years. In 1981 he published the satirical story Tales of Tongue Fu, in which the hilarious misadventures of the Japanese-American man Tongue Fu are mixed with a wicked social commentary. In 1994 he published his autobiography Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut Misadventures in Counter-Culture. In July 2009, City Lights Publishers will release Who's to Say What's Obscene?, a collection of satirical essays that explore contemporary comedy and obscenity in politics and culture.
He published three collections of drug stories. The first collection, Pot Stories for the Soul (1999), is from other authors and is about marijuana. Psychedelic Trips for the Mind (2001), is written by Krassner himself and collects stories on LSD. The third, Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs (2004), is by Krassner too, and deals with magic mushrooms, ecstasy, peyote, mescaline, THC, opium, cocaine, ayahuasca, belladonna, ketamine, PCP, STP, "toad slime," and more.