In Praise of Indecency: Paul Krassner Interviewed by Carol Queen
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A lot's been said and written about Paul Krassner since he founded the legendary underground newspaper The Realist in 1958. People Weekly crowned him "the father of the underground press." (He demanded a blood test.) The FBI, writing anonymously to Life Magazine, called him "a raving, unconfined nut." Groucho Marx once predicted that in time, Krassner would be "the only live Lenny Bruce."
However you describe Krassner, the history he has made and witnessed has been extraordinary. As publisher of The Realist, he targeted every form of hypocrisy available with a trademark blend of satire and journalism. He also founded the absurdist prankster group The Yippies with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, edited Lenny Bruce's autobiography, dropped acid with Groucho, did a brief stint as editor of Hustler, and ran an underground abortion referral service for a decade before Roe v. Wade. In 2004, the ACLU gave him the Upton Sinclair Award for his commitment to freedom of expression.
Krassner's books include his autobiography, Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut and One Hand Jerking, a collection of essays. He's just published two more: Who's to Say What's Obscene? and In Praise of Indecency. Carol Queen interviewed him at the Center for Sex and Culture this month.