Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counter-culture

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Simon & Schuster, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
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This is no ordinary memoir. Paul Krassner started out as a child-prodigy violinist, the youngest concert artist ever to perform at Carnegie Hall, but he lost his real virginity - literally and figuratively - at Mad magazine. However, Mad's humor was aimed at teenagers; America had no satirical magazine for adults, so in 1958 Krassner launched The Realist. Irreverence was his only sacred cow.
When People magazine called him "father of the underground press," he immediately demanded a paternity test. Nevertheless, The Realist was indeed a forerunner of the alternative media, serving as both an influence on and a chronicler of the burgeoning counter-culture. His life story is enhanced by encounters with such folk heroes as Norman Mailer, Dick Gregory, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Jerry Garcia.
Krassner never identified anything as either reportage or satire in The Realist, and it was often hard to tell the difference. His most infamous such piece, "The Parts Left Out of the Kennedy Book," has become a modern classic, and its complete text is included in these pages, along with the story behind his "Fuck Communism!" poster and the Disneyland Memorial Orgy.
All his readers see Krassner through their own subjective filters. Joseph Heller told him, "You practically write Catch-22 with every issue of The Realist." And Kurt Vonnegut said, "You make me hopeful." But the FBI sent a poison-pen letter to Life magazine: "To classify Krassner as a 'social rebel' is far too cute. He's a nut, a raving, unconfined nut." And Harry Reasoner wrote that "Krassner not only attacked establishment values, he attacked decency in general."
Krassner's style of personal journalism constantly blurred the line between observer and participant. He interviewed an abortionist, then became an illegal abortion referral service. He covered the antiwar movement, then founded the Yippies with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. He published material on the psychedelic revolution, then took LSD with Timothy Leary and Groucho Marx.
He edited Lenny Bruce's autobiography How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, then, with Lenny's encouragement, became a stand-up comedian himself. Five years after Lenny's death, Groucho Marx stated, "I predict that in time Paul Krassner will wind up as the only live Lenny Bruce."
"Krassner loves ironies," says Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, "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." Krassner's own favorite irony is that he received an award from the Feminist Party, and was later hired as publisher of Hustler.
Krassner published writers and activists in The Realist whom no one else would touch, from prostitute organizer Margo St. James to assassination researcher Mae Brussell, who revealed the insidious machinations behind the Watergate break-in while the mainstream media were still referring to it as a "third-rate burglary." He also investigated the Charles Manson massacre, and found himself freaking out with paranoia from conspiracy overload.
These uncensored confessions of a controversial satirist will make you laugh out loud, shock you out of your jeans, and alter your perceptions permanently.

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Confessions of a raving, unconfined nut: misadventures in the counter-culture

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In 1984, when People magazine published a special section on the 1960s, it hailed Krassner as the "father of the underground press.'' Krassner's typically puckish reaction: "I demanded a blood test ... Read full review



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About the author (1993)

Paul Krassner was a founder of the Youth International Party (Yippies) in 1967 and a member of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters. He produced The Realist, a magazine of social criticism, from 1958 to 1974, leading People magazine to name him "the father of the underground press." He is the author of 15 books; his most recent being In Praise of Indecency.

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