Paul Krassner

He Was No Hippie: Remembering Manson, Prison, Scientology, and Mind Control

When Charles Manson was a prison inmate, he got introduced to Scientology by fellow prisoners, and his ability to psych out people was intensified so that he could zero in on their weaknesses and fears. In 1967, he was released and went to the Scientology Center in San Francisco. A friend who accompanied him there told me, “Charlie said to them, 'I'm Clear – what do I do now?'”

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Hippies, Radicals, Pranksters: Jerry Rubin Has a Bio and Paul Krassner Has a Review

Pat Thomas, the author of “Did iT! From Yippie to Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, an American Revolutionary,” had noticed that there were six books about co-activist Abbie Hoffman, but none about Jerry Rubin, so Thomas welcomed the challenge. Seventy-five co-conspirators were interviewed for revealing anecdotes galore (including me), and this tome is a unique oral and visual history heavy enough to sink into your coffee table.

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Do We Owe Military-Style Police Swat Teams to the Wild Story of Patty Hearst and the SLA?

I asked author Brad Schreiber, “Why is your new book about the kidnapping of Patty Hearst important now?”

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One Patient's Ridiculous, Surreal Experience Getting Medical Pot in the California Desert

This article first appeared in The Fix, which features coverage on addiction and recovery, straight up. 

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Healthcare Is So Horrible Here that Thousands Rely on Free Clinics - And You're Fined if You Don't Use Prescription Drugs

Although Coachella Valley in Southern California has become synonymous with music festivals, Goldenvoice, the company that produces those events, also helped sponsor the first massive four-day health clinic this year. Free medical, dental and vision care was provided to nearly 2,500 uninsured patients at the Riverside County Fairgrounds.

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A Tale of Two Alternative Media Conferences

In June 1970, a charter flight was on its way from San Francisco to the Alternative Media Conference at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. The passengers consisted entirely of attendees. Larry Bensky, then KPFA news anchor, recalls, “It was one of the craziest trips ever taken by anyone, anywhere, I’m sure. Many on the plane were tripping on acid.”

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How Corporations Co-opted the "Flash Mob"

And God said, “Let there be co-option.” Corporations are currently hiring flash mobs for marketing purposes. It was inevitable. Those rehearsed gatherings of fake spontaneity in public places were fun for the sake of fun -- mostly featuring musical instruments, singing, and dancing –- that served as magnets for inadvertent audiences with smartphone cameras, helping to push such heartwarming events into viral cyberspace.

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My Brother's Keeper

When my brother George and I were kids, I could recite the alphabet backwards, whereas he read the entire dictionary. We both played the violin, and when he was nine and I was six, we performed at Carnegie Hall. (I was the youngest concert artist in any field to perform there.) Our younger sister Marge took piano lessons and became a legendary figure at Boys & Girls High School in Brooklyn, teaching music and running the chorus. Now retired, she and two women--one plays the cello, the other a flute--have been booked to perform at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, playing music connected to various phases of Dali’s life.

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Who Do You Think Created the Term Yippie?

I really don’t like to boast, but in my lifetime, on half a dozen occasions, I have actually added words and phrases to the language. It’s something I always wanted to do. What a thrill it must have been Dr. Harold Cerumen who decided that cleaning out earwax should be known as “cerumen disimpaction.” And veterinarian Alice Neuticle who coined the word “neuticles”—cosmetic testicles for a dog that’s been neutered.

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Why We Want to Keep Church and State as Far Away from Each Other as Possible

Last month in London, an atheist church was launched with a reading from Alice in Wonderland, a Powerpoint presentation by a particle physicist explaining the origins of antimatter, and a congregational singalong with songs by Stevie Wonder and Queen. Indeed, we’ve come a long way, baby. Personally, I stopped believing in God when I was a kid and the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. How, I thought, could an omnipotent deity allow that to happen?

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