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Who's to Say What's Obscene? : Politics, Culture, and Comedy in America Today
by Paul Krassner and Arianna Huffington


Overview -

Fans of The Daily Show and will appreciate this timely collection of satirical essays by counterculture icon Paul Krassner.

With irreverence and an often X-rated wit, Krassner writes with a unique perspective on comedy and obscenity in politics and culture, from "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banners to scenes cut out of recent movies, including Borat and Milk Read more...


 
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Overview

Fans of The Daily Show and will appreciate this timely collection of satirical essays by counterculture icon Paul Krassner.

With irreverence and an often X-rated wit, Krassner writes with a unique perspective on comedy and obscenity in politics and culture, from "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banners to scenes cut out of recent movies, including Borat and Milk.

In his essay "Don Imus Meets Michael Richards," Krassner examines racism in comdey, from Lenny Bruce to Dave Chapelle, on The Sarah Silverman Snow and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and in controversial comic strips like The Bookdocks. In his piece "The Great Muhammad Cartoon Controversy," he looks at free speech and self-censorship in the face of threats-real and perceived-from religious fundamentalists. Throughout, Krassner riffs about busted public figures, counterculture, free speech, late-night talk shows, censorship, sex, and the current state of satire.

"These are times of repression," says Krassner," and the more repression there is, the more there is for irreverence toward those in authority."

Paul Krassner is an author, journalist, stand-up comedian, and founder of the freethought magazine the Realist, which eh published from 1958 to 2001. He was a co-founder of the Yippies and a member of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters. He received an Upton Sinclair Award for dedication to freedom of expression. Krassner was a close friend of Lenny Bruce and the editor of Bruce's autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. A prolific writer, his articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Playboy, and many other venues. He has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and writes regularly for High Times, Adult Video News and Huffington Post.

"He is an expert at ferrting 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

"Krassner is so compelling. He has lived on the edge so long he gets his mail delivered there." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Thanks to Paul Krassner for continuing to be the lobster claw in the tuna casserole of modern America." --Tom Robbins

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

"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's funny." --Lewis Black

"Krassner writes on anything that catches his eye: the war on drugs, stand-up comedy, Don Imus, to mention just three topics. . . . The collection also includes a number of touching memorials to cultural icons Krassner has known, including Allen Ginsberg, George Carlin, Kurt Vonnegut, and Robert Anton Wilson." --Jack Helbig, Booklist


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780872865013
  • ISBN-10: 0872865010
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publish Date: July 2009
  • Page Count: 240
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.65 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Humor > Topic - Politics
Books > Humor > Form - Essays
Books > Political Science > Censorship

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 37.
  • Review Date: 2009-06-08
  • Reviewer: Staff

Krassner (Confessions of a Raving Unconfined Nut), publisher of the Realist magazine, ruminates on American social and political hypocrisy in these essays that drift between current events and the heyday of the 1960s counterculture when the author dropped acid with the Merry Pranksters and palled around with Abbie Hoffman. Krassner weighs in on the last election cycle, the decriminalization of marijuana, and racism, with a stated (and largely achieved) goal of illuminating the gulf between what society says and what it does. The essays focus mostly on other humorists, and while he points out that today “sarcasm passes for irony,” he's far from a curmudgeon and praises such current comics as Sacha Baron Cohen and Sarah Silverman. Krassner says, “It doesn't have to get a belly laugh, it just has to be valid criticism, which is the classic definition of satire,” and while this book lingers too long on nostalgic remembrances and tackles serious issues too directly to get constant laughs, it makes a convincing case for the importance—and political necessity—of irreverence. (Aug.)

 
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