Still Satirical After All These Years

by Jonah Raskin, September 20, 2017

Satirist Paul Krassner made history with his raucous magazine, The Realist, the great-grandfather of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” Like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, he has had no sacred cows. I’ve known Krassner since 1970, when we were both Yippies and members of the Youth International Party. Born in Brooklyn in 1932, Krassner celebrated his 85th birthday earlier this year in Dessert Hot Spring where he lives year-round. When I emailed him ten questions and asked for short answers he emailed back with ten pithy responses.

 

Q: How did it feel to turn 85 this year?

A: 85 is the new 84.

 

Q: What’s the funniest thing you can say about Donald Trump?

A: Hillary would have him locked up.

 

Q: Why do you live on the edge of a desert?

A: Found a fine inexpensive home.

 

Q: Would you like to return to Brooklyn, New York your hometown?

A: Nope, I like California way better, from Santa Cruz to San Francisco to Venice Beach to Desert Hot Springs and to the Anderson Valley.

 

Q: We’ve seen everything this year, including a biography of our former whipping boy, Jerry Rubin. What’s the world coming to?

A: Insanity, cruelty, lack of compassion, stupidity, climate change, greed, dishonesty and yet optimism.

 

Q: Of all your buddies over the years who do you miss the most?

A: Ken Kesey, Abbie Hoffman, Phil Ochs, Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.

 

Q: Is there good sex at 85?

A: Occasionally.

 

Q: Is women’s liberation overrated?

A: Misogyny must be stopped.

 

Q: How do you feel about the alt-right? Is it neo-Nazi?

A: It sucks horribly. Still, I’m a fanatic about freedom of speech.

 

Q: In hindsight, how does Obama look do you?

A: I would vote for him again both times.

14 Responses to Still Satirical After All These Years

  1. LouisBedrock Reply

    September 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you, Jonah Raskin; and thank you, Paul Krassner.

    Mr. Krassner is the best teacher I’ve ever had and THE REALIST was the best textbook.

  2. Jonah Raskin Reply

    September 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you, Louis. Paul and The Realist sharpened our wits.

  3. Allen Young Reply

    September 20, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Jonah’s interviews in which he requests brief answers are great! I remember Paul Krassner, met him a few times, did not know him well, and so glad to know he is reasonably content in his California home. His satire was outrageous but he exuded kindness, too. In many ways, he was a leader of what was often called the counter-culture in the 1960s.

  4. Pat Kittle Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Krassner says the Alt-Right “sucks horribly” but he is nevertheless “a fanatic about freedom of speech.”

    Honest question:
    Is there any further example of Krassner defending the Alt-Right’s freedom of speech?

    Peaceful Alt-Right protesters are routinely attacked with everything from bottle of urine to baseball bats as corrupt mayors order their police to “stand down” (not do their sworn duty to protect all citizens).

    So what else has Krassner said in defense of Alt-Righters having 1st Amendment protection?

    I’d sure like to see it.

  5. Peter Koret Reply

    September 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I seriously wonder what more you expect him to do at age 85.

  6. Jonah Raskin Reply

    September 23, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Some of us keep going through our 80s and 90s.

    • Jen Reply

      September 23, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      How come you guys dont just ask the guy himself? If he is that old i bet he is bored and still has his phonenumber listed

      • Pat Kittle Reply

        September 24, 2017 at 11:20 am

        Jen,
        I’ll call him if you can find his phone number.

        Then I’ll post a report of our conversation.

  7. Betsy Cawn Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Admiration for Krassner’s gentle remonstrance and sharp witted jousting with mainstream anything (and comedic acuity so wonderfully voiced in the VV notwithstanding), the comments depicted above as “Still Satirical” do not strike this reader as much more than boringly benign — especially at a time when debunking popular media mythology and cultural misogyny is needed more than ever. Come on, Paul — let ‘er rip!

  8. Jonah Raskin Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Right on!!

    • Pat Kittle Reply

      September 24, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Jonah,

      Your puff piece is admittedly exhilarating.

      But it would be more useful to know what Krassner has to say about Israel’s war criminals.

      You know, stuff like that.

  9. Jonah Raskin Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Pat

    Next time, Israel and the good stuff,

    Jonah

    • Pat Kittle Reply

      September 24, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      By all means, surprise us.

  10. susana de castro Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed (that’s how people talk around here) your work.
    Reflecting on politics, here, in the US, especially, but elsewhere, too: What are people thinking! One man, one party, two parties, three parties CANNOT represent ALL people! We need them ALL, at once, working together!

    We should not be expected to “protect” Israel, forever -it’s been 70 years! Meanwhile, US allows Puerto Rico and the rest of US to languish in utter poverty and distress? What is wrong with this picture?

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