Who's to say what's obscene?: politics, culture and comedy in America today

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City Lights Books, Jul 1, 2009 - Humor - 242 pages

Fans of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Onion will appreciate this timely collection of satirical essays by counterculture icon Paul Krassner. With irreverence and an often X-rated wit, Krassner explores contemporary comedy, and obscenity in politics and culture from "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banners to scenes cut out of recent movies, including Borat.

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. Krassner riffs about busted public figures, counterculture, free speech, late-night talk shows, censorship, sex, and the jokes of other famous comedians.

"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's Contributions to the Counterculture: Watch a short history of Krassner's career from High Times.

Praise for Paul Krassner:

"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

"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 is funny."
-Lewis Black, Root of All Evil and The Daily Show

"Krassner is one of the best minds of his generation to be destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked-but mainly hysterical."
-Art Spiegelman

 "He is a unique character on the American landscape. A self-described 'investigative satirist,' he straddles the lines between politics, culture, pornography and drugs--in other words, the land where all of us, were we really honest with ourselves, would choose to dwell."
-Harry Shearer

"Krassner loves ironies, especially stinging ironies that nettle public figures. He would rather savor a piquant irony about a public figure than eat a bowl of fresh strawberries and ice cream."
-Ken Kesey

 "To classify Krassner as a social rebel is far too cute. He's a nut, a raving, unconfined nut."
-Federal Bureau of Investigation

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

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About the author (2009)

Krassner published The Realist from 1958-2001, but when People magazine called him "Father of the underground press," he immediately demanded a paternity test. His style of personal journalism constantly blurs the line between observer and participant. Krassner currently writes for High Times, the porn industry's Adult Video News, and blogs for Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of twelve books. The Huffington Post is one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2006, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people.

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